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Vidalia
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PostTue Jan 04, 2011 8:40 am 
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With all the options for easy, cheap (sometimes), quick food today for backpacking I wonder how many people still cook a full meal over a fire (when allowed) while overnighting in the back country. What is your favorite fire cooked meal?

One of my favorites is poached salmon in a lemon dill and white wine sauce with shitake and portabella mushrooms and asparagus spears.

This dish came to me while cooking in the kitchen one night and I realized it could be easy to transfer the method to the campfire.

Start with about 4 feet of aluminum foil, fold and layer to make a “boat” or bowl about 8 inches by 5 inches with a lip of about 1 inch, pinching the seams at the corners.
Choose a fresh, skin on, salmon filet about an inch thick and place in the foil boat.
Mix the juice from one lemon, 2-3 Tbs of white wine and about 2 Tbs of olive oil and pour over the salmon.
Layer thinly sliced shitake and portabella mushrooms over the salmon and place about 10-12 spears of young asparagus over that.
Place a couple of sprigs of fresh dill weed on top and garnish with cracked pepper.

Now take another 4-5 feet of foil and (carefully) completely wrap the boat. Fold, roll and pinch the edges so the package becomes water tight. It helps if you mark the skin down side of the package so you can place it that way when you go to cook it.

Place the package in a heavy zip-lock freezer bag. If you are hiking in the winter or where the weather will say adequately cool just throw in your cooler and wrap it in a towel and put it in you pack for dinner that night. If it is summer or you want to have it the second night in you can freeze it and let it thaw as you hike or at the campsite.

When you build your campfire that evening try and find a good flat rock, preferably one that has already been used in the fire ring, and place it at the center of your fire. Let the rock come to a nice cherry red temperature and carefully move it to a bed of coals on the side of the fire. Take the aluminum foil package and lay it on the hot rock with the skin side down. Leave it on the rock for 12 minutes. The foil package will puff up and steam may escape. There is no need to turn it or to touch it for the 12 minute cook time. After 12 minutes carefully take it off the rock and place it on a bandana or plate. Tear open the top of the package and dig in! The salmon will have poached in its own juices and the lemon, white wine and olive oil. The mushrooms and asparagus will be tender but not over cooked.

When you are done place the foil in the fire to burn off any smells or residual liquids and then put the waste foil back into the zip lock bag, wipe off your fork and your done!

I have cooked this dish many times and have never had a bad meal!

Vidalia

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captain jack
Serving suggestion



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Serving suggestion
PostTue Jan 04, 2011 6:36 pm 
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You mean a wood campfire with just a grate ?

Charred T bone steaky
Campfire Tater
Smores
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Allison
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PostTue Jan 04, 2011 6:49 pm 
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Thanks Vidalia. I do a fair amount of car camping and road tripping and see a future with me and your dish!!

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Opus
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PostTue Jan 04, 2011 7:07 pm 
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That's a great one Vidalia.  I'll have to try it with the mushrooms and asparagus.  I make a really similar one.  I lay sliced oranges on the salmon and surround it with onions and peppers.

Corn in the husk roasted over a campfire is great (and easy) too.  Same with baking a potato wrapped in foil in the coals.
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Quark
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PostTue Jan 04, 2011 10:46 pm 
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I do a similar thing with salmon - wrap it up with onions, lemon, and whatever else I have laying around. Potatos in foil, and a steak on a grate over the coals.  Good eatin'.

Also a good meal is to toss raw hamburger blobs in a packet of foil with onions, potoatoes, carrots, herbs (bay leaf, tarragon, etc!) and throw it on the fire for a nice stew.

Pastie-pies (a northern Michigan delicacy) - little personal meat and veggie pies.  Diced cooked leftover roast beef, diced onion, carrot, rutabaga, celery. Wrap veggies in raw pastry dough, then wrap that in foil and put close to the fire, turning occasionally.

I'm pretty lazy - I put all this stuff together at home and once at camp, with the exception of the first one, these are one dish meals.

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onemoremile
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PostTue Jan 04, 2011 11:19 pm 
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Venison tenderloin marinating in a bag with olive oil, red wine, and various herbs/spices.  Placed in the pack in such a way that it gets 'agitated' during the hike.  Onions wrapped in foil and soaked with olive oil and a few fern tips.  Then add a grouse, use the same marinade as the venison.  And a few chanterelles...can't forget chanterelles.

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Vidalia
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PostWed Jan 05, 2011 8:51 am 
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Wow! Some great ideas! I love the ideas that require a grill or grate but my original idea was to limit it to something you would carry on a backpacking trip and most of us would balk at the grate idea,
But..... I once met a guy that had carried a 20" steel WOK into the backcountry and he claimed he had been doing that for 10 years and always cooked over an open fire in the thing.  dizzy.gif

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Vidalia
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PostWed Jan 05, 2011 8:56 am 
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Opus wrote:
I lay sliced oranges on the salmon and surround it with onions and peppers. Corn in the husk roasted over a campfire is great (and easy) too.  Same with baking a potato wrapped in foil in the coals.

