Boy Scout Campout Dinner

Alex and I went camping with his  Boy Scout troop at Camp Shands last weekend.  It was my first BSA campout, and I was assigned to prepare Saturday night dinner for the ‘geezer patrol’.

In keeping with the ribeye theme, I bought a whole, bone-in ribeye for the trip.  We planned to serve this along with fire-baked potatoes and grilled asparagus.  I took my Weber kettle grill along for the trip.

The trip was fun; it’s a very well organized troop, and a nice group of dads and boys.  I started work on dinner at about 4pm, seasoning the roast with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, and lighting the charcoal briquets in my chimney starter.  I washed the asparagus and potatoes, and wrapped the potatoes in a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil after poking several holes with a fork.

Once the charcoal was red-hot, I poured it into the grill, added some more briquets for longevity, and placed the roast on the grate to sear.  This DID NOT work.  The fat on the roast began to render and flame up immediately.  I removed the roast, and rearranged the charcoal for indirect cooking.  (This means I arranged the charcoal along each side of the grill, but placed no charcoal in the center 1/3 of the grill, directly under the roast.)  It had always been my intention to finish cooking this way, but the flare-ups accelerated the transition.  I added some pre-soaked mesquite chips for smoke, returned the roast to the grill, and placed the cover on.

I prepped the asparagus for grilling by tossing in olive oil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.  We then put the potatoes directly in the coals of the campfire to cook.  After this, I waited, and waited, and waited some more.  I had pulled my Thermapen from the campout gear to make the skillet ribeyes on Friday night, but I forgot to re-pack it, so I was flying blind on temperature.  I used the old trick of inserting something metal (typically a skewer, in this case, a filet knife), into the roast, and then pressing it against my upper lip to assess temperature.

After what seemed like an interminable period of waiting, I pulled the roast off at about 6:30.   I did not expect it to be fully cooked, but planned to carve it and let the diners finish each steak to his individual preference.  We opted to put the asparagus into foil pouches and let it cook on the campfire, as we were pretty limited on grill space.

As I started to carve the roast, we pulled the potatoes from the campfire.  The roast was basically medium rare, with a few exceptions, and infused with a deliciously rustic, smoky flavor.  The baked potatoes were as good as any I’ve ever had, light and flaky, but still moist and rich.  The asparagus also turned out great, and we finished the meal with Winn-Dixie pies that were actually pretty good.  The only thing that could have improved the meal would have been a nice Cabernet or Malbec, but it was highly enjoyable nonetheless.

It was a great trip, and a good time with Alex and the other dads.  Alex made me proud by being the first scout to qualify for his riflery merit badge under the guidance of a VERY stern rangemaster.  It’s a tough assignment- from 50 feet, he had to put 5 .22 bullets in a group small enough to be covered with a quarter.  Well done, Alex!

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