Maybe you can still remember it. The school trip or summer camp that you concluded together with a large campfire. At a certain point a large container of dough appeared and it became clear why you should have looked for a reasonably clean stick with a sharp point in the afternoon. You folded your dough ball around the stick and lived for a while with the expectation of delicious fresh bread. Through impatience and too much fire contact you invariably ended up with a blackened and unwelcome monstrosity, but it was the most beautiful ending you could think of.
Primal feeling when you cook outside
Logical. It appeals to a primal feeling of being outside, being together, eating together, cooking together. And in a way that our distant ancestors probably did.
Now evolution and progress have done their job and you can make outdoor cooking as varied and progressive as you want, but I still use the bread trick to warm my (grand) children to the outdoors. If only because an open fire awakens the glowing pyromaniac in me. A little dough, now often with some herbs and other additives, a little more policy and patience than before and preferably a nice balmy spring or summer evening do the rest.
It is by far the most primitive and most romantic form of outdoor cooking (and of course there is much more than just bread), but the outdoor cooking experiences undoubtedly go further. The site, whether or not upgraded to glamping, is still a favorite holiday retreat.
The barbecue is also part of the basic equipment of an average household. Meanwhile, the outdoor cooking trend has expanded to many other roads leading to Rome. Also for the seasoned vegan.
9 ways to cook outside
But let’s start with the campsite. Decades ago it was almost natural that you would go out with your backpack, tent and a single camping gas burner as soon as you were allowed to get out from under mother’s wing. Usually I had little more than a can of CampinGaz with its burner, a worn saucepan and a warped frying pan.
Still, I managed to cook a complete meal on that one burner that added to the joy of the great outdoors. The macaroni that was created at the time is now (adapted to vegan standards) a family recipe.
I still like the fumbling with that one little burner and a primitive windshield (at the time almost creatively put together from the roll of aluminum foil that belonged to my standard equipment, nowadays made of more durable materials), but depending on the mode of transport and the luggage space you can do it like this. sophisticated if you want, from the slightly comfortable two-burner to a state-of-the-art mini kitchen in the caravan.
A handy camping cooking aid should not be left unmentioned here: the omnia oven. It looks like a turban shape with a lid and an extra heat reservoir underneath, but once on the fire or even on the barbecue it turns into a magic box in which you can even bake your own cake at the campsite.
In fact, the pan is nothing more than a modern version of the wonder pan that was popular in households without ovens in the 1950s, but it is a wonderful addition to camping life and outdoor cooking happiness.
I just mentioned the barbecue, because of course an appropriate size will also be taken to the campsite. From the small disposable barbecue to the huge gas or electric powered appliances, the choice is huge. Also for home. Everyone has a barbecue somewhere in the garden, in the attic or in the shed and the vegan barbecue has also become a true trend in recent years.
The choice for a barbecue obviously depends on your wishes and budget. I like a charcoal barbecue the most and preferably one that can also be closed. Unlike a barbecue on gas or electricity, which offer a little more convenience, it gives that authentic outdoor cooking smoke taste.
As far as I’m concerned, the top of the barbecue spectrum is the Big Green Egg, the original ceramic kamado barbecue that can also serve as an outdoor oven and even proves useful in winter. There is a price tag, but then you also have something.
A cheaper alternative is the Skottelbraai, the South African version of the barbecue. In the past, South African farmers simply used an old plowshare on a fire for cooking. In the meantime, this skottelbraai has become a ‘flying saucer’ that usually works on gas, which is available from a lightweight camping model to large home plates.
The device is versatile and works perfectly with additional tools if needed for a variety of things such as grilling, baking, keeping warm, vegan pancakes, paella, wok dishes and more. A beautiful centerpiece for a summer garden party.
But let’s go back to where it all started before the skottelbraai: the open fire. After all, that offers more possibilities than just baking bread with the help of a stick, whether found or not. A fire in the garden or in the open field (if allowed) is quickly made. A hole in the ground, possibly some stones around it, build a pyramid of small pieces of wood and above that the large blocks and fire.
