Cooking at home in your kitchen can be a cinch. Everything is within arms reach, and you have a number of different appliances to make mealtime arrive quickly. But transferring your cooking knowledge from the kitchen to the campsite can be a bit of a challenge.
Cooking outside, you’re limited by what you bring. You also have a lot variables that you can’t control. A gust of wind can kick up any time. And we’ve all been harassed by an annoying little critter looking for an easy meal.
The more potential problems you can mitigate beforehand, the better your car camping cooking experience will be. Here are a few pro tips that’ll help elevate your car camping cooking game.
1. Mimic Your Kitchen
Stick with what you know. Use as many of the same utensils you use at home at the campsite (within reason, of course). This one is simple: you know exactly how these tools feel and perform. It’ll lessen the learning curve and help you feel like you’re right back in your kitchen.
2. Cook on a Large Surface
Give yourself some room to work. Just because you’re cooking outside doesn’t mean you need to be setting things on the ground or working in a confined space. Designate a space for cooking on the picnic table, tailgate, or blanket on the ground. People can still hang out where you’re cooking, but they won’t be in your way. You can also invest in a foldable table to give yourself even more space.
3. Pre-Cook at Home
Take care of as much cooking as you can at home. That way, you won’t have to stress so much about cooking raw meat all the way through in variable conditions.
4. Use Containers
When you’re campsite cooking, containers turn into your cabinets and drawers. Labeling and having clear spots for different items helps keep everything organized. If you have the luxury of a campsite sous chef, it’s much easier to say “Will you hand me the box labeled ‘Condiments/Spices’” than it is to ask for that one container that’s about the size of a cinder block.
5. Bring Multiple Copies of the Recipe
Some-way, somehow things seem to get lost on a car camping trip. If you lose your recipe you might as well kiss that delicious meal goodbye. Don’t let that scenario become a reality. Write down, print out, and save the recipe to your phone so you have multiple copies.
6. Accept that Nothing Ever Looks as Good in Real Life as it Does Online
Even though that recipe looks amazing online it’s probably not going to look like that when you cook it. These folks are professionals, staging every shot, who oftentimes eat their food cold because it took them so long to stage every shot. Not to mention that they’ve practiced the recipe multiple times to ensure they get the exact look they want. Don’t stress about how it looks. Enjoy the time you took to cook it up and enjoy eating your delicious meal while it’s still hot.