By Jon DeMeo
One food choice that I am never disappointed with is a slice of pizza. I enjoy trying pizza from all around the country and world wherever my travels take me. When I head to the outdoors, I bring my favorite food with me, in a different form! Believe it or not, you can make campfire pizza in a few easy steps that will give you your own personal pizza in minutes. Don’t settle with just hotdogs and brats every night, switch things up and make some pizza!
The first and most essential item you must have is a square Pie Iron that you can pick up from most outdoor retailers, and they don’t cost much more than $20. You can also find some that are “double irons” and you can cook two at the same time. The singles may work slightly better though because they create a perfect “seal” around the pizza unlike some double Pie Iron models.
Before heading out you will need to pick up you favorite type of pizza sauce, cheese and any other toppings that you would like on your pizza. All the topping should be pre-cooked (pepperoni, vegetables, etc). You do not want to put raw meat in the pie iron along with the other ingredients because it does not have ample time to cook and be ready to eat. You will need to bring a regular loaf of bread (wheat or white) and also a stick of butter.
Once you have all your supplies and you are at your campsite, build your trusty fire! The best case scenario for cooking is that you would have a hot bed of coals to cook over since you will need to hold the Pie Iron the whole time, unless you can find a resting point on the fire ring. You can only leave it unattended if your Pie Iron has a “locking” mechanism on it so it does not come apart. Before you start cooking, you must assemble the pizza.
There is one step that if you don’t complete it, your whole pizza will not come out, and that is buttering each side of the bread generously. Be sure to butter all the way to the crust and leave no area butter-less. This will ensure that when you are finished, it doesn’t stick to the iron.You only need to butter one side of each piece of bread. Place one piece of bread into the Pie Iron butter side down and begin to put your toppings on it. First spread the pizza sauce on the piece of bread, followed by the cheese, toppings and a little more cheese. Once everything is created just as you would like it, put the other piece of bread on top of it with the butter side facing up, facing the top Pie Iron. Begin to close the Pie Iron and as you apply pressure, use the edge of the knife to push in any bread that is “sticking out”. It is ok for some to slightly stick out and sometimes this “seals” the pizza closed. Once it is fully shut, lock it if your model has a locking mechanism on it so the two ends of the Pie Iron do not come apart. Depending on how hot your fire is will dictate your cooking time on each side. Don’t hesitate to slightly open it up from time to time to check on the progress of the cooking. When you see both sides golden brown or to your liking, it is finished! Be EXTREMELY careful as the Pie Iron itself is extremely hot and will burn you. Hold the Pie Iron over your plate and open it slowly so the “pizza pocket” falls out onto the plate. I suggest cutting it in half to release some of the heat and it will allow you to consume it sooner than later! If some of the pizza pocket stuck out over the flame outside the Pie Iron, you may need to cut off those pieces and trim it down to just the cooked area.
Each time you cook pizza over the fire you will learn better techniques and add different types of toppings and ingredients to the pie. This is a great idea if you have kids because pizza is a sure hit no matter where you are at. Always use caution when using, but when used properly it can provide a great meal for you and your family.