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Backcountry Holiday Feast and More!

There are few things our family loves more than a good holiday dinner. On one trip in 2019, we got to thinking, why couldn’t we bring a holiday feast on the road with us? There are a multitude of means to cook while camping and the paragraphs below will highlight some of the many ways we prepare meals in the backcountry.

Grilling: Grilling isn’t really a regular option for us in Colorado due to wide-spread open-fire bans around the state. However, before moving to Colorado, we lived in Virginia and traveled up and down the east coast using a Fox Outfitters Quick Grill which we found folded up small and handy to store in the Woolly Bear. If charcoal isn’t your style, we also purchased an Ozark Trail Tripod Grill with bonus lantern hanger for cooking steaks or corn on the cob over the fire.

Grilling corn on the cob over a campfire on a tripod
Grilling foil packet dinners on the Fox Outfitters charcoal grill

Stovetop: While I have owned several Coleman stoves in my camping career, none have performed as well as our two-burner Cook Partner propane stove. The 22” 2-burner stove fits the Woolly Bear’s bottom storage shelf perfect. This stove could survive a drop into a canyon. We love it’s ruggedness and BTU output to cook efficiently.  In addition to stovetop cooking, I often rapid-boil our water for coffee and dish-water in our JetBoil Flash cooking system which also has a French press and pot support accessory. I love that these all next together, even with a small canister of fuel tucked inside. The frypan accessory is lightweight and made of quality non-stick material. Finally, we have a Coleman Camp Oven that, though used seldomly, is great for take-n-bake bread and cinnamon rolls!

Coleman Camp Oven on the Cook Partner stove uses one burner
Morning is not complete without coffee and the JetBoil makes it happen in a Flash!

Skottle: A skottle is a growing-in-popularity cooking method using a skillet-type disk over a propane burner on tri-pod legs. One popular brand is Tembo Tusk; however, ours was a homemade gift from a dear friend back east. The skottle, in our opinion, is the best way to cook bacon or stir-fry dishes.

Steak stir-fry on the skottle

Cookware: The most commonly cookware we own is the GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Camper, a 4-person cook set with dishes which all nest together and makes this organized wife/mama very happy! We have also purchased other GSI Outdoor cooking kits which include all the utensils and even a small cutting board. We find this cookware set fits the lefthand storage compartment of the kitchen very well. No kitchen is complete without a good knife set. We like Camp Chef brand for quality and durable utensils.

The Bugaboo cookset (right) nests together and fits well in the Woolly Bear kitchen

With all this kitchen and cooking equipment, how could we not pull off an entire multi-course holiday dinner?! We have made our holiday dinner not once, but twice so far, and here is our menu:

  • Turkey breast
  • Stovetop instant turkey stuffing
  • Instant potatos
  • Green beans cooked in beef bouillon
  • Canned cranberry sauce
  • Gravy
  • Fresh bread

First, to prepare the main course, we soux vide the turkey at home to pre-cook it. This ensures no meat contamination while traveling and also cuts down on overall cook time at camp. At camp, we use the skottle to sear the outside and re-heat the turkey breast, then slice with a cook kitchen knife.

Boiling green beans and water for stuffing on the tailgate table of our Toyota 4-Runner

While the turkey is re-heating on the skottle, we use the small Bugaboo pot to heat up two cans of green beans. One of our secret weapons is a dollop of Better Than Beef bouillon to give it some good flavor. Boil until the bouillon has cooked down. We use the larger Bugaboo pot to boil some water to make the stuffing. We prepare the Stovetop instant kind. Once the water is ready, just pour in the mix and fluff! Both of these dishes require both stove burners, so one the stuffing in done, move it out of the way to begin warming up gravy. For gravy, we use the Bugaboo frying pan. Though shallow, it has proved adequate to warm up a jar of pre-made gravy. Instant mashed potatoes typically only need hot water as well, and for this we use our JetBoil Flash pot to heat the water and mix in the potatoes. Finally, crack over a can of cranberry sauce and stick a spoon in it!

Happy feasting!

So there you have it – an entire holiday meal prepared out of our Woolly Bear using all the tools we have available. I would like to add that with all the multi-tasking happening during meal preparation, this is not a one-person job. Tom and I share the responsibility and agree that as far as the Woolly Bear is concerned, you can’t have too many cooks in the kitchen!

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