Chicken has star quality at the campsite. It's easy to cook and popular in almost every ethnic cuisine on the planet. It's available fresh, pre-cooked, canned, frozen and freeze-dried, making it easy to pack it whether you're in an RV, at a campsite or on the trail with a backpack.
Chicken also has something for everyone: light meat or dark, drumsticks that are easy for kids to eat and skinless, boneless chicken breasts that are the supreme poulet of French cuisine.
Buy chicken, in whatever form you prefer, for delicious campsite meals that will please everyone gathered around the fire. Here are a few tips and grilled chicken camping recipes to get you started.
Grilled Chicken Tips
It all begins with buying the bird. Stop by the supermarket to grab a whole, roasted chicken to make dinner easier on the first night out and a couple cans of chunk chicken to keep in reserve for emergencies. Remember these tips for packing, storing, and prepping the meat.
- Parboil chicken parts at home until they test done at 175 degrees. Chill the meat and keep everything cold for faster grilling when you get to camp.
- Use bottled marinades already flavored with hickory, mesquite or apple wood.
- Save pickle juice to marinate chicken; it flavors and tenderizes the meat.
- Always pack kitchen shears to make it easier to work with the chicken. Don't forget to bring barbecue tools, especially a good barbecue brush.
- Cook your chicken with aluminum metal skewers; they cook the meat faster.
- Grill twice as many boneless, skinless chicken pieces as needed for one meal. Chill the leftovers to use later in chicken salad or sandwiches.
- Barbecue sauces that contain sugar burn quickly. Don't start brushing grilled chicken with sweet sauces until it's at least half done.
- Don't thread chicken kebabs too tightly. Allow for heat to circulate for thoroughly cooking.
Chicken Over the Coals
2 small broilers, about 3 pounds each
1/2 cup each lemon juice and vegetable oil
1 teaspoon each thyme, crumbled rosemary, salt, freshly ground pepper
Start a bed of coals or preheat a grill at medium heat. If your butcher doesn't sell half chickens, use shears to cut through the chicken breast bone and backbone to make four halves. Discard the neck and giblets or save them for another purpose. Remove and discard the skin if you wish.
Mix lemon juice, vegetable oil and seasonings and brush this mix on chicken. Grill the chicken cavity side down first, and then turn it and brush generously again. Keep brushing and turning until the chicken is golden brown and it tests done with an instant-read thermometer.