5 Gourmet Open-Fire Cooking Recipes for Your Next Central Coast Camping Trip

Who doesn’t want a luxurious kitchen in their RV? Many RV kitchens come so equipped that it’s just like cooking in the kitchen at your house. But, there is still something special about cooking over an open fire. And, we aren’t talking about hot dogs and roasted marshmallows. We’re talking about things like beef tri-tip and steamed clams.
The Central Coast is full of unique flavors that you can enjoy when cooking over an open fire. In fact, Author Paula Marcoux is an expert at cooking over a fire. She says, “Fire allows you to actually access the flavors of the past. There are people that are buying grills that are $1,000, and the food doesn’t taste like anything, and there are people that are cooking over nothing, and it tastes incredible – so there’s got to be something to it.” After seeing these open fire cooking recipes you will become a believer. Here are 5 gourmet meals to try on your next trip out.

1. Santa Maria-style BBQ Tri-Tip

If you want to enjoy central coast flavors over your open fire pit then tri-tip is a great option. Santa Maria is famous for discovering tri-tip in the late 1950’s. It used to be that this cut of beef was traditionally cut for stew meat or used in hamburger until one butcher decided to try cooking it slow over the fire.
Bobby Flay from Food Network has a great recipe that really pairs the flavors of the central coast nicely. You have a BBQ style tri-tip served with Santa Maria Pinquito Bean Relish and Tomato Relish.

Photo credit: Fox and Briar

2. Beer Steamed Clams


The Annual Pismo Clam Festival will be coming back mid-October along with the crowds. This is one of the biggest events that happens in Pismo. But, you don’t have to wait until then to enjoy some steamed clams.

This Beer Steamed Clam recipe from Fox and Briar takes less than 10 minutes to steam and only requires a few ingredients. When you are camping on the central coast there are plenty of places where you can purchase fresh local seafood. The recipe recommends using Manilla Clams. You throw them in a dutch oven with a can of beer, butter, garlic, and lemon and that’s about it. Cover it with the lid and once it steams for around 7 minutes dinner is ready.

It’s quick, easy, and deliciously central coast flavor!


Photo: Thomas J. Story

3. Grilled Chicken with Whiskey Barbecue Sauce & Spicy Slaw

The Central Coast is littered with craft breweries full of unique flavors. This Grilled Chicken with Whiskey Barbecue Sauce recipe from Sunset is not your average barbecue chicken recipe. Every part of this recipe is made from scratch, yet it’s easy enough to do from any campsite where you have access to a fire.
The barbecue sauce boasts a kick with both hot sauce and whiskey. The homemade slaw adds a cool refreshing crisp. The flavors pair nicely with each other and the complete meal pairs nicely with the craft beers and whiskeys you can find on the Central Coast.
You may just draw a crowd when they catch the aroma coming from your site.


4. Chili-Lime Corn on the Cob

You can get some scrumptious corn on the cob at the many fairs and festivals that take part on the central coast. However, you don’t have to wait for a festival to eat some great corn. This Chili-Lime Corn on the Cob recipe helps you take your corn on the cob up a notch.

The recipe includes directions for cooking the corn in the microwave, but the video below includes tips for cooking your corn in the fire. Feel free to skip ahead to 6:50 when they start to get the corn cooking. You can follow these directions to cook the corn and then follow it up with chili lime butter mix from the recipe.

5.Berry Camping Cake

What’s a campfire dinner without a little dessert? And, since the central coast is full of fresh grown local produce this Berry Camping Cake recipe from Sunset is on that you will want to try.  You can even find a local U-Pick or Farmer’s Market to buy some fresh berries while on the road. This recipe calls for strawberries, but you can substitute in any kind of berry. You can serve it warm à la mode with this homemade ice cream recipe that’s easy to make while camping. It’s the perfect ending to your open fire camping meal.

Photo: Thayer Allyson Gowdy

PASO ROBLES  | 805.226.9292
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Paso Robles, CA 93446

In Beautiful Wine Country, a short drive from Bakersfield and Fresno.

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444 So. Dolliver
Pismo Beach, CA 93449

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Atascadero, CA 93422

Halfway point between Los Angeles and San Francisco and right off the 101.

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