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If the thought of a juicy steak washed down with a glass of red wine sounds more appealing than instant ramen or granola bars then welcome to the gourmet camping club.
Before we start debating the merits of your favorite camping recipe, let’s cover the best camping cookware for open fire cooking.
The good news is, cooking delicious food outdoors doesn’t mean having to pack your entire kitchen every time you want to set up a tent in the woods. Plus, cooking over fire means you can leave the camp stove and fuel canisters at home.
**Since we are responsible adventurers, I do want to add the disclaimer that you should check to ensure fires are allowed wherever you will be setting up camp. Please, do not be that person that thinks the rules do not apply to them.**
Ok, now that is out of the way, here’s my selection of campfire cookware to create a meal worthy of sharing on Instagram!
In a hurry? Here are my top 3 must-haves for cooking over fire…
- Best Cast-Iron Skillet: Lodge Chef Collection 10-inch Cast Iron Skillet
- Best Camping Pots and Pans: Stanley Even-Heat Camp Pro Cook set
- Best Campfire Grill Grate: Viator Outdoors Grill Grate
Best Open Fire Cookware
For a car camping trip, since size and weight are usually not an issue, cast-iron camping cookware is the best option for open fires. Cast iron cookware is made to handle higher temperatures, provides a more even heating surface, and when cared for will last a long time.
If you want to create gourmet meals over a roaring campfire, a cast iron skillet and Dutch oven will allow you to cook pretty much everything you want.
Although, if you have to carry your camping gear any distance, you’ll want to look at more lightweight options like seasoned carbon steel cookware.
A cast iron skillet for camping is your staple item for searing steaks, frying bacon and whipping up a stir-fry.
Cast iron skillets, like our favorite from the Lodge Chef Collection, come in lots of shapes and sizes. I would get either a 10-inch or 8-inch skillet – that will allow you to make multi-pan dishes or desserts.
If you’re buying a brand-new cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, then you may need to season it before taking it on your camping trip. Over time, as you use your cast iron cookware more, the better seasoned it will get.
And if you look after it properly, your cast iron could easily outlive you!
The humble Dutch oven is the most versatile of all open-fire cooking pots.
A Cast-Iron Dutch oven is perfect for slow cooking meat, bean stews, and berry cobbler, but you can also use them to make lasagna, nachos, and even chocolate cake.
Stainless Steel Campfire Pots and Pans
There are times when a cast-iron pan isn’t ideal for cooking.
Learning how to fry eggs on a stainless steel skillet is something of an art and if you’re backpacking or cooking over a small stove, you’ll probably want some lighter cookware.
For these occasions, a stainless steel frying pan is a worthy piece of camping cookware to have. Not to mention, most camping pans are made with foldable handles so they take up less space.
I would shy away from a non-stick pan since those are usually not designed to handle the heat from a campfire. The pans won’t stay non-stick for long and the materials will most likely end up in your dinner.
My favorite set of camping pots and pans is the Stanley Adventure Even-Heat Camp Pro Cook set. It includes everything you need to whip up a hearty meal and all nests together for easy storage.
Pro Camper’s Tip
If you are going to use aluminum camping cookware instead of stainless steel…Do NOT set it directly on the flames. Aluminum has a lower melting point so it is best to have some distance between the heat and your cookware.
Lots of campsites will provide grills, but you know what they say about assuming things…
So finding one with a collapsible grilling surface would be a priority like this Viator Outdoors campfire gate that weighs just under 4 pounds.
What I really like about this grill grate are the two cooking levels it provides in case there are some foods you want to keep further from the flame.
And the best part? It folds down into about a two foot by one foot size and packs away nicely in an included storage bag.
Whether you’re a tea, coffee or hot chocolate lover, one thing you need for all three is boiling hot water.
There are plenty of options out there, from sturdy stainless-steel whistlers to lightweight titanium kettles.
We went with this GSI Outdoors kettle because the size was perfect for the two of us. Another benefit is that it’s very lightweight for any backpacking adventures we go on.
Specialty Camping Cookware Options
With those essential items on your fire-safe cookware list complete, you can create a myriad of delicious gourmet meals.
But if you want to be the envy of your friends, here’s the best camping cookware to make your food stand out from the crowd.
Sometimes a product comes along that looks so perfect, you wish you’d been the one to invent it.
A portable pizza oven is one of those things!
Well, now you can make your own pizza pies even out in the wild because one of our favorite camp cooking gear companies – Camp Chef – has its very own pizza oven.
In simple terms, a pie iron is a sandwich press on a stick.
I know what you’re thinking: grilled cheese sandwiches aren’t exactly the height of gourmet cuisine, but you can’t deny that they’re fun to make, especially over fire!
Besides, you don’t need to limit yourself to sandwiches – your pie iron can be used to make cinnamon buns, hash browns, and bacon and eggs.
Brewing the perfect campsite coffee is a topic worthy of an entire blog post (go ahead and click that link to read our suggestions).
But for gourmet espresso, you need two things: a portable coffee grinder and a Wacaco Minipresso.
While Andrew’s an espresso addict, I’m more of a cappuccino person, which is why a battery-powered milk frother is on my essential camping cookware list!
Your Chuck Box Isn’t Complete Yet
Once you have your open fire cooking equipment figured out, there are a few other items that will help make your outdoor cooking easier and safer!
Pack these extras in your camping kit so you won’t forget them when you head out to the campsite…
Now that you know what the best camping cookware for open fire is, order up your own cast-iron skillet, dutch oven or stainless steel cookware and get cooking an unforgettable meal!
Or, if a few pans aren’t enough, go the whole hog and invest in a full-on camp kitchen.
After all, if there’s ever a camping version of MasterChef, you want to be prepared.