Long term cooking over a campfire and what you need to prep for it.

Hello, my friend and welcome back!  I love to cook outside especially in the fall and early spring.  In fact, I love it so much that at one time I used to compete in BBQ competitions.    There is something about being outside and cooking that just makes a person feel alive, or so I think.  Grab a cup of coffee and have a seat while we visit.

Cooking BBQ is only one way of cooking over an open fire and is far from being the only way.  When I speak to people and the discussion of cooking outdoors comes up, I often hear people say that all they need is wood and a place for a fire and they can cook anything they need.  Well, I hate to say it but that attitude is a bit naive, to say the least.

Cooking in a long term survival situation, is a whole lot different from cooking on an overnight campout.  Then, there are the people who say my bug out location has a fireplace and that is all I need.   While cooking in a fireplace or wood-burning stove in the winter is great because it will help keep it warm so there is a dual benefit.  The trouble comes in when summer arrives and you need to keep your bugout location cool rather than hot.  What will you do then?  The answer to that question is that you move the cooking outside.

Simply building a campfire is not enough, especially if you are feeding several people.  You need to be able to heat several things at one time and at different temperatures.   If you haven’t planned ahead for this then you may find yourself in a bind.  First off, your wife’s favorite skillet with its Copper or Teflon coating won’t last long on an open campfire.  You will need something that can handle the high temperatures that a campfire can produce.  For this, you need cast iron pots and pans.

Dutch Ovens made of cast iron are the longtime favorite of campfire cooks and make no mistake about it; campfire cooking is as much a learned skill as cooking is.  It takes practice and lots of it.  I have burned more than my share of eggs by trying to cook them on a campfire, and that is an easy one.

So what makes campfire cooking so hard?  The answer is controlling the heat.  Unlike your electric or gas stove, there is no knob to turn it up or down.  Get it too hot and you either burn or under cook your food.  Too cold and it will take forever to finish cooking and could still be raw in the middle.  Are you starting to get the picture yet?

The easiest way to help solve this is to have a campfire setup, with iron pipes and grates which allow you to control how close to the fire your pot is.  Using this method and with a little experience, you will learn to control the cooking temperature of your food on a campfire.  Now don’t get me wrong, it still takes a lot of practice and you will no doubt burn yourself a few times during the process.  It’s almost like a rite of passage.  Put something on the burn and keep cooking.

You are not going to cook everything in pots, however, so it’s good to have a spit that you can use like a rotisserie for cooking chickens on and other wild game.  Cast iron pipe makes the best spits, and will hold up long after others have worn out.  Just remember, when you are looking at what you need for cooking on a campfire, everything has to be built strong if it is going to last.

Something else to consider is that if you are going to cook outside, you need to be prepared for rain.  Many people build a covered area with the four sides open for good air flow.    This will allow you to cook, even when it’s raining.    Some people go so far as blocking off one side and putting in cabinets for their pot and pans and cooking utensils.  This can save you many trips back and forth to get things you may have forgotten.  Some are elaborate and some are plain, but they are all sure to get a lot of use in a post SHTF world.

I’m going to add a couple of links, at the bottom of this article, to a campfire setup I like, as well as to some Cast Iron cookware you might like.  When SHTF hits and you are forced to cook over an open fire, you need to have everything you need to cook with, as well as the skills to do it.  Having supplies is useless if you don’t have the skills and tools you need to prepare them.  Start today and get the tools you need to cook on a campfire and then get busy practicing.  Who knows, you may even learn to enjoy it!

Well, that is it for today and I hope you have enjoyed today’s post.  Until next time, stay safe, stay strong, and stay prepared.  God Save America!


 Campfire setup

Dutch Oven

Cast Iron Cookware

5 thoughts on “Long term cooking over a campfire and what you need to prep for it.”

  1. Good article Sarge, and I might add, nice setup. I have a portable fire pit with a grill attachment that works great for that purpose. Nothing like cooking over a wood flame.

  2. good post sarge. you and my nefuew should get together as he loves to cook also. he built a mobile bbq outfit and travels to events to cook.

  3. Great article Sarge!
    Here in the South campfire cooking runs in our blood and many a fine time has been spent with friends around a campfire ring.
    As a long time cast iron cook, I can relate to campfire cooking and the importance of learning how to use a campfire as a cooking means. Many don’t have this skill any longer and an investment in new or used cast iron ware is a great investment.
    There are several great books devoted to cask iron cooking and are a must for your survival library.
    Another note, is the use of charcoal as cooking fuel. It generates little smoke and could allow campfire use without a smoke trail for others to spot from a distance. Of course,. if you’re cooking steaks, fish, or chicken the food aroma will travel quite a distance, but if just boiling water, charcoal (or even coal) produces very little smoke.

    Here’s a link that shows how to make your own charcoal:


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