Gourmet cooking in the woods

Discussion in 'Cooking & Water Purification' started by Rich_S, Jun 17, 2019.

  1. Rich_S

    Rich_S Tracker

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    I like good food, I like bushcraft, and I also have this hobby of collecting old camp stoves, the combination of which has led me down some interesting YouTube rabbit holes.

    I have seen numerous videos of people cooking incredible meals in the woods - fresh eggs, bacon, sausage, sauteeing fresh vegetables, rotisserie cooking whole chickens or pork roasts, grilling steaks, making fancy stews, baking desserts, brewing fancy espresso beverages, etc.

    My experience with cooking in the woods typically involves boiling a cup of water and adding it to a dehydrated Mountain House meal, or instant oatmeal, or mashed potato mix, or instant coffee or a tea bag. Maybe occasionally make some bannock.

    So what gives here? Are people actually packing a refrigerator full of food with them? Or are most of these videos shot like 20 yards behind their house and made to look like they're "deep in the woods"? Because I would love to eat better when I'm out camping but just can't understand how you bring a dozen fresh eggs or t-bone steaks with you.
     
  2. kihnspiracy

    kihnspiracy Tracker

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    If hiking in somewhere, dinner the first night is a feast. I will bring a frozen steak, some shrimps, veggies. After that, it's freeze dried meals , meats, cheeses, nuts, dried fruit.
     
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  3. PAcanis

    PAcanis Supporter Supporter

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    Maybe a lot of the videos you've seen are of people cooking relatively close to home. I once saw a youtuber heat up a McMuffin and a hash brown with a bite taken out of it over his fire. Or maybe it's 40 degrees.

    But starting with frozen and wrapping it up or sticking it among your clothes to insulate should be good to the following day. Especially steak. Chicken maybe not so much. That might be a same day meal. Veggies I wouldn't worry about. It's common to see green beans and squash sold at the roadside stands around here. And of course potatoes, corn and onions don't need refrigeration. Nor eggs. Especially farm eggs.
    And there are lots of soft sided coolers with ice packs available today. You should be able to find something that works for you.

    I'd pay attention to what they are cooking in. If it's 2-3 cast iron pcs they probably have a home or car semi-nearby. It's still outside cooking though.
     
  4. BlueDogScout

    BlueDogScout Where is all the shelf stable bacon??? Supporter

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    I use an ice mule cooler. They are basically insulated dry bag. I carry the small. It holds a 12 pack and ice they say. I use frozen gator aid bottles for my ice. Stays cold 3 days. About the size of a rolled up wool blanket/sleeping bag. When I carried the hidden woodsman day Ruck it world fit on the lid no problem. I’ll look for photos
     
  5. BlueDogScout

    BlueDogScout Where is all the shelf stable bacon??? Supporter

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    Found some from December

    0B116F6C-EB5B-403D-BC68-893BAD163594.jpeg 78148165-1DF1-4826-8240-E1E290699471.jpeg 68FC86DA-60E3-4218-B200-6D493A08A91D.jpeg B6B6C7C7-31FB-4FC9-A69B-496A51F6E855.jpeg
     
  6. Rich_S

    Rich_S Tracker

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    Ok, starting with frozen isn't something I had considered. Interesting.
     
  7. PAcanis

    PAcanis Supporter Supporter

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  8. boomchakabowwow

    boomchakabowwow Guide

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    In the videos I suspect the camera angle just cuts out the truck.

    When I hike, I’m not eating gourmet. Maybe a fresh trout.
     
  9. anrkst6973

    anrkst6973 Supporter Supporter

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    We have gone on kayak trips of 5-6 days with a Yeti hopper. Eggs, bacon,pork chops, veggies for stir frys. 20-24 20oz drinking water bottles frozen as ice, it's not unusual to still have ice at the take out point. But the kayak is carrying it so no worries about weight. ;)

    image.jpeg
    The might yeti is center in the background. This is day 4 in a 7 day trip. Trust me there's no truck (or even dry land for that matter) for miles in any direction.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
  10. beacon

    beacon Simul justus et peccator Supporter Bushclass I

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    If you're talking about the kind of videos I think you are, I suspect the whole goal of the "trip" is the cooking. As such, there are likely trade-offs in load-out, or there is a vehicle very nearby.

