For the first time in three months we have some comfortable weather to spend time outdoors. The cool down with highs in the 80s and lows in the 50s and 60s is perfect for camping, hiking, backpacking, fishing and … outdoor cooking!
We all know food simply tastes better when prepared and eaten outdoors. In my commentary this week I talk about camping and preparing bacon and eggs, biscuits and coffee on a cool morning. Over the past several weeks I’ve ranted about grilling and smoking roasts, ribs, steaks and tenderloins. But outdoor cooking is not just for camping trips. You can prepare a meal outdoors anytime … not just when you’re away from home. One of my favorite ways to spend Saturday mornings is to pop open the camp stove and plastic tote of cast iron cookware and fix a hearty breakfast in the backyard.
Recently I purchased something I had wanted for several years. I had wanted a set of cast iron propane burners made together on a cast iron frame with legs. The burners are similar to those used on fish or turkey fryers. Each burner has a seperate control and fuel comes from a propane cylinder such as the one used on a gas grill. These burners were the bulkier, heavier predecessor to the modern lightweight propane camp stove. I had priced new ones on camping websites and in farm supply stores, but ended up buying a slightly larger model at a flea market for about half the price of a new one. Less than a half-hour of scrubbing and wire brushing, and a fresh coat of stove paint, and my outdoor propane cooktop was ready for many more years of steady use.
Weather permitting this Saturday, my plan is to fire up the propane burner and “cook off” a batch of one of my favorite camp meals … a one pot, easy to cook and clean up, delicious breakfast. We first made this meal while camping with our two very young children (at that time they were very young) in the Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee. It takes one skillet, a spatula or spoon, a knife and plates and utensils to eat it with. It’s very simple, but it tastes great when the flavors are combined.
1/2 to 1 pound pork sausage
4 medium potatoes
4 to 6 eggs
Fry the pork sausage loosely until done. While sausage is frying, dice potatoes into about half-inch squares. When sausage is done spoon out of skillet but leave majority of grease in the pan. Put diced potatoes in the skillet and cook until done. Covering the skillet with a lid or foil captures the moisture in the potatoes and speeds the process along. When potatoes are nearly done, crack eggs into the skillet over the potatoes. Turn mixture occasionally to scramble eggs, adding sausage back in before eggs are completely scrambled. Salt and pepper to taste. It’s that simple. But you can also add sliced or diced bell peppers, favorite seasonings, jalapenos or grated cheese.