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General Campfire Discussion / Personalized Camping License Plate
« on: February 19, 2016, 08:58:08 AM »
What would your personalized license plate be if you got one that was camping related? 


What's Cookin / When Cooking for a Camping Trip Go Big or Go Home
« on: November 13, 2015, 08:13:13 AM »
I just found this article in the Wall Street Journal.  While I believe in cooking large meals, I don't know about cooking fancy meals with lemon stuffed chickens.  How do you cook?  Fancy, Big, or Plain?

When Cooking for a Camping Trip, Go Big or Go Home

Now is the season for camping cuisine, the more ambitious the better. Start with this recipe for campfire wings with Alabama-style white barbecue sauce—which comes to the campsite fully prepped and ready to cook

Updated April 10, 2015 4:53 p.m. ET

WHEN YOUR FRIENDS are the sort who hear “camping trip” and think “cooking trip,” lunch grilled over the campfire is more than just fuel for the afternoon’s activity. It is the afternoon’s activity.

For the past 9 years, a group of my old buddies from Philadelphia have gathered at a campground outside the city for some serious eating and drinking. Over the course of 24 hours, copious quantities of meat roasted over the fire and well crafted cocktails are raised alongside Miller Lites. This group of guys approaches cooking like a competitive sport. This year was my first time accompanying them into the woods.

It starts with an email calling the group together. Meals are assigned: lunch, dinner and breakfast. On this trip, eating well is as important as a good lounge chair, a warm sleeping bag and a well-stocked bar. It also means recognizing your limitations.

“One year we brought the chickens, butter and herbs separately,” said Robert West, a graphic designer with a penchant for taking on bold cooking tasks. “We had to put the butter under the skin at the campsite. We couldn’t wash our hands, so we had to use Purel. When you work with chickens, you want to have running water.”

Lesson learned: Take care of the prep in advance, back in your own fully equipped kitchen.

“We kept overcomplicating it, and then running around, never having time to sit down and have a drink,” said Jeff Leupold, another graphic designer with a serious cooking habit on the side.

This year, Jeff was tasked with preparing the first meal of the trip: lunch. His spicy wings tossed with a tangy Alabama-style white barbecue sauce were not only delicious but a triumph of logistical design. The wings were coated the night before in a homemade spice rub and left to marinate in the fridge. Ingredients for the sauce were shaken in a Mason jar. Overnight, while Jeff rested up for the weekend ahead, the chicken tenderized and soaked up the spices in the rub while the flavors of the sauce melded.

When Jeff arrived at the camp site, he simply unpacked the chicken from a Ziploc bag, then plopped down in the camping chair beside the fire with a can of beer, using long tongs to turn the wings as they crisped on the grate. “This way you build a fire, pull things out of a bag and it’s still pretty good,” Jeff said, underselling his wings by miles. Tossed with the creamy sauce, they scored major points with the on-hand critics.

Snacking is a survival tactic when a full bar is fueling the shenanigans. I am here to tell you that aged brie and Doritos do pair well. Slightly more ambitious was our mid-afternoon appetizer of negimaki—Japanese-style marinated strips of thinly cut beef rolled with scallions. The rolls were tied with butcher’s twine and just needed a quick sear on each side to bring the meat to medium rare.

Robert and I were recruited to tackle the main dishes for this year’s dinner and definitely got the memo that that means hauling out whole animals or parts of them for the manual-crank rotisserie.

We stuffed whole chickens in advance with halved lemons and quartered onions. Then we salted and rubbed the birds with a mix of softened butter and finely chopped garlic and thyme, parsley and rosemary. All that was left to do at the campsite was to thread the chickens onto the rotisserie along with whole cabbages, purple and green, and baste them now and then with oil. Every 15 minutes or so one of us gave the rotisserie a crank.

Next up on the spit was a butterflied lamb leg stuffed with herbs, studded with garlic and served with naan bread cooked in a cast-iron pan. The naan was portioned in advance and layered between parchment paper to prevent sticking.

The dough for the breakfast biscuits, cut into two-inch discs, came stacked between more parchment, and the sausages were divided into little meatballs and layered into plastic containers. Coffee came in both percolated and pour-over versions. That was no extravagance. Caffeine, I learned, is key when the relaxing is this energetic

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