01 September 2012

Tutorial: Cookin' On Coals

Dear Lissy,
I've just returned from my annual birthday solo camping trip, and I took about a bazillion pictures of how I accomplish various camp tasks to share with you.  My first (and best) technique is one I learned in Cub Scouts:  cooking over coals in foil "schooners".
Heavy Duty Foil. . .

Tear off a sheet about 3' long.

Fold it in half .
Fold each half back on itself leaving a 1" pleat. 
You should have a "w" shaped bottom when both sides are folded. 
Make three narrow folds on each side to seal the packet into a bag.
I've placed a penny here so you can see the width of the folds.
Prepare your ingredients by cutting them into quarter sized pieces about 1/4" thick.  
For this dinner I used 2 cheddar sausages, a small onion, half a pepper, and a small potato.
Open up the bag you made earlier, and add 1 Tbsp of oil or liquid.
Place ingredients into the bag.  Items that take the longest to cook (potatoes, here) should be placed into the bottom of the bag.  
Roll the top down three times, pressing well to seal.  Make a few vents near the top of the bag or you will get steam burns when you open the packet.
Place the bag directly on the coals.
Don't place a schooner into a fire that still has live flames, but a couple may flare up once the schooner is placed.  This technique works equally well on hot charcoal briquets.
A single-serving schooner takes 30 minutes, give or take.  I gave this packet a full 40 minutes to ensure the peppers and onions were well cooked.
I also rotated it a couple of times during cooking with tongs.
***No direct heat is needed for the sides of the packet.  It only requires heat on the bottom.***
Remove the schooner from the heat, and carefully unroll the top. Contents are extremely hot!!!
Boys enjoy eating straight out of the schooner, but I prefer a plate. . .and Moxie.
You can bake almost anything you can think of in a schooner -- even biscuits.  The key is the Tablespoon of liquid or oil in the bottom of the bag, and even heat on the bottom for the entire cooking time.  Because the heat never touches the food, it steam-bakes.  You won't end up with a layer of burnt potatoes at the bottom like you do with traditional foiled dinners.  I've also been impressed that the vertical cooking style allows up to 10 packets at a time in the same fire or grill.
The best part???  NO CLEAN-UP!!!!! Yay!!!!!

 Love you, Hot Stuff!

P.S.  If you need a large bed of coals to cook a posse of packets, add 6-8 pieces of wood all at once to an established fire.  Don't add any more fuel, simply allow all of the wood to burn down into a ginormous bed of coals.  If you're only cooking for one or two, make a standard camp fire, leaving an opening in the front for a schooner.

Linked up at Homestead Barn Hop

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