Campers once made meals with just a campfire and primitive tools like sticks and coat hangers. These days, we use toasting forks, bamboo skewers and specially designed metal skewers.
Regardless of the type of skewer you use, there's no denying that the simplicity of this cooking method is well suited for the campsite, whether you're backpacking through the mountains or car camping at your favorite local spot. Use these helpful tips and skewer recipes to get started.
Choose a Skewer
Wood skewers can be traditional bamboo or one of the new flavored skewers infused with lime citrus or Indian curry, for example. They're easily burned in the campfire and require no additional dishwashing.
Metal skewers are a lifetime investment and they don't catch fire at the wrong time. They channel heat faster into chicken, pork and other foods that must be thoroughly cooked.
Before you skewer any meat or veggies, read these tips to take you from prep to cooking.
- When ordering ground meat to form around a skewer, ask for an extra fine grind for better cling.
- Some barbecue experts insist that bamboo skewers must be soaked in water first; others say it isn't necessary. Experiment to decide what's best for you.
- Make handling easier by putting two thin skewers side by side or using flat skewers. These may work better for ground meats.
- Don't cram chicken or pork pieces too close together. They require slow, even and thorough cooking.
- Bell peppers, eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, cauliflower and mushrooms hold up best on skewers. Fruits to skewer include pineapple chunks, apple quarters, firm peaches or plums, dried plums and bananas.
- Discard marinades or boil for five minutes before using as a dipping sauce.
- Use toasting forks with multiple prongs rather than straight skewers or sticks for a better grip.
The next time you're stuck trying to come up with a camping meal, grab a stick and try one of these skewer recipes.
You'll need long, metal skewers or toasting forks to make this breakfast.
1 or 2 flat-bottom ice cream cones per person
1/3 cup liquid egg substitute per cone
- Small square of cheddar cheese per cone
- Fully cooked sausage
- 1 teaspoon jelly or preserves per cone
Lay a 10-inch square of heavy-duty foil for each cone. Spray foil and place a cone on the foil. Bring up the corners to form an open sack tightly around the cone. Fill the cone with liquid egg, salt, pepper and one of the optional extras.
Bring corners of the foil together over the top of the cone, taking care to keep it upright. Run a stick or long skewer through foil, catching all four corners. Hold over the heat, but not in licking flames, until egg sets. Eat right out of the foil.
It's best to use marinades that tenderize and season but don't overpower the flavors of meat and vegetables. Marinades that contain sugar carbonize earlier and aren't recommended for use on meats that require long cooking times. To glaze, brush on sweet sauces during the last few minutes.
1/2 cup each red wine vinegar and vegetable oil
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon each salt, pepper
1/2 teaspoon each ground thyme, oregano and ginger
2 to 3 pounds cubed, boneless meat or vegetables
Mix ingredients in a large bag and add 2 to 3 pounds of cubed, boneless meat, chicken and/or vegetables. Keep cold several hours or overnight. Thread ingredients on skewers and grill over the fire.