Dos and Don’ts of Campfire Cooking: Avoiding Common Mistakes

There’s nothing quite like the taste of food cooked over an open flame on a camping trip. However, as any experienced camper will tell you, cooking over a campfire can be tricky, and even dangerous, if you don’t know what you’re doing. From burnt food to fire hazards, there are many common mistakes that can be made when cooking over a campfire.

But fear not! In this article, we’ll go over the dos and don’ts of campfire cooking, so you can avoid these common mistakes and make the most of your next camping trip.

The Dos and Don’ts of Campfire Cooking

Do choose the right cookware

The right campfire cookware can make all the difference when cooking over a campfire. Cast iron pans and Dutch ovens are great choices, as they can withstand high heat and distribute it evenly. Make sure to bring along oven mitts and a sturdy spatula or tongs to handle hot pots and pans.

Don’t use aluminum foil

While aluminum foil might seem like a convenient way to cook food over a fire, it’s actually a fire hazard. The foil can easily tear or puncture, causing hot embers to escape and potentially start a wildfire. Instead, use a cast iron skillet or grill grate to cook your food.

Do start your fire safely

Before you start cooking, make sure your fire is started safely. Choose a clear, open area away from trees, bushes, and other flammable materials. Use a fire pit or ring if one is available, and clear away any debris from around the area.

Don’t use accelerants

Accelerants such as gasoline or lighter fluid can cause a dangerous flare-up or explosion when added to a fire. Instead, use kindling or fire starter sticks to get your fire going.

Do prepare your food properly

Proper food preparation is key to avoiding foodborne illness when cooking over a campfire. Make sure to wash your hands before handling food, and keep raw meats separate from other foods. Cook your food to the appropriate temperature and use a meat thermometer to ensure it’s fully cooked.

Don’t forget to bring a cooler

A cooler is essential for keeping your food at a safe temperature while camping. Make sure to pack it with plenty of ice or ice packs to keep your food cool.

Do extinguish your fire properly

When you’re done cooking, it’s important to properly extinguish your fire to prevent wildfires. Pour water over the fire, stir the ashes, and pour more water until the fire is completely out.

Don’t leave your fire unattended

Never leave your fire unattended, even for a few minutes. Make sure someone is always watching it, and keep a bucket of water or sand nearby in case of emergency.


Can I cook over any type of fire?

No, it’s important to use a campfire or grill pit that’s designated for cooking. Using an unauthorized fire can be dangerous and can also result in fines.

Can I use a camping griddle or grill instead of a campfire?

Yes, camping griddles and grills are a safe and convenient way to cook while camping.

Can I bring my own firewood?

It depends on the campsite. Some campsites allow you to bring your own firewood, while others require you to purchase it on-site to prevent the spread of invasive insects and diseases. If you do bring your own firewood, make sure it’s from a local source and has been properly seasoned to reduce the amount of smoke it produces.

How can I make sure my food doesn’t stick to the pan?

Make sure your cookware is well-seasoned before you start cooking. You can also add a thin layer of oil or cooking spray to the pan before adding your food. Avoid moving your food around too much while it’s cooking, as this can cause it to stick.

What are some good foods to cook over a campfire?

There are many great foods to cook over a campfire, including hot dogs, hamburgers, kabobs, foil packet meals, and even desserts like s’mores and banana boats. Just make sure to choose foods that can be cooked safely over an open flame.


Cooking over a campfire can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it’s important to do it safely and avoid common mistakes. By following the dos and don’ts of campfire cooking, you can ensure that your food is cooked to perfection and that you’re doing your part to prevent wildfires. So, next time you head out on a camping trip, remember these tips and enjoy a delicious meal under the stars!

Anthony Arroyo
Anthony Arroyo

Anthony is a passionate outdoor enthusiast with a love for adventure and exploring the great outdoors. With years of experience hiking, camping, and rafting, he has a wealth of knowledge to share with others. Anthony’s writing captures the essence of his experiences, offering readers insights into some of the most beautiful and breathtaking landscapes in the world. Follow his journey and join the conversation as he continues to share his passion for the great outdoors.