How To Cook Bacon When Camping
What’s better than camping at your favorite campgrounds and roughing it for a few days or weeks?
Eating delicious breakfasts every day at the crack of dawn! There’s just something about waking up and cooking bacon on an open fire that simply cannot be topped. However, you might not know which of these methods suits your cooking abilities or meal preferences as a person.
Thankfully, many options are available that should suit just about any level of experience and provide you with the rich and crispy bacon you want when camping. Many of these techniques are tried-and-true camping classics, several of which I’ve used before on my camping adventures as a scout. I think that you’ll love at least one (or maybe) all of these amazing techniques.
Cast-Iron Skillet: A Quick and Effective Cooking Method
Are you the kind of camper who loves nothing more than sitting around a roaring fire all day? That’s what camping is all about, my friends!
Being out in the wild by yourself or with friends and family members and remembering what it was like to rough it before modern convenience took over. Not saying I don’t love my electric stove, but camping puts me in a completely different, more primitive mindset.
As a result, many campers (like me) don’t enjoy taking a lot of expensive or flashy equipment with them. I prefer a two-person tent, sleeping on the ground, and cooking my meals right on an open fire. If you’re the same, then you’re in luck because you can easily cook bacon on an open fire using a cast-iron skillet. All you need is a fire grate and a cast-iron skillet for cooking.
Though a fire grate may be fairly large and bulky, it is more than worth hauling with you on your camping trips. It makes it much easier to cook various foods, especially anything on a pan. Some grates even let you put the food directly on the grate, where the fire will lick against its surface and cook it beautifully. However, a cast-iron skillet will cook your bacon more quickly and produce delicious meat.
Foil and Flame: A Camping Classic
Do you want a camping cooking method that’s very easy to use and requires no special skills? The foil and flame method is probably the easiest way to cook bacon and any other meats you may bring on your big camping trip. This technique was one my mom taught me on camping trips and was something passed down from her German father, who was a farmer, pipefitter, and outdoorsman.
All you need for this cooking method is some tinfoil, a campfire, and your favorite bacon. You should also have a meat thermometer to gauge the interior temperature of the meat. These thermometers are a necessary part of any cooking experience and are small enough to fit into your camping backpack easily. You use them to test the meat’s interior temperature to ensure it hits a 145-degree Fahrenheit range.
Start by rolling out a sheet of tinfoil large enough for your bacon. It needs to be long enough to hold all of your bacon and wrap around it snugly, with the ends being pinched to hold the foil together. If you’ve ever cooked “poor man” or “hobo” dinners, you probably know this technique. These meals combine various meats, vegetables, and potatoes in a tin foil wrap that’s placed on a stove or on fire.
The juices of the foods naturally come out while cooking to help tenderize the meat and vegetables. The tinfoil is strong enough to withstand the heavy heat of a stove and even direct flame, which makes it a great camping cooking method. Simply wrap your bacon up in the tinfoil, place it on the fire, and remove it with pincers after about 10-20 minutes and carefully unwrap it with fire-safe gloves.
Test the meat’s interior temperature to ensure it has hit 145 degrees Fahrenheit before cooking. You can then unwrap the bacon fully, carefully disposing of the hot grease in a jar to avoid contaminating the environment. Note that you can also add other breakfast foods into the tinfoil to produce a quick and efficient breakfast with a tasty, toasted texture.
For example, you can add eggs, potatoes, and even peppers to your tinfoil along with the bacon to quickly produce a delicious meal. Obviously, if you’re camping light, you probably don’t have a lot of extra room for peppers and a chopping board for prepping them. But if you plan on more “modern” camping and have a cooler or even a fridge in your camper, you can easily store other breakfast items.
Paper Bag Method: You Can Cook Bacon This Way?!
If you were ever a Boy or Girl Scout and went camping in the woods, you might already know what method we’re talking about here. If you didn’t, you’re in for a treat because this simple cooking method is not only perfect for bacon but produces a fantastic breakfast with eggs and any other fixings you want. This cooking method is designed for simplicity so that any first-year scout can handle it.
Start by pouring cold bacon grease at the bottom of a plastic bag and placing thick-cut bacon slices at the bottom. The bacon should be nice and thick to stay plump as it cooks. Now, you can either crack a few eggs and pour them in the bag to make a quick breakfast or cook the bacon by itself. All you need to do is place a stick through the top of the bag and roast it over a low fire.
Keep the bag high enough so that the bag doesn’t burn but low enough so that the bottom does toast slightly in the fire. There’s a fine balance here, so you may need to experiment a little before finding the sweet spot. You should heat the bacon and eggs cooking in the bag when you’re holding the stick right. You’ll need to cook for several minutes to get your eggs and bacon at a healthy level.
Use a meat thermometer to test the interior temperature of the bacon before eating. It should reach at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit to be safe to eat. You can also throw in any spices you want into the mix, such as minced garlic. Some people even toss in diced potatoes because they cook perfectly with the bacon and the eggs. A little ketchup or hot sauce on top will give this meal a real zing.
Butane Stove or Torch: A Sure-Fire Method That Never Fails
When I was a kid, I remember my dad’s favorite method of getting a fire going: starting a small fire and then throwing a can of gasoline on top to create an immediate surge in the fire. Now, I don’t recommend this dangerous method in the slightest, but it does remind me that many people love taking butane stoves or heaters with them whenever they go camping.
These stoves and heaters can keep you comfortable during colder days and nights but can also serve as a useful cooking option. If you have bacon on your camping trip, and you want to cook it quickly and effectively, get out your butane stove and try this method. Grease the bottom of a cast-iron skillet and place it on the stove’s burner. Fry it up just like you would at home.
What if you don’t have a stove but have a heater instead? Maybe you even have a butane torch you use to start your campfire every night. If you’re not ready to build a fire in the morning but want some bacon, try this method: hold your skillet level and place the butane fire underneath the pan. The edge of the flame should just touch the bottom of the pan to heat it up properly.
The Stick Method: Is This Option Wise?
When all else fails, you can simply wrap your strips of bacon on a cooking stick and hold them over the fire to cook them. This method is excellent in a pinch and naturally reduces grease because most will fall directly into the fire as your bacon cooks.
It will require some patience, however, and takes much longer to finish than other methods. But it can be a fun way to connect with your kids, as you can roast bacon over the fire together. You can even make bacon smores which, as weird as it sounds, are actually absolutely fantastic.
Alan Dale is an experienced backpacker and adventure sports athlete who pays the bills by writing. Married with a small brood, Alan often has his kids in tow on many of his adventures.