There’s nothing quite like enjoying a delicious, juicy steak cooked over an open campfire. Cooking the perfect steak outdoors can be challenging, but with the right technique and a few tips and tricks, it’s possible to create a mouthwatering meal that will leave you and your fellow campers wanting more.
In this article, we’ll explore the art of pan-frying a steak over a campfire, covering everything from selecting the right cut of meat to mastering the ideal level of doneness. Whether you’re a seasoned campfire cook or a newbie to outdoor cooking, this guide will help you create the perfect pan-fried campfire steak that’s sure to impress.
It is always a good idea to keep a few steaks in your camping fridge. If you have that luxury why not prepare your perfect pan-fried campfire steak while you are camping.
Selecting the right cut of meat
Selecting the right cut of meat is crucial when it comes to cooking the perfect pan-fried campfire steak. For best results, choose a cut that is well-marbled with fat, such as ribeye, sirloin, or T-bone. The fat will not only add flavor to the meat, but it will also help keep the steak juicy and tender during the cooking process. It’s also important to choose a cut that is thick enough to hold up well over the fire.
Aim for a steak that is at least one inch thick to ensure that it cooks evenly and doesn’t dry out. Additionally, consider the size of the steak in relation to your cooking equipment. If you’re cooking over a small campfire, a smaller steak may be more practical and easier to manage. Ultimately, selecting the right cut of meat will ensure that your pan-fried campfire steak turns out delicious and satisfying.
We had this opportunity at Elim Beach while returning from our Cape York trip. To be more precise, the last three days we spend and Laura Dance Festival.
Let’s start cooking…
Make sure you start your fire early as preparing veggies takes some time.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: veggies – 30 minutes; steak – see cooking time below
How to cook perfect pan-fried steak:
Mastering the ideal level of doneness is key to cooking a perfect pan-fried campfire steak. The best way to do this is to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the steak. For a rare steak, aim for an internal temperature of 49-54°C. For a medium-rare steak, aim for 54-57°C. For a medium steak, aim for 57-63°C, and for a well-done steak, aim for 68°C or higher.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer (we never carry it for our camping trips), you can still achieve the ideal level of doneness for your pan-fried campfire steak by using the touch test method. Here’s how:
- First, press the center of the steak with your finger. If the steak feels soft and squishy, it is rare. If it feels slightly firm and bounces back, it is medium-rare. If it feels firmer and springs back with a little resistance, it is medium. If it feels very firm and has no give, it is well-done.
- Another method is to use the palm of your hand to estimate the level of doneness. With your hand relaxed, touch the pad at the base of your thumb with the index finger of your other hand. This is what a rare steak should feel like. Then, touch the tip of your thumb to the same index finger pad. This is what a medium-rare steak should feel like. Touch the middle finger pad to the thumb tip for medium doneness, and the ring finger pad to the thumb tip for well-done.
|How it looks||How it Feels||Cooking Time|
|Rare||the centre is red & shiny||very soft to touch||~ 2.5 to 3 minutes per side|
|Medium-Rare||the centre is red to pink||soft to touch||~ 3.5 minutes per side|
|Medium||light pink in the middle||in between soft and firm||~ 4.5 minutes per side|
|Medium-Well done||light pink with grey colour on the edges||firm||~ 5.5 to 6 minutes per side|
|Well Done||grey, no more pink colour||firm||~ 7 minutes per side|
Pan-Fried Campfire Steak Ingredients
- 2 carrots
- 1 onion
- 1/4 pumpkin
- 1 potato
- olive oil
- 2 beef steaks
- salt & pepper
- olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- Start with veggies as they need more time to cook.
2. Peel onion, carrots and pumpkin. Cut them into smaller pieces and sprinkle veggies with olive oil and salt. Insert everything into the Dutch oven.
3. Once all veggies are inside cover the Dutch oven with the lid.
4. Place the Dutch oven on the hot charcoals. Use a shovel to distribute the charcoal around the Dutch oven and also put some on the lid.
5. The best steaks are between one and one-and-a-half inches thick. Meat should be room temperature and patted dry before cooking. Season the steaks generously on both sides with salt and pepper.
6. In a medium pan over medium-high heat, warm up the oil. Once the oil starts to smoke a bit, add meat and fry it for the desired amount of time as per the table above. Cast iron pans are excellent when it comes to cooking steak. It’s incredible because iron, once heated through, stays heated through. And, its dense nature means it won’t just stay hot, it will also heat evenly.
The steak should sizzle straight away. At this time don’t touch the meat, let it fry undisturbed. This should allow a crust to build up and all the juices to stay inside.
7. Next, flip the meat. During the last minute of frying, add one tablespoon of butter and start to ‘wash’ the meat with the melted butter.
8. Once the meat is ready move it from the frying pan to a cutting board and cover it with aluminium foil for around 5 minutes to let the steak rest. If you start cutting the meat without rest all juices will escape. Then slice meat against the grain.
9. Serve the campfire steak with veggies and enjoy its amazing reach taste. We also like to bake pumpkin bread and eat it with steak. This is really delicious combination!
Now you too can create a mouthwatering meal that will impress your fellow campers. Remember to keep safety in mind when cooking over an open flame, and always use caution when handling hot equipment.
With these tips and tricks in mind, you’ll be able to cook the perfect pan-fried campfire steak that’s sure to be a hit on your next camping trip.
Have you given this recipe a try yet? Share with us your tips for achieving the perfect campfire steak in the comments section below.
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