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What Is The Best Way To Cook On Your First Camping Trip?

Updated: Nov 10, 2020

Great food on your first camping trip is a must. I've tried many different methods over the years, so let's see what works.

What is the best cooking method for your tenting trip? Of the many different cooking methods for camping, Grilling, Barbecuing, and Stewing are all great methods to provide you with great flavored food on your family tenting vacation.

All three methods can be performed over the camp fire grill, camp stove, or camping gas grill. The grill can be charcoal or gas. The main difference here is the amount of time and the effort you will need to put into your dish.

All of the main food staples of camping are easily cooked on any of these mediums. Items like a burger, hot dogs, chicken, and steak love open flames but can also be done in pans. Other things like chili and stew need to simmer and will take longer, but can also be done on these open flames.

Of the three sources of heat, the camping gas grill is the easiest to operate as you can easily control the temperature. Whether your choice is gas or charcoal, you can vary the amount of your flame by increasing or decreasing the fuel. Yes, we all love our camping gas grills, and that includes when we're off camping.

I have always found it possible to cook over a camp fire grill and on the camp stove, but they have their limitations. The fire can be smokey and extremely hot to cook over. The camp stove is one of many important outdoor supplies. While easily adjustable, it is small and can be hard to get up to temperature.

No matter your method, you will need to work to achieve your desired cooking temperatures. Keep this fact in mind when you are choosing your menu for your trip. If you are not familiar with any of these cook methods, start with a simple method, and work your way up. Once you get the hang of these methods, you can increase to more challenging menu items.

All of the mediums for cooking, campfire, camp stove, and grill will still need cookware. This cookware can be a simple set that you dedicate to your camping trips. My favorite is cast iron frying pans, a saucepan, and camping Dutch Oven. These pans are all very forgiving and will last forever so long as you remember to oil them when you put them away for the season.

Types of Cooking Methods


This method is what we all think of when we go camping. This item is where we sit at night before bed and roast marsh mellows. However, the fire is also a very plausible method to cook your meals.

You can purchase camp fire tripod frames to hold your dutch oven over the flames. You can also buy grills to straddle over the fire to cook items like burger, dog, and steaks. Usually, you can adjust the height of these grills, which will help you control the cooking temperature on the surface, giving you some sense of control.

You can purchase a camp fire tripod for between $25 to $50. A camp fire grill will also be in the same price range. The difference is that the camp fire tripod hangs over the fire from a three-legged stand, and the grill or griddle will either straddle the flames or have a post that you pound into the ground under the fire. These tools will help you gain some control over the heat while simplifying the cooking process.

Remember that you are cooking on an open flame, so when you add grease and oil, you will get more flame. You will need to keep a close eye, so your fire doesn't get too hot and burn your entire meal.

Camp Stove

The camp stove with grill and burners can be an essential cooking component for your camping kitchen. These stoves can be either propane gas or fuel. This fuel is not gasoline or kerosine but rather a flammable fuel combination explicitly designed for use in cookstoves.

Once you have these stoves connect to their fuel supplies and lit, you have a cooking source with excellent temperature control. This temperature control makes cooking lighter fare, breakfast, much more manageable. You can serve the family a full breakfast from your stove in a short amount of time, without having to light the campfire.

This camping stove with grill and burner will also work great for reheating items like chili and stew. You can even cook these items from scratch and simmer these foods to be aware of the amount of fuel you will be using. If this is your intent, you might want to do a dry run at home to gauge what you might need for fuel on your trip.

This camping stove with grill and burners can use LP Gas for a fuel source, making them simple to use and easy to control. Stoves of this type will typically offer you two burners, so you can easily add a griddle on top. These stoves will cost from $60 to $100.

The other version of the tabletop stove uses a liquid fuel that you pour into a tank. Many of these same units will also use unleaded gas as they are considered dual fuel models. This alternative can be convenient on an extended family trip when you run out of stove fuel. These stoves are slightly more versatile. Most models will cost between $150 and $200. You find these models sold under familiar camping names like Coleman.

Tabletop Grill

Our final method for heat is the tabletop gill. This cooking method is one that we are all familiar with. Most of us have some version of this method in our own home. They are easy to use and extremely versatile.

Today, you can find a tabletop version that is easy to move and easy to set up when you've arrived at your campsite. Grills provide you great cooking flexibility with a controllable temperature. This control helps you to create ideal campsite meals to keep the family and friends satisfied.

Your typical tabletop LP Grill is very versatile and will cost from $50 to $150. These gills will take a canister of LP Gas that you screw onto the model. You can purchase these fuel cylinders just about anywhere from large box stores to drug stores and even gas stations. If you wish, you can change out the gas adapter and use a traditional 20# LP Tank.


One last thought to leave you with is the ideal pans to cook with on your family camping trip. My personal experience has led me back to camping cast iron pans time after time. I would strongly urge you to pick us a set of camping cast iron pans and saucepans. A Dutch Oven is yet another cooking pan that is worth its weight.

The Camping Dutch Oven is the perfect choice for you to use over your campfire, whether on the campfire grill or to hang from the tripod. These extremely heavy-bottom pans help regulate heavy heat and make campsite chili or stew the perfect choice.

Just remember, when you are done for the season to oil all of your camping cast iron pans. Otherwise, they will rust in the offseason. They will be ready for that first and important family camping trip with a thin coat of oil.

You can buy Camping Dutch Oven options in many sizes, shapes, and even colors. 4 quart up to 8-quart options are available depending on how big you want and need your Camping Dutch Oven. The cost for this item is from $40 to $70. Yes, they're not cheap, but you will find many uses for this versatile cooking container.

We've gone through several cooking methods that you can use while on your camping vacation. You may want to use just one, or maybe all three of these methods. Each has benefits and short-comings, so you should try to plan your menu ahead of time and decide how you will cook each of your meals.

We are Family Tents Pro, and we wanted you to know what cooking methods you will have access to while you are camping. These methods and outdoor supplies are the most common use types but are not the only ones available. We may earn a commission if you purchase through our affiliate links.

Additionally, we have more helpful information for you to review on our website at www.familytentspro.com. Head over and see what other useful hints we can help you with.

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