camp cooking unfortunately without a camp oven

Submitted: Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 20:54
ThreadID: 88627 Views:4667 Replies:13 FollowUps:6
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Hi all,
Getting ready for our annual trip to the sandy cape of Fraser Island and have been thinking of what food to pack. I can find loads of camp oven recipes, camp fire recipes etc. but not being allowed a camp fire we are again restricted to cooking on the 4 burner or grill?
Just wondering if there are some tried, tested and loved recipes/meals out there?


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Reply By: Cupie - Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 21:03

Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 21:03
Are heat beads allowed?

If so, use them & alfoil on and around your camp oven instead of hot coals.

Works a treat.
AnswerID: 463289

Follow Up By: Member - barbara M (NSW) - Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 21:11

Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 21:11
If you have a bessemware casserole dish you can use them the same as a camp oven on a stove top, great for casseroles, roasts and cakes
FollowupID: 737087

Follow Up By: gypsy99 - Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 21:16

Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 21:16
Hi Barbara M,

That begins another question of mine! I was wondering about cooking a casserole on my gas stove. Given that at home I cook a casserole/ stew/ curry on simmer for approx 1 hr, what damage will that do to my 4.5kg gas bottle? Approx 2 casseroles per bottle or 8 casseroles per bottle??? I understand that it is like asking how long is a piece of string? Also should add that the gas bottle is only used for cooking.

thanks for any helpful info you can add!
FollowupID: 737088

Follow Up By: Member - Murray R (VIC) - Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 22:10

Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 22:10
we cooked a roast in the camp oven on one of those $20 stoves for an hour plus and only used 1/2 to 3/4 of a can of gas. As stove was on low you have to watch the wind and the flame.
cheers Murray
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Reply By: Member - michael H (NSW) - Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 21:14

Monday, Aug 22, 2011 at 21:14
Hi gypsy99,
A few years ago we got a Hill Billy Camp Oven with the gas ring you can invert which opens up the variety of meals you can create.
We now do scones, packet cakes and a roast pork with crackling with baked vegies and pizza all cooked using gas.

Cheers Michael
AnswerID: 463291

Reply By: roger ramjet - Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 05:06

Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 05:06
Hi Gypsy.

Seen this?
I expect you could do similar with an upturned half keg or anything similar.

My other 2 thoughts were;
I've seen some awesome roast meals from a guys bedourie? oven using 4 heat beads. amazing. I almost bought one...

And my favourite trick. Eat cold, eat raw. The simplicity of cheese and bickies, canned fish, cold meats, olives, salads or whatever takes your fancy makes camp life so much easier. A big healthy salad roll can be made in 2 or 3 minutes. During summer I rarely cook an evening meal anymore. Too easy. And I get to go fishing more. :-)

AnswerID: 463309

Follow Up By: splits - Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 10:07

Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 10:07
When I first saw those things I tried to make one using the lid off a Breville cast iron frying pan. I found an old $5 camp oven in Vinnies that fitted perfectly after cutting the handles off it. A simple wire cradle made from brazing rods enabled me to lift it in and out easily.

It worked all right but no matter how many holes I drilled in the lid and sides of it, I could not get it down below 200 degrees even with the smallest possible flame. I gave up and bought a Camp Oven Mate and have had no trouble at all with it. I would definitely recommend them.

I think the problem with my home made one was there was insufficient clearance between the sides of the cylinder and the camp oven to allow the heat to get up and out through the top.
FollowupID: 737132

Reply By: Member - Jack - Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 08:15

Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 08:15
Have a look at this, the Kelly Kampa Kooka.

Cut and paste this link
as the 'Insert Link' feature does not seem to be working.

Cheap, easy, and works a treat.

The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get. (Lewis Carroll-Alice In Wonderland)

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AnswerID: 463316

Reply By: Member - John and Lynne - Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 08:33

Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 08:33
For soups and casseroles when you can't light a fire the easiest thing we have found is an Eco Pot (similar to Dreampot). You spend about 10 minutes precooking (simmering) the food then put the pot in an insulated container for several hours (up to eight) and it cooks on stored heat. It works brilliantly. All bugs are killed in precooking. If you find it a little cool after six hours or so you can easily bring it back to simmering point before dinner. So dinner cooks while you go fishing! It takes almost no gas! The food tasts great! It may not be a drover's classic camp cooking method but you can't beat it for convenience and economy. Corned beef or pot roast is great! Lynne
AnswerID: 463317

Reply By: Meggs - Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 08:46

Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 08:46
Gee Thommo uses an old electric frypan and heatbeads for the camp oven. You would have to keep it out of the wind when cooking otherwise you will use a lot of heatbeads.
Have a look here
Cooking with heatbeads
AnswerID: 463320

Reply By: Shaker - Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 09:32

Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 09:32
We now take a small pressure cooker, amazing how much gas it saves!
AnswerID: 463322

Reply By: didiaust - Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 11:30

Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 11:30
We often use the jaffle irons on the gas. Can do desserts or savoury.

