Backpacking

Pie Iron

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Make hot meals over a campfire

A neighbor introduced me to pie irons a couple years ago, and I was hooked. Now I don’t go camping without them. Pie irons, or hobo pie makers as some call them, are hinged cast iron or aluminum boxes about the size of a sandwich, with a long handle so you can hold it over a campfire.

Before pie irons my family was limited to hot dogs, sausages and other food you could roast on a stick over the fire because I don’t like to deal with washing many pots and pans while camping. Now, we eat gourmet meals that are a snap to put together. You put a filling inside dough — biscuit dough, pizza dough, puff pastry, etc. — and the pie iron crimps the edges while it cooks over the fire, resulting in a delicious, crispy thing that can be eaten with your hands.

We’ve made calzones, apple turnovers, biscuit, and gravy pockets, ham and cheese pockets, and more. The last time we went camping, all of our meals were made in the pie iron. It’s also a quick way to cook vegetables such as zucchini or fry up some sausages. Nothing makes a better grilled cheese. There are a lot of recipes online, but I usually just wing it. When you’re done cooking, cleanup is easy. I usually just wipe it out with a paper towel with a little cooking oil on it, and it’s ready to go for the next time. I bought 2 of the double pie irons for our family of four, and it’s working out fine. If you don’t anticipate having a grate to rest the pie iron on, however, you might opt to go with a smaller pie iron, because the double gets heavy if you have to hold it over the fire. The double also has ridges inside (like a grill), so get the single if you don’t want that.

-- Abbie Stillie 06/27/17