I might be a city girl now, but I grew up a long way from here in coal mining towns in Central Queensland. Looking back there were good and bad things about growing up in the sticks, but one of my most favourite memories is my Dad cooking dinners in the camp oven over an open fire. As a moody teenager I probably didn’t have a great appreciation for the rugged outdoors back then, but people change and now… I love it!
My Dad is a brilliant camp oven cook and I love the idea of keeping this family treasure alive. Over the last 12 months my husband and I have been picking my Dad’s brain to become our own camp oven masters and now that the weather is cold, we’re taking every opportunity to start a fire and gather a nice little collection of successful camp oven recipes.
An adaptation of Jamie Oliver’s mountain meatballs were our latest camp oven adventure and oh my lordy… these were good! Imagine meatballs the size of tennis balls, stuffed with cheese and smothered in a BBQ sauce. Like I said – oh my lordy.
Where to start with camp oven cooking
If you’ve never cooked with a camp oven before, I’m certainly not the one to be giving advice. My husband and I are still learning and experimenting and aren’t ready to pass on any wisdom just yet. I would definitely recommend this book though – Reg & Jack Absalom Camp Oven Cooking in the Outback. It’s a great help if you’re starting out. I would also recommend one more thing – just do it (please don’t sue me Nike!). You’ll make mistakes, you’ll overcook, you’ll undercook and you’ll tip ashes on the food. But each time you do you’ll know not to make the same mistake next time.
If you’re not interested in building a fire and cooking in the elements, I’ve also included instructions for cooking in the kitchen.