Are you looking forward to trying some new grilling recipes during your next camping trip? Pat Schweitzer and Betty Morton, Reynolds Kitchens home economists share their expert insights about the best way to enjoy dining in the great outdoors. Whether you're a backcountry camping enthusiast or touring the country in your luxury motor home, you're sure to find Pat and Betty's tips to be useful.
Expert Tips from Reynolds Kitchens
Menu Planning for Campers
LoveToKnow (LTK): When planning menus for a camping trip, what are the most important factors for campers to consider?
Pat Schweitzer and Betty Morton (PS & BM): It's important to consider where you're going and what resources will be available. From pitching a tent in the wilderness to parking an RV at a full-service campground, there are a lot of variables to consider. Once you answer the following questions, you can begin to pack accordingly:
- What options do you have for refrigeration?
- Will you have access to running water?
- Are there local ingredients that you can use?
It's also highly important to know the local fire regulations. Some areas, particularly during droughts, place restrictions on open fires.
LTK: What kinds of foods lend themselves to camping menus?
PS & BM: While it's important to be realistic about what you prepare, keep in mind that almost anything you can make in your indoor kitchen can be made on a grill. Be creative when it comes to planning menus and don't leave off the side dishes -- even rice and noodles can be prepared outside on the grill.
LTK: What are the most important cautions that campers need to observe when preparing outdoor grill cooking recipes?
PS & BM: Even a great barbecue can be ruined if the proper food safety precautions aren't taken. Fire safety begins by understanding how to operate your grill properly and having the right emergency equipment on hand before any cooking begins. Be sure to set up the grill in a well-ventilated area and keep a safe distance from flammable materials.
Food safety is equally important. Properly store perishable goods and observe USDA food temperature guidelines -- keep cold foods cold (below 45°F) and hot foods hot (above 140°F). Use separate plates and utensils for raw and cooked foods to avoid contamination.
Finally, of course, try to keep your outside work area clean to avoid unwanted visitors.
Outdoor Cooking Tools and Supplies
LTK: Do you have suggestions for items that campers need to carry to making outdoor grill cooking more convenient?
PS & BM: Some key items include a good set of tools -- including a fork, tongs and a spatula -- as well as your favorite grill seasoning and a meat thermometer. Don't forget to bring along matches and heavy duty foil, too.
LTK: What types of supplies does your company offer that make outdoor cooking easier for campers?
PS & BM: Reynolds makes a variety of products to help make everyday meals easier. At the grill, Reynolds Wrap Non-Stick Foil is a must! Lining grill grates with Release Non-Stick Foil prevents food from sticking to the grill or slipping through the grates. Both Reynolds Non-Stick Foil and Reynolds Wrap Heavy Duty Foil are great for foil packet cooking.