This article is brought to you by our friends at Primus. They make it easy to make simple classics or lavish campground meals with the portable fire pit. It’s light and compact, but grills up your meat and veggies, flavored with these mouthwatering marinade recipes, just like your trusty grill in the backyard.
Hot dogs and s’mores around the fire are camp food classics for a reason. They are easy and delicious. However, the repetition night after night can become a tastebud bore. Campground fare does not have to be banished to the realm of bland and flavorless just because you’re not in a traditional kitchen. Cue a zippy campfire marinade to spice things up.
Marinade Making Basics
The secret to making a killer campfire marinade is to combine oil (or another fat), acid (such as vinegar of citrus juice), something salty, a pinch of sweetness, and aromatics (herbs, garlic, or onion). Don’t be afraid to tap into your inner mad scientist to make a concoction of your very own with those key components.
Whether you decide to prepare these campfire marinades at home before you go or directly at the campsite, you’ll likely need to have these materials for preparation:
- Storage containers or gallon-sized plastic bags (Ziplocs work great)
- Decent sized bowl/vessel to mix the marinade
- Refrigeration source to chill meat and veggies as they soak in the savory goodness (refrigerator or cooler)
Once your ingredients are minced and whisked together, mix it with your meat or vegetable of choice in a container. Then let is sit for at least 30 minutes. The longer you can infuse the flavors together, the better! Now, your meat and/or veggies are ready to throw on the camp grill!
Don’t forget to fully cook or discard all of your unused marinade, especially if it has touched raw meat. After sitting, the raw juices may contain food borne illnesses that could put a huge damper on your camping excursion.
9 Campfire Marinade Recipes
These flavor bombs have the power to transform the same basic elements into fresh new bites. They’ll keep your camp sustenance interesting and the raccoons wondering what they’re going to smell next.
Here are 7 flavorful marinade recipes to get you started:
1. Honey Garlic
This simple blend from A Sweet Pea Chef can elevate any dull ingredient into a delicious meal with just a few minutes of preparation. All of the components can be easily procured and stored so you can keep making this campfire marinade throughout your trip.
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup raw honey
2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp. olive oil
2. Spicy Buffalo Lime
If you’re looking for something unique, this combination from Layers of Happiness has just the right amount of kick without overpowering the palate. The zest of the lime juice is a burst of happiness on the tongue.
1/2 cup Frank’s RedHot Original
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice
2 cloves of garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon if you are using it from a jar)
Lime – cut into slices, for serving
3. Savory Curry
Surprise your campfire friends with this delectable curry campfire marinade from My Recipes. This mixture also works great for adding into cooked rice, lentils, or other grains.
1/4 cup canned no-salt-added chicken broth
undiluted 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 tbsp. safflower oil
2 tsp. sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
4. Refreshing Thai
This Epicurious marinade works best if prepared in advance with a food processor. Consider making this before you head out to the campground and let it marinate with your meats and veggies in the cooler during your drive to campsite.
1 bunch cilantro (bottom stems twisted off)
1 bunch scallions or green onion
3 tbsp. Thai fish sauce (nam pla or Vietnamese nuoc mam)
3 tbsp. or juice of 2-3 limes
3 full tbsp. of sugar
1-3 serrano or jalapeño chilies
4-5 large garlic cloves
5. Smooth Ginger
An effortless concoction from Genius Kitchen. Bonus: you’ll likely already have the spices in your pantry. This recipe is so easy that you might just want to add it to your campground cooking staples list.
1 tsp. black pepper
3⁄4 tsp. salt
3⁄4 tsp. ginger
3 medium crushed garlic cloves
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Get the Recipe
6. Spiced Jerk
This campfire marinade from African Bites requires a bit more work, but it is sure to knock the hiking socks right off your feet. It combines the right balance of spiciness and appealing sweetness. This recipe works best combined through a food processor, but can also be made without if that isn’t possible.
1/2 medium onion coarsely chopped
4 medium scallions green onions chopped
2-3 tbsp. fresh thyme
1½ tbsp. fresh ginger chopped
8 garlic cloves chopped
1 tbsp. cinnamon powder
1 tbsp. allspice coarsely ground
1 tbsp. coarsely white pepper
1/2 tbsp. freshly grated nutmeg
2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. Honey
2 tbsp. Maggi Sauce or soy sauce
1 tbsp. bouillon powder such as Knorr
1 cup fresh mango, pineapple (optional)
1 or more scotch bonnet or habanero pepper adjust to taste
7. Classic Italian
Bring a familiar flavor to the campgrounds with this Italian mixture from My Sweet Mission. You can dress up your proteins, vegetables, or salad with this savory campfire marinade blend.
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup tarragon white wine vinegar, or vinegar of choice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
8. Camp Steak Marinade
Soy sauce is one of the most versatile items found in your kitchen cupboard. It’s salty with a little bit of tang and it is especially tasty when it comes to marinating meat. Soy sauce helps balance the tartness of acidic ingredients like citrus fruits and vinegars.
1 1⁄2 cups vegetable oil
3⁄4 cup soy sauce
1⁄2 cup cider vinegar
1⁄3 cup lemon juice
1⁄4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons dry mustard
2 1⁄4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 1⁄2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
2 tablespoons ground cloves
9. Jamaican Jerk
Maybe you don’t find chicken particularly exciting on its own. But this jerk marinade will get the Jamaican juices flowing with flavor, and help keep your chicken moist, all while impressing your clique with your knack for flavor. With spices like all spice and cinnamon, this recipe is balanced with sweetness and heat, thanks to habanero peppers. Warning: This marinade is SPICY.
2 cups chopped green onions
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 Scotch bonnet chiles* or habaneros, seeded and minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt