Fire Cooking Outdoors

BWCA Sunset  gun lake
Look, the sun! First eve on a remote rainy wilderness day

Seven men, 140+ BWCA Trips, Two newcomers, a food pack and some tips

Nine of us just spent a fist full of days in the BWCA Wilderness . Wind, rain and cold weather ganged up on our mostly veteran group. A hardy lot we seemed to be as we traveled lake-portage-lake by canoe, fished, camped, built fires, cooked and ate well. very well. we waddled a bit on the portages out with smiles on our faces.

Stew meat and potatoes email
10 miles and several lakes back in the wilderness after 3 days of rain…food good!

Outdoor cooking at it’s best is an art, a skill to learn and hone. So, plan a trip outdoors, bring some food and cook it. how hard can it be?

Fire: A most necessary ingredient

It’s all about the fire. Get the fire right and you will possibly eliminate all kinds of embarrassments. Common scenarios include

1) Build a good fire, start cooking and the fire suddenly dies even though the wood is all there. Clue: keep putting small sticks under the larger wood and graduate to large enough wood to have a sustainable coal base. Around the fire email

2) A well meaning someone adds wood and the fire and it becomes an inferno. Charred food soon to be. Clue: have a good stash of small sticks handy to feed the fire and threaten to whack  anyone who wants to put another log under the pan of food (do I need a violence disclaimer here?) Quick get the log off the fire or ruin the pan the food and reputation.

3) It’s windy and gusty and it blows the smoke and flame everywhere. The cook gets the smoke no matter which side you choose. Clue: A mature fire has way less smoke. Again, a good coal base is hot and small sticks make the flame just right. A little smoke flavor in the food is a good thing.

BWCA june 07pork steaks on the grill

4) You cannot find dry wood. Clues: Old rotten logs often have knots that will pull out of the log and they are full of pitch. shave with a knife and light on fire (usually smoky but make great coals and burn hot). Old stumps from small trees can be kicked out of the ground with some of the roots attached. the roots burn well. shave them if needed. Cut some larger wood and split into little pieces. The inside will be dry. Make shavings with a knife for starting the fire.

Perfect fire

Notice the rocks for a wind break, the smaller wood ready to control the heat, the larger logs drying out and ready to be split.  Start with boiling water, grab a cup of coffee (smoked coffee anyone?) and get the fish fry going. DSC03928




No high flame on the fish fry or you will have a flaming pan to deal with. Have a lake close by in the wilderness!


       We used a couple of Pots and two sizes of skillets. for nine people a 14″ deep pan works well for most meals. Bring a small pan for fish, brown sugar syrup, and threatening any unannounced bear (rocks work better). We also bring a camping stove and fuel to cook under the tarp in torrential rains, for shore lunches and no fire zones. A cook stove is handy and fast. Don’t forget the spatulas and serving spoons. They are a pain to whittle out while the others fish. Don’t forget a whittling knife. By the way, soap the outside of the pot or pan so the black soot from the fire washes off. just don’t forget and dip it in the lake that way. keep the lake soap free.Storie telling time email

    Food Tips

     I precooked and froze most of the meat we used and brought in a small soft side cooler. All meals were well thought out before wandering around the grocery store. I tend to buy 3 times as much if my meals are not well planned. Each meal is taken out of the box or bag and the proper amount put into a zip lock type bag with directions. I can hand it to anyone in camp  and they can follow directions and cook the meal (Really, spread the cooking work around). Some (not me) plan well enough to make all the meals and then dehydrate them…just add water over the fire. Make use of rice, potato, pasta, and precooked beans (don’t carry in water logged food). Use burrito type soft shells instead of bread. dehydrate peppers, mushrooms and onions if possible. Throw them in stews and add cheese and great seasonings. Experiment, you are outdoors


    YA, the guys liked the ghost pepper. It was a Miners Mix spice trip. Visit the site and buy some as it’s good stuff. for recipes, inspiration and quite a few tips on outdoor cooking over the pit (cousin to cooking over the fire grate) visit the pit masters at Patrons of the pit  who put several of us onto the art of seasonings. Rave reviews from this last BWCA trip. Miners Mix

Um, careful with the ghost pepper! 


Published by Gary Fultz

Outdoors Man, Hunter, Fisherman, Guide, Writer / Author, Photographer, Public Speaker, Musician, Song Writer, Story Teller, Follower Of Jesus. Love God and family and total strangers

2 thoughts on “Fire Cooking Outdoors

  1. Very nice, Gary! That is some fine camp cooking. Nothing is quite so fine, and satisfying not only to the belly, but the soul as well, in eating well in the wild places. I love it. Didn’t know you picked up some Miners Mix. That’s cool. That ghost pepper stuff will melt your face off if you ain’t careful!

    Love your trip reports. Hope to get up there this summer. Can’t get enough of those sky tinted waters.



    1. Thanks Potp. I hope you make it up there as well. I hope your food pack is lighter than mine going in. You are right about the Ghost Pepper, I let the guys season their own plate so I was not responsible for dehydration out the top of the head and other reactions. Mixed with a 5 bean chili might have shortened the life span of the tents I’m thinking.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: