Camp Cooking – How to Use Reflector Baker

One of the most useful equipment you can bring along on your hunting, fishing, and camping trips is a reflector maker.

It is easy to cook with a reflector boiler. Create a small fireplace or “pen” of stones or green logs, if you use the baker outdoors. I like stones. Pick stones that are as flat as you can get in the area, about eight- or ten-inches square, and create a small pen that has sides, back and top. Two or three thin stones are going to be enough for the rim, and you may be fortunate enough to find one stone to do the trick. The small pen should be 12 or 14 “high, 18” deep and 12 “long.

If you can’t find the right stones to create a wooden fireplace, make one of the green logs, break those to the top so your cooking pots set level.

Start a fire in your wood stove. Position the reflector baker from front about 4 inches, so the flame hits the bottom and reflects upwards, as well as the blaze hits the top inside and reflects downwards so you can bake something that can be baked in an oven. By moving the booker you can control heat.

When you are using some kind of wood-burning stove that does not have an oven, put the boiler as near as possible to the side of the stove. You could use a reflector baker in conjunction with a gasoline stove with a bit of experimentation.

When you are using a wood-burning stove, beans can be baked in a reflector baker without interfering with your other duties around town. Lacking a bean pot in your uniform, use a pail or dish that is two quarters deep. Soak the beans overnight, and put them in pail in the morning, adding two tablespoons of sugar, a teaspoon of dry mustard, a little salt and pepper, and almost a pound of salt. Now fill the pail with water, place it on the baker’s shelf, and position the baker on the side of the stove.

Skilled Maine Guides are popular in the wilderness for rustling up multi-course feasts and some still use the reflector baker. The deceptively simple oven will bring out bread, biscuits, pizza and just about everything else you can bake in a home oven, including chocolate chip cookies, using heat reflected from the campfire.

Normally half a pound of salt pork is enough to be used to bake two quarters of beans, but you’ll find that a pound is easier if you’re away from camp much of the day and can’t attend to your proper cooking. When you’re going to be away from camp all day, fill the stove with wood before camping. Start your fire when you return at night, and add water to the beans. Stir in more water before going to bed. The next day, beans should be made good for one of your meals.

There are public camp sites in the majority of states where fireplaces are installed.

When engaging in strenuous outdoor activities, especially on multi-day trips, it is important to choose the right food. High-energy foods such as cookies, candy, nuts, fruit leathers, trail mix, hard cheese and salami not only meet the nutritional needs of your body, but also pack quickly and can last for a couple of days. When you’re backpacking, count boil-in-bag and freeze-dried gourmet meals, instant cereals and soups, and dried pasta as lightweight (and, these days, shockingly tasty).