Tips on How to Make Grilling While Camping Easy
Contrary to popular opinion, grilling doesn't require a lot of experience or tools. In fact, all we really need is a pit, grate, coals and some ingenuity to put together delicious meals in the field. Let's take a look at a few things that you can do to make grilling easier whether you are at a developed site or spending time in the backcountry.
Using a smoke chimney is one of the most-efficient ways to get a fire for grilling going. Coals will heat more-quickly, heat will be distributed evenly, and you don't need a lot of lighter fluid or fire starting material. All you need to do is place the chimney atop the grill grate, fill with coals, light, and wait until they become red hot. Pour them into the fire pit before adding the rest of the coals.
Let Coals Turn Grey
One of the most common mistakes people make is grilling over coals that are too hot. This ends up creating more work, and it's also one of the main reasons that foods become scorched. Foods can also cook unevenly as thinner items will crisp up whereas thicker pieces will remain raw. Wait until the coals cool and start to dissolve into a bed of glowing embers before cooking, and you'll be amazed at the difference.
Consider placing the bulk of the coals on one side of the grill and leaving the other side bare. If you're using a gas grill, leave one side off. This will give you a wider range of temperatures to work with and allow you to move pieces around as needed. You can also use the hot side to sear items before placing them over the cooler side for slow cooking.
Use a Basket
A grill basket is ideal for cooking smaller items that would otherwise end up falling through the grate and onto the hot coals. It makes turning pieces or regulating temperatures much easier, you'll end up with less waste, and foods will taste better.
Hold off on the Sauce
Try to avoid cooking foods with barbecue sauce until they're almost finished. Adding the sauce right away can interfere with heat distribution, cause parts of the meat to burn to a crisp, and you'll end up with a bigger mess to clean afterward. All you need is a couple of minutes of cooking to turn the sauce into a nice glaze, and chances are that the finished product will also be more tender and juicy.
Don't Forget the Thermometer
Most people tend to eyeball foods to determine when they're done. However, this involves a lot of cutting and poking around, and removing pieces from heat in order to check can interfere with the cooking process. Some foods can also appear to be done even if they are still under-cooked. Using a meat thermometer can eliminate the guesswork and fuss, and you'll end up with a better, safer finished product.
Try these suggestions for yourself, and see how much time and energy you can save the next time you're grilling while camping.