Summer is upon us! Those months spent wading through slosh and slush, checking outside to see if we need to bring a hoodie or a -30 degree parka just to get to work are over! For those of you who don’t live where snow comes, you don’t know how lucky you have it. But for the rest of us summer is a welcome respite of warm and relaxation, where going outdoors is a must, and cooking outdoors is an absolute joy.
So if summer inspires you and your family to cook outdoors, you should learn a few tricks on how to make the experience a truly memorable one, maybe even one that will carry you through next winter. Cooking on the grill may look fun, but it takes a little more effort than just turning on your kitchen stove and going for it. Cooking outdoors can be done with a gas or a charcoal grill or even on an open campfire (only for the brave among us).
Photo Credit: Christopher Michel
Gather All Your Camping Supplies
There is a big difference between cooking on in backyard and cooking on a campsite. If you are just having a small barbeque on your own yard, it wouldn’t be too hard to just get your supplies inside the house. But if you are camping or on a picnic, it would be a good idea to make sure that you have all the necessary supplies before you head off to your destination.
There’s nothing more discouraging than arriving at the campground away from home — and probably far away from stores as well — only to realize that you have forgotten to bring the charcoal! Or if you forgot the excess water so you didn’t have anything at hand to put out the fire? Therefore, you should make sure to bring charcoal (enough of it) and fire extinguisher.
Most Essential Item For Cooking Outdoors With Kids
Buckets are very useful for any kind of outdoor activities. They can be used to keep your other supplies within easy reach, and when it rains all you have to do is grab the buckets (with everything inside them) and head for cover. Having buckets make for useful items especially when camping with kids, you just never know when you’ll need a seat, a place to put wet clothing, or a spot to keep capture frogs!
If you are going to cook on an open fire, you must be ready to kneel on the ground. You can make it a comfortable task by bringing along a kneeling cushion. It will not take too much space in your car and it would keep you scrape and scar free. After all if you’re camping with children you’re going to want to be focused on them not falling into the fire, as opposed to how much your knees are hurting at the moment.
Setting up a small kitchen is also a good idea when camping. All you will need is a folding table, a cooler, and a storage drawer (foldable or stackable). A utility cart will let you have a mini kitchen. The good thing about a utility cart is that it comes with wheels for easy maneuvering.
Serving trays are essentials that you shouldn’t forget to bring as well. You can also use your cutting board as a serving tray, but it is always better to bring extras because your kids can also use them to place their plates and glasses on when eating.
Best Outdoor Cooking Tools
Large bowls should also be included on your list, you would be slicing and cutting food items and there should be clean containers to put them in. Bowls are needed for the cooked meals and for collecting scraps for easy waste disposal.
A cast iron teapot is a flexible kitchen or camping accessory. The material is durable enough to withstand any temperature and you can place it directly in the open fire or you can also set it up on top of the grill. Brew tea or coffee, or you can also make dessert using your cast iron teapot.
Cleaning tools and materials should not be forgotten. It would be easy to tell yourself to leave the cleaning once you get home. But imagine the other chores that you need to do at home, and then think about adding cleaning the grill with those chores. It would be a better idea to clean your grill while still outdoors. You can make the task a bit easier by using a cleaning block. This cleaning tool is made of recycled glass that works great at clearing your grill off ashes and dirt.
My favorite of favorites is a cast iron pan, you can put them right on the fire or coals and be off to the races. They cook evenly and are just the perfect instrument when cooking outdoors. My kids most-liked dish is fajitas cooked in the old cast iron, trust me you’ll never have a fajitas like you’ll have when you’re camping because everything tastes better camping.