    In any case, the magic of cooking these amazing meals in the outdoors remains. Just don't be fooled into thinking you'll be preparing those same meals over a weekend of backpacking a bunch of miles.
     
  11. BlueDogScout

    BlueDogScout Where is all the shelf stable bacon??? Supporter

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    Works well
     
  12. bacpacjac

    bacpacjac Queen of the Cups Supporter Bushclass I

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    Priorities. ;) It sounds to me like you need to give it a try. You'll eat the food weight and the weight of a cast iron might not seem so unrealistic if you know you're going to enjoy a good meal. Who knows, with a little practice, you just might enjoy it. :D

    Happy eating!
     
  13. CreativeRealms

    CreativeRealms Tracker

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    As a few people have commented I freeze all my stuff before going out (including bottled water which doubles as icepacks to keep everything colder for longer).
     
  14. anrkst6973

    anrkst6973 Supporter Supporter

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    How you carry stuff comes into play as well. I have a pic here somewhere of a barely 5 1/2 ft 115 lb woman with 60 lbs of stuff on her back. The pack design makes that weight manageable. If your purpose was to cook a gourmet meal or 2 an Elk hunters pack frame could easily move a Yeti and cookware to do just that. A travois or game dolly could do the same thing. There's a modern one that attaches to a harness and rolls along with over a 100 lbs on it like you were taking a Sunday stroll....
     
  15. BlueDogScout

    BlueDogScout Where is all the shelf stable bacon??? Supporter

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    You can get trek carts. Deer dolly basically made for gear
     
  16. 66drifter

    66drifter Guide

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    vehicle camping no matter what the vehicle is quite often the key element

    having camped from mule back, canoe, sailboat, Jeep ... all the way up to a 1-ton pick up i can attest to the benefits of it

    not being a hoofer i can only guess by way of what i read/view

    the above mention of having a super gourmet 1st evening meal makes sense w/ subsequent meals not quite so

    fresh eggs can easily/safely last a week off refrigeration in moderate temps

    frozen/vacuum packed meats can go a coupla days if packed deeply in your clothing

    veggies can live off refrigeration for several days when protected from bruising

    PACKING is the/a key to the OP's Q

    obviously coolers/insulation is the/a key to going more than a coupla days

    innovative combinations of CCF and the tape of the duct can extend the time it takes for stuff to thaw from hard frozen

    layers of bubble wrap works

    solid carbon dioxide packaged in your insulated pkg really extends the thawing times

    in my circle we have managed frozen margaritas at the end of day 2 w/ the use of dry ice in a cooler that was lined w/ CCF and duct taped to prevent ANY air circulation and this was on a late spring/early summer canoe trip in Texas

    live Maine lobsters also made it to night 2 on another year's trip at the same time of year

    on a couple mule back trips up in the Gila in June our outfitter(his girlfriend is a super double throwdown chef) had almost all foods pre-cooked and frozen in vacuum sealed bags carried in Igloos w/ extra CCF insulation inside and packed in in heavy canvass panniers

    the bags were thawed and warmed in a large pot of boiling water dip'd from the local stream and the food tasted great

    i guess all this rambling is just to tell you it just takes some thinking on the camper's part given the circumstances

    we all have our favorite/goto insulation products

    just rememberize reducing air flow/circulation can measurably extend the effectiveness of any of the products we choose

    really good/favorable nourishment and a good night's rest make for better experiences
     
  17. McKBrew

    McKBrew Roughian #103 Supporter

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    So far all of my camping has been within range of a vehicle. I enjoy a steak and good breakfast at least once during the trip but other than that it's dehydrated meals, soup or peanut butter sandwiches.

    There is a balance for me between enjoying a good meal on a campout and spending too much time prepping, cooking and cleaning.

