How to cook with aluminum foil at your campfire this summer

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With summer now in full swing there is no excuse not to be up at the cottage and enjoying everything that the country has to offer. For many, enjoying a campfire is a simple, yet quintessential cottage activity; something enjoyed for generations and a great way to feel connected to nature — and to each other.

And what better way to enjoy a campfire than to use it for the timeless purpose of cooking? Campfire cooking is fun, the food tastes great, it gets kids involved and excited about food prep, and teaches lifelong skills.

We’ve previously shared some great recipes and methods of cooking over a campfire with pots and pans, but there’s a way to ditch the pots and pans (making cleanup a breeze) in favour of some good ‘ol aluminum foil. So, here’s how to campfire cook with aluminum foil, along with some easy recipes to get started.

Items needed for foil cooking are: a campfire, aluminum foil (heavy duty foil works best, but standard foil from the grocery store works just fine), a pair of fire resistant gloves to place and remove foil-wrapped items from the fire, a little time, and some patience.

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The first step in campfire cooking is to get the fire ready. When cooking with aluminum foil, the food generally gets placed in the middle of the fire, so it is important to build a fire meant for cooking. Remember — coals cook food, but flames burn it! So, be patient and give the fire time to reduce to a bed of hot coals before cooking. This way, all culinary endeavours should turn out great, with the right amount of heat available for successful cooking.

Once the fire is ready, it’s time to start cooking. The entire meal can be prepped either in the cottage or by the fire. Either way works, but prepping outside, by the fire, definitely adds more of a sense of being back in nature. If prepping by the fire, remember to have a lantern or headlamp available. As dusk comes, light is quickly lost, and cutting and prepping food in the dark is dangerous and time-consuming.

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An important feature when cooking with aluminum foil is to ensure that ingredients are wrapped in double-thickness foil so that steam cannot escape. To do this, make sure the size of the foil is big enough to place the ingredients on the foil, cover with another double-piece of foil and have enough excess around the edges that the foil can be crimped all the way around. The result is a fairly well-sealed aluminum pouch that will not let juices or too much steam get out.

To get going, here are few great recipes that are super simple to prep and cook, are perfect for getting children involved, and taste amazing. Remember to have a pair of fireproof gloves on hand to place and remove food from the coals.

Each recipe is for one 1 serving and can be made in a single pouch of aluminum foil. When cooking for multiple people, prep every serving first, but pack each serving in its own pouch of foil; it takes a little extra time, but everyone gets their own piping hot meal made just for them, and each person can use the foil pouch to eat their meal, eliminating the need for extra dishes or the waste of disposable plates and cutlery.

Burger á la Foil

A timeless classic. Versions of this recipe have been used in camping and scouting for several decades. It’s a super easy recipe that pretty much everyone will enjoy, and it’s a great opportunity to get kids involved.

Each serving will need: 1/4 lbs of hamburger meat, 1 large potato, 1 medium carrot, salt and pepper to taste

Shape the hamburger meat into a patty about ¾” thick. Peel the potato and the carrot. Cut them into strips. Add salt and pepper. Place ingredients side-by-side on a doubled-up piece of aluminum foil. Cover and seal with another doubled-up piece of foil and crimp the edges.

In the centre of the fire, push away some of the coals and place the foil on the fire. Cover the foil with coals and let cook for about 15 minutes. Carefully remove from fire and enjoy!


Lamb Stew

This hearty meal option is delicious and often enjoyed during a cooler evening at the start or end of the cottage season.

Each serving will need: ¼ lbs lamb shoulder, 1 medium potato, 1 medium onion, 1 medium carrot, salt and pepper to taste.

Start by cutting lamb shoulder into 1” cubes. Peel the potato and cut into 1” cubes as well. Peel the onion and cut it into quarters and then peel and cut carrots into ½” slices. Wrap ingredients in doubled-up foil and place into fire, as outlined above. Cook for about 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

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Coal-Baked Fruit

A sweet end to an enjoyable meal. Baked fruit is the perfect finish to an evening by the campfire. It’s also a great way for kids to enjoy dessert without serving junk-food or desserts high in refined sugar.

To make this dessert, pick a fruit. This recipe illustrates how to bake an apple, a banana or slices of pineapple.

For the apple, take 1 apple and wrap in doubled-up foil. Place in fire for about 20 minutes. Remove and enjoy!

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For the banana, take 1 banana, peel it and wrap in doubled-up foil. Place in fire and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove and enjoy!

For the pineapple, peel, core, and slice pineapple into ¾” rings. Place side-by-side on doubled up foil, cover and crimp edges. Place in fire for 7-10 minutes. Remove and enjoy!

These recipes are for 1 type of fruit at a time, but feel free to do a fruit medley, if desired — just remember that bake times vary by fruit, so some experimentation might be needed to achieve the perfect “Baked Medley of Fruit”. Also, feel free to improvise a little by adding a pinch of brown sugar and cinnamon to the fruit before wrapping it for some more dynamic flavours.


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