Nothing tastes better or feels more satisfyingly primal than cooking food over an open fire. And while everyone has probably cooked a marshmallow on a stick, there are other options to explore as well.

Making the Fire

All stick foods cook best over a bed of hot coals, rather than stuck directly in flames. So plan to build your campfire about an hour before you’d like to eat, giving the kindling and logs time to burn down into embers. 

Choosing Your Stick

While your fire gets going, search for your cooking stick. It’s the only utensil you’ll be employing; so, make it a good one. Find a stick that is long enough to enable you to sit far enough from the fire to not be scorched as you cook and sturdy enough that your stick won’t droop and release its precious cargo into the flames. Once you’ve chosen your stick, whittle off the bark on the end so you have a nice, smooth, clean area and a sharp tip so you can properly impale your food of choice.

  1. Hot Dog. Cooking a hot dog is the simplest of all the stick foods; just impale that wiener and hold it over the coals. Hot dogs are quite resilient; just heat and eat.
  2. Grilled Cheese. Grilled cheese is the ultimate comfort food, so why not have Mother Nature whip you up one while out in the woods? You’ll need a special stick for this endeavor — one with a fork on the end. Put together the traditional grilled cheese set-up by buttering two slices of bread and sticking two slices of cheese between them. Then rest your sandwich on top of the fork. Toast it. When the bottom slice is brown, carefully flip over the sandwich and toast the other side. Take it slow, or you’ll toast the bread before the cheese has melted.
  3. Biscuits/Bread. Baking bread on a stick is a tradition that goes back at least a century. Start with a can of refrigerated biscuits or crescent roll dough. Wrap the dough around the end of the stick, pinching the sides together. Roast it like a marshmallow, turning constantly until golden brown. Patience is your friend here … if you try to hurry things up, the outsides will quickly burn, leaving the inside undone. For an added bonus, you can also take biscuit dough and wrap it around a hot dog for a pig-in-a-blanket on a stick.
  4. Bacon. Just wrap a piece around a stick (all the better if the stick has a couple nubs for traction), and hold it over the fire. Bacon burns and chars easily, so while you’ll be eager to get that delicious strip in your mouth, take it slow.
  5. Marshmallow. Just because it’s common, doesn’t mean it’s commonly done well. To cook a marshmallow properly — golden brown, slightly crisp on the outside, and gooey on the inside — look for a little cave of coals within your fire and place your marshmallow over it. Once your marshmallow is golden brown, sacrifice it upon the graham cracker altar, and give thanks to all the forces that brought this incomparable delicacy to man.