When you think of camp food, you probably think of burgers over the grill or hotdogs roasted over the fire. While these tried-and-true camp meals might be family favorites, it’s fun to try something new. Consider switching it up at your next Campspot with campfire nachos with a grilled salsa verde, Mexican street corn, and quick black beans. Whether with friends or family, reel in the help from others, and spend a night with loved ones cooking over the campfire. It’s good for the soul, trust us.
The materials you’ll need for the following recipes are:
10″ or larger cast iron pan
A cast iron stove top griddle
2-4 quart cooking pot
A pair of safe and reliable campfire gloves
Large mixing bowl
Cutting board and knife
Has anyone else ever asked their spouse or partner the “If you had to eat one type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?” No? Just us? Got it. We ALWAYS each answer with “Mexican.” So, after a nice jog around Indian Creek RV & Resort in Ohio, we plopped down on our camping chairs and discussed what we were going to have for dinner.
Tyler started the fire, and I went inside the trailer to gather the ingredients. Cooking over a fire feels a little like an experiment. Depending on the different variables (size of the fire, proximity of the grate to the fire, wind or weather, etc.), it’s a bit of a trial and error experience, but it’s one that’s never boring, that’s for sure. I’d never made this meal over the campfire, and we were thrilled with the results, so we thought we would share the recipes below!
Fire-Grilled Salsa Verde
8 tomatillos with husks removed, washed
3 onions sliced into halves
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 bunch of cilantro
juice from 2 limes
1 garlic clove
Place a cast iron grill onto of campfire grate to heat up. Combine tomatillos, onions, cumin, and garlic powder into a large mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Stir to coat onions and tomatillos with the oil. Once the cast iron grill is hot, grill tomatillos and onions, rotating them until browned. While cooking, the tomatillos should have gone from a firm texture with a lime-green coloring to slightly squishy with an olive-green color. Grill the onions to your preference. Personally, I like mine a bit charred. Remove ingredients from the cast iron grill and back into the large mixing bowl. If you are making the nachos listed below, set aside several strips of onion to use as a nacho topping. While they are cooling for a minute, cut open the avocados, slice the limes, wash the cilantro, and peel the garlic clove. Scoop the avocados into the onion and tomatillo mixture. Add the garlic and lime juice. With a hand blender (such a surprisingly useful thing to have while camping FYI), blend the ingredients into a somewhat smooth and still chunky consistency. Taste and give it a good sprinkle of salt.
Quick Black Beans
2 15 oz cans of black beans or 2 cups of dried black beans soaked overnight
1/2 large onion or 1 small onion diced
1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
1 garlic clove, minced
1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil – you can use a different oil, such as olive oil, but I will say the coconut oil and onion combination makes these beans
On a stove over medium heat, heat the coconut oil for just a moment. Coconut oil heats up quickly, so be sure not to overheat it. Add the onions and sauté them until they soften up a bit. Add the chopped garlic and beans to the pan. If you soaked the beans, be sure to include the water they soaked in, so your beans don’t get dry. Similarly, if you are using canned beans, use the liquid from the cans. The liquid will cook down so down worry about it making your beans too watery. At this point, you may add the jalapeño if you want the beans to have a bit of a kick. Once the beans begin simmering, turn down the heat to the low setting, occasionally stir, and cook beans until liquid thickens. This should take about six to eight minutes. Serves four.
1 cup of shredded cheese
2 poblano peppers
2 Beyond Meat burgers
1 tablespoon of olive oil
sour cream or crema Mexicana
Get your fire going and position your grate. Once the flame reaches a good height, place the poblano peppers onto the campfire grate. Since you’ll be scraping off the skins, don’t get too worried about over-charring your peppers. That’s what you want. Rotate them so that they char on all sides. Remove and cool.
Set your cast iron pan onto your grate and let it heat up for a minute. Drizzle some olive oil onto the pan. Add shallots and stir. Crumble the Beyond Burger patties either by hand before placing onto the pan or with a spatula within the skillet. Cook the Beyond Meat until browned, consistently tossing it to avoid burning. Fires can cook food faster than what we’re used to in the kitchen. Be mindful and trust your intuition. Once cooked, scoop meat into a plate or bowl. Set aside.
Your poblano peppers should have cooled off enough to use your hands and rub the burnt skin off by this point. Some people like to do this under running water. Be mindful that these are peppers, and if using your bare hands, don’t rub your eyes! Once the skin is off, cut the peppers open and scoop out the insides, including the stem and seeds. Cut the peppers into strips and set aside.
Warm the cast iron pan by placing it back onto the grate. Cover with lid. What you’re trying to do here is heat the lid and skillet enough to create an oven for your nachos. Once nice and hot, remove the pan, fill the bottom with tortilla chips, sprinkle with shredded cheese, cover with the lid, and place the pan back onto the grate. It will not take long if your fire is hot— maybe a minute or two— for the cheese to melt, and you do not want to burn your tortilla chips, so keep a watchful eye. Once the cheese has melted, remove the pan from the fire.
Sprinkle the Beyond Meat crumbles, grilled onions from when you roasted your tomatillos and onions for your salsa, and poblano strips onto your nachos. Serve with salsa and sour cream or crema Mexicana. Serves four.
Campfire Mexican Street Corn
4 ears of corn, husks removed
1 cup of cotija – crumbled, fresh Mexican cheese
2 tablespoons of sour cream
1/2 bunch of cilantro finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons of Tajín seasoning, or chile-lime seasoning
Brush oil onto the ears of corn before putting them onto the campfire grate. With corn, you do not want it to have contact with the flames as it can burn quickly. Instead, maintain your distance from the fire. It may take a little longer, but you’ll have better-tasting corn. Rotate the corn so that they brown on all sides. You’ll see that the corn seems cooked when it gets a bit wrinkly.
Place corn onto a baking sheet and brush sour cream onto the corn. Some people use mayonnaise instead or mixed with crema Mexicana to make street corn, but I like sour cream. Sprinkle with crumbled cotija, cilantro, and the Tajín seasoning. It’s somewhat of a challenge to coat it evenly, but sometimes spinning and rubbing the corn into the fallen toppings on the sheet helps. Squeeze the juice from half of the lime onto the ears of corn before eating. Serves four.
As they say in Mexico, buen provecho!