Dana and I have been going camping in the Boundary Waters since we were literally babies. It was one of the perks of living in Ely and one of the things I am most grateful for today. Our whole lives our parents were teaching us to love camping. At least once every summer, we would load up my dad’s 16 ft Lowe Line motorboat with the tent and sleeping bags, fishing poles, pots and pans, the dog, and of course a bunch of food. Then we’d head up to Basswood lake with a couple other families and spend the weekend living the good life on one of Basswood’s beautiful campsites. We always had fun: racing cups down the lines holding the tarp up; making sap boats out of sticks, leaves, and tree sap; catching cray fish; building sand castles on the beach; playing in the minnow bucket; and catching fish. Although we almost always caught enough walleyes for a big fish fry, one important thing that my dad taught me was to never plan on having fish for one of your meals. If you don’t catch fish for some reason, you’ll go hungry. Being hungry is no fun, especially if you’re camping.
There are a lot of options for camping meals, and none of them have to be the freeze dried, dehydrated stuff you see in the camping section of outdoor stores. A new favorite of ours is campfire pizza. Pizza is really easy to make, pretty light to pack in, a fun meal to make, and won’t leave anyone hungry.
The options for toppings are endless. Aj and I made a pretty traditional one last weekend when we were up in Wind lake. Make sure you bring in a crust, sauce, and the toppings you want, here’s what we used:
I learned that cutting up your onions and green peppers at home and bringing them camping in little baggies is WAY easier than trying to chop them at your campsite. If you’re going to the boundary waters you can’t bring in cans or glass, so that limits your choices of pizza sauce to use. An alternative to pizza sauce in a plastic bottle like this is to make your own, or pour your favorite out of its glass jar, into a Nalgene bottle or something similar.
The only thing you need other than the food items is some heavy duty tin foil, which you most likely have with you in your camping gear already. The key to making campfire pizza is starting with a nice bed of hot coals. Here Aj is using the new campfire dragon my dad picked up for us from Piragis, its a good tool to get the fire the oxygen it needs without sticking your face by the smoke and fire.
Once your coals are nice and hot, pre-bake your crust for about 5 minutes. Lay the tinfoil down on the campfire grate, use some wood or rocks to weight it down and spray it with cooking spray, or brush it with some oil so the crust doesn’t stick.
Then take the crust off the fire, flip it over, and pile on your ingredients. We started with pizza sauce (obviously), added cheese, pepperonis, onion, and green pepper.
Now just cover it with tinfoil and bake it until the cheese is melty and the crust is browned, about 10-15 minutes depending on your fire. We made a cover out of tinfoil and two sticks, and created a sort of pizza oven.
When it’s done to your liking, take it off, set it somewhere to cool (we were lucky and had a nice flat rock that worked nicely). A pizza cutter is nice to have, but we didn’t bring one and a knife worked just fine to cut it into slices.
Who says camping has to be roughing it? This was one of those rare camping trips where we didn’t catch any walleyes to eat (we could’ve had northerns or bass) so having a different, really fun meal to make was appreciated!
- Pizza crust
- Pizza sauce
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Chopped onions
- Chopped green peppers
- Start with a bed of hot coals
- Pre-bake your crust over the coals for about 5 minutes
- Take off the heat and add your sauce, cheese and toppings
- Cover with tinfoil and bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the crust is brown
- Remove from heat, let cool for a few minutes and cut into slices