A Dutch oven can be used to create a variety of dishes in a campfire, including pot roasts, stews and lasagna, says Fabian Schmitz, a wilderness guide who’s leading a camp cooking workshop near Fox Lake next month. (Fabian Schmitz/Submitted)

Campfire cooking goes beyond hotdogs and freeze-dried meals, upcoming workshop will show

Bushcraft Yukon is offering a camp cooking workshop next month

If you love the idea of being in the great outdoors but the thought of eating another dinner consisting of hotdogs and granola makes you shudder, fret no longer.

Turns out, it’s possible to make everything from lasagna to cake in a campfire, and a workshop being put on by a Yukon wilderness guide in May will show you exactly how to take your camping culinary abilities to the next level.

“Most people associate cooking in an outdoor setting, they associate it (with) instant stuff, like freeze-dried stuff that you can buy in a pouch and these kind of things, and I think there’s a lot more to camp cooking than just pouring water in a plastic bag,” Fabian Schmitz, founder of adventure company Bushcraft Yukon, said in a phone interview from his home near Fox Lake on April 3.

Although Schmitz is leading the class, he said he picked up his own campfire cooking skills without any formal training, mostly learning by experimenting and motivated by a love of food and cooking in general.

“I think that cooking is really important … People enjoy it quite a bit, not just the eating, but also the preparation,” he said. “When I’m out there with my groups on a canoe river trip or something like that, it’s always a big thing (when I start cooking) … I’m taking the lead, but then people love to participate and help (with the) cooking and then they’re always amazed about the stuff you can actually make, the stuff you can create on a campfire.”

Some of his greatest hits over the years, he said, include big pot roasts, pizzas, one-pot pastas, and a variety of breads and desserts, all made from raw ingredients he brings into the bush, and with the occasional assistance of tin foil or a Dutch oven, if the trip allows.

“Lasagna’s really nice if you cook it in a Dutch oven … (Dutch ovens) have this little lip on the top on the lid, so you can actually place coals on top of it so you get a top heat instead of just heat from the bottom,” Schmitz explained.

“With that, you can create all kinds of different cooking scenarios, basically, and you can make great lasagna in the Dutch oven on a campfire, or use the Dutch oven for baking bread or making the pizza.”

Not every attempt at a meal or snack has gone according to plan, though.

“Once, I was on a canoe trip with my girlfriend on the Yukon River, a long trip, and … I had an idea that I could make, like, a dirt oven basically,” Schmitz recalled, saying that he had intended to use the oven to bake a loaf of bread.

Three-and-a-half hours later, the loaf looked perfect on the outside, Schmitz said, but when he cut it open, the inside was still completely uncooked and doughy.

“So that didn’t work, but I think that’s the fun part too, you know? Try new things. Go out there, experiment and see what works and what doesn’t work,” he said.

“… I find all the mishaps that happen in the kitchen, and not just at home in the kitchen but also in an outdoors kitchen next to my campfire, I think they’re usually quite beneficial because then you learn something and just change it up for next time when you try again.”

Workshop participants, though, won’t have to worry about mishaps — Schmitz said he’ll be equipping them with tried-and-true recipes for a variety of camping scenarios (what you can bring, and by extent, what you can cook, will differ depending on if you’re on a backpacking trip compared to staying at a drive-in campsite, for example).

Besides actually cooking a variety of dishes on-site, Schmitz said participants will also learn practical planning skills, like how much food to bring per person (“You don’t want to haul in stuff you don’t end up needing”), prepping ingredients, what pots and equipment work for different kinds of trips, how to start a fire and how to build different kinds of fires for different kinds of cooking.

“I hope at the end of the day, everyone will have a good little collection of recipes that they can apply depending on what their interests are in outdoor sports,” he said.

While the workshop is still about a month away, Schmitz said based on the immense interest, he’ll likely be offering a second one later in the season — so don’t be too surprised if, the next time you’re in the bush, you suddenly catch a whiff of a freshly-baked loaf of bread.

Bushcraft Yukon’s camp cooking workshop is happening May 4 at Schmitz’s property near Fox Lake, rain or shine. More information is available at facebook.com/events/406769736772727

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Yukon government was wrong in evicting youth from a group home, commissioner finds

The health department has roughly two months to respond to recommendations

Stephanie Dixon ready to dive into new role as chef de mission for 2019 Parapan American Games and 2020 Paralympic Games

“You do it because you believe in yourself and you have people around you that believe in you”

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World

Whitehorse becomes first community north of 60 to have private pot shop

Triple J’s Canna Space opens its doors to first customers

Whitehorse council news, briefly

Some of the news that came out of Whitehorse city council this week

Snowmobiles and snow bikes descend on Mount Sima for Yukon Yamaha Uphill Challenge

“I think everyone had their eyes opened on what could be done there”

Yukon Orienteering Association starts Coast Mountain Sports Sprint Series off in the right direction

The race on April 11 was the first of five sprint races planned for the spring

Yukon gymnasts stick the landing at inaugural B.C. Junior Olympic Compulsory Championships

Seven Polarettes earned five podium finishes at the two-day event in Langley, B.C.

École Émilie-Tremblay hosts first Yukon elementary school wrestling meet of 2019

“You can grab kids and you can trip and you can do that rough play, but there are rules”

Driving with Jens: Survey says….

If you’re like me, you probably feel inundated with surveys. It seems… Continue reading

Editorial: Promising electoral reform is the easy part

Details of what that would actually look like are much harder to come by

Yukonomist: The centre of the business universe moves 4,000 k.m. northwest

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business named Whitehorse Canada’s top place to start and grow a business

Whitehorse starts getting ready for Japanese students

This summer 13 Japanese students are slated to come north

Most Read