Love the onions and peppers idea. I have done that with fresh Grouper and it turned out well. Next time you are roasting the corn try pulling the husk back, getting rid of the silk of course and wrapping the corn in bacon, then pulling the husks back over the cob. I usually take a thin wire and hold the husks in place so no coal dust can get to the corn.

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Quark
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PostWed Jan 05, 2011 10:23 am 
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O, I'm dumb. I read the word "carcamp" in Allison's post and went with that. I don't do any grate cooking while backpacking - I had at one time, and used 3 small pieces of wire from a cut up coat hanger. You don't need much.

In the past, I had prepared the salmon dish the night before & tossed it in the freezer (for less sloppy carrying) for a backpacking trip on the coast up.gif

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Slugman
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PostWed Jan 05, 2011 12:18 pm 
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Shish Kabob. No grate required, and you can have whatever meats/veggies/garnishes you want. My favorite is beef cubes, green peppers, onions, cherry tomatoes and pineapple. I freeze the beef cubes, put them in a "smell-proof" bag, then put that bag at the center of my sleeping bag in the pack. They will stay cold all day, even on a hot day. I use wooden skewers, and burn them up after use. Just be sure to wrap the parts of the skewers not protected by the food in tin foil to keep them from burning.

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sarbar
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PostWed Jan 05, 2011 12:21 pm 
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I picked up for Kirk a couple years back a Grilliput system - a lightweight and portable grill with a fire pan for putting charcoal in. You could also use the grill over a normal fire. They don't seem to be sold currently in the US from what I can see, ah well. It is a fun item to say the least.

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strider
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PostWed Jan 05, 2011 2:51 pm 
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Hens & onions, driftwood fire.

Game hens, one each plus one extra.  Skewer 'em on a long stick and build tripods (tie tripods with a bit of wire). Stuff 1/2 of small apple or a chunk of onion into each hen, drilbble some Secret Sauce inside, tie up dangly bits with string and roast over fire.  Periodically dribble more Secret Sauce on 'em.  My favorite version is soy sauce, basalmic vinegar, honey, garlic, sesame oil, and just a touch of pineapple juice.  Any BBQ sauce or dry rub will work fine I suspect.  Spin the spit every 10 min or so, cook all sides evenly & slowly, 70-90 minutes depending of fire temp.

Same meal is easier to do by placing butchered hens on grille, but it's just not as gratifying as building a spit, sipping a libation, and watching them sizzle and drip and slowly turn into glistening golden orbs of goodness.....

Coal Baked Onion side dish, one each.  Hollow out onions like they are jack-o-lanterns, save most of the onion guts for other things.  Mix in a zippie equal parts finely diced mushrooms, celery, onion, & feta cheese (not seasoned, use plain feta), add some garlic, black pepper, and olive oil.  Add to basic mix whatever you wish.  With hens, I prefer bacon bits, basil, & sun dried tomatos, but there's lots of options.  Shrimp, crab, smoked clams or oysters, sausage, ham, whatever you wish.  A basic 3 cheeze onion is grub.  Diced artichoke hearts & asparagus tips with a hint of lemon zest makes a veggie onion to die for.  Stuff onion shells full & tight, wrap in foil, toss in coals when hens have been roasting an hour or so.  Spin them now & then, when they are squeezy soft bake 5 more minutes.

Bonus meal:  Everyone saves a thigh or breast on their hen carcass.  Wrap the leftovers & the extra hen in foil & save.  Carcasses and hen go into the big pot (or pots) late the next afternoon to boil a while.  Dig out bones, toss them in fire.  Add mushrooms, celery, and onion to broth, bring to boil.  Mix up and drop in lumps of Krusteze, 4 or 5 per person.  Smokey chicken & dumplings.

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Slugman
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PostWed Jan 05, 2011 3:07 pm 
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Hey strider, how come when you took me camping, we lived off of Tang and vodka?  embarassedlaugh.gif

PS: when are we going back to Norwegian Memorial?  hmmm.gif

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jenjen
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PostWed Jan 05, 2011 7:05 pm 
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The onion things sound amazing.

My favorite backcountry campfire meal so far has been the canned ham / potato / bell pepper / onion hash I fried up with a decent sized lump of Crisco.  The pack was awfully heavy heading in, but on Day 3, this was a meal fit for a King.

Often, I'll freeze a pork chop in some marinade and bring a sweet potato wrapped in foil.  The pork chop gets skewered and propped over the coals while the sweet potato gets tossed into the fire itself.  Yum.

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Tangeman
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PostWed Jan 05, 2011 7:41 pm 
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Eggo french toast, toasted 3 days earlier, then "reheated" on a fire. Its the best!

Packaged tuna mixed with macaroni is really good too.  up.gif

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