We had our cookout yesterday, but of course, things didn’t work out as planned!
To do the foil cooking, knowing it would take a while, I started the fire about an hour earlier than we were expecting our company, to get it burned down to coals before they arrived.
Then I found out they weren’t going to make it for some hours. So I built the fire up again, this time using some logs that had been buried in snow, so they would be slower burning.
Family that we were expecting to arrive in the afternoon had all sorts of problems crop up, including a vehicle breakdown! The downside is that they came more than 3 hours later than planned. The upside is that they were late enough, they could pick up my daughter from work, and she got to enjoy the cook out with us. 🙂 With the original plan, she would have missed the whole thing. On the down side, it meant my husband missed the whole thing. 😦 By the time they arrived, he was already having to lie down and was done for the day.
We made a lot of progress on our wood piles in the process. Plus, it kept my feet warm. 🙂
For the wood, I tried to stick to maple and elm, and avoided spruce. The hard part was to not keep piling wood on, because I wanted it to burn down to coals to cook over! 😀
When we did get it down to coals, this was how we set up the foil packets to cook – at least to start!
We put hot coals under the grill, then built the fire up again on one side, to have a steady supply of hot coals. The wind was coming from the south, so the fire was being blown towards the grill. We turned the packets every 10 minutes, continually adding more coals under. The cabbage was expected to cook faster, so those packets were farther from the fire than the potatoes.
After 40 minutes, I checked one of the cabbage packets.
It wasn’t anywhere near done.
This might have had something to do with it…
Yeah, it started to snow pretty good, while we were out there! Not for long, though.
Time to rethink our strategy.
We moved the grill to the middle, then build the fire up on each side, while continually adding hot coals underneath. We continued to flip the packets every 10 minutes or so.
Thinking back over how it went, I realize we were doing the equivalent of trying to cook in a fridge. Except colder. The temperature hovered just below freezing; down right balmy weather, after the cold we’ve had this winter, but cold enough to make cooking over an open fire much more interesting!
By the time we got to this point, it was past 6pm. When family arrived, the food still wasn’t quite done!
That didn’t stop anything, of course. 😀
It was corn dog time!
First, the fire was built up some more on one side, and the seasoned corn dog irons were placed in the fire to heat up.
The snow “shelves” surrounding the fire pit areas were put to good use! Batter, hot dogs and cooking spray, ready to go!
The small logs were used to hold the irons out of the snow. Once hot, the irons were sprayed with cooking spray.
Okay, so maybe the iron is a bit too hot…
It actually charred the wood under it, too. !!
Next, batter was poured in and the hot dogs added. The iron then needed to be quickly closed and flipped, so the batter coated the other half.
By this time, the cabbage was cooked, but the potatoes were not quite done. To keep the cabbage packets warm, we used an old baking pan, supported by a log, kept near the fire.
I never got photos of it, but once the potatoes were done and moved aside, we put pineapple slices directly on the grill. Pineapple cooked this way is SO juicy!!
This is the cabbage that was tossed in olive oil; other than checking for done-ness, we didn’t touch the butter ones. The photo with the recipe I based these on showed very well done, slightly charred, cabbage. I was wanting something more al dente, and these were exactly that.
The potato packets were cooked until the potatoes themselves were fork tender.
Both turned out wonderfully! Absolutely delicious! Definitely something I want to do again.
They also make great leftovers. I cut the remaining pieces of olive oil tossed cabbage into bite size pieces, then fried it up with the last of the potato mix, for breakfast. So good!
I made sure to taste some from the other packet of cabbage, with butter instead of olive oil. It tasted really good, too. In fact, I really couldn’t tell much difference; I had been concerned that the butter and seasonings would not get all over the cabbage wedges, but I think all the turning we did while cooking them solved that potential problem.
As for the corn dogs, this is only the second time the irons have been used, so it’s still very much a learning process. The first batch was kinda burned on the outside, and stuck to the irons. I think the irons were simply too hot before the batter was poured in. The second batch, the irons were a bit cooler. They didn’t stick as much, and the batter was less charred. For the third batch, there wasn’t enough batter left to fill both irons. The one that was done, the iron wasn’t as hot, and this time they came out quite light in colour, and there was barely any sticking. In all batches, the batter did tend to fall off the hot dogs, making them a bit of a challenge to eat! Charred or not, they tasted great.
All in all, it was a fantastic evening. The food all turned out tasty, even if not necessarily pretty. 😉 It was really great to hang out around the fire and visit with family while trying out all these different things.
As for myself, I ended up outside almost constantly for more than 6 hours! It felt fine while I was out there. It wasn’t until I was inside for a while that the pain hit. Hard. Top to bottom, aching and stiffness. Painkillers didn’t seem to help all that much. Still aching a bit, this morning. Ah, well. I think the girls are hurting just as much as me!
It was worth it, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat!