In the Yukon, we don’t think cooking skills should be confined to the kitchen. And while we don’t have any scientific evidence, we can confidently say that tacos taste way better under the midnight sun.
These 6 tips will have you preparing a campfire tasting menu in no time.
First off, where are you going?
Before you start brainstorming dinner ideas, learn as much as possible about where you’ll be setting up camp (and kitchen). Every location has its own set of services and rules, so it’s important to do your research.
If your plans include grilling epic meals over an open flame, find out when and where fires are allowed. You’ll also want to know if your campsite provides power, fire pits, or firewood. But most importantly, you’ll need water. So, if you won’t have access to clean water, make sure to bring enough for drinking, cooking, and doing dishes.
Leave the kitchen sink at home
Travelling light is a great way to reduce stress and streamline the cooking process. So think about what you’ll actually need before packing your bags. If you’re heading into the wilderness to hike or do some hardcore exploring, feel free to pack some extra protein. But if you’re planning to chill by the lake with a good book, you can definitely leave a few snacks behind.
Once you’ve figured out how much food you’ll need to fuel your activities, take your ingredients out of any original packaging. Then go ahead and portion out grains, proteins, vegetables, and spices in advance. That way, you won’t end up lugging around extra garbage or unused supplies.
Timing is everything
Unless you like hanging out with hangry campers, we’d suggest preparing simple snacks and meals that cook quickly. Claim some extra brownie points—or, rather, granola points—for bringing along nutritious fast food. Filled with protein and vitamins, foods like oatmeal, nut butters, dehydrated meats, and chili will keep your blood sugars level and your spirits high.
When you put your menu together, plan to use perishable items first. And when it’s time to pack everything up, make sure to put those items on top. You don’t want to waste time rummaging around with your head in the cooler.
You’ll need somewhere to put all that food. To keep your food fresh, consider investing in a high-quality cooler. Spoiled ingredients are a real downer, and it’s nice to know your food is stored at a safe temperature. Pro tip: use frozen bags of fruits, vegetables, or meat as refrigeration for the first few days.
You’ll also need a pot, a cast iron pan, and anything you’d normally set the table with. We’d leave the swan-shaped napkins at home, though. And remember: matches. No one wants to be the person who forgot the matches.
Have fun with it
When you’re at home, cooking can sometimes feel like a necessary evil. But under the stars or the midnight sun, flipping and frying feels pretty magical. So, don’t let your fellow campers miss out on the cooking experience. When you’re planning meals, think about the preparation process, and choose dishes that are fun to make as a group. Building burritos or rolling out a campfire pizza might end up being the most memorable part of the trip.
Oh, and don’t forget dessert. Even if you’re having a classic like s’mores, bring some different types of chocolate to make the end of the meal more exciting.
Prepare for party crashers
We think May and June are especially good months to enjoy some amazing outdoor meals, and the bears tend to agree with us. During this time, bears are the most likely to come looking for food, which means you’ll want to be especially careful when you pack your bags. But since you may run into a bear during any season, always keep your bear-proof containers handy on your camping trips.
All kinds of smells will attract wildlife, so make sure to keep everything packed away. While toothpaste, chapstick, and garbage might not be on your menu, they’ll smell like a three-course dinner to your furry neighbors.
Once you’ve eaten your last campfire meal and cleaned your last plate, leave only your terrible renditions of Wonder wall behind. After all, what happens in the Yukon, stays in the Yukon—except garbage. That leaves with you.