Camp Oven Cooking at Home
Updated: May 1
If you're a camping enthusiast, you know that food cooked over an open fire tastes like nothing else. There's something about the smoky flavour and the warmth of a camp fire that can't be replicated in your everyday kitchen. But what if I told you that you don't have to wait until your next camping trip to enjoy this type of cooking? You can actually practice camp oven cooking at home. In fact, I actually challenge you to give it a go! It's not as difficult as you might think.
What's the benefit?
The first benefit of practicing camp oven cooking at home is that it's a great way to get in touch with nature. Even if you can't make an outdoor adventure, you can still enjoy the flavours and aromas of campfire cooking in your own backyard. Cooking over an open flame forces you to slow down and appreciate the process of preparing a meal. You'll find yourself more mindful of the ingredients you're using and the flavours you're creating.
Another benefit of camp oven cooking is that it's a great way to entertain. Imagine inviting friends over for a backyard BBQ and surprising them with a delicious campfire-inspired meal. They'll be impressed by your culinary skills and will appreciate the unique experience of eating food cooked over an open flame. It's a great way to bring people together and create memories that will last a lifetime.
One of the best things about camp oven cooking is that it's versatile. You can cook virtually anything in a camp oven that you would normally cook in your own home oven. Breads, Casseroles, Stews and even desserts can all be prepared in a camp oven. As you are cooking over an open flame, your food will take on a unique smoky flavour that can't be replicated in your oven at home.
Why run the risk of destroying your meal while you're camping with minimal supplies, practicing camp oven cooking at home is a GREAT way to prepare for your next camping trip. It's also a little bit of fun! You'll have the opportunity to experiment with different recipes and cooking techniques, so you'll be much better equipped to cook over a campfire when you're out on your next adventure. I'll be honest, I dove straight in on one of my first camping trips and I absolutely destroyed a potato bake (glad it was only a side dish). It nearly turned me off camp oven cooking, but I decided to persist and take a little time to understand it some more before our next trip. It paid off and this is now my favourite way to cook when we are away camping. I enjoy it so much, that the use of Camp Ovens now extends to my home, which is why I wanted to write this article and hopefully it can inspire anyone who wants to give it a crack to try Camp Oven cooking now, you don't have to wait!
Preparing your Fire
When using a Camp oven, the heat source is typically provided by coals. You do not want to place your camp oven directly on the fire or in flames. Preparing your fire properly is an important part of camp oven cooking.
Here's a few tips to get you started:
Look for a level area clear of any flammable materials such as dry leaves or grass. Now being at home, if you're like me you won't want to destroy your lawn. I'd recommend using a fire pit that sits on legs off the ground. I picked up a bowl shaped pit like this Grillz Firepit. It does the trick and has been perfect for entertaining and Camp Oven cooking. The fire pit is also lightweight so is also easy to move around the yard.
You'll need a supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fire. Avoid using green wood that's been treated with chemicals, as these can produce toxic fumes when burned.
Begin by building a small fire using kindling and small pieces of wood. Once the fire is burning steadily, add larger pieces of wood to build it up.
4. Let the fire burn down: Before placing your camp oven on the fire, let the fire burn down to a bed of hot coals. This will provide a more even heat source and will prevent your food from burning.
5. If the fire has burnt down to coals, you can place your camp oven directly on the bed of hot coals. Alternatively if you are not using a fire pit, you can shovel coals out of the fire to the side to do your cooking and keep the fire burning.
6. Depending what you are cooking you may also shovel coals onto the top of your camp ovem
🔥 Hot Tip
This is how I remember the best way to determine my heating for the Camp Oven. If you would generally cook the meal on the stove top, Bottom heat only. If you would cook the meal in your oven at home, Top & Bottom Heat.
Selecting a Camp Oven
Now I truly think you can't really go wrong here, there are many options out there and I believe it comes back to personal preference. I've had experience with Spun Steel and also Cast Iron. I jumped on the spun steel initially due to it being lightweight, but I found it took a little more effort to maintain and some skill to master. After a few fails I ended up settling on a Pre Seasoned Cast Iron Camp Oven. They're a bit heavier, but are super easy to maintain and I believe are much better at heat control.
An Aussie Basic
Not sure what to cook first? Here is a super simple recipe for Damper. This is so easy to cook and is a great way to test out your camp oven and learn how it works, and when you pull it off, it tastes delicious. The best thing with damper is that if you mess it up, it costs you basically nothing. All you need is flour, salt and water.
2 cups self-rising flour
Pinch of Salt
Preheat your Camp Oven by placing it on a heat source such as a campfire.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the self-rising flour and salt.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and gradually pour in water
Mix the ingredients together with a blade until a dough forms.
5. With your hands shape the dough into a round loaf and place it in the preheated camp oven.
DO NOT KNEED. The key for a light fluffy loaf is to minimise working your dough.
Cover a pot riser with aluminium foil and lightly flour before placing the dough in your camp oven.
6. Cover the camp oven with the lid and place some hot coals on top of the lid to create a cooking surface on the top.
7. Allow the damper to cook for 20 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
8. Remove the damper from the camp oven and let it cool before slicing and serving.
Ready to give it a crack?
By following these tips, you'll be able to prepare a fire for camp oven cooking and create delicious meals which have that unique campfire flavour. Whether you're camping in the great outdoors or cooking in your own backyard, camp oven cooking is a fun and rewarding experience that's sure to please your taste buds.
Go on, give it a try. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy it!
Leave a comment below with your favourite meal to cook in a camp oven. Or tell me about your first experience, I'd love to hear from you!