Posted June 1, 2020 in Red Oxx Overlanding by Jim Markel
When I’m out in the wilds of Montana on an overland adventure, I dislike seeing trash scattered around. Montana is a beautiful state, leaving garbage ruins the experience for those of us who care. I’ve lived by "Leave no trace" all my life and this is how people should remind themselves to keep their pollution standards eco-friendly and to always pick up and cleanup.
Cooking can be especially messy — leftover plastic containers, glass bottles, aluminum– things you can’t, or should not, burn in a good campfire. You packed them in, pack them out. As for the rest of typical camp cooking cleanup, making an effective camp-out cleanup can be quite easy, and not so tiresome that you’ll avoid it?
Over the years I’ve developed a few tricks through simple trial and error during my outings with my overlanding crew; they’ve also taught me a few things as well.
No need for sponges, I make wipes using paper towels and a touch of Dr. Bronner’s soap – this trick helps avoid wasting water, and I toss them in the campfire when I’m done. Remember that Dr. Bronner’s works best when it’s diluted. As it says on the bottle — dilute, dilute, dilute.
Great heat retention isn’t the only reason I love taking cast iron pans on, or off the road… they’re actually quite simple to keep ship/shape. I keep my pans well-seasoned with cooking oil, this gives them a natural non-stick cooking surface that cleans up quickly with these DIY wipes. Two of the best oils for this are coconut oil or bacon grease. Both tend to "harden" at room temperature and keep for long periods without spoilage. Avoid so-called vegetable cooling oil, it frequently goes rancid and can leave a gross caked-on film. The other advantage of coconut oil and bacon grease is that both have very high cooking temps before smoking out.
The secret to a long life with a true cast iron frying pan is that it should never be cleaned with soap and water. Scrape them out, best while still moist from cooking, with a sturdy stainless steel spatula. If you have an especially sticky mess that resists this effort, try a steel wool pad and scrub the cooked on food loose. Rinse the pan out, then wipe it down with a greasy/oily paper towel before it dries and gets rusty. It’s iron after all, and iron and water don’t get along well. When they get together, they tend to make a baby called rust, which ruins the flavor of your food and makes your pan extra sticky, the exact opposite surface you want in cookware.
Watch this last video below in our 4-part series, "Red Oxx Cooks Out", in them I share a few more cooking tips and tricks.
You might already have water-on-the-go prepped for your camp, but if you like the look of my Helio shower, here’s where I got mine.
Check out "How to Easily Create a Healthy Camp Kitchen Meal – Video 2" where I fix up one of my favorite camping gastronomical wonders – Dutch Oven steak, potatoes and cabbage. It’s a simple, healthy, and tasty recipe, cooked with ingredients that travel well.
That’s it for our series of "Red Oxx Cooks Out" videos. Check out our Overlanding Gear that Scott Brady from Expedition Portal rated "Gear of the Decade". Happy overlanding.
Jim Markel CEO