Maybe you want to try your hand at a little Old West flavor during your next camping adventure. Take a cue from adventurers who’ve come before you and fix up a hearty steak dinner over the campfire. You’ll feel happy as a cowboy under the stars after a long day’s ride.

Sample Old West Menu

  • Steak
  • Campfire beans
  • Corn on the cob
  • Cornbread
  • (optional) Coleslaw
  • (optional) Potato Salad

You can adjust the menu to your liking, of course, and you should be careful to keep any perishable ingredients cold in your trailer refrigerator or cold storage. Items like coleslaw and potato salad, with dairy, should be kept cold until they’re consumed.

How to cook a steak

You can choose to grill your steak on a portable or fixed grill over a fire pit, or even use a heavy skillet like found with camping or cast iron cookware — it’s up to you. Choose cuts that will cook at similar rates, and be careful when placing your meat near your heat source to allow for even cooking. Turn and adjust the proximity of meat to heat depending on how your heat source is changing over time. You might want to wait to cook the steak near the end of your cooking time, to make sure the meat isn’t ready long before your sides.

How to cook your campfire beans

Baked beans over a campfire are an easy tradition. Don’t just go for canned, when you can cook from scratch (and never put a can of anything directly on a heat source — always cook beans in a sauce pan or other cooking vessel like a Dutch oven or heavy pot). Read your recipe carefully, as some encourage pre-soaking dried beans overnight (8+ hours) and most require several hours of active cooking time. Don’t be discouraged by a little time! What you’ll be rewarded with, however, is a delicious pot of homemade beans infused with all the smoky flavors of your campfire.

How to make great corn on the campfire

Two methods are the most popular when it comes to cooking corn on the cob while at camp: in the husk and in aluminum foil. The “in husk” method requires soaking in advance, and frequent turning of the corn to prevent it all going up in flames. Another method requires shucking the corn from its husk, adding seasoning and wrapping each ear tightly in aluminum foil to protect it over the flames.

Check out this video for cooking corn over campfire coals in the husk and in aluminum foil:

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How to bake cornbread without an oven

Yes, you can bake in the great outdoors! Make tasty cornbread in a cast iron skillet. You can use a skillet with a lid or make an aluminum foil topper to retain heat. This recipe dishes up fresh cornbread batter from scratch or you can use pre-made cornbread mix, if you prefer. Try a few variations like adding corn kernels or jalapeños to spice things up.


(Photo credit: Martin Cathrae/Flickr)

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