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Cooking Outdoors: My Top 6 Tips For Your Outdoor Kitchen

Cooking Outdoors: My Top 6 Tips For Your Outdoor Kitchen

Whether camping or barbecuing—do it the easy way

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Nick Käseberg

Nick Käseberg

Food Editor at Kitchen Stories

Like you, I love camping and cooking. Two passions that don't always go hand in hand, as I know from experience. I lived in an old Toyota for a year and have been regularly traveling into nature for either a few months or just a long weekend since 2018. I eat everything I can get my hands on and cook fresh at least once a day.

I never have more than a gas cooker, a pan and a pot in my luggage. And with this article I want to help you by sharing my tips for an enjoyable and stress-free cooking experience while camping and barbecuing.

These are my 6 most valuable camp-cooking tips:

1. Cut ingredients smaller for faster cooking

A quick tip to start with: Cut your ingredients to best suit your cooking utensils–but always remember, small and fine, you will faster dine! Small cubes are ideal for the pan on the camping cooker and thin slices for the barbecue. This will save you gas, charcoal and time.

2. Mix your own spices to save space

I usually like to keep my spices separate because I can flavour my food in a more defined way. When camping, however, I save the space and buy or mix my own spices. It's super easy. Think about which herbs and flavours you use most often and divide them into three cuisines.

– I always take a kind of Provence or Tuscan mix with me. Usually this is a mix of basil, oregano, parsley, thyme, rosemary, and savory.

– The second blend I like to take is always something Middle Eastern, combining cumin, paprika, cardamom, coriander, and chilli.

– Last but not least, I love to include something Asian, like a curry mix. I add turmeric, cumin, ginger, a little cinnamon, chili, and mustard seeds.

I also use these mixtures for barbecues. Simply put the food in a bag or container with oil, add the spices and leave to marinate for an hour before grilling.

3. For short trips, pre-cut your ingredients at home

As you've probably already realized, I like to have a clear idea of what I'm cooking when I go camping. The menu often consists of one-pot dishes, one-pan meals or barbecue recipes.

If you don't want to chop anything after a long hike or a day at the seaside, but don't fancy cold food or canned soup, do as my good colleague, Jing, does. In her article, she recommends pre-cutting ingredients for the planned recipes at home and portioning everything into bags or containers.

In my experience, this idea is great! Especially because you can put leftover food back into the container you've just emptied. This saves washing up and leaves you with a snack for the next day.

4. Cook with your surroundings

It's no secret that you don't have much space when camping, and that the best thing to take with you is powdered milk instead of cartons. But before you take lettuce heads, piles of herbs and fresh fruit with you, see what nature has to offer.

There are so many edible plants that you may think about making a wild herb salad! I've also collected and cooked mussels by the sea–one of the more luxurious evenings of my camping days. Just Google what grows in your camping destination or get yourself a wild guide if necessary. But still be careful, don't eat anything you're not 100 percent sure about.

On the Mundraub website, you can even find public fruit trees in your area, where picking for yourself is legal. These can include anything from apples to chestnuts. You're sure to have a great experience with the food you've picked yourself!

5. The best equipment

The right crockery saves a lot of effort. Glass is unfavorable for many reasons, metal is too heavy and plastic is neither pretty nor easy to clean, as grease forms an eternal smear layer on plastic. Enamel is the best choice for your mobile kitchen. It’s light, robust and super easy to clean.

I recommend a sponge for washing up, ideally one made from loofah fibres, as this is made from natural raw materials and does not pollute the environment when a piece breaks off. Sponges dry quickly, take up little space and can get into every corner. The only drawback is that they start to smell at some point, which is less of an issue when using a brush. Decide for yourself. Also: If you're washing up in nature, make sure you use ecological soap!

6. Washing up with sand and soil

Now for my most controversial tip: nature's best cleaning agent is sand and dry earth. My uncle taught me this while camping in France. You save loads of water and it's incredibly easy to wash up with! Sand and dry earth soak up oil and the grain size means you can also get rid of burnt-on stains.

Put a handful in the pot, wipe it all over once with a little pressure, tip it out and repeat if necessary until there are only slight traces of dust (takes about 10 seconds). Finally, wipe clean with a little water or a cloth.

Do you have any unusual cooking tips for camping or barbecuing? Leave them in the comments of this post. I look forward to discovering your top tips!

Published on May 4, 2024

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