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Nick frying fish in tempura batter on picnic table with COAST headlamp during Field Trip: Great River Road.

Food of the Field Trip: Great River Road

When we head out on 50 Campfires Field Trips, the mission is always to experience the area we’re visiting as fully as possible. That means meeting the people, visiting the sites, and especially sampling foods of the region. However, we try to take those foods and make them easy and fun to prepare at a campsite using a minimal amount of additional equipment and ingredients.

On the Field Trip: Great River Road we tried to gather some classic “southern” foods and prepare them in camp. Here are the recipes and results. While these were all very good, the recipes serving suggestions should simply serve as a starting point for your own experimentation. After all, trying new things is what makes hitting the road so much fun and so memorable.

Fried Bologna Sandwich
 
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When it comes to a Fried Bologna Sandwich, most people love them ... or hate them. But it's a Southern Classic. You can add tomato, cheese, and/or may as you like, but the bologna is always the star.
Author:
Recipe type: Lunch
Cuisine: Camp Cooking
Serves: 1 sandwich
Ingredients
  • Deli-style bologna sliced thick, at least ¼ inch
  • 2 Tbsp. cooking oil Sliced white loaf bread (i.e. Wonder Bread)
  • 1 large ripe red tomato, sliced
  • softened butter or margarine
  • pre-sliced American cheese (i.e. Velveta) - optional
  • yellow mustard - optional
  • mayonnaise – optional
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in skillet.
  2. Cut 3-4 ½-inch slits in edges of bologna to prevent curling and shrinking.
  3. Fry bologna slices in oil until nicely browned on each side.
  4. Generously butter one side of two slices of bread.
  5. Place fried bologna on bread and add cheese, mustard, and/or may to taste.
  6. Enjoy.
Louisiana Boudin Stir Fry
 
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When in Louisiana eat like the Cajuns. Boudin is a staple there. It's made in a variety of recipes, but always includes rice in the mix.
Author:
Recipe type: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: Camp Cookin'
Serves: a bunch
Ingredients
  • Locally sourced Boudin sausages – 1-3 links per person
  • 2 Tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1-2 large onions
  • 2-3 sweet bell peppers (green, red, yellow, etc.)
  • 1 pound fresh, sliced mushrooms
  • salt
  • pepper
  • hot sauce
  • white bread or tortilla wraps
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Cut boudin links into slices about ½” thick.
  3. Remove seeds and ribs from peppers; cut into slices lengthwise about ½-inch wide.
  4. Cut onion into medium-sized pieces and break apart.
  5. Add Boudin slices to hot oil. Sautee for about 30 seconds moving them around the whole time.
  6. Add onion and peppers. Stir fry for two minutes.
  7. Add mushrooms. Continue stir frying until sausage, onions and peppers are caramelizing and mushrooms are soft.
  8. Serve family style with white bread or tortilla wraps.
  9. Allow each diner to season with salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste.
Oysters on the Campfire
 
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Few things are simpler or more delicious than cooking fresh oysters on the coals of a campfire. If you don't have a campfire handy, a charcoal grill works 99.9 percent as well. Even if you're not into eating raw oysters, give these a try. Cooking them until the shells open on their own completely transforms the humble oyster.
Author:
Recipe type: Lunch or Dinner or Snack
Cuisine: Camp Cooking
Serves: as many as you want to shuck
Ingredients
  • Fresh oysters (or clams or scallops or mussels)
  • Lemon slices
  • Hot sauce
  • Butter
Instructions
  1. Rinse live oysters to get the biggest chunks of muck off the shell, but don’t worry about scrubbing them.
  2. Place the oysters on the grate above hot coals or directly on glowing, but flameless coals. Make sure to put the “cup” side down. Nearly all oysters have one side of their shell that’s more deeply cupped than the other. Wear fire gloves for sure, but tongs are also a good idea.
  3. Melt some butter – A LOT.
  4. Slice lemons into wedges.
  5. Open hot sauce bottles.
  6. When oyster shells open, they are ready. Carefully remove from fire with gloves and tongs.
  7. Use oyster knife or pocket knife to spear the oyster, dip in butter and add lemon/hot sauce to taste.
Food of Field Trip: Great River Road
 
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Gives the traditional catfish or alligator tail chunks a whole new twist. Tempura batter is awesome because it's so light, and cooked at the right temperature absorbs very little oil. It compliments the flavor of any white meat whether you're talking catfish, chicken ... anything.
Author:
Recipe type: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: Camp Cooking
Serves: Lots
Ingredients
  • Catfish chunks or filets or alligator tail chunks (approximately ¾-inch cubes)
  • 6 cups high temp cooking oil (peanut oil is best for deep frying)
  • Batter Ingredients:
  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup white flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. fine ground black pepper
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 cup (approx.) water or seltzer water
  • 1-2 cup ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Mix dry batter ingredients at home ahead of time and bring to campsite in large ziplock freezer bag.
  2. At the campsite add the liquid ingredients (except ice cubes) to bag.
  3. Stir just until blended.
  4. Judge the thickness of the batter. It’s better if it’s too thin rather than too thick as long as it will still adhere to the meat.
  5. Add ice cubes.
  6. Heat oil on fire or grill. Bring oil temp to 350-375 (max). Watch oil carefully – when surface starts to shimmer or oil barely begins to smoke it’s ready.
  7. Dip meat into batter to coat thoroughly. Remove fillets or chunks individually and let excess batter drip off before placing in oil.
  8. When you lower the meat into oil with tongs, pause for 6-8 seconds to set the batter as you put it into the hot oil.
  9. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes until batter puffs and becomes golden brown.
  10. Remove and drain on paper towels. Serve with hot sauce, lemon wedges, and/or tartar or cocktail sauce.
  11. Let oil come back to full temp before frying next batch.
Shrimp on the Campfire
 
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The beauty and deliciousness of this recipe is its simplicity. Let the natural flavor of the shrimp rule supreme. Don't over-cook or over-season this one. You'll thank us!
Author:
Recipe type: Lunch/Dinner/Snack
Cuisine: Camp Cooking
Serves: Lots
Ingredients
  • Fresh shrimp (largest you can find/afford, but at least 26-30 extra large or bigger)
  • 1 Lemon
  • Hot sauce
  • Butter
  • Bamboo skewers
Instructions
  1. Skewer oysters on skewers (up to six per skewer depending on size).
  2. Cook on fire grate until underside is pink/red, turn.
  3. Cook until underside is pink.
  4. Melt butter – A LOT.
  5. Squeeze in lemon juice and add hot sauce to taste. Stir well.
  6. Peel shrimp, dip in butter, and eat.
 

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