This is a reliable campfire crowd-pleaser, perfect for when you don’t know quite when you and your guests will be ready to settle down and eat. It’s a long and slow cook so the quality of the meal is not reliant on exact timing, temperature or how many red wines you’ve already had; all things that you don’t have a great deal of control over when cooking outdoors.
My quantities are rarely specific so feel free to add a dash more of whatever takes your fancy. Outdoor cooking is meant to be like that; casual, not rulesy, intuitive and fun. If you muck it up this time there’s always another campfire to perfect the recipe with next time!
Ingredients (Feeds 4 fairly hungry adults)
- 1.5 to 2kg rolled pork roast (de-boned, skin on and as fatty as possible)
- 4 Spring onion stalks, roughly chopped.
- 1 large green apple. No need to peel or de-seed, thinly sliced.
- 1/2 large fennel bulb, washed & roughly chopped.
- 5-6 large sprigs of dill.
- 80ml Apple Cider Vinegar (or any vinegar)
- 400ml full sugar Ginger Beer
- 1 tbsp Ground ginger.
- 2 tsp Salt & 2 tsp ground black Pepper
- 1/4 cup Olive oil
- Delicious Optional Extras:- Slices of peeled orange, honey, sultanas, prunes, dates.
How to make it
3 Oven cooking options:
- My preferred method, the tastiest and the way I have instructed below, is to cook in a domestic oven at 160deg for 3-4 hours then finish in a camp oven on the fire for 1-2 hours.
- 5-7 hours in a domestic oven at 160deg. The safest controlled method for when you NEED it to work out!
- 5-6 hours on coals beside the campfire. The riskiest, most social method for when you are camping out bush.
My preferred #1 method:
Pre heat your oven to 160deg. Light your fire to generate cooking coals at least 2-3 hours before eating/serving.
Scatter about half of the fennel, dill, apple, spring onion, ground ginger, salt & pepper ( and any other flavouring ingredients you’ve chosen to use) to make a bed on the bottom of a large roasting pan.
Remove the binding strings that are keeping your pork rolled up and any packaging moister absorption pads. Lay the pork out flat on the flavoured bed with the skin side facing up.
Pile the remaining half of the flavouring ingredients on top of the pork skin and sprinkle over them, the vinegar and olive oil.
Pour the ginger beer into the sides of the pan, not over the pork. This will create a 1-3 cm braising bath for the entire cook and will ensure the meat remains moist and succulent. The bath may require topping up with more soft drink or plain water periodically, so keep an eye on this.
Tightly cover the pan with foil and bake in the domestic oven for 3-4 hours at 160deg. It is at this point you can stall your preparation if you wish. Remove from the oven and refrigerate until you are ready to continue on to the campfire cooking part.
Or remove from the oven and put aside while you prepare your camp oven. My best camp oven tip: I love cooking in them but I hate cleaning them afterwards. Here’s how you get around that. Buy one of those disposable thick aluminium baking trays and put it into the bottom of your camp oven, reshaping and moulding it to fit snuggly in the bottom but still with deep side walls so that you can accomodate your braising bath liquid.
Carefully pull the pork skin off and discard. Transfer the entire contents of your pork roasting pan, flavourings and braising liquid included, into the aluminium-lined camp oven. Top up the bath if necessary. Securely locate the heavy cast iron lid on top. Heave Ho it to fire side!
Using a shovel, break apart your established fire and on the side, out of the fire, place 1 small shovel full of coals and spread to make a level pad. Place the loaded camp oven on top of the coals. Shovel another small amount of coals onto the oven lid. Not a pile… just a single layer. This is where most of us get too excited with fire and make it all too HOT: I still do this every so often!
Let this tootle along for 1 to 2 hours or until you are ready to eat. The meat is essentially cooked, you are just adding ‘campfire smokey’ from here onwards. Now is the time to start thinking about your veggies and other accompanying sides.
Check the bath every 40 mins and spin the oven around to have the other side face the fire.
Make sure you open that lid and let the delicious aromas out while your guests are watching, it will impress them no end. Tear and pull the meat apart with a fork and tongues and mix in with what’s remaining of the gravy bath. Let people serve themselves straight from the camp oven. This pork dish is sensational served with a fresh, crisp and sour coleslaw, fire baked sweet potato and corn on the cob!
With love from,
Mrs Frost’s Kitchen xx