After a day of hiking and exploring the national parks, there’s no better feeling than devouring a greasy pizza with an ice cold beer. You might not think of it as a camping food, but the reality is that crafting a personal campfire pizza is much easier than you might think, and it’ll be a big hit especially if you’re camping in a group or doing some backyard camping with your kids this summer. Plus, cooking a pizza over a campfire adds a depth of smokiness to the dough. With camping season already here, now’s the time to test it out.
Make Dough On the Go
This pizza dough recipe is camp-ready. It only calls for a few ingredients: a packet of yeast, some warm water, flour, and olive oil. In a large bowl, dissolve the packet of yeast in warm water, then mix in olive oil and flour. With your hands, knead the dough and form a ball. These steps are simple enough that you could do them at any campsite.
But if you’re anticipating long afternoons of scaling mountains and rock climbing, you might want to be able to return to your campsite and toss something easy over the grill. Pre-made dough that you’ve made at home and stashed in your cooler is a time saver, or for an even lazier version and a faster turnaround time, skip the dough altogether and build your pizza on top of some naan or pita, though admittedly, this version isn’t as hearty and satisfying. To prevent a mess of melted cheese, line your grill with foil before you start cooking.
If Your Campsite Has a Grill
Since clean grates at campsites aren’t always guaranteed, bringing a cast iron skillet with you will ensure you get to make pizza every time. Pick a larger skillet if you’re making a pizza to share with the whole family, or bring a personal sized skillet if you’re accommodating picky eaters or kids who just love to make their own creations with customized toppings.
First, preheat your pan over an open fire, or place the cast iron skillet on a propane powered stove, as the stored heat will also add a little crispiness to the dough later. Take this opportunity to set up a small camping table like the REI Camp Roll to hold all of your plates, ingredients, and tools.
Once you’ve made your dough, coat the skillet with oil, place the ball of dough in the center of the skillet and flatten it in the pan, pressing outwards to form a thinner middle and a thicker edge. For the dough to cook evenly, make sure the heat is equally distributed across the bottom of the skillet by moving it around the fire, or element if you’re cooking on a stove. Once the bottom of the dough is golden brown, remove the skillet from the heat source, flip the dough, spread it with sauce, and load it with cheese and your favourite toppings.
Because cast iron skillets retain heat very well, removing it from the heat source while you craft your pizza will prevent the dough from burning. Once the cheese is piled high, pop a lid on top or wrap the pizza in foil before returning the skillet back on the heat. The pizza is done when cheese is melted and the dough is cooked through. Let pizza stand for up to five minutes so the cheese can set before you cut it. If you’re feeling creative, take advantage of the high walls of your cast iron skillet by making a Chicago style deep dish pizza.
Bring Your Own Grill
This BioLite FirePit is a double threat. It cooks your dinner on a hibachi style grill, and also acts as a smokeless campfire that you can cozy up to for stories and hot cocoa. It burns firewood and charcoal, and its efficient electric engines promote a roaring flame with minimal smoke.
The FirePit is great for stashing in your trunk or setting up in your backyard, but if you’re truly planning to make your pizza in the backwoods, you can opt for BioLite’s smaller CampStove 2, which comes with an optional grill attachment that you could use for small pizzas.
If you prefer a propane grill, the Camp Chef Everest 2 is a terrific option. This two burner stove provides ample room if you’re cooking for the whole family, and the foldable wind guards on sides protect your flames from gusts of wind that might otherwise blow out your fire.