If you’re cooking outdoors it is important that your cookware is durable. Cast iron and stainless steel are the materials of choice. Those nice pottery bowls and Teflon pans may be okay for the kitchen, but they have no place around a campfire.
Cast Iron Cookware
I have four pieces of cast iron cookware in my cooking gear. I have a 10” cast iron pot with a bail and lid. This is convenient to hang from an “S” hook over the fire. I use it to cook things like stew, chili, chicken and dumplings, pinto beans, and etc.
A 12” Dutch oven is handy for baking biscuit, bread, pies, and cobblers. It or the hanging pot are also good for cooking large chunks of meat like a pot roast.
I have a round 12” griddle that is great for cooking pancakes, corn cakes, and tortillas. It’s also good for cooking bacon, sausage, spam, and sliced ham.
I actually have two different sizes of cast iron skillets, but I usually just stick to a standard 10” skillet for most situations. If I’m cooking for a pretty good crowd I have a larger 12” skillet. These are great for cooking eggs and for frying chicken or fish.
Stainless Steel Cookware
A large stainless steel lidded pot is handy for cooking vegetables, soups, rice, or anything else that you would cook in a pot on your stove. I have such a pot that I use for large groups, but I don’t use it often.
I use a deep, round baking pan that fits inside my Dutch oven when I cook biscuits or bread. Some people cook biscuits and bread directly in the Dutch oven, but I use this pan and set it on three steel hex-nuts that elevate it about a quarter inch from the bottom of the Dutch oven. I find that this cooks my bread-stuffs more evenly and avoids scorching the bottoms. The pan pictured here is actually a new one. My old one was fairly shallow, and I’m looking forward to using the new pan.
I also have a big stainless steel bowl that serves as my wash basin for doing dishes. It also doubles as my dough bowl for mixing up bread dough and letting it rise.
I have an enamelware coffee pot that has seen a good number of campfires. Some people cook camp coffee by putting the grounds directly in the water, boiling it up, and then throwing in a cup of cold water to make the grounds settle. Maybe you can make this work, but I always end up straining coffee grounds through my teeth. I prefer to use the removable basket and percolator tube to make my coffee.
A medium size enamelware bowl is used for mixing biscuit dough, pancake batter, and etc.
I use my small enamelware hanging pot to cook vegetables, soups, and etc. I find that I use it much more often than my large stainless steel pot.
I also have an enamelware lid that fits over my 10” skillet.
You can get as complicated as you want on utensils. I keep it pretty simple. The main rule is “long handles.” You want to be able to reach out over that fire without singing the hair off of your hand. I use a big butcher knife and a small paring knife. Also pictured is an old-time can opener.
A pair of meat tongs and a long handle fork are also handy; especially if you are cooking straight on the grill.
You’ll need a spatula, a ladle, and a spoon to cook with, and that weird looking thing on the right is an absolute necessity if you’re using a Dutch oven. It’s called a lid lifter.
The last item on the list is a blow-pipe. This is used to direct air at your fire to help build the flame. It concentrates the stream of air much better than bending over and blowing through your lips.
Well, that’s it for cookware. As you can see I didn’t exactly drive over to William’s Sonoma and buy my stuff. It’s mostly hand me downs, garage sales, and thrift stores; but it works, and it has turned out some good camp meals over the years.