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Stroll through a campground at meal time and you’ll see the gamut, from plates heaped with lunch meat sandwiches, potato chips and store-bought pasta salad, to others serving up hearty, intricate meals. And of course, everything in between.
Enjoy a day’s menu of good food and camaraderie of the campfire ring with these meal-time suggestions. While the recipes may seem extensive, it’s mostly toss in the ingredients, heat and eat.
These easy recipes can be pre-prepped at home to save even more time.
The star of this day’s meal plan is smoked trout. No need for a big smoker grill or elaborate supplies. We are doing this the easy way—over wood planks. It’s quick and inexpensive, and has long been favored as a way to cook fish and other meats.
The origin of cooking on wood planks is arguable between those who believe it is of Native American descent, and a few who believe it is a Scandinavian technique brought to America by early travelers. There is no argument tribes of the Pacific Northwest used the technique extensively, taking advantage of plentiful salmon, a centerpiece of ritual ceremonies and feasts. Not only did the wood serve as a seasoning for fish and other meats, it also preserved fish for the long winter months ahead caught during large salmon runs.
The woodsy, smoky flavor of a fire lends a unique flavor profile to meats and seafood. When time is of the essence and the smoker is too bulky to make it to the campout or barbecue, and your creel basket or cooler is brimming with fresh Iowa trout, pheasant or wild asparagus, do what the Pacific Northwesterners did and cook them over wood planks.
Wood planks can be purchased at grocery stores, home improvement centers, hardware stores, barbecue centers and online.
1 pound sausage or bacon
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 -2 peppers, chef’s choice depending on spice level desired
16-ounce carton mushrooms, sliced
1 bag frozen hash browns
8-ounce bag shredded cheese
In Dutch oven, brown sausage or bacon and drain fat. Add onion, peppers and mushrooms and sauté until crisp tender. Add potatoes and cook until lightly browned. In separate bowl, mix eggs and a little milk until well blended and pour on top of mixture. Place six to nine coals underneath Dutch oven and 12 to 18 on lid. Bake covered until eggs are set, about 30 minutes.
Zesty Sloppy Does
1 to 1.5 pounds ground venison
½ chopped onion
½ chopped pepper
10-ounce can tomato soup
8-ounce can thick and zesty tomato sauce
½ an 8-ounce can tomato sauce
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1.5 teaspoons prepared mustard
1.5 teaspoons ground mustard
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic salt
1 can crescent rolls
In a Dutch oven over a full spread of coals, brown venison and onion. Add green pepper. Cook five minutes and drain grease. Add the next 10 ingredients. Place nine coals on the bottom and 10 to 12 on top and allow to simmer 10 minutes. Spread crescent rolls on top of mixture. Replace lid and bake 15 to 20 minutes until biscuits are brown.
4 to 5 slices thick cut bacon, diced
4 small cans pork and beans
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup ketchup
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
Pinch of ginger
Dash of liquid smoke
In Dutch oven over 300-degree heat, brown bacon. Drain. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Bake over low heat for 1.5 hours until thickened.
Start with clean, untreated cedar, about an inch or less thick. Soak in liquid at least an hour; can use water, fruit juice or a combination. Lightly brush cooking side of plank with olive oil. For a more intense smoke flavor, preheat planks on grill until they start to smoke.
Place meat on plank. Although the plank should be placed over direct heat to allow smoldering, the plank serves as a heat barrier, so cooking times may increase by as much as 50 percent. Check for doneness after 15 to 20 minutes.
Keep a spray bottle handy to douse flare-ups.
Season trout inside and out with olive oil, salt, pepper and your favorite fish seasoning. Stuff cavity with lemon slices and fresh herbs (rosemary, dill, etc). Baste with butter, citrus juice or marinade as the meat cooks.
Remove plank from grill and place in a container of water. Rinse with soap and water and let dry. Store in a clean, dry place.
Planks can be reused two to three times, depending on original thickness and length of cooking just as long as there is wood left to use.
Crumble charred planks over coals to use as smoking chips.
Dutch Oven Cobbler
1 stick butter or margarine
1 box yellow or white cake mix
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 large can fruit in heavy syrup or juice,
or other fruit as desired
Dump fruit and liquid into Dutch oven. Spread cake mix over fruit; do not mix. Sprinkle top with cinnamon. Slice pats of butter and scatter on top. Bake using four coals on bottom and 11 on top for 30 to 45 minutes, or until top is browned. If you are lucky enough to stumble on a wild raspberry patch or other wild fruit at the park, use fresh fruit with a little sugar instead. Can also use favorite crisp topping.
Want more Dutch oven recipes?