Nice dessert to try

Rasin bread

Filling of sliced banana, custard & brown sugar


Also do lots of grills including hamburgers, snags, rissoles & steak

Then there's plenty of quick & easy stir frys.

AnswerID: 463327

Follow Up By: Shaker - Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 13:11

Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 13:11
My favourite ..... white bread, a handful of blackberries, a sprinkle of sugar ..... mmmm!

FollowupID: 737148

Reply By: oz doc - Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 15:02

Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 15:02
Hi, the following recipie is quick/easy one pot meal from cupboard ingredients and contains most of the 5 food groups. 1family sized packet continental macaroni cheese- cook in pot as per instructions; add 1 tin drained tuna just towards the end of cooking and stir through; finish with 1 tin edgel peas and corn -stir well. Served in bowls , eaten with a fork and leftovers(if there ever are any) are great in jaffles the next day. Uses minimal gas. When cooking at home we freeze leftover curries, soups and meat sauces in zip-loc bags. The bags are frozen lying down flat, and can then be placed vertically in the freezer section of the engel. Dinner can be as easy as selecting a "sleeve' of frozen food, thawing it out at your leisure and reheating when required.Once again- meal done in one pot using minimal gas and minimal time. Plus you dont have to lug all the separate ingredients around Not sure if you have capacity to take frozen foods though. cheers, doc.
AnswerID: 463347

Reply By: G.T. - Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 15:52

Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 15:52
Perhaps a Cobb cooker could be the answer. Regards G.T.
AnswerID: 463349

Reply By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 18:31

Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 18:31
Cooking is my thing and I've had a lot of years modifying, experimenting and creating great things to cook at camp using all manner of gadgets but I tend to gravitate back to the basics.
In your situation I would firstly look at what you already own, how much packing space you have and how many meals you need to "cook". Then consider your limitations for storing/replenishing fresh ingredients for this will greatly determine the type of meals you can prepare. How much will this affect what you would normally eat at home? Most homes probably have a gas or electric cooktop and combined witb your camp fridge and tubs of staples should present no more complexity than cooking at home. The common steak/fish/chicken breast served with sides of veggies/salad/rice/pasta is a typical meal that you can make at camp using the gas cooker. I have one large frypan with high sides, a hotplate that sits across both gas burners, and a Billy for cooking on gas. Stirfries and curries are also easy.Note the meals you eat at home over the next week or so and see how you could modify for prep at camp and you'll see what I mean. Good luck!!
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!

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AnswerID: 463364

Follow Up By: gypsy99 - Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 19:10

Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 19:10
Thanks everyone for the hints and tips!

I would prefer not to buy anything else at this stage so I am pretty much working on what we own.

Some great ideas out there though, I want to try and make a KKK at some stage in the next few months, even if it doesnt get used! I have a tiny weber style thing, and I have since found out that I can have this on Fraser Island with heatbeads so thats great!

DAvid and Michelle - You have the best idea, I started out today thinking this way and have basically written up a meal plan for the 16 days. Its hard as there is no shop or anything to replenish stock, except fish, fingers crossed!

I decided on a few meals that I make already at home and changed the fresh ingredients slightly. Then I also took a few ideas from the 4 ingredients cook book, because they have few fresh ingredients in them etc.

Anyway, I think I am getting there!

Thanks everyone

FollowupID: 737165

Reply By: *Rusty* - Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 20:14

Tuesday, Aug 23, 2011 at 20:14
I cook just about everything that i cook at home on the 4 burner gas stove. Buritos are a favourite (quick and easy). Try the simmer packets such as mccormicks chicken and leek casserole - i cook this early in the trip due to having to carry fresh leeks. Most of the packet flavour things you buy from the supermarket only take an hour at most on the stove.

If you put your mind to it, by substituing can veg for fresh veg, there isnt many things that you cant cook on the road. Stews are good, and if you use can vegies by themselves and you arent keen on the taste, add things like honey to canned carrots etc to cover the taste.
AnswerID: 463374

Reply By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Wednesday, Aug 24, 2011 at 12:47

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2011 at 12:47
Hey Gypsy,
Agree, the packet mixtures will give the ideas, both at home for what ingredients you need for the meals, and at camp for what you need to get out. That's always the hard bit - I often find myself fluffing about for twice as long just getting all the ingredients out - its never as easy as opening a pantry to browse and select! I read a tip once, where someone said they actually bag up all the items together for each meal so that when it was packed in tubs all the pkts and tins for one meal were tied together - neat idea actually.

