Curses- foiled again!
March 4, 2007 12:44 PM   Subscribe

More campfire recipe requests- with a twist!

My boyfriend is allergic to aluminum. Not severely, but he avoids drinking beer out of cans and eating canned food or food cooked in aluminum foil. Drinking 2-3 canned beers would cause him to break out in a rash on his forearms the next day.

We love to go camping, but are often restricted to hot dogs on a stick and sandwiches when it comes to food. No hobo dinners in tin foil and no chili out of a can. We don't have a portable stove and would like to stick to traditional "over the fire" campfire recipes. Some of the campsites we go to have a fire pit with a metal grate for grilling. We also have a cast iron pan.

What delicious meals can we make without aluminum?
posted by kidsleepy to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Why no canned chili? I'm pretty sure those cans are steel, as are the cans for almost all canned food sold in the US.

There are a lot of things that can be made over coals with skewers. You can make kebabs by roasting vegetables and chunks of meat over your fire the same way you do the hot dogs. Roasted veggie sandwiches are an option, too.

The cast iron pan should open up a whole variety of things; just about any one-pan meal you'd make on your stove. You could do stir-frys, stews, eggs, quesadillas (a camp favorite of mine), and whole variety of prepackaged boxed stuff (e.g. rice-a-roni, tasty bites, hamburger helper. if you've got a lid for it you could even make cornbread from a boxed mix.

If you're open to buying new gear, you can also get cast iron Dutch ovens for camping for around $30 on Amazon.
posted by contraption at 1:07 PM on March 4, 2007

Very few canned food items in the US are made with aluminum, I believe. Worth checking out at least.

Why not invest in a cheap steel baking pan and suspend that over the fire? It can act like a little griddle where you can make pancakes, sausage, bacon, and such. It could also be used to catch rainwater and such. You can also find a little iron grill rack that sits over your campfire allowing you to grill meats and veggies with ease.
posted by Loto at 1:15 PM on March 4, 2007

My father used to have a sheet of copper foil, I think he used it somehow for stained glass making... maybe you could use that instead of aluminum? Stainless foil might exist somewhere too, might be worth investigating.

You can make bannock bread in your cast iron pan, or do as the link suggests and wrap it around a stick. You can do a lot with bannock, just be creative.
posted by glip at 1:19 PM on March 4, 2007

I just said this in another thread:

Catch and clean some fish (trout) and cook in a bath of Makers Mark in an iron skillet. Said over the campfire and just let it cook away. Good eats.
posted by dios at 1:21 PM on March 4, 2007

Provided you're not hiking and can handle the weight, get a cast iron dutch oven. Great for cooking in coals, and you can cook nearly everything in one with a little bit of care and know-how.
posted by Heminator at 1:35 PM on March 4, 2007

For campfire recipes, it doesn't get better or easier than chili an' cornbread. Make the chili at home, according to whatever recipe you like, and bring it along frozen in a plastic baggie or tupperware. That way, you only need to cook it until it's bubbling, plus an extra 30 minutes for the cornbread. You can make this recipe in your pan, but unless it's a very tall pan, it'll be a small portion.

I second the recommendation of a cast-iron dutch oven to replace the pan. These are by far the most practical one-piece camp stove, if weight is no problem. Check here for a massive collection of campfire dutch oven recipes; most of these can probably be portion-adjusted for your pan, if you'd rather stick with that.
posted by vorfeed at 1:37 PM on March 4, 2007

Bacon and scrambled eggs in the cast iron skillet over the fire are the best bacon and eggs in the world.

You can make chicken and dumplings in a pot over a fire. Boil the chicken with salt, pepper, spices to your taste, pick it off the bones, throw it back in the broth (bring a soft-side box of chicken broth just in case,) and mix up some Biscuick- get the liquid to a boil again and drop spoon-sized dollops of dough in. Boil until tender.

Try beef stew- flour and fry beef stew meat in your pan with a chopped onion, then cover with water- simmer for several hours, then add chopped potatoes and carrots, cover and simmer until veggies are tender.

But really, bacon & eggs over a fire. *swoon*
posted by headspace at 1:44 PM on March 4, 2007

Have you tried any work-arounds when cooking with aluminum foil? For example, you could package the food in parchment baking paper first (really, paper with silicone coating) and then put the food packages in foil to be cooked over direct heat. This way, the aluminum would not be in direct contact with the food.
posted by brain cloud at 2:38 PM on March 4, 2007

Response by poster: we thought of the parchment paper thing, but wondered if the fire would be too hot and burn the paper?
posted by kidsleepy at 2:54 PM on March 4, 2007

If you don’t like the tin foil idea, you can prepare your fish for the fire by simply sprinkling salt on it, inside and out, and grilling it. I’ve also cooked trout on rocks next to the fire, caked in clay and placed on the coals, and in a frying pan. They all eat up just fine. ... and other suggestions.

The idea is to encase a whole gutted fish in clay (I guess the trick is to find the right clay), then bury the thing next to a fire. Crack the case in twain along the widest axis and you've got cooked trout on a fired clay plate.
posted by porpoise at 3:03 PM on March 4, 2007

If you can avoid flames, you can use parchment paper instead of foil for a lot of things. Just keep it on rocks.
posted by jeffamaphone at 5:17 PM on March 4, 2007

i don't think parchment encased in foil would catch fire- there'd be little/no air to feed it because the foil would mostly seal it. worth a try, anyway.
posted by twistofrhyme at 12:15 AM on March 5, 2007

slice up some kielbasa sausage and freeze it in a ziploc or tupperware and slice up some cabbage while you are home before the trip. Then when you are camping put the cabbage, sausage, some hunks of potatoes, some tomatoes and whatever veg that is easy to pack that you enjoy, cover with water and boil till the potatoes are tender. This is a really simple soup that tastes very good, the kielbasa is fairly salty and well seasoned so it supplies most of the taste. Adouille or another smoked salty sausage would also work.
posted by estronaut at 7:41 AM on March 5, 2007

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