Backwoods Cooking

From such small beginnings, the excitement builds to cooking Backwoods-style, without the conventional utensils. Natural products are the ideal cabbage leaves, mud and similar – but cooking foil is a practical substitute to introduce young and old alike to the joys of backwoods cooking.

Written below are a few general guidelines for cooking the recipes that are to follow. The all- important point to remember, however is to ensure that a high standard of cleanliness is maintained throughout the preparation and cooking of the food – just because you are cooking in a slightly primitive fashion, doesn’t mean that hygiene precautions also need to be primitive!


Before you actually start the cooking and preparation of the food ensure that you have everything you will need to hand:

  • Food

  • Knives, Spoons and so on for cooking and preparation use

  • Foil, newspaper, string, scissors as required by the recipe.

  • Bowl of water for washing hands – and a towel

You will find that you will probably have another use for the bowl of water- no matter how skilled you are, there will undoubtedly come a time when you will need to soothe burnt fingers!

The fire

The best fire for cooking is one which consists of glowing embers, this means that you will need to light the fire and keep it well stoked quite a while prior to actually organizing the meal. Charcoal, lit using suitable kindling and left for 20 minutes or so to get burning well, is the best fuel.

Bear in mind the following when preparing any backwoods feast:

  • Always use two thicknesses of foil

  • Keep everything in the cooking area clean

  • Keep the embers hot at all times by adding small amounts of fuel at regular intervals

  • Have tongs and rags to hand ready for handling hot parcels of food

  • Fold foil so that the contents can be easily checked but so that no juices are able to escape

  • If you think that the outside of the food is overcooking but the inside is not ready, add another sheet of foil.

  • Make sure that you have somewhere clean available to place the food when it is ready.

  • Try out new ideas and recipes in the oven at home (not microwave!) before asking others to attempt cooking them

Using foil

Household aluminum foil has many uses in a 'backwoods' environment:

  • Disposable wash bowl - dig a small hole in the ground, line it with two thicknesses of foil and fill with water.

  • Drinking cup - mould two layers of foil around an old can or large stone and crimp the edges after removing the can or stone.

  • Strainer - as above, but pierce holes in the bottom of the cup Here are some recipes for you to try out:

You will need:

  • One large potato per person

  • One egg per person

  • Foil

  • Teaspoon Method

  • Wash the potatoes and cut the top off each one approximately one third from the thinnest and.

  • Scoop out the centre of potato with the teaspoon, being careful not to pierce the side of it. It is important that you remove just sufficient potato to accommodate the yolk and the white of an egg,

  • Break an egg and pour it into the cavity in the potato and replace the ‘lid’ you initially cut off.

  • Wrap in two layers of foil and place in hot embers for about half an hour, turning it after 15 minutes.


The egg can be replaced ..x1f.g'rated cheese, minced beef and onions, corned beef, chopped ham, mushrooms and so on. Be sure not to waste the excess potato - wrap it all up in two layers of foil with a large knob of butter and consign to the embers for 15 minutes or so.

Baked Bananas

  • Bananas

  • Margarine

  • Brown Sugar

  • Foil Method:

  • Peel the banana and place it in a foil ‘boat’ (that is, a foil dish with an open top)

  • Spread the margarine over the banana and sprinkle brown sugar over it

  • Place the foil boar onto hot embers, leaving the top open

  • Remove from the fire when the margarine has melted and the sugar has candled Fish in a paper You will need:

  • One fish (Galmalu, Linna and similar) per person

  • Newspaper sized sheets of white paper (not newspaper as the printed ink is unsafe for food)

  • String Method:

  • Prepare the fish, removing the innards, and place on a sheet of paper, which is folded to completely surround the fish

  • Take six sheets of white paper and make up a parcel with the fish I the center, tying it all up securely with string

  • Place the parcel in a bowl of water until the paper is soaked through

  • Remove the package from the water and squeeze excess water out gently

  • Place the damp parcel on hot embers, turning every five minutes. The fish should be cooked by the time the paper begins to char.

Simple recipes

The following ideas are simple to cook and the techniques can be easily remembered by even the youngest Scout!

Fried eggs:

Bury a flat stone in the hot coals and, when hot enough (a drop of water o the stone will sizzle if the stone is hot enough to cook on), sweep the ashes off. Crack an egg directly onto the stone, using a surround of greensticks to contain the egg if necessary, Burgers, sausages and meat can also be cooked in this way Twists:

Mix flour, water and a pinch of salt together to form a thick dough, adding raisins and sultanas if the budget will stretch that far. Take a piece of this dough and roll it into a snake-like length, wrapping it around a greenstick (with the bark removed). Support over glowing embers, turning occasionally until the outside turns golden brown. Serve with butter and/or jam.

Make sure you don’t use a stick which adds a bitter taste to the dough. Normally if you can find Guava sticks, it would be ideal and it will add a rich taste.

You can find many recipes online, most of the recipes are in the PDF format. Some you can download for reference:





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