Backpack Camping and Woodland Survival/Skills/Cooking/Best Practices

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It is inadvisable to go out and equip yourself with all of your essentials in one go. But they should be your priorities as and when you are able to add to your stock, and they should be distinguished from the mountain of gadgetry which clutters up the shops in the name of labour-saving: a great many of these supposedly convenient gadgets are often more expensive than the basic tool and a lot less efficient (even when they are not going wrong).

Meat[edit | edit source]

Be careful in keeping the frying-pan clean. See that it is properly tinned. When frying any sort of fish, first dry them in a cloth, and then flour them. Put into the pan plenty of dripping, or hog's lard, and let it be boiling hot before putting in the fish. Butter is not so good for the purpose, as it is apt to burn and blacken, and make them soft. When they are fried, put them in a dish or hair-sieve, to drain, before they are sent to table. Olive oil is the best article for frying, but it is very expensive, and bad oil spoils every thing that is dressed with it. Steaks and chops should be put in when the liquor is hot, and done quickly, of a light brown, and turned often. Sausages should be done gradually, which will prevent their bursting.

The first thing requisite for roasting is to have a strong, steady fire, or a clear brisk one, according to the size and weight of the joint that is put down to the spit. A cook, who does not attend to this, will prove herself totally incompetent to roast victuals properly. All roasting should be done open to the air, to ventilate the meat from its gross fumes; otherwise it becomes baked instead of roasted. The joint should be put down at such a distance from the fire as to imbibe the heat rather quickly; otherwise its plumpness and good quality will be gradually dried up, and it will shrivel, and look meagre. When the meat is first put down, it is necessary to see that it lies level in the pan, otherwise the process of cooking will be very troublesome. When it is warm, begin to baste it well, which prevents the nutritive juices escaping; and, if required, additional dripping must be used for that purpose.

As to sprinkling with salt while roasting, most able cooks dispense with it, as the penetrating particles of the salt have a tendency to draw out the animal juices. However a little salt thrown on, when first laid down, is sometimes necessary with strong meats. When the smoke draws towards the fire, and the dropping of the clear gravy begins, it is a sure sign that the joint is nearly done. Then take off the paper, baste well, arid dredge it with flour, which brings on that beautiful brownness which makes roasted meats look so inviting.

With regard to the time necessary for roasting various meats, it will vary according to the different sorts, the time it has been kept, and the temperature of the weather. In summer twenty minutes may be reckoned equal to half an hour in winter. A good screen, to keep off the chilling currents of air, is essentially useful. The old housewife's rule is to allow rather more than a quarter of an hour to each pound, and in most instances it proves practically correct.

In roasting mutton or lamb, the loin, the chine, and the saddle, must have the skin raised, and skewered on, and, when nearly done, take off this skin, and baste and flour to froth it up. Veal requires roasting brown, and, if a fillet or loin, be sure to paper the fat, that as little of it may be lost as possible. When nearly done baste it with butter and dredge with flour. Pork should be well done. When roasting a loin, cut the skin across with a sharp knife, otherwise the crackling is very awkward to manage. Stuff the knuckle part with sage and onion, and skewer it up. Put a little drawn gravy in the dish, and serve it up with apple-sauce in a tureen. A spare rib should be basted with a little butter, little dust of flour, and some sage and onions shred small. Apple-sauce is the only one which suits this dish.

Wild fowls require a clear brisk fire, and should be roasted till they are of a light brown, but not too much; yet it is a common fault to roast them till the gravy runs out, thereby losing their fine savor. Tame fowls require more roasting, as the heat is longer in penetrating. They should be often basted, in order to keep up a strong froth, and to improve their plumpness. The seasoning of the dressing or stuffing of a fowl is important to its flavor. The dressing should consist of bread crumbs, seasoned with black pepper, salt, and no herb but thyme. Pigs and geese should be thoroughly roasted before a good fire, and turned quickly. Hares and rabbits require time and care, especially to have the ends sufficiently done, and to remedy that raw discoloring at the neck, etc., which proves often so objectionable at table.

Fish[edit | edit source]

Gentgeen's Campfire Trout is the recipe uses to cook trout caught while camping. This method can be used at home with trout purchased at the fish market, but somehow never tastes quite as good.

Serves 4, or 2 hungry fishermen.

  1. Make a pan out of aluminium foil slightly larger than your two fish. The pan should have a double layer of foil on the bottom and a lip around the edge of about 3/4 - 1 inch height.
  2. Place the pan on a grill over the camp fire. Put the butter into the pan and allow to begin melting. Wrap each trout with 2 strips of bacon. Add the trout to the pan. Season to taste.
  3. After the trout has cooked for a few minutes (5-7 depending on the size of the fish), check the inside. If the side close to the fire is white and flakes easily, the fish is ready to turn. Flip the fish, and continue cooking the other side for 3-4 minutes until done. Serve with lemon over a bed of white rice.