Cooking while camping can feel like a “Top Chef” Quickfire Challenge. Your prep table is a boulder, sticks double as utensils, and the “stove” keeps billowing smoke in your face. Luckily for backcountry-bound foodies, new gastro gadgets can help them achieve culinary greatness even miles from a kitchen. “A souffle might be difficult, but you can be gourmet,” says Robin Donovan, author of “Campfire Cuisine: Gourmet Recipes for the Great Outdoors” ($12, Quirk). “You just might not be able to bring your Cuisinart.” And that wouldn’t impress the bears, anyhow.
Toque’s Tool Kit
Even a talented chef can do only so much with a Swiss Army Knife. Pack the MSR Alpine Deluxe Kitchen Set (pictured, $55, Msrgear.com) and you can slice, stir and season like Mario or Bobby. Plus, the corkscrew ensures that everyone else can enjoy a glass of wine while you toil.
Having a cold brewski or a chilly Pepsi post-rock-climbing sounds great at day’s end. But having a bottle break in your pack and soak your sleeping bag sounds positively hellish. The insulated Carbonated Drink Bottle ($20, Stanley-pmi.com) keeps bubbly beverages carbonated, frosty and safe.
Take Your ‘Que
Everything tastes better after a 12-mile hike, but pork shoulder or beef brisket gets even yummier in the Li’l Smokey smoker ($49.95, Cameronscookware.com). Alder and hickory wood chips infuse meat with a rich flavor that’ll make you think you’re in North Carolina, even if you’re camping in, say, New Jersey.
A Bible for Backcountry
With no reception on your smartphone, you won’t be able to reference your recipe finder app. That’s when you turn to Robin Donovan’s “Campfire Cuisine” ($15.95, Hill’s Kitchen, 713 D St. SE; 202-543-1997), to help you whip up some bourbon-glazed chicken or spicy Creole shrimp.
A Slice of Civilization
Just because you’re 200 miles from the closest pizzeria doesn’t mean you can’t have a few slices for dinner. Cook up a thin-crust pie over your campfire with Charcoal Companion’s Pizza Grill Pan ($14.95, Hill’s Kitchen). The toppings are up to you, but we recommend you don’t use those purple mushrooms that you found near milepost 93.
Boulder for Two?
When you make it to the top of Everest with your backpacking buddy, you’ll want some celebratory grub. Break out the colorful Glacier Stainless Dualist ($62.95, Gsioutdoors.com), and you’ll have all the utensils you need to cook and eat a simple meal (we hear dehydrated chili tastes best at 29,035 feet above sea level).
A Puff Call
It’s hard to mess up a s’more, the chocolate-and-graham-cracker-toasted-marshmallow threesome first mentioned in a 1927 Girl Scout handbook. But 240 Sweet’s gourmet ‘mallows ($5 for three big puffs, 240sweet.com) elevate the kiddie snack to French Laundry levels. The Michigan company sells 70 rotating flavors, including peppermint (nice in cocoa, too) and sublime-but-slightly weird Thai chili). A Marshmallow of the Month Club ($290) would keep you in enough Bacon, Maple Toffee, or Saffron and Pistachio squares to fuel an Appalachian Trail trek.