How to Cook Thanksgiving Dinner Over a Campfire

Restrictions on indoor gatherings don't have to cramp your holiday style. Gather 'round the fire and make 2020 a Thanksgiving to remember.
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Most people associate hitting the road with summertime, but with the pandemic limiting big gatherings and prompting major increases in RV sales, 2020 may be the year of the RV/campout Thanksgiving. 

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It's not as hard as it sounds to cook your Thanksgiving meal over a campfire. All it takes is a few tools, a bit of planning, and an open mind. We checked in with the folks at RV Trader for their recipes and tips on how to have your own campfire Thanksgiving. They shared their recipes for a full turkey day spread, from the bird to the sides to dessert! 

A few tips and tricks: Start with the turkey and prepare the sides while the bird cooks. Also, make sure you have the following: a grill grate to cover the fire, a kitchen thermometer, a cast-iron dutch oven, aluminum foil, a cast-iron skillet, and skewers (or go rustic with some clean sticks!). 

Campfire Thanksgiving Dinner

Serves 4-6 people

Turkey

What You’ll Need:

● Heavy-duty grill grate to cover your fire

● 6-8 lb. turkey

● Butter

● Cast-iron dutch oven (standard size)

● Preferred spices (salt, pepper, and anything else you like)

● Diced onions, celery, and carrots

● 1 cup chicken broth

● Fresh herbs (we recommend rosemary and sage)

● Kitchen thermometer

Instructions:

1. Thaw the turkey. Remove the giblets and pat dry with paper towels. 

2. Apply butter and spices to the turkey, including under the skin. 

3. Chop the onions, celery, and carrots into large chunks and place them in the bottom of the dutch oven, along with the cup of broth. Place the turkey in the dutch oven and top with sage and rosemary. 

4. Cover and cook over your fire for roughly 2-3 hours, depending on the size of your turkey. (The general rule is 20 minutes per pound.) The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 165°. 

5. Let your turkey rest for around 30 minutes so the meat juices can redistribute. Carve and enjoy!

Time-saving tip: Cook your other side dishes while the turkey is resting.

Campfire Sweet Potatoes

What You’ll Need:

● Sweet potatoes (one per person)

● Olive oil

● Heavy-duty aluminum foil

● Butter

● Salt

● Cinnamon

● Marshmallows

Instructions:

1. Thoroughly clean the outer sweet potato skin and pat dry. Pierce the outside of each sweet potato multiple times with a fork and lightly coat with olive oil. Wrap each one in aluminum foil

2. Place sweet potatoes on hot coals for 20-30 minutes, or until tender

3. Slice potatoes open vertically and add butter, salt, and cinnamon, as desired. If you like marshmallows on your sweet potatoes, roast as many as you’d like and place them on top. 

Green Bean Casserole

What You’ll Need:

● Cast-iron skillet

● 1 can green beans

● 1 can cream of mushroom soup

● 1/2 5 oz. can evaporated milk

● Salt and pepper

● 1 pack fried onions

● 1 pack bacon bits (optional)

Instructions:

1. Combine the green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and milk in your skillet. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

2. Simmer over the fire until thick and hot. 

3. Sprinkle with bacon bits and fried onions before serving, then enjoy! (It doesn’t get easier than that, folks.)

Rolls on a Stick

What You’ll Need:

● Roasting skewers or a clean stick (bark removed)

● 1 pack crescent rolls

● Butter

● Whipped cream or jam (optional)

Instructions:

1. Butter the clean end of your roasting stick. Wrap the crescent roll around buttered part of the stick

2. Sit back, relax, and place your roll on a stick over the fire, turning occasionally for 10-15 minutes, until cooked. 

3. Top with butter or, if you’re craving something sweet, whipped cream or jam. 

Apple Pie Packets

What You’ll Need:

● Heavy-duty aluminum foil

● Non-stick spray

● Apples (one per person), thinly sliced

● Butter

● Brown sugar

● Cinnamon

● Chopped nuts

● Vanilla ice cream

Instructions:

1. Cover a square of aluminum foil with non-stick spray. Place apple slices on the square of aluminum foil. 

2. Top the apples with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped nuts. 

3. Wrap the foil packet securely and place on the grate over your fire. Cook for 20 minutes. 

4. Top with ice cream and enjoy!

Time-saving tip: For your stuffing and cranberry sauce, we suggest keeping it simple and grabbing boxed stuffing and canned cranberry sauce (because let’s be honest, we all love those as much as the homemade options). Heat the cranberry sauce over the fire in a saucepan and cook the boxed stuffing in a cast-iron dutch oven.