How to Make Hot Meals Outdoors

Making a delicious breakfast or dinner while camping or tailgating is simple thanks to a few select items.

Tailgating a decade ago might have involved a KFC order and a cooler of beer, but today it can mean an elaborate four-course menu and hours of preparation. While hot dogs on a stick and s’mores over an open fire still have their place in a campout or picnic (you just can’t beat the nostalgia), with all the possibilities today, gourmet tailgating is far more the norm. Then there’s the additional benefit of lessening the possibility of food poisoning from Aunt Marva’s unrefrigerated deviled eggs. You need a reliable and controllable heat source, some solid cookware, and a cooler. Here are a few to consider.

Portable Gas Grill

This gas-powered table-top grill is convenient, portable, lightweight, and cooks a surprising amount of food at one time. Cuisinart

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Sure, with a little know-how a campfire can be managed as a cooking heat source. But it’s not portable and isn’t well-suited for parking lots or other locations where they’re prohibited. Portable gas grills fill the bill nicely.

Outdoor Cookware Set

Here’s a five-piece cast iron outdoor cookware set that features a griddle, two different-sized skillets and tops, plus that all-important Dutch oven. Lodge

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It’s a mistake to skimp on your outdoor cookware, and don’t even think about re-purposing your old kitchen pots and pans. You need durable cookware that moderates the heat and stands up to the rigors of, well, cooking outdoors. Cast iron is your best choice for anything near a flame. It’s been an outdoor chef’s favorite for years.


This portable cooler is drainable and rated to hold 55 quarts (almost 14 gallons). Badge: YETI

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Modern cooler technology is light years beyond yesteryears. This cooler holds ice for days. Need we say more? It’s also extremely durable and easy to transport using the wheels on the bottom.