Grilling in the comfort of your own home and garden is a relaxing and fun experience that most amateur chefs look forward to with great anticipation. But whipping up some smoked steaks and burgers under the stars on a camping trip in the middle of the woods or grilling your caramelized veggies while your feet are buried in the sand of a beach, is a whole different ball game.
While it certainly can be challenging, nothing beats the aroma of a good barbecue while you’re out in nature! This is precisely why lightweight, compact and small portable grills appeal to travelers of every kind!
If you plan on hitting the road in the near future, you best be prepared to rough it out, yet, still be able to cook some scrumptious food! These are the essential tips that you need to know before you head out on a hiking, camping or road trip!
Choose The Right Grill
If you still haven’t chosen the cooking tool, which is the grill that is going to accompany you on your adventures, the first step is to visualize yourself cooking outside and have a good idea of the following factors –
- The place where you’re embarking to. Pay close attention to the ground surface, terrain and wind where you’ll be cooking and decide if you’ll need a stand accordingly (stands can be notoriously space consuming in vehicles).
- The food that you plan on cooking! Decide on your type of meat, cut and of course portion sizes!
- The number of people who will be accompanying you. If you are a group of four or more, a small grill with a limited surface area for cooking may pose a challenge in terms of time and convenience.
- The fuel that you are planning on using to fire up the barbecue. I doubt you’ll come across a power socket in the wilderness!
Your mode of transport. If you’re going to be using your own car, you can probably afford to lug around a larger grill!
Take Care Of Your Fuel Requirements
The latest and most advanced of grills are worthless if you don’t have the fuel to power them up. Typically, electric grills are inconvenient if you’re going to be roughing it out, far away from civilisation. On the flip side, this means that you’ll have to choose a grill that runs on charcoal, propane or gas and will have to carry that fuel with you wherever you go.
Obviously, you do not want to run out of fuel in the middle of nowhere, so it’s crucial to know how efficient your grill is. Most propane grills use around a pound of fuel for one meal that is cooked on high heat, so you can imagine that for larger groups, you’ll need considerably more. When it comes to fuel, it’s wise to carry just a little bit more than you need, so as to avoid taking chances.
Plan Your Meals Beforehand
Apart from fuel, you’ll need to carry along your ingredients! When you’re planning on staying on the road for multiple days, it’s much, much easier when you plan your meals in advance, divide and pack your ingredients accordingly.
A useful tip is to label your ingredients too, for added convenience. For example, if you’re cooking cheeseburgers on the first day, pack the cheese, meat and buns and stack them together, separately from the chips and sauces that you’ve kept aside for the next day’s meal.
The last thing you want to do is spread all your ingredients out in the grass or sand and risk wasting or spoiling them.
Prepare Your Ingredients In Advance
Cooking outdoors is all about being prepared and making the process as convenient and streamlined as possible. If you’re embarking on a shorter trip that only lasts a couple of days, why don’t you chop up your vegetables in advance, pack them in sealed airtight containers and label them.
This saves you the effort and time of cutting vegetables up on uneven surfaces, in unfamiliar surroundings. Conversely, if you’ll be on the road for longer, it’s better to leave your raw ingredients intact and in one piece as that will keep them fresh and help them taste better when you finally get down to cooking!
Freeze Your Meat
It’s unlikely that vegetables are all that you’ll be grilling on your charcoals during your trip! We cannot stress enough on how important it is to protect your meat. The best way to do this is by freezing it, which protects its freshness. Fresh meat can be consumed on the first day and early stages of your trip while the frozen meat can be used for subsequent meals!
Utilize Tiny Bottles
Oil, butter, dressing, egg whites, yolk! There’s a lot of fluid like ingredients that go into a good barbecue. The best way to carry these around is in bottles that you can squeeze them out from or pour onto your food. Make sure that you’re aware of the quantity measurements though.
As we emphasized earlier, it’s all about convenience and this method not only conserves space but also saves you the dire, thankless task of washing too many utensils, or even carrying them around.
Remember To Carry All Your Cooking Equipment
Imagine being stuck in the middle of nowhere with no spoons or forks to turn your meet. Makes you shudder doesn’t it? If you don’t want to suffer some nasty burns while using your hands, do remember to pack all the essential cooking equipment!
- Aluminium foil
- Spatula and tongs
- Grill gloves and apron
- Meat skewers and other accessories
Limit Yourself To Simple Recipes
There are so many recipes to choose from but please don’t go for something too fancy! After all, cooking in the wild is dramatically different from cooking at home and there’s no room for error and now time for trial and experimenting.
The smart thing is to stick to easy recipes that you’re comfortable with and confident cooking. Remember, your ingredients and fuel are limited, it would be a complete disaster if you ended up wasting precious resources because of a failed cookout. Trips are meant to help you relax not fret over spilt milk, so to speak.
Watch Out For Wild Animals!
No, we aren’t joking. The delicious aroma of a piping hot barbecue can waft through the air and reach a very long way indeed. Be aware of your surroundings and secure them accordingly! Be careful if you’re in the woods or in a forest, lest you end up being someone’s lunch rather than cooking it!
Be safe but more importantly, enjoy yourself! Happy grilling!