The Campfire Cook's Core Essentials
Packing for a wild outdoor excursion and taking your Madog Open Fire with you for some gourmet campfire cooking? Here's a quick checklist of what you should take with you.
The key to outdoor cooking is preparation. The last thing you want to be doing is to lay out all your ingredients, only to realise you need to borrow a knife off of someone, there’s no surface to cut on, and you have nowhere to put chopped ingredients. Nightmare. A bit of prep goes a long way when you’re going into the outdoors. So, here are our recommendations for a cooking bug-out bag.
Madog Open Fire Set in its carry case At 3.8kg, the Madog Open Fire is half the weight of cast iron while offering just as good cooking performance for making gourmet scran. Our top tip is to pack heavier items at the bottom of your rucksack to reduce shoulder strain. If you're adventuring with others, you can split the Skillet and Dutch Oven between packs to share the weight. If you're going solo, consider just taking one or the other to lighten the load but still be able to rustle up some gourmet food. Sometimes we take our Madog Open Fire and the rest of our cooking essentials in a sturdy bag for life as an alternative to carrying it in a rucksack.
Kitchen utensils - a good chef's knife, a fork, spoon, butter knife, stirring wooden spoon, tongs etc Without these, you won't be able to do much prep or eating! It's worth investing in a decent chef's knife if you're getting into cooking. Multi-purpose survival knives are also a practical option, although not as easy to cut with. Your choice of utensil depends on what your cooking e.g. tongs are good for grilling meat, but not so essential if you're making soup.
Chosen herbs and spices plus salt & pepper Sometimes it's easier to pre-mix your herbs and spices at home with a mortar and pestle and pop it in a small bag or vessel if you know what recipe you're going to cook. Salt, pepper and garlic (granules) are regular staples in our cooking bags. You can get loads of nice salt and pepper blends with different flavours like smoked, chilli and lime for an added twist. If you're without something to stir with, a clean stick is always an option!
Chopping board Having a small 30x20cm or maybe something slightly larger is really handy to have for chopping. Alternatively, you can pre-chop everything at home, and that means you probably have to take less stuff to prep with (although we love prepping outside, it's part of the experience). If you don't have a chopping board, try and find a flat tree trunk or a flat rock to chop on. Alternatively, just cut the food carefully in your hands and let it drop straight into the pot/pan.
Mixing bowl or small bowl for putting chopped veggies in These are really handy, especially lightweight pop up ones that pack down nicely. It's useful to have somewhere to put the chopped veggies on to clear space on your chopping board and allow you to throw ingredients into your Open Fire in the right order of cooking.
Mess tins or plates/bowls You could eat straight out the Open Fire, but mess tins or shatter-proof plates are a more convenient, lightweight option. Anything under 210mm will be storable in your Open Fire to save some packing space. We usually chuck a cheeky hot sauce in neatly in our mess tins when we take them out as well. Mmmmmmm, hot sauce.
Paper towels and/or tea towel Useful for cleaning, and for topping up the natural seasoning layer of your Madog before and after cooking. Just wipe a layer of oil on the clean Skillet/Dutch Oven and whack it on the fire for a bit. Good maintenance practice.
Sponge / scourer / brushes Cleaning is always difficult when you're outdoors when you don't have hot running water, so don't make it more difficult by forgetting to bring a cleaning kit. If you do forget, grass, sand or seaweed along with some sea/stream water can work for cleaning. Also, putting some water in the cookware and putting it back over the heat helps to remove stubborn bits. Tekkers.
Decanted oil Oil is essential, but instead of taking oil in a larger bottle get a little jar to decant into. This saves some weight in your pack.
Use a bottle of wine as a rolling pin
Use a stick to stir
Use sand to scour when cleaning
Use grass or seaweed to wipe clean
Look for a nice tree trunk or flat stone to use as a hard surface for chopping
If you’re camping on a beach, you might want to chop in your tent otherwise you WILL get sand in your food
Have we missed something? Let us know what you take in your outdoor cooking bag, or some resourceful tips, in the comments below.