This past weekend we packed up the car and headed to the Oregon coast for a quick, overnight camping trip. Instead of our usual spot in Newport, we ventured a little further south along the coast, to Cape Blanco State Park. Towering cliffs along the Pacific, an old lighthouse, and giant rocks spotting the ocean set the scene for a peaceful and relaxing weekend. We even spotted a few sea lions lounging on the rocks on the drive down.
One of my favorite parts about camping is the food. There really is no therapy like the simple pleasure of enjoying a great meal over the fire and under the stars. No, I’m not talking about franks and beans. There are so many great camping foods that are “foodie friendly.” Fresh fish and veggie hobo packs, one-pot pasta dishes, and thinly sliced proteins are all great for camping because they have quick cooking times, saving time and camp fuel.
I’ve had a hankering for red meat lately, so for this trip, skirt steak with avocado and potatoes made it to the menu. Skirt steak is a flavorful, affordable cut of beef that is typically used for fajitas, and it is slowly creeping up the list of my favorites. It is part of the cow’s diaphragm muscle, located just below the ribs.
The trick to cooking a tender skirt steak is to marinate it. This can be done just before heading out on your camping trip, or you can prepare the marinade ahead of time, and just add the steak later. I recommend letting it marinate at least one hour.
Using fresh fruit and vegetables is ideal for camping because there’s no need for refrigeration for most. Tomatoes, fresh corn, avocado, bell peppers, and summer squash are all great options that are in season or readily available during the summer.
Maybe the underlying reason I love campsite cooking so much is that it forces you to leave your type A personality at home. It’s cooking the way it used to be, strictly relying on a primitive heat source and cooking the food just enough so it won’t kill you. You don’t have access to all your spices or equipment, and usually there’s no running water at the campsite.
Ultimately, it’s all about spending quality time with those you love, with minimal distractions. So don’t sweat the small stuff and have fun!
Campfire Skirt Steak and Potatoes
Yields: 2 portions
Equipment: one campfire ring with grill grate
Inside skirt steak, about 4-6 oz per person
Yukon Gold Potatoes, about 2 per person
Any veggies you like
Salt and pepper
For the marinade (enough for about 2 portions):
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. brown sugar
Squeeze of fresh lime
- Combine all marinade ingredients in gallon sized plastic storage bag the night before your camping trip. Keep chilled in cooler.
- Add the steak to the marinade preferably the night before cooking the steak to let marinade 24 hours. When you add the steak will depend on what night you plan to cook it. At the very minimum let the steak marinade one hour but know that the flavor will be primarily on the outside of the steak and not infused throughout the meat.
- Start fire in ring using logs that are good and dry. Once the fire is going and good and hot, begin cooking.
- Chop potatoes into 1” dice
- Prepare a “hobo pack” using aluminum foil: cut off a large square of foil, place cut potatoes in center. Drizzle olive oil over potatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap up the top and sides tightly, closing off all openings.
- Prepare any other veggie hobo packs in the same manner.
- Toss potato pack onto the grill grate, off-centered. This will allow the potatoes to steam and the bottom ones to get crispy. After about 10 minutes, flip the pack upside down to allow the top potatoes in the pack to get crispy as well. At this time, add any other veggie hobo packs onto grill, off-centered. Let both veggies and potatoes cook for about another 10 minutes.
- Once the potato pack has been turned, toss the marinated steak onto the grill grate, right in the center. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side for medium rare.
- Let the steak rest for five minutes, then slice against the grain at a diagonal, and enjoy!
- Prepare the marinade before you leave on your trip, saving you time and space in the car. Also, your steak will get a head start on marinating.
- Potatoes have a longer cooking time than other veggies like bell peppers or squash, so prepare a separate hobo pack for each. Throw the veggie pack on the fire about halfway through the cooking time for the potatoes, and they will finish about the same time.
- Don't forget some dish soap, a sponge, and a towel for drying dirty dishes.
A few more pics from the trip: