I’ve had a discussion a number of times with different friends about setting up camp and when you get your campfire going. I have been surprised time and again that the last thing they do is start their campfire. Of course, they are just as shocked to learn the first thing I do when setting up camp is start my campfire. I usually launch into an explanation of how pleasant a campfire is, the purpose is more than that of ambience and ‘smores, it’s to get hot coals so I can cook!
Cooking over flame is never the goal, it’s coal cookin’. Now, I’m not talking about dutch oven cooking. Have you seen that fella on PBS with the dutch oven cooking show? What he can do with cast iron and coals is fabulous. I’m a grate and cast iron skillet cooker. Getting your fire going first allows for optimum coals when it’s time to make dinner. And it’s not just dinner that I cook over coals, as you know I’m a huge breakfast fan. I’m always the first one up and one of the first things I do when I wake up is stir the fire pit with last night’s coals. I then add kindling and get a little fire going. I add a lot of small wood pieces to burn hot and fast so I can set up the grate over the coals that are left. You may be asking yourself, why I don’t use a camp stove. Well, let me just say that camp stoves and I don’t get along. Also, good luck if it’s even slightly windy or if you breathe too hard around it. The end of camp stove cooking for me was when I cracked an egg and instead of it gliding and staying on the skillet it slid right out and onto the burner. I was just done. Cooking over coals is my favorite and it’s really served me well for years now. We only bring a camp stove to boil water. Here’s one of my breakfasts I make below. I also do a French toast casserole, but I’ll save that one for next time.
Breakfast Coal Cookin: When your coals are almost too hot to keep your hand about 12 inches away for more than a couple seconds, you’re ready to bring your grate down. Place your cast iron frying pan on the grate to preheat over the hottest section of coals. If you don’t have a grate, you can put your cast iron pan directly on the coals. Then, put 4 frozen waffles, (Eggo’s), 12 pieces of precooked sausage, and 4 pieces of bread directly on the grate over the remaining coals. Crack your eggs into your preheated cast iron pan and cook as desired. After a couple minutes flip your waffles and toast with your tongs and roll the sausages. While everything is getting warmed up and cooked, make yourself a cup of Moonlight Coffee (run in a previous Huckleberry Press). By the time you’re ready to plate everything up, the rest of your camping party will have joined you to eat.
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