Make These Things at Home Before Your Camping Trip

Rachel Tepper Paley

Oh, hey. Do you like long walks in the woods, eating gooey s’mores by the fire, and making a meal out of whatever you can hunt, fish, or catch with your bare hands? Well, welcome to Camping Week, featuring tastier ways to get your outdoors on. 

Grilling meat? Marinate it beforehand. Photo credit: Rebecca Stumpf/StockFood

A great camping meal often starts long before you begin gathering firewood. Prepping a few dishes before you leave home—with the benefit of refrigeration and electric appliances—will save you some time. Time that’s better spent trying to spot a moose or hooking a silver-hued salmon.

We reached out to a few outdoorsy chefs and other foodie folks to find out how they prep for meals taken in the wilderness.

Marinated meats. “I sometimes marinate meat in a double-bagged Ziploc in my pack so we can cook something up as soon as we set up camp,” shares food writer Michael Y. Park. Try building your own marinade, or maybe just use a few cans of beer. So long as the liquid isn’t acidic, you can start your marinade a full 24 hours ahead of time.

Scotch eggs. When you’re carrying everything on your back (or trailing it behind you in a cooler), you don’t have room for both sausage and eggs. That’s what makes Scotch eggs—hard-boiled eggs encased in ground sausage, the whole package coated in bread crumbs—so appealing. Two in one! A few hours before your trip, cook and assemble the eggs, but don’t fry them—do that campside, in your cast-iron skillet. The raw meat won’t keep in a icy cooler for long, so plan to cook them off the first night on the trail.

Pasta salad. Chef Thomas Welther of the soon-to-open Edgewater restaurant in Wisconsin swears by tortellini salad with feta, sautéed vegetables and grilled chicken. Assemble the salad as you normally would at home, except for dressing or olive oil, then store it in a large container. ”It will hold in an ice chest for a couple of days,” he e-mailed. Remove it from the ice about 30 minutes before serving so that it comes up to room (or field!) temperatire, and season and dress it just before dinner.

Grain salads. ”There’s pasta and couscous, sure, but don’t stop there,” writes Remy Robert of Serious Eats in her camping guide. “Change up your grains game with amaranth or freekeh" or farro instead. Store the cooked grains in air-tight containers and then, just before eating, toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper, folding in some vegetables, nuts, seeds, or “a drift of shaved Parmesan.”

Chicken liver mousse. Our Alex Van Buren admits that she’s a bit of a “weirdo,” but swears by Julia Child’s unctuous chicken liver mousse garnished with thyme. She packs it in a glass jar, carefully nestles it alongside a frozen bottle of water to keep it cool, and enjoys it with sliced baguette and mossy soil beneath her feet.

Well, what are you waiting for? Get prepping!