If you have a beautifully landscaped garden or are too lazy to dig a hole, there is a perfect tool to build a nice open fire: the fire bowl. They come in many shapes, sizes and materials and, just like the open fire, they make a fantastic outdoor stove.
Especially with a few additions, the fire bowl becomes an outdoor kitchen that evokes the romance of the wild west and the time-honored pioneers, or if you prefer the medieval fireplace with the cauldron above it. The main tool here is a sturdy tripod. Hang a barbecue grill, an ordinary ‘witches’ cauldron’ (they really still exist) or a so-called Dutch Oven on the tripod and the cooking joy can begin.
The Dutch Oven is nothing more than a metal or preferably cast iron pan that you can attach to the tripod with hooks. I prefer the cast iron version. You do not have all kinds of chemical non-stick coatings, the pan is suitable for all possible heat sources, retains the heat longer and is also very versatile in terms of content. Also check our article with healthy pans.
That is precisely the reason that cast iron was already preferred in the past. From a tasty stew to baking bread, everything is possible with this Dutch Oven and a tripod over a crackling fire. It is not for nothing that cooking in this way (outdoors) is nowadays marketed as fashionable ‘primal cooking’.
But admit it, with some friends around a fire pit with a large rocking cast iron pan above it, make a ratatouille (or other stew) together, let it simmer and then eat it with potatoes baked directly in the fire or toasted ‘baguette’ yourself. at the sight of the stars and the warmth of the fire, also gives a wonderful primal feeling (or was it because of the wine that flowed richly with it?)
With all those pans we would almost forget an important and very useful property of fire: smoke. After all, smoking food can also be a real joy for vegans, because most vegetables, types of fruit and even potatoes benefit from a preparation with only smoke.
Smoked whole, in pieces on a grid or as a package in aluminum foil, smoking fruit and vegetables gives great results whether you smoke hot or cold. Hot smoking is meant to actually cook the food (temperatures from 50 to 150 degrees), cold smoking (temperatures up to 25 degrees) is mainly to add flavor and therefore even works with chocolate.
All you need is a smoker, a bag of (coconut) briquettes and smoking dust (sawdust, wood chips or even dried fruit chips). A smoking pan or oven on gas or electricity also works well in combination with the smoke moth.
As with any outdoor kitchen, you can make it as expensive and sophisticated as you want, but an old aluminum trash can or a (possibly nicely rusty) iron barrel will do the job just as well. As long as the vegetable can hang in it or lie on a grid in some way and the barrel can be closed off to some extent so that the smoke can circulate as much as possible.
And if you just want to try it once: the well-closable barbecue also works in combination with some wood chips and possibly some herbs.
Try it with eggplant, zucchini or even a whole cauliflower (be patient in that case) and get addicted to this preparation for good.
Also something to get addicted to is a beautiful pizza oven in your own garden. If you are tired of home-delivered pizzas or if the pizzas from the regular oven in the kitchen are not crispy and smoky enough, the pizza oven is really a godsend.
You can also make such an oven as crazy and expensive as you want. You can get a decent pizza stone that fits in your lockable barbecue for a few bucks, but because it can reach higher temperatures, a real fireplace-fired pizza oven is of course the ultimate.
After all, you bake a real pizza at temperatures between 300 and 400 degrees to get the bottom just as crispy as that ultimate Italian pizza on that terrace in Naples. You can find a simple pizza oven for around 200 euros, but for the real thing you quickly pay four times the price.
Complete outdoor kitchen
The best thing is of course an outdoor oven in which you can bake pizzas and other things, as well as grill and barbecue, but then you quickly go towards the ultimate outdoor equipment: the complete outdoor kitchen. And there really applies ‘the sky is the limit’.
An outdoor kitchen on gas or electricity, a combination of different heat sources and a wood-fired oven, hob next to barbecue and grill, warming drawers, a sink and sufficient storage space for the outdoor pots and pans, everything is possible.
Two requirements: enough space in the garden and a well-filled wallet. But then the complete vegan outdoor life can really start. At least… if that unpredictable Western European weather cooperates a bit.
Are you also someone who, as soon as the first sun shows itself, drags everything outside and starts cooking outside? Be sure to let us know your favorite way. You can do that in a comment at the bottom of this page.