    Some of my most enjoyable meals have been MREs and Mountain House.
     
  18. Rich_S

    Rich_S Tracker

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    That's the other thing I forgot to mention - when I see people bust out a cast iron Dutch Oven and skillet from their backpack and start using those in the woods. I hate carrying mine from my kitchen 30 feet into my backyard, I can't even imagine hiking with them.
     
  19. Rich_S

    Rich_S Tracker

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    Dry ice, eh? I guess on the positive side it will just get lighter and lighter on its own as the trip progresses. :18:

    I have NEVER considered myself to be one of these ultralight backpacker guys, and I usually bring way more stuff than I need (and regret it later), but man I can't believe some of the stuff you guys bring with you.

    I think whoever said there's probably a vehicle a few yards away just out of the camera's view was probably spot on for most of these situations.
     
  20. bacpacjac

    bacpacjac Queen of the Cups Supporter Bushclass I

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    I don't haul a Dutch oven either, but have friends who do. I often day hike with an 8" cast iron pan and fixings for a good meal. Cooking on the trail is one of my favorite things to do. I'm not what you would call a gourmet chef, and I only day hike, but it's worth it when I'm only carrying enough for one or two of us.
     
  21. anrkst6973

    anrkst6973 Supporter Supporter

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    I haven't taken my cast iron Dutch oven kayaking....yet. I might though. ;). I have taken a 12" carbon steel skillet and a cheap stamped steel BBQ grill. I got a set of all terrain dolly wheels that breaks down, pop them under the rear of my plastic boat, pick the other end up, and viola, "instant travois ". Leave my 100 plus total pounds of gear and food strapped in and walk it away.
    I take the attitude that I'm on vacation, not a mil spec survival excersise. I carry a collapsible camp chair, a folding milk crate (Duluth trading co.) that acts as a cook station/camp tables. A big ole Yeti full of food, a tent with enough interior height I can stand up. If you smell BBQ drifting thru the woods, it probably me. :). Follow your nose and say Hey! I always got enough coffee to share.
     
  22. Big ian

    Big ian Scout

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    I haven't taken a lengthy backpack trip in a while, but when I do I prefer to stay away from pre-packaged dried meals as much as I can, and try to assemble meals from foods I've dehydrated myself, traditionally dried foods like dried sausages, cheeses and breads (pita comes to mind), and shelf-stable or just-add-water foods like PB, sundried tomatoes, dried mushrooms & fruits, pasta/noodles, oatmeal and couscous. I do indulge in a few commercially dried foods like egg crystals, potato flakes etc., but I prefer to assemble meals with these as opposed to purchasing meals-in-a-package. that way I can tweak recipes, portions, etc. I use a lot of Ziploc freezer bags. I've gotten some good use out of Andrew Skurka's recipe blog, and Wintertrekker on youtube has some good food throughout his vids (mostly the canoe ones)
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
  23. PAcanis

    PAcanis Supporter Supporter

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    To heck with the trek cart.
    Tell me more about the 5-6, 115lb woman :D
    I gotta get me one of those.
     
  24. BlueDogScout

    BlueDogScout Where is all the shelf stable bacon??? Supporter

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    You are my hero!

    I have a 5-1 100 pound woman... the smaller they are the angrier they are.... she is cute as a button but I never should have tailgate her to shoot and operate the backhoe... little life lessons.
     
  25. TheHumanoid

    TheHumanoid Tracker

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    Milk crate tables for the win. I'm going to hijack that idea.
    Use the crate for storage then a table at camp. :dblthumb:
     
  26. BlueDogScout

    BlueDogScout Where is all the shelf stable bacon??? Supporter

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    It would be perfect on a trek cart lol
     
  27. Bobsdock

    Bobsdock So long, and thanks for all the fish Supporter

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    Anything is posable. As for me I eat way to many MH meals and Knorrs sides I. The woods.
     
