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Planning Ahead for Camping

Planning Ahead for Camping Success

One of the best preparations you can make for yourself when considering camping is to prepare as much of your cooking items ahead of time.  Nobody wants to spend their valuable vacation time prepping loads of vegetables when that time could be spent making memories. 

One item we always plan ahead with is pancake batter.  When we want to make a limited amount of batter, we will package several batches of the dry ingredients into individual plastic bags and put those into a larger bag to avoid having powder accidentally spilled on our other stuff.  All you have to do then is determine how much you want to make, get that number of bags out, and add the corresponding wet ingredients.  The best part is that once you reseal the bag, you can just mix it all together by kneading the bag with your hand until it is where you want it to be.  Easy enough to do.

We usually use the premixed name brand stuff you get in a box because it is easy.  There are a lot of options when it comes to pancake batter though and you can dress this stuff up anyway you like.  Think to add cinnamon or apple pie spice if that is your preferred taste.  The addition of spice is where I really find prepping ahead to be of great value. 

In my heart, I love to barbeque.  Cooking over an open flame is a joy I have.  It is an absolute pleasure.  When you can take a good piece of meat and add just the right about of flavor to it through wood or charcoal along with added spices, you can really highlight what that meat is capable of.  Whenever we are planning to head out, I will make up a rub that I find is really versatile when it comes to most meats.  I put it in whatever leftover spice container I have on hand so it is easy to carry and won’t spill.

Here’s the recipe more or less.  It changes from time to time by what I have and is very forgiving to what you may or may not like.  Just think of this as the bones of the spice rub.  It will stand on its own if needed, though it can always use a little more of your own creative muscle should you decide to add to it.  This recipe makes around 5 ounces of rub total.  This is roughly enough to fill two store bought spice containers. 

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dark chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon crack black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder

Like I said, this changes from time to time by what I have on hand.  I use it whenever I am smoking ribs or pork shoulders, but I have also used it on burgers and steaks with great results.  It is also good on eggs, mixed vegetables, corn on the cob, and in your coffee.  Maybe not that last one.  

Another idea you can incorporate into your packing that might help add a little flavor and elegance later on is to make some simple compound butters.  These are just softened butters mixed with whatever you like.  After you mix it all together, put it back in the refrigerator so the butter can harden up and is ready for travel once more. 

There are a lot of things besides vegetables that you can get together before you set out.  Consider cracking a bunch of eggs into a sealable container.  This saves you from having to worry about breaking eggs or what to do with eggshells.  If you are planning on having a pasta dish, it may also be of use to precook the pasta ahead of time to a less than done state.  This can save you a lot of time later on and is a trick that most restaurants use with great success.  

You can also think to make up a large batch of your favorite granola ahead of time for an easy breakfast when packing in.  If you are able to bring a cooler, consider marinating and then freezing whatever meat you are planning on eating.  If you have a vacuum sealer, make sure to package the meat flat so it will take up less room.  This way you can get a longer purchase on your ice and won’t have to worry as quickly about whatever meat you happen to bring with you.  And since it is already marinated, you won’t have to worry about that added step once you arrive wherever you are headed.  

Whatever you are able to prepare before you leave your house will save you time and energy later on.  No matter how big or small the preparation may be, this little investment in time will pay off huge later on when you’d rather be doing other things besides chopping vegetables or worrying if the eggs all broke.

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