Have you ever tried to cook for 25 Scouts on a petite, junky folding stove or a high output fish fryer? Ty Measom has and he can tell you, it’s not easy or fun.
“Those were the only things available 25 years ago and they just didn’t work,” said Measom. “The only options for camp cooking were small, cheap and not user friendly. There were only a few companies out there for outdoor cooking, but they didn’t offer the product the people needed.”
What customers obviously wanted was a better way to cook outdoors, and that became the tag line for Measom’s fledgling business. Measom is the founder of Camp Chef, a Utah-based company that is now a major player in the outdoor cooking category. This year, the company is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and Measom agreed to share a few camp cooking tips he, and his team of avid outdoor chefs/employees, have learned over the years.
1. Think Versatility
If your camp cooking equipment is limited to boiling water you will be stuck eating instant oatmeal all weekend. Get something that can do more than boil. You want something that can grill, fry, bake, cook Dutch oven, or make a pancake breakfast while brewing a pot of coffee. All possible on a Camp Chef stove. This will make an enjoyable camp as you mix and match accessories to customize a cooking system that meets your needs.
2. Think Ahead
I like to enjoy my time outdoors, so the easier the cooking the more enjoyment I get out of it. Planning meals will help. For example, if you cook eggs and bacon for breakfast, cook extra bacon to use on sandwiches for lunch. The more foods that cross over the better. I would also suggest freezing meats, soups, etc. prior to the trip. That will reduce ice consumption and keep other foods colder longer.
3. Chop & Mix
If you plan to cook something like fajitas for example, chop all onions and peppers prior to the trip then store in a Ziploc bag or vacuum pack. Freeze if needed. This works with dry ingredients like flower and sugar. Pre-measure your biscuit or cobbler mix for easy baking. The more prep you do at home the more time you have to enjoy the outdoors.
4. Control Your Flame!
The secret to good cooking is time and temperature or in other words heat control. Too much heat, it’s burnt. Not enough heat, it’s uncooked. That is all Dutch oven cooking really is, controlling the temperature. So don’t char your flapjacks. Just control that heat.
5. Don’t Forget Chuck
Get a chuck box. A chuck box, similar to a chuck wagon from the late 1800s, carries all your cooking gear and/or food. This can be anything from a cardboard box (not suggested) to a handmade wooden crate customized for a camp kitchen. I use a Sherpa Table from Camp Chef because it keeps everything organized and transforms into a table for food prep or cooking. I keep it stocked with utensils, can opener, lighter, cutting boards, seasonings, cooking spray, paper towels, sanitize wipes and more. It’s always ready to go when I am.
6. Grab-n-Go Gear
There is no need to raid the silverware drawer for a knife, spatula, or whatever else you might find. There are plenty of tools available for a simple camp kitchen. A knife set or chef set is a perfect for grab-n-go camping. I also like Dutch oven liners. Simply drop it in, cook, and serve a Dutch oven meal with no need to clean.
7. Time for S’more
Desserts are always enjoyably. Whether that’s a Dutch oven peach cobbler, or toasted marshmallow over an open fire. Make time for dessert.