Not going to write up a big narrative about this recipe, other than to say it is our go-to recipe for moist, sweet cornbread when we go camping. This year we made it to go along with a smoked turkey for “Campsgiving”, but we normally make it to accompany the chili dinner we always make on the final night of camping.
How To Bake Cornbread Over A Fire Pit
What Type Of Pan To Use
You can bake the cornbread in a standard flat cast iron skillet, but a cast iron dutch oven works much better in mimicking the contained, uniform heat of an oven and helps the cornbread retain more moisture. We’ve tried both the skillet and dutch oven method and the cornbread tastes great either way, but it has a little more moisture and is more cake-like when baked in the dutch oven. When baked in the skillet, it is still sweet but the texture is more like that of a traditional cornbread.
Getting The Fire Just Right
The secret to baking the cornbread over a fire pit is to wait until the flames have died down but the embers are still glowing red and going strong. We usually use 4 good-sized logs to start the fire and burn them down. We’ll cook the primary meal on the fire pit while the flames are still burning.
If it is exceptionally windy or cold outside, we toss in a few handfuls of charcoal to help keep the heat uniform during cooking. We get a more evenly cooked cornbread if the embers are 8-10 inches below the grate, raising the grate if the fire is too hot or lowering it if the fire is not hot enough.
Test The Temperature
Once the embers look about right, put your cast iron skillet or dutch oven on the grate, pour in about 2 tablespoons of oil and let that sit for a minute or two. Next, drop a teaspoon of water into the pan. If the water starts spitting within a minute of hitting the pan, you’re ready pour in your cornbread batter. If your oil is smoking before you even have a chance to test the pan with water, your fire is too hot. If the water doesn’t spit shortly after adding it to the pan, the fire is not warm enough.
How Long To Bake Cornbread
At home, cornbread usually takes 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven. If you’re baking cornbread in a dutch oven over a fire, it can take 25 to 40 minutes. If you are using a skillet over a fire pit, your cornbread should be ready in 20 to 30 minutes. Of course, all this depends on whether the heat from your fire stays consistent, how cold it is outside, and whether there is a strong breeze.
If you notice your crust is browning before the batter has started setting up you may need to raise your pan a little higher if the fire is too hot, or cover your skillet if the outside temps are slowing the cooking process.
The cornbread is ready when the batter doesn’t jiggle, the crust has pulled slightly away from the sides of the pan, and the surface is golden brown. If the cornbread starts to crack, it’s been baking a little too long (but will still taste good).
Making The Batter
We’ve done this enough times that we’ve got it down to a science. We can mix up the batter within minutes without much fuss or mess. The secret is to add all the dry ingredients in a gallon-sized ziplock bag before leaving the house. And we write the recipe for the remaining ingredients directly onto the ziplock bag to make life easier.
You can substitute powdered milk; just add the dry powder to the ziplock bag and note how much water you’ll need on the recipe of remaining ingredients.
Once we’re ready to make the batter, we just add the remaining ingredients, reseal the bag and shake and/or knead the bag until the batter is thoroughly mixed.
As soon as the skillet or dutch oven is ready, cut off 4 inches of the bottom corner of the ziplock bag and pour the batter into the skillet (or dutch oven).
Sweet, Moist Campfire Cornbread Recipe
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup oil
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 Tablespoon honey
1 1/4 cup milk
Pour all your dry ingredients inside a ziplock bag.
Mix the 2 eggs and honey up together in a cup until they are thoroughly blended. Pour your egg mixture along with all the remaining ingredients into the ziplock bag and shake or knead until thoroughly blended.
Make a 4″ diagonal cut along the bottom of the ziplock bag and squeeze the batter out and into the heated skillet or dutch oven. Bake as directed above.