In this entry I will be looking at cooking on a campfire. I will look at the temperatures of a fire, where the best place to have your food is, and why this is. The best fire type for cooking, as I mentioned in a previous post, is the log cabin as it creates a large, even bed of embers to cook over. On the other hand, if you are making a soup or stew in a pot over the fire, it can be better to suspend it on a tripod over a tipi or lay a grill out on the logs of a star fire. This is important to remember as it would be very bad to not have enough space to cook over!
During one of our sessions, we got to use an infra-red thermometer. We were all eager to find out just how hot the fire actually was, and whether the different parts of the fire were different temperatures. Surprisingly, we found that wood that was still burning with a flame was not the hottest part of the fire! That wood reached a temperature of around 350 degrees Celsius, while the glowing embers reached temperatures around 500 degrees Celsius! This is because embers are chunks of fuel that are still burning, the chemical reactions are still taking place inside, however they are not taking place at a high enough level to create flames. This means the embers give off a more regular heat, making the embers the best area for cooking. When cooking over open flames, there is a risk that the outside of the food will burn while the inside is undercooked. The traditional food to cook in the embers of a fire is jacket potatoes, wrapped in tinfoil and buried in the embers for about 45 minutes. This provides a similar effect to a conventional oven, but much more intense as the heat source is able to transfer the heat directly through conduction and the temperature is double that of a regular oven, which normally can only reach 220 degrees Celsius.
Another campfire favourite is marshmallows, which can be a source of heated debate. do you cook them over the fire or the ember? Light or dark brown? What is the best type of marshmallow to cook? Plain or s’mores? Personally, I prefer Princess marshmallows, cooked over the embers to a nice dark brown and eaten plain (I’m not a massive fan of s’mores), but if you like something else, comment and tell me what and why! I hope you liked this brief look at fires, and as always comments are appreciated!