Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why Cook with REAL Wood Camp Style

The Cattle Drive had no choice in cooking on anything else but an open camp fire. The cook trenched a small pit and stabbed his vertical stakes into the ground hanging the horizontal spit across to begin boiling water and stir up some really great meals. Perhaps they were not so much as great meals as wholesome food to the worn out wrangler by the end of the day.


The strongest argument for cooking over wood is the flavor. The flavor is infused through the smoke into the foods. This can also be done using a smoke bag or using some wet chips placed into a pan in the indoor oven under the item your cooking but it removes half the fun of cooking. That is, it is not camp cooking unless your outdoors. 

Gas grills are wonderful. You can control the flames and when your finish, turn the gas off and the fire is out. However, wood is natural and much more fun once you have mastered the art of Cowboy Cooking.

Using gas or charcoal may be the fastest way to cook. It is convenient to just turn gas on and light or pour out some coals and fire them up. However, it is more difficult to reach those smoke flavors without using a smoke bag or adding in smoking chips. On a gas grill, you add chips the same way as indoor ovens by placing in a metal container wet and let them cook near the meal you prepare.

Maybe you do not desire to have a smoke flavor. You can obtain this by using dutch ovens. The cast iron provides a great taste alone and you can cook many items using several dutch ovens at the same time.

Pricing of gas, coals or real wood varies. I have plenty of mesquite trees to cut each year. However, gas and coals cost around $2 dollar per hour cooking. Smoking a 20 lb brisket runs into several bags of coals costing more than real wood. Although this could vary from one location to another. Fire wood may not be readily available. Even smoke coals today use blends to give a hickory or mesquite taste and smoke bags also provide different flavors.

Special equipment: If you are doing a  rotisserie dish such as cooking whole Chicken, you would need to purchase one for your gas or coal grill. With Spit cooking, the camp cook merely hung the bird to the side of the fire pit and would turn every few minutes. Nevertheless, an innovative cook  never stop cooking because they could not improvise for a special tool.

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