Here’s where you can cook an amazing meal over an open flame, roast the best marshmallow for your excited kid and stare up at a million stars. (If you can keep those pesky bugs at bay.) Because if you didn’t have a campfire, did you even go to the cottage?
Here’s an important question: What type of beer should you have with your s’mores? Porters, especially ones with coffee notes, make happy companions to this ooey-gooey treat. So do stouts and their bit of malty sweetness. Chocolate stout? Even better.
That s’more isn’t going to make itself—you’ve got to work for it, starting with the perfect stick (or skewer, if you’re going for a less rustic approach). Be sure to stab your mallow right through the centre to keep that sticky goodness from falling off its post. Then look for a spot in the fire with embers but no flames; hold your stick about 20 centimetres above the coals and keep rotating. The final product should be a perfect golden brown all around, with a molten centre.
Some say burning fresh herbs like sage or rosemary in the firepit will help repel mosquitoes. We say it’s worth a try! They smell great and if they help the bugs buzz off, that’s an added bonus. Toss a handful in the fire in addition to slathering on your bug repellant of choice. If the pests are especially dense where you are, try running a small fan to blow smoke and bugs away at the same time.
A friendly reminder of some fire safety rules: Keep the fire small (one metre high by one metre wide, max), stay nearby and extinguish it completely by dousing it with water, and stirring or poking the ashes until no more hissing or smoke comes out.
Making your food over the fire adds great smoky flavour, a quality your standard ‘cue just can’t bring. Let the flames die down and prop a metal grill grate a bit above the coals for cooking meat and veggies (just keep your fingers out of the way, in case dripping grease causes a flare-up). Or, if you’re impatient, try cooking right over the open flames.