With autumn in the air, it’s no wonder people are already turning their thoughts towards bonfire night, fireworks and cosy outdoor fire pits. But a flickering fire isn’t just a place to gather and warm your cockles. It’s an excuse to try out some of the best fireside foods and snacks. Here’s our indispensable guide to tasty, toasted treats that you can try in the great outdoors, whether it’s a camping trip or the fire pit.
Before we begin, let’s quickly recap some basic safety tips. Firstly, with any naked flame, you need to keep an eye on it at all times. Secondly, steer clear of any trees and bushes that could catch if your fire sparks. And thirdly, always keep water or sand close by in case you need to quickly put out your fire. You can find more tips over at Nationwide.
Campfire cooking is easy with the right tools. We’d recommend these:
- Cast iron skillet: able to withstand extremely high heat, this can go right onto your coals and is a hugely versatile piece of kit to own. You can even use it indoors on a gas or electric hob.
- Grill grate: you can grill directly onto one of these, or use it as a stand for other equipment. Lots of them come with folding legs, making them super portable, and popular with campers.
- Tin foil: it might sound basic, but you can cook a lot of snacks by simply folding them in foil and placing straight onto your coals.
- Campfire fork: this one’s essential for roasting marshmallows, but you can also use it for savoury snacks (more on these later).
- Pie irons: this handy fella comes in a range of shapes, from round and square to heart-shaped, and you can even get a waffle iron on a stick.
- Grill basket: similar to a pie iron, but even more versatile.
That’s all the basics covered. Make sure you’ve got a good set of oven gloves, plenty of serveware and a couple of drinks, and you’re ready to roast.
Arguably the most popular fireside snack, the trick to roasting marshmallows is to hold them out of the fire and keep turning for an even, golden coating. As soon as your marshmallow begins to crisp and colour, take it out. You’ll have the perfect gooey inside.
Here’s one for the foil. A combination of biscuit and marshmallow, these are huge in America. While we don’t quite have the same ingredients, they’re a great way to level up your Rich Tea biscuit. Simply sandwich a large marshmallow and a couple of squares of chocolate between two biscuits, wrap in foil, then roast for a couple of minutes each side. Easy.
Hot buttered toast
It might sound strange to cook toast on a fire, but it’s one of the reasons a grill basket was invented. And few people could argue that toast doesn’t make for a comforting, warming snack: crisp, chewy and oozing with butter. Place a couple of slices of bread inside the basket, then cook to your liking. Top with Nutella and fruit, honey or any other jam or spread.
Corn on the cob
Now for a savoury snack. Lightly charred corn cobs are a camping staple and truly delicious with a crack of black pepper and generous knob of salted butter. Use the grill basket for these, but expect to be cooking 10 minutes a side. They’re worth the wait.
Sausages on sticks
You can also cook these in a skillet, but traditionally, a fork does the job. Or, if you’re more adventurous, they can simply be hung over a low fire. You’ll need to skewer them through the centre, or you can spear them on two sticks for ease. Watch out for bursting sausages, though, which can squirt hot fat at quite a distance. You’ll know they’re cooked when they’re brown on the outside with no pink showing on the inside. Check any meat is cooked thoroughly before eating.
Another one you can simply wrap in foil and place in the coals, these take around half an hour to cook. If you prefer something sweeter, try with an apple instead. Simply stuff with dried fruit for an even yummier treat.
And that’s it
Cooking outdoors really is one of life’s simple pleasures, and if you need firewood to do it with – we can help. And here in the UK, the autumn is the ideal season for it, with cosy nights and plenty of events and holidays to draw a crowd. If you’ve got any great fireside snacks we’ve missed off the list, we’d love to hear about them!