Backwoods recipes

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These recipes are great for Backwoods cooking, and are best suited for embers and not high-flamed fire.

Ideas for backwoods cooking

Tarzan Steak

Blow the white ash from the coals; place the steak directly on the coals. It will take about 5 minutes per side.

Fried Eggs

Bury a flat stone in the coals, when the stone is hot enough crack an egg on the stone using the surrounding green sticks to keep it from spreading. Sausages, burgers and bacon can also be cooked in this way.


Wrapped in wet newspaper or foil and placed directly on embers, tied to a green stick by the tail and stood up in the embers or done on a reflector.

Chicken on a string

You may know that you can roast a chicken on a spear over a fire, but you can also hang it on a string over the fire and the chicken will turn itself. It is a good idea to bind the chicken with string to prevent the meat from crumbling off the carcass. Rub the chicken with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the chicken around the neck with a piece of string, 1.5m long, and suspend it from a tripod so that it hangs 20 – 25cm above the embers. If you can, collect the drips of fat in a tin foil saucer; this should be used for basting. It will take about an hour to cook.

Potato egg / onion egg / orange egg

You will need:

  • One large potato (or onion or orange) per person
  • One egg per person
  • Foil
  • Teaspoon


  • Wash the potatoes and cut off the ends, about a 1/3 from the thinnest end.
  • Scoop out the centre – to a size large enough to accommodate one egg.
  • Break the egg into the potato and replace the top, secured with sticks.
  • Wrap in foil, or place directly onto hot embers.
  • Your egged potato or onion egg will be ready in 20-30 minutes.

You can also add cheese, corned beef, chopped ham and even mushrooms, or replace the potato with an onion or orange.

Backwoods Mince

You can cook mince meat inside all sorts of vegetable containers: orange peels, hollowed-out potatoes, onions, gem squash, butternut, or even cabbage leaves.

Stew in foil

Main article on Pressure packs
You will need:

  • Individual portions of cubed steak or mince
  • One onion
  • Carrots
  • One potato
  • Salt and pepper


  • Prepare the foil bag as pictured; add the meat and diced vegetables to it.
  • Close the bag and place in the hot embers. Be careful not to puncture the bag.
  • Cook for eight to ten minutes.

Note: The steam in the bag will cause it to inflate. If this does not happen, assume that the bag is punctured and reduce the cooking time to prevent the food from burning.

Grilled Brinjal or Eggplant

  1. Cut the brinjal in half and scoop out some of the seeds.
  2. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place a small blob of butter or margarine in the hollow.
  3. Put halves in embers skin down.

Banana hotdog

Take a banana and cut a slit in the peel down the inside of the curve, and open it outwards. Remove the banana, without breaking the peel. Put a sausage inside the banana peel and cook directly on the coals.

Instant Hot Dogs

Lays sliced onions on a piece of tin foil, or a cabbage leaf, add a sausage or two and place more onion on top. Wrap up the foil, or cabbage leaf, and sealing the ends tightly. If you are using a cabbage leaf, secure it with a number of green sticks. Place on hot coals for about 7 – 10 minutes, turning occasionally. When cooked, open the package and pop the contents into a bread roll.

Baked Potato

Cover a medium sized potato with 2cm thick clay and place in hot embers for 25 minutes.


Can be made with many different ingredients – the main idea is that you put meat and vegetables in small pieces on a barked stick and grill them over the embers. They can be made even more delicious if you brush your kebabs with a mixture of oil and spices. A small tip here – use the very small onions normally used for bottling. Why not try a fish kebab (firm fish only). Pork is not suitable for kebabs as it needs much longer to cook. Remove the bark from a thin green stick and pierce on piece of meat and vegetable of your choice. Support the skewers over glowing embers, turning occasionally until the meat is cooked.

Chicken on a string

You may know that you can roast a chicken on a spear over a fire, but the French have an idea where you don't even have to turn the chicken! You hang it on a string over the fire and the chicken will turn itself. It's a good idea if you bind your chicken here and there to stop it crumbling off the carcass.


  1. Rub the whole chicken with margarine, sprinkle with salt inside and out.
  2. Now tie the chicken around the neck with a piece of string l.5 m long and suspend from a tripod so it hangs 20-25 cm above the embers.
  3. If you can collect the drips of fat in a tinfoil 'saucer' this should be used for basting.

Bundu Mielie

  1. Open husks and remove silk.
  2. Close husks round mielie and soak in water for 30 minutes.
  3. Cook on hot embers in husk on each side.
  4. Remove husks and eat.

Twist Bread

This is a classical recipe for making bread:

  • 500g flour
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 100ml Water

Mix ingredients to form thick dough. Knead it lightly and roll into long sausage. Wrap pieces of the dough around green sticks. Support it over glowing embers, turning occasionally until the outside turns golden brown. This is sufficient to make 3 portions.

Pineapple Pudding

Slice the top off a pineapple and carefully hollow out the centre, then fill with a mixture of sultanas, pineapple, and grated chocolate. Replace the top securely with sticks, and bury in hot embers for about 30 minutes.

Jamaica Banana

  1. Put a ripe unpeeled banana into the ashes of the fire and roast for about 25-30 minutes or until they look black.
  2. Rake out of fire – split down the middle – sprinkle with sugar and eat out of the skin with a spoon.

Grilled Chocolate Banana

  1. Take a banana and slice a fine opening along the peel of the skin.
  2. Carefully press in bits of chocolate (preferably chocolate flake).
  3. Put the bananas in the embers of a fire and cook for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Rake out, peel open and eat with a spoon.
  5. Cook until tender (about 15-20 minutes) and eat out of the hardened skin.

Baked Apples

You will need:

  • Large cooking apples
  • Raisins
  • Brown sugar
  • Foil, and a knife


  • Wash and remove the core of each apple.
  • Place the apples in foil and press a mixture of raisins and sugar into the core of the apple.
  • Seal the apple and place on hot embers for 10-15 minutes.

Vary it by using chocolate or jam as fillings

See also