  28. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead LB#42 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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  29. BlueDogScout

    BlueDogScout Where is all the shelf stable bacon??? Supporter

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  30. BlueDogScout

    BlueDogScout Where is all the shelf stable bacon??? Supporter

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  31. Haggis

    Haggis Bushmaster

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    Most of the folks I’ve seen, who are actually back of beyond and cooking great meals, dehydrate all of the components at home,,, just add water in the bush.

    Homemade Mountain House Meals if you will...

    I’m lazy,,, tea, oatmeal, and fry bread,,, I can eat better when I get home.
     
  32. Eric Westbrook

    Eric Westbrook Supporter Supporter

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    LMAO...true!
     
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  33. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Bushmaster

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    True gourmets are few and far between, those people are fussy about setting and service and all the trimmings and setting. Gourmands on the other hand are simply people who love good food.
    I sometimes carry crystal glasses into the bush because it's nice to drink the port wine from a good glass and it looks cool, I have surprised a female companion in my single days by finding a bottle of chilled sparkling wine and such glassware and strawberry salad in the bottom of my pack on day 2 of a walk
     
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  34. Odd-Arne Oseberg

    Odd-Arne Oseberg Scout

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    It will depend on so many things.

    A multiple day hike is a very different thing from hiking a little bit with the main intention of having a nice meal.

    Do you bring fuel? That's a big one.

    Storing meat for a few days isn't much of a problem. Not saying Norway isn't warm in the summer, but there are options for keeping things cool. Frozen is one thing. Pack that well and it makes a big difference. On mountain tops I often have a glacier nearby I can dig stuff into. Sealing it up and putting it in the lake or dig it into the ground next to the lake also works. Many more options.

    If it's just for a day or two I have no issues briging some charcoal as fuel for the Firebox Nano. It uses so little coal and while you can do a big steak on there it's also nice for the "Korean" style. You only use the amount you need. Want to continue? Add a bit more, wait for 2 minutes and you're ready to go.

    I don't really see the need to lower the quality of food just because you're out hiking.

    I can't stand freeze dried stuff and I consider it more an emergency/convenience thing. It's really not that convenient either. Couscous with your choice of herbs, veggies and spices also only takes about 5-10 mins. If you can wait, there are many ways to utilize the principles of thermal cooking. Many options.

    I think it really comes down to knowing how to cook. If you have some real knowledge and skill in the kitchen you will know how to adapt. I've been into cooking my whole life, really into it and the amount of gear I have would surprise many. It's not much, but the right stuff. I'm often asked to cook when I visit friends and family. They have way more gear, bigger kitchens, stoves, ovens, fridges etc.. than I'll probably ever have. What's missing though is just one decent knife(they have about 50 crappy useless ones, though) and the right cookware or basic equipment for what they want me to do.

    Bringing some food for a short trip isn't that big of a deal. You won't be bringing it back.

    What's gourmet to you? I think that's the main question. Then, there probably is a way to do it.

    On the gear side of things the situations vary and that's really why I have so many options. Where am I going and what is the purpose of the trip?
     
  35. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Bushmaster

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    One cook to another.
    Bravo!
    Yep Cooking well is also a survival skill
     
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  36. Swampyankee101

    Swampyankee101 Scout

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    Want to see some woods cooking. Find "Farming the Wild" on youtube or one of the sportsman channels on cable. Mike Robinson from the UK. He had a restaurant the specializes in game. He hunts and then cooks at the end of the show. Mouthwatering for sure.
     
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  37. bacpacjac

    bacpacjac Queen of the Cups Supporter Bushclass I

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    Well said. You can cook anything on the trail that you can at home, it just takes a little thinking outside the inside kitchen. ;)
     
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  38. anrkst6973

    anrkst6973 Supporter Supporter

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    image.jpeg

    Blending these...

    image.jpeg

    Take this out to thaw....

    image.jpeg

    This weekend. Outside, over fire. Handmade, even the crust. By special request. :)
     
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  39. bacpacjac

    bacpacjac Queen of the Cups Supporter Bushclass I

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  40. leghog

    leghog Guide

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