One more thing I wanted to share with you is some tips about how to select and store your fresh ingredients. Firstly, many people over-chill their fridge or allow the temp to vary too much which spoils the fresh fruit/veg/salad prematurely. Also, any 4WD action will jostle items about in the fridge which prematurely reduces their lifespan. I tend to only put fresh items in the fridge if I can pack them inside plastic containers, with papertowel padding to avoid brusing/bumping and pack the fridge like a jigsaw puzzle - no gaps for jiggling. We don't cram everything in for the whole trip either. So drinks etc especially are only put in for a day at a time, choosing the coolest time of day to do so (eg. night or sunrise).

For 16 meals, I would suggest you should be able to make your fruit and veg and salads last the entire time if you purchase, pack and store correctly to protect longevity. Similar to what people do for desert trips, find a place in your vehicle where you can store the fresh produce out of direct sunlight (where it won't get too jostled about) for your trip there. For up to 4 days you would be fine without any refrigeration if you look after it well. Obviously, use food from here first before tucking into the fridge. I pad the bottom of the box with my spare teatowels and wrap each item in paper towel. Then cover it all again with another teatowel.

Typical items I would put in the box are: hard skinned fruits (eg. oranges, apples, unripe/hard avocadoes, grapefruit) and hard skin vegies (eg. potatoes, whole sweet potato, fresh beetroot (use it grated), brown and red onions, carrots, zuchinni, red and or white cabbage is excellent for salads and last for ages out of fridge and even hard lettuce like a full head of cos, and capsicums will keep for a while). Obviously choose smaller diameter items to minimise gaps when packing. We cannot live without huge amounts of salad and I'm amazed at how long you can keep items edible this way. The cabbage is awesome - to use it, just run a large knife down the edge to scrape off shreds as if making a coleslaw. Mix the red and white together for crunch, toss in some sweet tasty currants (my fav), grated carrot, grated beetroot, chunks of feta cheese, and chunks of cucumber and capsicum slices. Top with a tin of tuna - filling, nutritious, fresh. Note - most of these items will spoil once cut, except the cabbage, so try to use it all.

Note - I choose to pack grape tomatoes in a plastic container in the fridge as I find these last better. Other fresh items for the fridge I pack are:

snow peas or sugar snap peas - last forever. I never bother with tin or pkt vegies - yuck and not necessary, not even on the the Canning! They can start in your box first for around a week. If you want to pack broccoli, I would trim it all down into small flat flowerets and pack into plastic containers in the frige. I have one largish container that I put all the salads bits/unused portions into - eg. cut cucumber, capsicum, carrot etc.

The rest of my fridge is packed with 1kg tubs of natural yoghurt (aside from breakfast or snack food, it is a good marinade base for meats or fish with garlic, lemon, tandoori spice etc); cheeses; raw meats I cryovac myself (using unit bought from Target for about $100); deli-meats I also buy fresh (cheapest) but then cryovac myself in small portions and tuck throughout the fridge - ham, turkey breast, polony (as they call it here in WA, but easterners know it as devon), etc. If you eat processed meats, then things like chorizo sausage, salamis etc are all great things to make interesting camp meals. A tub of spreadable cream cheese is also very useful. And if you use marg, a bit of that. I also take 2-3 of those herb squeeze tubes you get in the supermarket (in the vegie section). These are awesome and I no longer take any dried condiments and I personally don't use the pkt flavour bases for anything as they are full of unnecessary additives. I would suggest garlic, italian herbs, corriander, parsely and chilli if you like things spicey. I also pack our favourite jars of pickles, chutneys and that type of thing. eg. Goan Cusine brand make awesome green chilli jam which is incredibly tasty to serve with plain foods like a piece of fish.

One thing I find I use is more oil when I camp. I always take a few options. A can of spray oil - best for the hotplate/grillplate, and instead of liquid canola oil for cooking I have now discovered coconut oil (goes hard below 26 degrees) so you spoon it out. No heavy glass bottle, no flimsy plastic bottle that can leak, and more economical and no trans fat! (only avail from healthfood stores or online but expect to pay around $27 for 700ml). You can make it liquid by floating bottle in warm watter, pouring off what you need for trip and storing in a small vegemite jar or similar.

Anticipate the fish catch is good and buy the pkts of seasoned fish crumbs and take pkts of snap lock bags for coating (and storing all that fish!). Our favourite camp meal from fish is "fish wraps". We have experiemented with all the brands of wrap breads and whilst we used to use the Mountain Bread (because it has the longest use-by dates - usually 3 months), they stick together and rip :( so now we use the "Mission" wraps which are bigger, and softer and don't rip.

I rely on my tub of tins, jars, and UHT (milk) too. For some more ideas - see my various food inventories in my blogs.

any questions, please ask. I love to help people get the most out of their camp cooking and eat well and enjoy it!


David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!

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AnswerID: 463422

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