Pitchforks make for a unique and useful outdoor cooking utensil! During one hunting camp, we needed to cook several steaks over the campfire, but someone forgot the grill or fry pan. We did have a pitchfork from the horse trailer, though. My first thought was sanitation, so we placed the prongs into the fire for a while to sterilize the tool. Horse apples may add unwanted flavor.
In the meantime, we spiced up the ribeye steaks and prepared the rest of the meal. The steaks were then attached to the pitchfork prongs and placed over the fire. The fat from the steaks drizzled and flared into the fire as we cooked our dinner. Meat cooking over a flaming fire always smells great.
Within 5 minutes, the steaks were served by sliding them onto a wooden board with a hunting knife. Yeah, someone forgot the paper plates too. Preparing a simple Whiskey sauce just iced the cake. Medium rare, delicious, and no dishes to wash. Let me tell you that they were “some kinda good!”
Since that trip, I have discovered that true pitchfork steaks are also deep fried in peanut oil! You can use other healthier oils but… Try using a turkey fryer or fish fry pan to heat the oil up to 375 degrees. Any steak will work as long as they are about one to one and half inches thick. The hot oil cooks the steaks quickly. 2-3 minutes is all you need. If you have smaller long handled skewers or hot dog forks, you can always adapt and improvise. Just be careful to avoid the hot oil or campfire flames.
You can also marinate the steaks ahead of time. This works especially well with wild game steaks. Use equal parts of cheapo red wine and olive oil. Sprinkle McCormick’s Montreal Steak seasoning blend into the marinate and add the steaks. I use plastic sealable bags and allow the meat to tenderize and “flavorize” for up to a week in a fridge.
Resting the steaks for a few minutes after cooking, is also important. Try adding a big pad of butter or a dollop of blue cheese on top to slowly melt and enhance the flavor while they rest.
Wrapping the potatoes in thick mud will also allow you to bake potatoes in the campfire. Spread some coals to the side and place the mud wrapped taters onto the hot coals. This works best when someone forgets the aluminum foil. Roll them around gently to bake all sides. Eventually, the mud will become hard and easily breaks off when done. This takes about 30 minutes, depending on the size of your spuds. Stick a steel nail through the tater to speed up the cooking.
A Whiskey Sauce is made using 2 tbsp. of oil, a thinly sliced onion, ½ tsp. of salt, ½ cup of whiskey, 2 tbsp. of Balsamic vinegar, and ¼ cup of cream or milk. Sauté the onions in the oil about 10 minutes, add the whiskey and Balsamic vinegar, and reduce for 2 minutes. Add the cream or milk and simmer 1-2 minutes longer, scraping the pan as you go.
Add some peaches and cobbler mix to a Dutch oven for dessert, and the cowboys will be fat and happy!
For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com