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The Manual: Win a Camp Cookoff

Ideal appetizers, perfect wine pairings, desserts, and advanced techniques.

DESSERTS: Finish strong (and sweet)
Don’t let the final course be an afterthought: Reach gold-medal territory with a rich grand finale. Try one of these proven winners:
Bananas Flambé


Poach fish on a camp stove
Add your favorite poaching liquids to a large pan or skillet (try water + white wine + dried onions and carrots, or water + thyme + fennel seeds + lemon zest); liquid should be about one inch deep. Bring to a slow simmer, then add fish fillets. Cover and cook 10 to 12 minutes, keeping liquid at a simmer (don’t let it reach a full boil!), until fish is opaque and flakes easily. Remove from pan and boil remaining liquid until thickened; serve over fish. Tip: Use a stove with precise temperature control, such as the Optimus Crux Lite ($40,

Grill gourmet steak on a campfire
At home, marinate half-inch-thick flank steaks (try minced garlic, dry mustard, and whisky) in a zip-top bag, freezing overnight. At camp, before starting a fire, create a stable platform for your grill using four large rocks. Build a fire and let it burn down to hot coals. Place a lightweight grill (such as Open Country’s Backpacker’s Grid; $15, on rocks—it should be six to eight inches above the heat. Put thawed steak on the grill and cook to taste, flipping once.

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