It’s summer! Most people have known this to be a fact for a while now, but summer was late in coming to CO this year. I’m glad for all the rain we got, but glad too now to get out and into the woods enjoying our family’s summer sport: CAMPING!
What does a foodie pack on a camping trip? Well, rather inadvertently, lots of meat…at home we don’t eat that much of it, but somehow the great outdoors taps my subliminal carnivore.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks were meat-centric. Needless to say, we ate vegetarian-ly during the week after in an attempt to balance it all out!
I really like to plan ahead with what I pack for camping – as fun as cooking outdoors can be, I like to keep the actual cooking to a minimum. In other words, I generally bring already-made, usually frozen meals and then simply reheat on the camp stove. No cooking (burning) over a campfire for me, thanks!
As a bonus, bringing dinners that are already frozen helps keep the cooler cool. We are decidedly dedicated car-campers with plenty of gear and a cooler so heavy we don’t even take it out of the car. I pack my cast iron skillet too – for me, nothing says “camping” like cooking with a fork!
Now there’s meat, and then there’s meat. A weekend full of meats from Whole Foods? That’s my kind of carnivorousness. In the week before the outing, I stopped by the meat counter at our local WFM and chose from 4 different breakfast sausages and 12(!!!) kinds of bacon. We ended up with Double Maple Smoked Bacon (did you know the Whole Foods at Bradburn/Westminster has its own in-house smoker?!), and the Country Sage Pork Breakfast Sausage links. But I’ve got to say, if you haven’t had their Blueberry Maple Breakfast Sausage…that’s the one to try first and ASAP.
I brought cornmeal biscuits to go along with our chili, and they did double duty as breakfast items. We all adored the biscuits toasted in a cast iron skillet of bacon fat and smothered with honey. That might be my all-time favorite breakfast, camping or not.
Grilled sausages for grown-ups, and hot dogs for the little one on day one. Then summer sausage, salami, and cheese (again from Whole Foods Bradburn, their cheese counter is the stuff of dreams) plus crackers and dried fruit for a no-cook hiking lunch on day two.
Why not some more meat?! We got to sample four of the 20+ flavors and kinds of jerky made by our Denver-local Mountain America Jerky. Mountain America Jerky is all natural, with no preservatives, fillers, or nitrates and made in Colorado. Woot Woot! The beef and turkey meat is sourced in Colorado, the Elk meat comes from Wyoming, North Dakota, or Minnesota.
One note – since this jerky has no preservatives, it must be refrigerated after opening. If kept chilled, open bags will last a few weeks. Ours however, did not last more than a few days, fridge or not. A certain little carnivorous camper was all over the jerky and was pretty sure it was all for her. “More Jerky!” was the call of the weekend. I got her to adjust it to “More jerky please, mama,” but the tone stayed the same.
We sampled beef, turkey, sweet & spicy beef, and elk jerky. All were fantastic, though lil’ carnivore and I liked the turkey jerky best.
For this trip, I packed the cooler with 2 re-purposed yogurt containers of frozen Braised Pot Roast with Caramelized Vegetables and 10-Alarm Turkey Chili, both from Easy Everyday Slow Cooker Recipes by Donna-Marie Pye. Chili is always a winner at camping dinner – we pack hot sauce too so grown-ups can crank the heat and serve with Cornmeal Biscuits that I make at home in the morning before we leave.
No meat here, silly! Camping dessert = s’mores of course! We tried a novel way – one of those camping hacks you’ve seen – where you stuff an ice cream cone (sugar cone) with marshmallows and chocolate, wrap in foil, and let it sit in the coals of the fire until melty and delicious! It is certainly delicious, but not as much s’more stuff fits in a standard sugar cone as you might imagine or want (though it’s probably as much as anyone really needs!). To do it “right” (ie big!) I’d recommend big waffle cones like they use at a premium ice cream joint – but I’ve never seen those for sale at a regular grocery store, have you? Maybe your local ice cream shop would sell them to you minus the ice cream.
What foods do you and your family enjoy while camping? We’ve got one more trip this summer, I’d love to try your ideas!