With the impending stress of the holiday season creeping up, we could all use one more lengthy nature trip to calm our senses and remind us what we are thankful for. If you are truly lucky, you may even spend the big day out of town, away from the traffic, and next to an open fire pit. But even in the beautiful outdoors, what is Thanksgiving without the excellent company of loved ones and - of course - a splendid feast?
You don't have to sacrifice good food for good scenery (we learned that from our wonderful guest writer, Jessica, in her article about glamping gourmet recipes). Believe it or not, cooking a traditional Thanksgiving dinner over the open fire at a campsite is not as difficult as you may believe! The key to success is the same as with any large meal (at home or in the woods): prepare as much as possible ahead of time. Plan your meal before you leave; chop, cut, dice, and bag everything neatly before you go so that you will be organized and ready to cook once you are there. With that in mind, you can achieve an Insta-worthy smorgasbord wherever you are!
There are two simple ways to cook your turkey using a fire pit. This article outlines both of them well. The first involves using a Dutch oven or similar cooking pot to roast the turkey on the grill of a fire pit. The second method is good if you have a large enough fire pit, since it involves burying the turkey in the ground luau-style. Both are effective (and delicious) methods -- just remember to always heed the fire safety regulations at your site!
Sweet or Russet, potatoes are very easy to cook over a campfire. Use the tinfoil method, which consists of tightly wrapping your potato in foil and leaving it to cook on the grill or directly on the coals for about thirty minutes. For an added flavor boost, cube the potatoes first and toss your favorite herbs and toppings into the foil sachet (pre-cooked bacon, butter, sprigs of parsley, salt and pepper, pre-chopped onions, olive oil, cinnamon, brown sugar, etc. depending on the type of potato). When they emerge, your potatoes will be soft and ready to eat -- or you can easily mash them if you prefer!
The same tinfoil method can be used to cook your vegetables (green beans, pre-chopped onions, and pre-cooked bacon, or similar dishes). Or, you can choose to fry your vegetables using a hardy, nonstick skillet over the campfire grill. Whatever your method, it's pretty difficult to mess up a delicious veggie side dish!
Who could forget the stuffing? On your turkey, in your turkey, on the side... everyone eats it differently but everyone loves it! Yes, you could precook the stuffing and bag it to bring with you. Or, if you're feeling flexible (hey, it's Thanksgiving -- give yourself a break!), just bring a store-bought box of stuffing with you. It's just as yummy and you'll enjoy it even more if you don't have to home-make it yourself!
I think you know where this is going.... Unless you're a regular Julia Child, you probably don't make your own pie every year (if you do, then you're a cooking champion!). But for the rest of us, store-bought is just fine. Pick out your favorite pie (mine is pumpkin buried under a pile of whipped cream), pack that sucker up, and bring it with you.
And that's it! I told you it wasn't difficult. With the help of a vinyl tablecloth, some festive tableware, and your favorite champagne, this Thanksgiving will be truly memorable. Who could say no to good food, good company, and the stunning backdrop of mother nature?
For a fun craft and stylish table, try any of these cute DIY centerpieces!