When you’re cooking over an open campfire, the simplest recipes can make the greatest (and tastiest) memories. On a camping trip with my extended family, I discovered that pie iron meals cooked over hot coals may not look like culinary masterpieces, but they sure are fun to make and more importantly, eat. Here’s what I learned about pie iron cooking by the campfire.
Pie Iron Cooking Success Starts with Great Recipes
My family dined together al fresco almost every night on that reunion trip, and most of those dinners were potlucks. When my party planner sister decided that one evening’s meals would be dedicated to fireside cooking, I accepted the challenge. Finding something that could feed a hungry, sunburned meat-eating mob would take some doing since I’m a vegetarian, but my trusty “Pie Iron Recipes” cookbook by author Darren Kirby gave me the confidence to try.
Cooking with a pie iron typically consists of stashing a tasty filling of some kind between two slices of bread, then toasting the filled delight over hot campfire coals. The Pie Iron Recipes book is a compilation of short but sweet mouth-watering pie iron recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not every meal is as healthy as I want it to be, but each one paves the way to a tasty meal using the humble pie iron, also known as a “sandwich cooker” and “pudgie pie maker” in some parts of the country.
Not only does Kirby’s book explain how to utilize the pie iron, but it also shares information about which pie irons produce the most high-quality meals. With the right implement, you can confidently dive into the 127-page cookbook with titles like:
- Potato and Egg Breakfast
- Pie Iron Stuffed Hashbrowns
- Cheesy Tots
- Crab Pie
- Philly Cheesesteak
- Spaghetti Sandwiches
- Pizza Pockets
- Chocolate Caramel Pie
- Campfire Chocolate Monkey Bread
- Fluffernutter Pie
For my first campfire meal ever, I decided on Kirby’s Spaghetti Sandwiches Recipe (Page 55). Perfect for meat eaters and vegetarians alike, I created a tasty garlic bread pocket stuffed with heaps of spaghetti. I made one half with meat sauce, and one half without. You can guess which batch got devoured first.
We tried a few other Pie Iron Recipes on that trip, and all were equally as easy to assemble. Based on the lack of leftovers after each meal, I’d say they were a hit. Since then, I’ve made a few more campfire meals with pie irons, which taught me some valuable lessons along the way.
How to Make the Most of Pie Iron Cooking
It cannot be overstated: great cooking starts with high-quality tools. If you want to give pie iron cooking a try, don’t get the cheapest pie irons at your local big box store. They are made of aluminum, which is not only bad for your health, but it doesn’t provide the most even, consistent heat. Plus these cheapies break down a lot quicker than the competing cast iron pie irons. Sure, they cost a few dollars more, but their quality is far superior and they last longer.
When cooking for large groups, prep the ingredients ahead of time. Be sure to use plenty of butter too, which helps toast the bread. Then, while the coals are getting hot, assemble each pie iron delicacy at the campfire and relax with all your friends. You may need to put that cold beverage down for a minute and open each pie iron to test for completion, but the gobs of butter you used will provide a non-stick surface for easy inspection. If the coals burn out before your food is done, grab another beverage, find your nearest camp stove and finish the job over a stovetop range.
- Bread (Italian bread works well)
- Spaghetti noodles, cooked
- Spaghetti sauce
- Garlic powder or crushed garlic
- Italian seasoning
- Add butter, garlic and Italian seasonings, then add a slice of bread to one side of the pie iron
- Add spaghetti and sauce
- Add a second slice of bread, then add butter, garlic and Italian seasonings
- Close pie iron and cook until golden brown, turning often
* Add cooked sausage along with the noodles and sauce
* Add Parmesan cheese
About the author: Rene Agredano
Rene Agredano, a Coach-Net member since 2015, is a self-employed full-time RVer who enjoys writing, jewelry design and animal advocacy. Her adventures with a three-legged dog and husband Jim are chronicled at LiveWorkDream.com
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