Cooking on open fire; how it works!

Where fire, air, and nature come together for something great

Written from my own expertise and with 9 years of experience in the barbecue world. I am informing you based on my own knowledge about outdoor cooking on an open fire.
Bart van Heulen

Welcome adventurers, nature lovers, and gourmets! There is something magical about cooking on an open fire in the great outdoors. The dancing flames, the smell of smoldering wood, and the delicious flavors blending together create an unforgettable experience. As an experienced outdoor cook, I will take you on a journey through the art of open fire cooking. From basic principles to advanced techniques, you will learn how to elevate your outdoor cooking skills and prepare meals that will make your taste buds explode! So read on quickly!

What do you need?

Before we dive into the world of outdoor cooking, we need to make sure we have the right equipment. Here are some items you need for a successful outdoor cooking session:

  • Campfire or Fire Pit/Fire Bowl: Find a suitable spot with enough space to safely make a fire. Ensure it is allowed and that you light and extinguish the fire responsibly.
  • Cookware: Invest in high-quality cast iron pans and grates. They are durable and distribute heat evenly for perfect cooking. Cast iron also provides the best Maillard reaction for your meat, a real asset.
  • Heat-resistant Gloves: Protect your hands from the heat of the fire and hot tongs.
  • Tongs and Spatulas: For handling meat, fish, and vegetables over the fire.
  • Firewood and Kindling: Ensure you have dry firewood and kindling to start the fire.
Koken op open vuur

How to build the perfect fire?

A good campfire is the foundation for a successful cooking experience. Here are some tips to create the perfect fire:

  • Choose dry wood that burns well. Avoid treated wood as it can produce harmful fumes.
  • Use fire starters like firelighters or natural fire starters to ignite the fire. Build the fire gradually using small wood before moving on to larger logs.
  • Place the firewood in a way that allows for sufficient air circulation to keep the fire burning well. It’s best to build a small tower and place the fire starters underneath.
  • Learn to control the fire by adding or removing firewood to achieve the desired heat. You can test this without immediately cooking food on the fire. This way, you get a real feel for it.

Cooking on an open fire

Now that we have the fire under control, it’s time to cook! Here are some popular outdoor cooking techniques:

  • Place the food directly on the grate above the fire, using a tripod to hang the grate or directly over the fire with some space in between. Grill delicious steaks, vegetables, and even desserts like grilled pineapple this way.
  • Hang pots and pans above the fire or place them directly in the hot coals for soups, stews, and one-pot meals.
  • Attach a spit with meat on both sides of the fire and rotate it slowly for even cooking. This is often seen with whole hog barbecue or other large cuts of meat. It’s really cool to see if you’re a meat lover.
  • Dutch ovens are fantastic multifunctional cast iron pans. Use them for baking, roasting, or even making bread.

Foraging and bushcraft techniques

A truly masterful outdoor cook is also familiar with foraging and bushcraft. Learn which wild plants are edible and how to safely collect and prepare them. Discover how simple bushcraft skills can enhance your cooking experience, such as building your own tripod or carving a spoon from wood. These are all aspects we love to teach at BIV. For example, Ivo is an expert in all things camping, which ties in perfectly. Be sure to check out his category on camping.

So what do you think?

Cooking on an open fire is much more than just a way to prepare food; it’s an art form that connects you with nature and stimulates your senses. By using the right equipment and techniques, you can prepare outdoor meals that delight your taste buds and warm your heart. So, grab your cookware, explore the beauty of nature, and enjoy the satisfaction of masterfully cooking on an open fire.

Questions or tips?

Do you have tips or personal experiences with outdoor cooking that you’d like to share? Comment below this post and let us know. I love learning from your tips and am happy to add new and additional information to the text. Thank you in advance for your effort and input!

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