Field’s Guide to Safe Campfire Cooking

Camping season is upon us, and, for the seasoned campers among us, cooking over a campfire is bound to re-kindle all sorts of great family memories.

If you want to introduce your kids to the joys of cooking over an open fire, Field® hot dogs are a great way to do it. Since Field® hot dogs come fully cooked, there’s no need to worry about undercooking them as there may be with other meat products. And since they always taste delicious, your kids are likely to have them skewered on a roasting fork before you can even say, “Help yourself!”

However, to make sure the memories you’re making are good ones (and not ones involving a painful burn!), here is our checklist for creating a safe campfire-cooking experience.

    1. First of all, make sure having a fire is permitted in your area. Many areas of the country restrict fire-building during parts of the year due to dry conditions and potential forest fire hazards.
    2. If fire is allowed, make sure to not overbuild the fire. While a six-foot-tall inferno may look impressive, glowing embers are actually better for cooking than raging flames, as they’re less likely to catch your food on fire and are more comfortable to sit around. Additionally, a big fire arranged in a teepee or log cabin-like structure may collapse as the wood burns, creating a dangerous situation for anyone gathered near.
    3. If it’s windy out, stack extra wood upwind from the fire to create a windbreak. Since oxygen fuels a fire, this can help create a calmer, less chaotic fire.
    4. Equip yourself with roasting forks that are 24″ or longer. Anything shorter and your kids may need to lean in closer to the fire than is safe or comfortable. There are plenty of roasting forks available for purchase in the 32″ to 45″ range. A grill grate that sets up over and across a campfire is another option if preferred over roasting forks.
    5. If using roasting forks, advise your kids not to run with them or swing them around carelessly. The tines can be sharp, and the food on it scalding hot (or even ablaze!), and both running and swinging create situations that increase the likelihood of someone else getting hurt.
    6. Protect bare skin by wearing pants and closed-toe shoes. Even though summer nights may be warm, wearing these items protects bare skin from the occasional spark that may snap, crackle, pop right out of the fire from time to time.
    7. Be prepared for the unexpected by having water or a fire extinguisher on hand. Most fire departments recommend having five gallons of water on hand to pour on a fire at the end of the night to put it out completely, so it’s wise to have that ready from the beginning.
    8. Last but not least, always have an adult to supervise kids around a fire at all times and never leave a campfire unattended.

With just a little bit of know-how, preparation and caution, you can expect to have some of the best nights of the year cooking over the campfire with your family.