Menus & Entertaining

6 tips for cooking convenient and delicious camping food

©iStockphoto.com/GMVozd Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/GMVozd

Menus & Entertaining

6 tips for cooking convenient and delicious camping food

Camping is all about enjoying the great outdoors and making new memories with your family and friends. Taking a break from work or getting out of town on a long weekend, enjoying the fresh air and having an adventure are all part of a Canadian summer. 
 
Organizing a camping trip can be an adventure in itself. Picking a park, booking a site and packing up the car are all part of the fun. One of the best parts is organizing the food and dreaming about the delicious meals you'll prepare on your trip. Celebrity chef Susur Lee agrees. There's no reason why preparing meals when camping can't be easy and delicious at the same time, he says. 
 
Lee shares his expert tips on how to make outdoor cooking both convenient and fun.  
 
Chef Susur Lee's top six outdoor cooking tips 
1. Make a trip to the grocery store. Remember: camping is supposed to be easy and fun. Save yourself some prep time by buying conveniently prepared items from the grocery shop, such as marinades and sauces.

Also, avoid peeling and dicing vegetables out in the wild by buying pre-cut veggies. "Go to the grocery store and see what's already done for you," Lee says. 
 
2. Marinate in advance. Lee says it's a good idea to marinate meat before you head to the campsite because it adds more flavour. Also, you can use the same marinade for different types of meat if you're short on time. Lee advises that when preparing shrimp it's best to shell them before applying the marinade to allow them to absorb more flavour.
 
3. Bring along basic ingredients. Simple ingredients can significantly enhance the flavour of a dish. Lee's favourite basics include spray-on olive oil, for both flavoring food and keeping your meat from sticking to the grill, and sea salt.

He's also a big fan of lemons. "Lemon is very important for grilling. It can go with grilled meat, fish and fresh herbs," he says. "Lemon is everything." Try squeezing some fresh lemon on your salad, too.


Page 1 of 2 -- Learn three more tips for preparing meals when camping on page 2
4. Make sure your equipment is in order. When you're packing your tools, take some time to ensure everything is working. This includes making sure you have enough fuel for your grill. You may need to bring extra, so figure out how much you'll be cooking before you hit the road.

Be sure to bring enough ice for your cooler. Without it, your meat and vegetables can go bad. Lee advises bringing along a fly basket as well: it will protect your food while it's out on the picnic table. 
 
5. Location and patience are key when grilling. When you're scouting out a place to grill, make sure it's not too windy because it can interfere with how hot your grill is, Lee says. "The wind is very important; otherwise your food doesn't cook."

Try creating a barrier between the wind and your grill. If you're looking to buy a travel barbecue, consider one with windscreens. And don't forget that patience is essential when barbecuing. When you first place food on the grill, let it sit there for a while. "Don't flip food around too much or you'll lose the marks and the flavours," Lee warns. 
 
6. Keep your food simple and rustic. Skip making a five-course meal out in the woods and focus on one or two favourite dishes instead. Remember that the point of camping is to relax and unwind! "The idea of camping is to do things together," Lee. says Something as simple as making meat and veggie kabobs can turn into a bonding experience, and is a great way to get kids involved.  
 
When you're out camping with friends and family, the food doesn't need to be displayed in an elaborate way. Lee believes "camping food should be rustic and friendly." He suggests using big platters and aligning them across the center of the table so that everyone has easy access to your wonderful feast. 
 
Wondering what cooking equipment you need to bring along on your camping trip? Check out our four must-have picks: Photo gallery: 4 camping equipment must-haves for your meals.


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6 tips for cooking convenient and delicious camping food

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