When your home is on wheels it’s easy to visit other full-timing friends who happen to be in the vicinity. This is exactly why a large group of our near and dear full-timing cohorts recently converged in the Southern California desert for a long-awaited reunion. For the first time in over two years, about a dozen of us were able to make our paths cross at a scenic boondocking spot near Borrego Springs, California.
The large campfire pit in the middle of the round-up served as a central meeting place for Sunday morning mimosas and communal group meals. Although no formal pot lucks were coordinated, each day we serendipitously met at the fire pit to share at least one meal comprised of colorful foods that reflected our varied experiences. Two cooking implements used by fellow campers were a hand-forged “Tennessee Squirrel Cooker” (pictured at left) and a “Sacred Fire Camp Griddle (pictured at right). RVers who like preparing meals over a fire will find it worthwhile to purchase these hand-crafted devices.
The Tennessee Squirrel Cooker
If you’ve never heard of a Tennessee Squirrel Cooker you’re not alone – I hadn’t either. However this simple little 22” tall rod and 24” hook device can cook anything from a hunk of meat to a corn on the cob over an open fire. Typically sold by blacksmith art aficionados at craft fairs or on Etsy, this campfire cooking tool is so compact and lightweight you can easily stow it in a backpack or among your RV’s barbecue tools. Google “Tennessee Squirrel Cooker” and you’ll find craftspeople all over the nation offering them for sale and usually for less than $40.
The second handy cooking utensil that enhanced our group cooking sessions was the Sacred Fire Camp Griddle. These griddles are hand forged by a blacksmith in Leadville, Colorado and feature a sizable pan area that’s large enough to cook for many people. The grills also have a non-stick surface that makes it easy to prepare everything from sauteed vegetables to Sunday morning pancakes. Although the size and weight of this cooker is far too bulky to stash in my small 24” fifth wheel, anyone with a larger rig and some basement storage area to spare will find that this tool offers the necessary motivation to bring your entire meal cooking process outdoors over a cowboy campfire. Not only does it make meals taste great, but it saves you water too: just treat it like any cast iron pan; brush off food bits right into the campfire, wipe with a damp cloth and you’re done. Don’t use soap and water unless absolutely necessary or you’ll ruin the seasoned non-stick cooking surface.
One of the best parts about meeting up with other RVers is the ability to learn from each others’ discoveries. Usually these learning sessions consist of commiserating over holding tank catastrophes or highway horror stories, so it was a pleasant surprise to experience these simple cooking devices that resulted in tasty and memorable cuisine in the great outdoors. If you have unusual cooking implements you love using on the road, I’d love to hear about them. Be sure to share your stories and tips in the comments field below!
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.