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Outdoor Cooking

Aug 18, 2019

It’s true. Food always tastes better when prepared and eaten outdoors. Whether you’re cooking out in a local park or on a camping trip, outdoor cooking offers a relaxing way to gather with family and friends, and share stories and meals with a scenic backdrop.

For a smoother campfire experience, prepare as much as you can ahead of time. Then freeze and store in plastic bags. This will also help keep things cold in the cooler. Aluminum foil serves many purposes. You can wrap meals inside and place on hot coals, use as a grill cover or pot handles, and wad it into a ball to clean the grill. Placing foil or detergent on the outside of your pan helps for after meal cleanups.

Enjoy a recipe and video for making orange muffins over a campfire. You can find more recipes from our Campfire Cooks of MDC Conservationist article. Find recipes for cooking wild edibles and game outdoors including Carp on a Stick, BBQ Wild Turkey and more on our website.

Sweet and Sour Chicken



  • 1 cup hard rice soaked in water for 30-60 minutes
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 packet dry sweet and sour mix
  • 4 cups fresh stir fry vegetables coarsely chopped and rinsed (peppers, carrots, onions, celery, water chestnuts, etc.)
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts



  • Place an 18x18 inch sheet of aluminum foil on a paper plate.
  • Place a sacrificial vegetable like an onion on the bottom. This will spare the rest of the meal if it burns and provide steamed flavor.
  • Put one-half of the rice on top of the vegetable
  • Place one chicken breast atop the rice.
  • Place one-half of the vegetables atop the chicken.
  • Sprinkle one-half of the dry sweet and sour mix on top of the vegetables.
  • Fold the east/west ends up and roll them down to the top of the food.
  • Roll up the north end of the foil.
  • Pour 2 tablespoons of water into the foil packet.
  • Roll up the south end of the foil until tight.
  • Repeat the steps for the other half of the ingredients.
  • Place the foil packets on coals that are hot but not flaming.  The heat needs to be able to biol the water to cook the rice and the chicken. It will also steam the vegetables and make the sauce.
  • Cooking time should take 20-30 minutes, depending on the temperature of the coals.

trout on grill.jpg

wild trout on barbecue grill
Wild Rainbow Trout and corn on the grill

Outdoor Cooking: Sweet and Sour Chicken

Try this recipe for Sweet and Sour Chicken on your next outdoor adventure
Try this recipe for Sweet and Sour Chicken on your next outdoor adventure

Outdoor Cooking: Orange Muffins

Campfire Recipe for Orange Muffins
Campfire Recipe for Orange Muffins


Psychologists have found that our physical sensation and emotional response is greatly improved by the power of our perception and our environment. For example, when someone we feel admires us prepares a meal, our brain makes that meal taste better. When that same meal is prepared in an area we feel connected to, like the house we grew up in or our favorite camp spot for instance, our brains make our taste buds do backflips. I think about it. Taste is a combination of smell, taste, and texture. Combine the relaxing slink of your favorite camp chair with the aroma of a campfire, the feel of bare feet in dirt and clay with a summertime breeze slipping off an undulating river, mix well with sentiment and memory, and even a raw hotdog can taste like filet mignon. And, it’s definitely not about the food, it’s about the whole experience!

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You had fun hunting, catching or gathering your quarry—now have more fun cooking and eating it.
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