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.
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
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.
Indian Shish Kebab
Make the meat mixture at home and keep on ice for a day or two.
2 pounds of ground lamb
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon each salt, paprika, ground coriander, ground cumin, powdered ginger
2 teaspoons each dried mint leaves, dried cilantro and chili paste
Mix everything well and make kebabs at home or refrigerate and make them at the campsite. Form mixture by the cupful into tubes about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Insert skewers through each “tube” and grill over medium coals until lamb is done through.
Buttons and Ribbons
2 or 3 medium zucchini and/or eggplants
Whole, medium-sized mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
1/3 cup each white wine vinegar and olive oil
1 teaspoon dried lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon each salt, pepper, celery seed
Hot dogs or other cooked sausage, cut in bite size pieces
Slice vegetables lengthwise into long, 1/4-inch thick ribbons. Place veggies in a plastic bag with the mushrooms and marinade ingredients. Chill, turning occasionally to saturate vegetables with flavor. Drain the bag and weave vegetable ribbons on skewers, alternating mushrooms and sausage pieces between each loop. Cook kebabs on the grate, turning often until vegetables are crisp, yet tender.
Dirty Angel Wings
Like s'mores, these personal desserts take patience and attention. You'll need a good pastry brush and toasting forks.
1 store-bought angel food cake
Hershey milk chocolate candy bars
Small carton pasteurized egg white
1 tablespoon sugar
Cut the cake in 1-inch thick slices. In a bowl, whisk sugar and egg white until sugar dissolves. Fold each cake slice in half around one or two small, thin squares of chocolate. Don't over-fill cake. Brush edges with egg white mixture and squish the cakes to seal. Secure well on the prongs of the toasting fork. Brush outside of cake with more egg white.
Toast over the fire until cake is golden and chocolate melted. Eat with care; molten chocolate may be very hot.
17-ounce package of puff pastry, thawed
10-ounce jar raspberry preserves
Whole, roasted, unsalted almonds
1 small carton pasteurized egg white
1 tablespoon sugar
Unfold pastry sheets onto a clean kitchen towel and pat out as thin as possible. Cut pastry in 4-inch squares. Place a teaspoon of raspberry preserve and an almond in the center of each square.
Whisk egg white and sugar and brush on pastry edges. Fold squares in half and press to seal edges. Secure well on tines of toasting forks. (Pastry will swell and get flaky as it roasts, so don't risk losing it.) Brush with additional egg white and roast over the fire until it's puffed and golden.