Created on: February 03, 2013
Baked potatoes out in camp can be a wonderful treat that helps sate the appetites of everybody there. They are also easy to make, go with a great many meals and can be topped with cheese, garlic, onions or spices to give subtle changes in flavor. Best of all, campfire baked potatoes tend to be cheap, making them an ideal way to stretch out a camp meal while saving a bit of money.
Types of potatoes
There are a lot of different kinds of potatoes, including thin skinned varieties and thicker skinned types. Many people have their favorite kind of potato, however with the cooking method using a campfire, it is suggested that thicker skinned potatoes, such as russets, should be used. This can help reduce the amount of potato that is wasted.
One of the keys to having great baked potatoes in camp is to have a proper fire built. This usually means building the fire in advance and in such a way that a good bed of hot coals is there when the potatoes are added. To avoid burning the potatoes badly, though, it is normally best to place the baking potatoes near the edge of the coal bed. While the potatoes are cooking, care should also be taken in regard to the addition of more firewood. A heavy piece of wood falling onto the potatoes can crush them.
As with baked potatoes at home, the potatoes should be rinsed to remove dirt and debris. A paring knife can then be used to slice through the skin on one side of the potato, in a single spot. This is to allow steam to escape from the potato while it is being cooked. Otherwise, the vapor can be great enough, trapped by the skin, to cause the potato to burst or explode.
Place the potato on a piece of aluminum foil that is large enough to totally wrap the spud, shiny side out. The purpose of having the shiny side of the foil facing outward is to reflect some of the heat so the potato doesn't get cooked too quickly, which can lead to burning. Wrap the potato in the foil snugly. Some people prefer to wrap the potato in a second layer of foil, to help prevent burning, as well.
Put the wrapped potato near the edge of the coals in the fire and turn it over about every 10 minutes or so, using long handled tongs to keep from being burned by the heat of the fire.
When they are done
Potatoes cooked in this way tend to bake faster than they would at home, because the coals are usually hotter than an oven would be. Depending on just how hot the coals are, the potatoes are often done in a half hour to 45 minutes. To check the spuds, remove one from the fire and allow it to cool down slightly so it can be handled. Squeeze the potato gently. If the potato is still firm, it could probably use some more cooking, but if it feels fairly soft, the potato is most likely done. Individual preferences regarding how cooked the potato should be, should also be taken into account. If they are properly cooked, though, the skin is likely to come off with the foil, when they are unwrapped.
Note: Care should be taken when unwrapping the potatoes after removing them from the coals. Even if several minutes have passed, the foil can still hold in hot steam, which can cause burns, if a person isn't careful.
Potatoes baked in a campfire can be a wonderful treat. The potatoes are usually cheap, the baking isn't hard to do and the flavor is good, especially since the bakers can be enhanced with butter, sour cream, cheese, onions, garlic or a great number of other seasonings and spices. The spuds help to fill up big appetites, as well, when served with other camp foods.
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How to make campfire baked potatoes