Camp Cooking

What is it about camping that make food taste so good? Is it the fresh air of the outdoors, the thought that it might be your last meal, or just the fact that every meal involves bacon?  It could be a combination of all...
In planning our meals for camp, the scouts will request menu items that are usually not prepared at home due to most of the meals being cooked in dutch ovens. One of their absolute favorites is one called Mountain Man Breakfast.  This delicious creation involves a pound of sausage, two pounds bacon, hash-browns, cheese, and 4 dozen eggs all in one dutch oven... it's no wonder the scouts always request it. The only problem is that after you eat this amazing meal, you tend to want to go back to your tent and hibernate until next spring.
When planning you meals for camp, you want to plan nutrient/energy packed meals.  My opinion, Mountain Man Breakfast is not the best meal when planning on an activity/hike in the morning.  First, it takes a very long time for this meal to cook as you need to have some hot coals/briquettes for the dutch oven. Second, it is extremely packed with so much starch, grease and fat that it will physically slow you down rather than give you the energy that is needed.  Through experience, the best breakfast I have had while camping is granola with almond milk poured over and fresh banana's sliced into it. It's not extremely full of fat, but sticks with you until lunch and gives you the energy needed during your hike.
I am not saying to never make Mountain Man Breakfast... because it truly is a delicious breakfast. But, while working on the Cooking Merit Badge, plan your meals accordingly to the activities you have planned.  If backpacking through the Uintas, do not plan any meals that involves a dutch oven (very heavy to pack in and out). And, if cooking for twenty scouts at your week-long scout camp, you probably do not want to use your backpacking stove to cook your group meals on.  Use the right tool for the right job and always be prepared.

Cooking Merit Badge

Cooking up breakfast

Cooking up breakfast

Dutch Oven Mountain Man Breakfast

Cooking this meal can complete requirements for the Cooking Merit Badge along with your rank advancements.

This is a favorite for my scouts on camp-outs.  Needless to say, we do not make this while backpacking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound pork sausage

  • 1 onion - chopped

  • 1 green bell pepper - chopped

  • 1 red bell pepper - chopped

  • 1 clove garlic - Minced

  • 1 (2 pound) package frozen / shredded hash-browns

  • 12 eggs - beaten

  • 1 pound cheese - shredded

Directions

  1. Build a campfire and allow the fire to burn until it has accumulated a bed of coals. Or use charcoal briquettes.

  2. Cook and stir the sausage, onion, and garlic in a 12-inch cast iron Dutch oven with lid, raised over the coals to medium-high heat, until the sausage is no longer pink and the onion is tender. Stir in the red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and hash brown potatoes until evenly mixed. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the hash browns are hot and the peppers are tender, about 15 minutes.

  3. Pour the beaten eggs evenly over the top of the potatoes, allowing them to sink into the potatoes. Cover the Dutch oven, and place 6 to 9 coals underneath, and 12 to 18 on top. Allow to bake until the eggs are firm, about 40 minutes. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese, cover, and continue cooking until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes.

Servings: 12.... 'ish (scouts are always hungry!)

Total prep and cook time: 1.5 hours

Budget: (full price) $17.00  - $1.42/serving

Tin Foil Dinners

Tin foil dinners are a great way to have the least amount of cleanup during dinner at camp.  One thing
to keep in mind is that you need to have coals to cook your meal. There are many options on what to cook with a tin foil dinner.  Some of my favorites are fajitas, stir-fry, and good old Scouter Hash. To save on cooking time, precook your meal at home and wrap in the tin foil. When you reach camp, and the coals are ready, you will be the first one eating while the others are waiting an hour for their hash to cook.




Scouter Hash Recipe

Use about 3 feet of tin foil
Place items within the tin foil as follows:
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 diced potato
1 diced carrot
1 diced green pepper
1 diced onion
2 TBS butter

Double wrap

Start fire, wait for coals, place with meat side down first on coals, turn over after you hear sizzling for 2 minutes, let cook for another 5-10 minutes, remove with tongs and enjoy.

Cooking Merit Badge

COOKING

  1. Do the following:

    1. Review with your counselor the injuries that might arise from cooking, including burns and scalds, and the proper treatment.

    2. Describe how meat, fish, chicken, eggs, dairy products, and fresh vegetables should be stored, transported, and properly prepared for cooking.

