Outdoor cooking

  • Young women washing dishes


Build confidence and self-reliance by learning how to cook simple meals outdoors.


Plan a series of activities that will help you learn how to cook outdoors using various techniques, such as are listed in this activity. You may want to invite someone with knowledge and experience in your Church unit or community to help you plan these activities. Plan a final activity such as an overnight campout, where you can practice the skills you’ve learned. Following are different types of outdoor cooking that you could try.

  • Dutch oven cooking. Dutch ovens are large cast-iron pots with close, tight lids. They are used for roasting, stewing, or baking. To cook in a Dutch oven, build a crisscross fire and allow it to burn until it creates a deep bed of coals. For easier cleanup, line the pot with foil if you are baking biscuits or a cake. Place your food inside the pot, and close the lid. Place the pot on top of the coals, and use a shovel to scoop some coals onto the lid. In place of a traditional fire, you could also use charcoal in your Dutch oven cooking.
  • Pit cooking. To cook in a pit, tightly wrap a simple meal, such as seasoned vegetables, in foil. Then dig a pit that is about one square foot deep. Line the bottom of the pit with flat rocks (avoid any rocks that contain limestone, shale, or moisture because they may explode). Build a teepee fire on top of the rocks. Then build a crisscross fire on top of the teepee fire. Keep this fire going for about an hour until the rocks are white with heat. Scoop out the coals from the fire, and place your foil dinner on the rocks. Sprinkle some of the coals on top of the foil dinner. Fill in the pit with dirt, and let the food cook. After about 45 minutes, dig out the hot food and refill the pit with dirt.
  • Reflector oven. Reflector ovens use flames from a fire, not coals, to cook food such as bread, casseroles, and pizza. You can regulate the oven temperature by moving the food closer to or farther from the fire. To make a reflector oven, you will need a five- or ten-gallon can, a metal rack or shelf, tin snips, and wire. Using tin snips, cut one side of the can open, and use wire to mount and secure the shelf or rack in the middle of the can. Cook by placing your food on the shelf and bringing the oven close to an open fire.
  • Stone fireplace. To create a stone fireplace, place two large, flat rocks on either side of a fire, close enough to each other so that they can hold a skillet or pot with your food. Using this method, you can make eggs, bacon, pancakes, and many other meals.
  • Trench fire. Trench fires are good for cooking with pots and skillets. Place two large logs parallel to each other. Then build a small fire between the logs. Balance the skillet on the large logs, over the fire. If you want to create a grill, you can notch the logs and lay metal rods from one log to another. For slower cooking, bring the logs together at one end. Be sure to completely extinguish the fire when you are finished.
  • Spit cooking. Spit cooking is useful for fowl, fish, or kebobs. Build a low teepee fire. On either side of the fire, place two notched sticks upright in the ground. Then make a spit out of green wood and soak it with water so it does not burn. Put the spit through the meat or food you want to cook and place it over the fire. Baste and turn the food often.
  • Cooking without utensils. You may also want to learn to cook without pots or utensils. To do this, you could use green wood, rocks, and coals.

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