By Montana Grant

Posted: July 9, 2023

Humans have been cooking over fire since fire was discovered. Fire cooked foods are healthier and more flavorful. The charcoal from fire burns hot and slow. Outdoor cooking also adds spice to the meal.

Even a simple Hot Dog tastes better when on a stick over the campfire. Throw some buns into foil and toast them a bit for the best brat or dog in town.

Many Pizza lovers enjoy fire baked pies in their backyard ovens. The wood fires get hot and the pizza cooks fast.

Quality wood will produce quality flavors.

Not all woods are equal. Oak and Locust burn hot and slow while lighter woods flame up fast. Aged, dry wood is a better choice than wet or unseasoned wood.

There are better ways to build a firepit or log set. Do some homework to organize your fire cooking area.

Basic wood fire tools are the same as for any outdoor grill. Longer handle tools will help to keep you from getting too close. A water spray bottle or hand splash of water can control fires from getting too hot.

Cast Iron was invented for wood fire cooking. These pots come in all sizes and styles. You can use the inverted lids as a concave fry pan. Have a cast iron tool to lift and handle these hot units. Gloves are also a good idea.

A shovel is helpful when making a firepit and to work the coals. You can shift coals and add dirt back on the fire if things are getting out of control. They are also good for making a fire pit or putting the fire out.

Always have a safety water bucket handy. Fire extinguishers are also a good idea. Anticipate burns, sparks, and potential accidents. A first aid kit is a good idea.

Cooking on planks is a fun way to bake and serve a wood fire meal. Use wire or wet cord to keep things in place. You can also nail a fish or meat in place. Use steel/iron uncoated nails. Many vegetables like corn, can be wetted and steamed in their skins. Try wrapping potatoes in mud and place onto the coals. Place a nail through the center to speed up baking. When the mud cracks off, the potato is sanitary and done.

Make sure that you have enough wood to finish the meal. You don’t want to be looking for more wood at night or in the mid cooking process. Get as much wood as you need and then some more.

Wood creates smokey flavors that quickly become airborne. Neighbors and campers will be attracted to the cookfire for a taste.

Try to plan the entire meal by the fire. Make everything from the salad to the dessert using the wood fire. Grill some romaine lettuce for your salad with a warm, fresh dressing. Bread on a stick makes perfect portions. The main course and sides can be made in stacked Dutch Ovens. Cobblers are easy and popular. Put what takes the longest on the bottom. Manage the fire and temperatures. Plan the meal for everything to come off at the same time.

In the end, you can always finish the meal with S’mores. This dessert is interactive, less of a mess, and popular. There are tons of fun S’more variations.

When the fire is done, do not “pee on the fire” as the country song suggests. Breakfast is just a few hours away.

Montana Grant

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