Derek Wolf is the owner of Over the Fire Cooking, and as you may be able to tell from the company name, he is a fire cooking enthusiast. As a recent addition to the team of Go RVing influencers, Derek offers his unique take on cooking at the RV campground. We reached out to Derek to learn what inspires his unique cooking style and how easy and manageable it is to create a great meal from campground to campground.
Go RVing: Tell us how you got into RVing.
Derek Wolf: My wife’s family runs an RV campground as their profession, so, I married into the RV life. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with all the travel and discovering new campgrounds.
GRV: What makes over the fire cooking better than conventional cooking in a kitchen?
DW: I wouldn’t say over the fire cooking is necessarily convenient or better in the outcome. In fact, conventional cooking is certainly easier and less work. However, cooking over the fire at the campground is all about the experience. You create so many better memories at the campground cooking with family then you would cooking conventionally at home. The experience brings people together and provides a new challenge in kind of a new frontier. I fell in love with the whole idea of open fire cooking because there isn’t just one right way to do it. I have learned from chefs and cooks all around the world on how to cook food over the fire. In every situation, they make it about the experience and bringing people together. We all learn from each other and learn new recipes from different backgrounds. It’s not a competition. It’s people coming together around the campfire.
GRV: What’s your favorite thing to cook over the fire that most people wouldn’t consider campground food?
DW: Typical campground food is good because it’s simple and delicious. You know, hot dogs, burgers and everything like that. While you can cook anything over fire, there’s no reason to make it more complex. That is why I really like cooking steak right on the coals i.e. dirty steaks. But I also like to cook dirty steak over the coals because it kind of freaks some people out. Cooking it that way adds character and flavor. The steak cooks quickly and it’s fun! People might not know this, but, a couple of American presidents, including Dwight Eisenhower, preferred their steak cooked like this. So, naturally it is in our blood!
GRV: How does the RV lifestyle make over the fire cooking even more special?
DW: Over the fire cooking brings another aspect of adventure to RVing. With RVing you already make your own adventure - it’s the perfect fit. You have to be conscious of where you’re located and more conscientious of your fire because you’re outside. Every aspect is adventurous, and it pushes people outside of their element. Cooking at the RV campground brings people to appreciate simplicity more because you’re also away from your stationary home. You learn to appreciate what you have at home while still enjoying the simplicity of being in nature and can appreciate less of a burden. People can enjoy using the bare minimums if they want because there’s a real joy in that.
GRV: What are the basic ways an RVer needs to prepare before leaving on a trip where they’re planning to cook?
DW: Cooking over fire might be intimidating for some people because they don’t think they know what they’re doing and they don’t think they have the right equipment. However, the great thing about it is they can make it their own way, and they can cook just about anything at the campground. There is not a right or wrong way to cook over fire, you just need to know some basics about cooking. RVing cooks need to understand the basic ideas and they can cook all the same foods.
As for equipment, there are five essential things I would say they should bring. Bring a cooler to store the meats and vegetables. RVs have limited space which makes coolers handy, they can also go with you anywhere – especially outdoors. Bring an axe so you can split the wood. (Note: Make sure to get wood from the local area. This really keeps the environment safe from other contaminants because that wood will be immune to the diseases around them.) Bring a really good knife for obvious reasons. Lastly, you need your grill and there are so many different kinds from different price ranges starting as low as $30.
Keep up with Derek and his campground, over the fire recipes by clicking here.
Want to try one of Derek’s recipes for yourself? Try his Mega Bacon Cheeseburger! Click here for the recipe!