No Grill, No Problem: Five Ways to Cook Over an Open Flame

So easy, cavemen did it. You can, too.

April 28, 2016 9:00 am

Most campsites these days come with fire pits or park grills. That’s because people are stupid, and firepits help decrease the likelihood that some knuckle-dragger sets the woods ablaze.

But say you don’t have a ready-made grill (pit or otherwise) — then what’s the plan?

You’ve got options.

The safest option is to buy a stove or a collapsible fireplace
Anevay’s Frontier Plus is a solid wood-fired stove that’s entirely self contained. It can be used inside a tent, and its chimney has a screen at the top that quells the sparks. Snow Peak also counts a collapsable fireplace among their countless well-made items. You put wood or charcoal in it and set it on the ground. This works in lieu of a fire pit or with one.

The next option is to build a good fire pit
Find a level spot about 10 feet from your tent with enough space for a 10-foot wide hole. Dig about a foot deep, keeping the dirt nearby for covering when you’re done. Make sure there are no low hanging trees above, and circle the hole with rocks. The bigger, the better. From there you’ve got options: tripods, Dutch ovens, skewers — you can even throw corn in the husk or veggies in foil directly over embers.

For cooking with a tripod
Snow Peak makes great tripods for cooking outdoors. For these, build a teepee fire by placing your kenneling in the center and lining it with larger, upright logs leaning against each other. This will ensure that your heat is concentrated on the food.

For cooking with a grill
Build a log cabin fire in the pit. You’ve seen log cabins: logs stacked over each other in a square shape, a la Lincoln Logs. Do that. Put your kenneling in the center. Arrange a grill over the top. Bring campfire tongs and an oven mitt to remove the grill and add more logs.

Going Dutch?
Dig a 6- to 12-inch hole in the ground about the same width as your Dutch oven. Set a bed of charcoals in the hole and once they’re heated, place the oven on top of them. Then add more hot coals to the top of the oven. Use tongs to open the lid.

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