Ever since mankind has existed, we have relied on meat to fill our stomachs. Back then, they used to burn it raw on fire, but with the evolution of mankind, we have learned how to make different dishes out of the different kinds of edible meat.
One thing that remains constant though, is that meat is still a favorite for most of us and a food item we can’t go too long without having once.
If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you can look away here, but if you are also a meat lover just like us, here is an article on How To Pack Meat For Camping.
We will look at why we should consider eating meat, how to take meat with you to your campsite and finally how to cook meat at camping. So, let’s jump right in.
Is Meat Healthy For Camping?
There are different kinds of meat available that are edible. From the most common like chicken and beef to bit rare ones like lamb and mutton. Even fish is considered meat in some parts of the world because you are eating a living body. But do all of these have a positive effect on your health and appetite?
Yes, meat is good for your health but only when you take it in a limited amount. Meat is a good source of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Red meat also provides you with iron, and red processed meat is the main source of Vitamin B12 in your body.
But processed meat also contains fat in large amounts, because of which consuming it in large quantities can increase the amount of cholesterol in your body. Although, the way you cook the meat can also play a factor in how meat can affect your diet.
How To Pack Meat For Camping: 6 Easy Ways
Packing meat is a very tricky thing, but there are some methods you can use to keep your meat fresh and ready for the barbecues you may have planned.
1. Use Cooler:
Coolers are the best thing you can have at camping to keep your meat fresh. It is like having a mini-fridge at your disposal. A good cooler works with ice keeping it cold and fresh.
You can pre-plan how you are going to have meat throughout the trip and then you don’t have to hassle through all the meat every time you look to cook some. We will discuss coolers in detail in the coming section.
2.Chill Till The Last Moment:
Pre-planning is the most important thing when it comes to camping. Be it the tents or meat, you need to start preparing a week before your camp. When you buy meat for your camping trip, you have to keep it in the freezer for about a week. This will make the meat fully frozen and avoid any rancidity of the food.
At the last moment, like just before leaving for the camp, you can transfer all the frozen meat from the freezer to your cooler.
3.Use Watertight Bags:
Watertight bags are very necessary for carrying meat for your camp. You can buy the best quality cooler to carry the meat, but still, the ice cubes or blocks inside the cooler will melt in due time. Because of that, the melted water can make your meat soggy and wet. This hampers the taste of the meat and you will also require more time to cook it, resulting in indirectly increasing your expense for the camp.
That is why you need to have your meat zipped or contained inside waterproof or watertight plastic bags that prevent this melted water from reaching your meat.
4. Use Frozen Food:
Instead of carrying raw meat, you can use frozen meat available in the market, the next time you go camping. There are different dried frozen meats available in the market that can go unrefrigerated for years. They can be bought in bulk or single or double packages.
They are quite delicious, lightweight, and easily portable. Before you start cooing this meat though, you have to boil it first to hydrate it.
5. Use A Fridge Thermometer:
A fridge thermometer can come in handy even though you might think otherwise. We can tell you it’s best to regulate the temperature of your meat. It can be used with a cooler easily, to monitor the temperature inside the cooler.
You just have to know the optimum temperature for storing meat and you can easily adjust the temperature inside the cooler if it goes below or above the requirement.
6. Avoid Cross-Contamination:
Cross-contamination means the contamination of one thing because of its exposure to another thing. This can be avoided by separating raw meat from the cooked meat and placing them in separate coolers.
If you add raw meat and poultry together, cook at the highest temperature possible, to avoid contamination. The temperature can be around 165 F for 15 seconds.
Tips For Using Coolers In Camps
We have already said that the best way of carrying meat on a camping trip is by using coolers. They are easily portable, very effective, and cheap when you think about the long term. But you have to keep some things in mind if you have to get the best out of your cooler,
1.Buy The Right One:
Always invest in a good quality cooler. If you buy a cheap one, then over time it will soak in more of your money and you will end up giving more than saving.
There are a lot of different types of coolers in the markets, Styrofoam coolers that are light in weight and steel or fiberglass coolers that keep your food cold for several days.
Buying a good cooler will make sure that your food doesn’t stale and also lasts a long time. You can have your preference when it comes to buying a cooler, but always prefer quality.
2.Use Large Blocks Of Ice:
It is always good to use larger blocks of ice over the smaller ice cubes. The larger blocks last for a longer time, and you don’t have to worry about your meat soaking.
It is best to make your ice blocks by freezing water in plastic bottles a few days before the camping trip.
3. Always Pre-Chill The Cooler:
You must always, without fail pre-chill your cooler the day before you go camping. You can use some ice packs for this and keep it. If your cooler becomes cold, then when you transfer your already frozen food, it won’t be affected.
4. Pack Your Cooler Tightly:
Always try to keep the meat inside the cooler between two large blocks of ice and have ice packs to support. Keep all the ice tight to the meat or you will risk the frozen layer of your meat melting.
Packing meat tightly in a good cooler can keep your meat good for several days.
5. Use Different Coolers:
Sometimes, having one cooler won’t be enough for you. You may need at least two coolers, one for meat and one for a beverage. You must pack your meat separate from beverages, or your meat will go stale because you will have to open your cooler for a beverage like water now and then.
6. Keep It Shady:
Finally, when you bring a cooler with meat to your camp, always try to keep it as far away from sunlight as possible, because however expensive your cooler may be, sunlight will surely melt all the ice inside it and you will be left with stale meat.
So, as you can see there are so many things you have to make sure to carry your meat by a cooler, but because of how useful it can be, a cooler is a favorite among campers when it comes to carrying any sort of food or beverage.
How To Cook Meat While Camping?
Now that you know how to bring meat with you to camp, what can we do with it? Well, at camps, you can explore your cooking a bit and make delicious dishes with meat, but still, the tried and tested ones are universally liked for a reason. Among them the best ways of cooking meat at camping are:
Barbeques are the best way of cooking your meat at a camp. After you work so hard and bring the meat to the campsite, having a barbeque with your group, cooking it over a campfire can become a memory worth all the hard work. You can just use sticks to hold the meat over the fire and once it’s nicely cooked, you can just take it out and have it to your heart’s fill directly.
2. Fried Chicken:
After barbecues, the next most used manner of coking meat is frying. You can pan-fry any meat by having some utensils along with you for the trip. For pan-frying, you have to make small slices of meat and need some ingredients along with it.
For tender beef steak, kebabs of lamb, lamb and pork chops, pork ribs and sliced ham, etc. broiling becomes the best option. Before broiling, you have to marinate the meat though. Marinating can increase the tenderness of the meat to a certain degree and also allow all the ingredients to gel with the meat properly.
This method is especially good for meat 3/4 inch or less in thickness. Very thick slices of meat may become overcooked on the outside before the middle has reached the desired degree of doneness.
Curry of meat is very popular in many parts of the world and we can say it is quite tasty in the way it brings out the spices of the dish. You can have some utensils carried for the camp and you can easily prepare this dish over the campfire. You need to make sure that the meat is cut into small slices for this dish.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Now then, we have given you all the knowledge required for having a good camping trip and enjoy some good non-veg dishes. But while carrying meat, you have to be very careful that you don’t let the meat spoil because it can then turn your camping into a nightmare.
If you find that there is even a hint of damage with the meat, it is best to not eat it, or else you will suffer from food poisoning.
From our side, we can say that you must once at least, try out having a barbecue in the open over a campfire. It will provide you with memories that you would cherish forever.
Do share your stories about camping with us and how you carried meat to your camp through the comment section below.
We say goodbye for now and Happy Camping!