    3. Describe the following food-related illnesses and tell what you can do to help prevent each from happening:

      1. Salmonella enteritis

      2. Staphylococcal enteritis

      3. E. coli (Escherichia coli) enteritis

      4. Botulism

      5. Trichinosis

      6. Hepatitis

      7. Do the following:

        1. Illustrate for your counselor the food pyramid that fits you. Label the following food groups in the pyramid and how much of each you should eat each day:

          1. Grains

          2. Vegetables

          3. Fruits

          4. Milk, yogurt, cheese

          5. Meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, nuts

          6. Oils (fats) and sugars

          7. Explain why you should limit your intake of oils and sugars.

          8. Explain the number of servings recommended per day from each group.

          9. Give your counselor examples from each food group.

          10. Describe for your counselor the measurements of servings for each food group.

          11. Describe to your counselor food preparation techniques that result in more healthful and nutritious meals.

          12. Plan a menu for two straight days (six meals) of camping. Include the following:

            1. A camp dinner with soup; meat, fish, poultry, or an appropriate substitute; two fresh vegetables; drink; and dessert. All are to be properly prepared. When preparing your menu, follow the nutritional guidelines set by the food pyramid.

            2. A one-pot dinner. Use foods other than canned.

            3. Using the menu planned for requirement 3, make a food list showing cost and amount needed to feed three or more boys.

            4. List the utensils needed to cook and serve these meals.

            5. Using the menu planned for requirement 3, do the following and discuss the process with your merit badge counselor:

              1. Prepare and serve for yourself and two others, the two dinners, one lunch, and one breakfast. Time your cooking so that each course will be ready to serve at the proper time.*

              2. For meals prepared in requirement 4a for which a fire is needed, use a lightweight stove or build a low-impact fire. Include support for your cooking utensils from rocks, logs, or like material. The same fireplace may be used for more than one meal. Use a backpacking stove to cook at least one meal. (Where local regulations do not allow you to do this, the counselor may change the requirement to meet the law.)

              3. For each meal prepared in requirement 4a, use safe food-handling practices. Dispose of garbage, cans, foil, paper, and other rubbish by packing them out and depositing them in a proper container. After each meal, clean up the site thoroughly.

              4. Plan a menu for one day (three meals) or for four meals over a two-day period of trail hiking or backpacking. Include the following:

                1. A breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a trail or backpacking trip where light weight is important. You should be able to store all foods used for several days without refrigeration. When preparing your menu, follow the nutritional guidelines set by the food pyramid.

                2. Using the menu planned for requirement 5, make a food list showing cost and amount needed to feed three or more boys.

                3. List the utensils needed to cook and serve these meals.

                4. Figure the weight of the foods in requirement 5a.

                5. Using the menu planned for requirement 5, do the following:

                  1. Prepare and serve for yourself and two others the trail breakfast and dinner. Time your cooking so that each course will be ready to serve at the proper time.*

                  2. Use an approved trail stove (with proper supervision) or charcoal to prepare your meals.

                  3. For each meal prepared in requirement 6a, use safe food-handling practices. Dispose of garbage, cans, foil, paper, and other rubbish by packing them out and depositing them in a proper container. After each meal, clean up the site thoroughly.

                  4. Plan a menu for three full days of meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) to be cooked at home.

                    1. When preparing your menu, follow the nutritional guidelines set by the food pyramid. All meals are to be cooked or properly prepared.

                    2. Using the menu planned for requirement 7, make a food list showing cost and amount needed to feed yourself and at least one adult (parent, family member, guardian, or other responsible adult).

                    3. Tell what utensils were needed to cook and serve these meals.

                    4. Prepare and serve a breakfast, lunch, and dinner from the menu you planned for requirement 7. Time your cooking to have each course ready to serve at the proper time. Have an adult verify the preparation of the meal to your counselor.

                    5. Find out about three career opportunities in cooking. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.

* The meals in requirements 4a and 6a may be prepared for different trips. They need not be prepared consecutively. Scouts working on this badge in summer camp should plan around food they can get at the camp commissary.

Tenderfoot Requirement 3


There is one thing that tends to bring everyone together... Food!  You will find that your fellow patrol members are your brothers.  You will create amazing bonds with the members of your patrol and troop.  Some of my fondest memories of camping are those of cooking...sitting around the campfire after a full day of hiking and canoeing with a big bowl of blackberry cobbler

telling campfire stories under the stars.  Those memories will stay with me forever.  As you live the Scout Law, you are able to be Helpful and Clean in the kitchen when it comes to food prep, cooking, and clean up.  There will be a great camaraderie within your troop and patrols when all members do their duty and part when it comes time to participate with meals and the cleanup of the meals... plus the Scoutmaster will thank you for doing your part in keeping animals out of camp! 
Note: If you do see a lone scout eating... sit down next to him with your meal and start a conversation.  We all want to feel included.

13th point of the Scout Law:  A Scout is Hungry!
1 Person Mess Kit - Pack this for all Campouts