Is That Bacon Cooking?

I’m sure you have heard me say many times how I love the unique bouquet of smells I often come across in a South Carolina State Park – like after a summer rain shower when the vibrant forest scents fill the air.And then there are the first fragrances that permeate the parks come fall. Can you smell a brisk fall morning? I think so. There is just something about the temperature change that refreshes the air. Add in a little campfire smoke, and you know fall is here.

One of my favorite smells of a campground is, you guessed it, the aroma of campfire food! There is nothing like the smell of bacon sizzling on a campground grill. Campground cooking is an art form all its own, and like a lot campground experiences it molds memories that often last a lifetime.

There are so many campground recipes, each one with a set of memories and unique traditions that go along with it; from the quaint roasting of a hotdog over an open flame to the grilled-to-perfection gourmet meal that would rival the finest restaurant. Everyone has their unique take on side dishes – one might be some hamburger meat, potatoes, carrots, perhaps some green peppers and onions, a dash of salt, a pinch of pepper, a healthy splash of butter, wrapped in foil and cooked over the coals. Whatever it is, it’s not just a side, it’s your tradition.

Let’s not forget the desserts, like a cobbler made with peaches, blueberries or blackberries. Make it your own and start a great tradition while making wonderful memories. You cannot talk about campfire desserts without the mention of s'mores. A couple of graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows roasted just the way you like it. For me, the messier the better.

And then there’s ice cream! I have seen some real creative ice cream concoctions over theyears. When I was a ranger at Kings Mountain there was a group of campers whose tradition was ice cream night, not just one churn, but ten or twelve churns! They had all types of ice cream, from vanilla to strawberry to peach – even peanut butter! Never ate an ice cream that I didn’t like.

We would love to hear about some of your campground recipes and memories. Email us or post your favorite recipes on our Facebook page, or check out our campground recipes page. If you’re a campground cooking connoisseur or just enjoy great food we’d love to have you camp with us and showoff your campground cooking skills while making a few memories in the process. If you are interested in participating in, or experiencing, a campground cookoff join us at Calhoun Falls State Park the weekend of September 16, the competition is fun and the aroma of the campground is well worth the trip even if you don’t cook or enter.

Fall is just around the corner, so make your plans for an active camping season at your state parks, and bring your recipes and your appetites. Ahh the smells of fall!

See you in the parks!

Phil