We’ll be heading north tomorrow to the Blue Ridge Mountains, just north of Cleveland, Georgia, on our annual spring break camping trip. One of my favorite things (along with mountain sunrises, panning for gold, and finding hidden waterfalls) is the food – everything tastes different when it is cooked outdoors, and it is something I miss during the long winter months.
Of course, you don’t have to go camping to cook outside. If you don’t have a grill-friendly patio or an outdoor grilling area at your apartment complex, you can always head over to a local park for the afternoon (just check your city website under Parks and Recreation to see which parks offer outdoor grills and picnic areas). But if you prefer to have the whole experience, get some outdoor gear and head to a nearby state or national park.
Outdoor cooking is more than just hot dogs and gooey s’mores (although we can’t camp without the prerequisite graham crackers, chocolate bars, and marshmallows … there’s nothing like roasting a marshmallow on a stick and then adding it to a piece of chocolate and letting the two melt together between two graham cracker halves … yum!). But you can do everything from a whole chicken (just try this recipe for beer can chicken and you may never want to cook chicken any other way) to desserts. You can also grill sides, such as corn and asparagus. For a unique spin on the baked potato, wrap each potato in foil and carefully place them on your campfire using a long spoon or heat-resistant gloves.
If you are near the coast, take advantage of fresh seafood by grilling it outdoors. Use a foil wrap to cook “packets” of fish and veggies. And, of course, a barbecue grill just begs for shrimp – check out these recipes for shrimp on the barbie. For the adventurous, try grilling clams and mussels.
Take advantage of the great spring temperatures by getting outside and cooking something delicious – whether at your apartment community, a local park, or on a camping trip.