Fantasies of a hot, satisfying feast and icy cold beer with friends dance in your head as you grind out that last mile down the trail back to camp. But when the coolers are popped and the fire’s roaring, what will you offer your friends? Macaroni and cheese? A dehydrated “meal in a bag?” Gasp…Ramen? We asked Brandon Biederman, executive chef at both Steuben’s Food Service and Ace Restaurant in Denver, for his go-to campfire recipes. Get ready to wow your friends in the backcountry.
BREAKFAST: SOUTHERN-STYLE GRITS AND EGGS
Ahead of time: Soak grits overnight in a three-to-one water-to-grits ratio, and store in a resealable plastic bag.
Put the grits on to cook first thing in the morning. soaking cuts down on the cooking time, but they’ll still take about an hour. Stir the pot often to keep them from sticking. When the grits are almost done—getting thick and creamy—put aside half for dinner. Then carefully crack a couple of eggs on top and put the lid back on. Pull the pan to the edge of the fire and let the eggs cook as desired. Then portion onto plates and top with butter, fruit, nuts and maple syrup.
DINNER: SHRIMP AND GRITS
Ahead of time: Cut up bacon and clean and shell shrimp. Dice an onion, celery and red peppers, bring in separate resealable baggies.
Heat a cast-iron pan until it gets very hot over the fire, then add butter and bacon. Cook the bacon until crispy. Add vegetables, cooking them quickly, then add the shrimp. When the shrimp is done—pink, instead of translucent—add the leftover grits from breakfast and stir to combine. Add your favorite seasoning and enjoy hot with a cold beer.
DESSERT: CAMPFIRE COBBLER
Drain the syrup from a large can of peaches, reserving about half. Mix the remaining syrup into a pancake mix to create a batter. Butter a pan and dust it with brown sugar, then pour in the peaches and cover them with the batter. Cover it with a lid, and set the pan on the side of the fire while you’re preparing the rest of the meal. By the time you’re done eating and doing a little cleanup, the cobbler should be done.
• Don’t forget to pack the all-purpose seasoning: hot sauce.
• Pack extra butter. If you’re using a cast-iron skillet or dutch oven, extra butter will help keep food from sticking.
• You can make campfire cobbler with any canned fruit in syrup. If you’re not into peaches, try pineapple, cherries or pears.