Campfire Chili | Warm up with this quick & easy recipe

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Campfire chili recipe. Warm up with this quick and easy campfire chili. Simple meal idea to enjoy with friends and family around the campfire.

We try to camp as much as we can while juggling the kids school life and work schedules. Finding a balance takes a bit of time, but when you finally figure out how to plan ahead and organize, it gets a bit easier loading up for a quick weekend.

When it comes to making the most out of our time, that means we are camping 3 seasons a year. Although we have also done some winter camping but that’s a little harder trying to predict the weather.

So during those spring and fall camping trips we want warm comfort food. Something that is simple to make, doesn’t take to much time, and can easily be reheated as leftovers the next day.

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In fact, this campfire chili was reheated the next morning when our oldest daughter asked for chili for breakfast. I could’ve argued with her or persuaded her to have a bagel or some fruit instead, but really what’s wrong with a little bit of chili?

So come Sunday morning when the rest of us were eating bagels with cream cheese, our 10 year old daughter was eating chili by the campfire.

When making your camping meal plan, you may find you have several of these simple ingredients already in your panty.

CAMPFIRE CHILI RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 lb beef
  • ½ onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 chili seasoning packet
  • 1 28-oz diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 1 16-oz can pinto beans
  • 1 16-oz can kidney beans
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
Campfire chili and a deep cast iron skillet.

A lot of the campgrounds we visit have really great fire pits with a grate that goes over one side of the pit. This is by far my favorite way to cook any camping meal. Since we usually have a fire going anyway, it’s nice just to heat up a pan and cook as we’re enjoying the fire.

I’ll have to admit, it’s not always efficient. There are several things that come into play that really makes my husband want to cook over a grill instead.

  1. Starting and maintaining a fire under a grate
  2. Damp conditions
  3. Wind/weather

With each camping trip you learn little tricks to make campfire cooking a tad easier. Since we are cooking beef, it’s important that it is cooked fully before adding any other ingredient.

After starting and maintaining a fire, you’ll start to get some great coals with good heat coming from them. This is the type of heat we’ll want to be cooking on. Along with continuing to add a log or two to maintain that heat.

HEAT SKILLET

Place a large, deep, cast iron skillet onto the grate directly over the heat. Allow the skillet to fully heat up. Using heat resistant gloves slide the skillet to indirect heat.

Add a bit of oil to the skillet and then add ½ diced onion and one diced pepper . Cook until softened. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic. Stir until fragrant.

softening the diced onions and peppers.

BROWN THE BEEF

Add the beef and your favorite chili seasoning packet. Fully cook beef to 160°F.

Since we’re trying to save on time and space, we’re making this chili with a seasoning packet. There are many great options out there with some being mild or spicy. Pick up your favorite one and save yourself a bit of hassle packing the extra spices.

Fully cooking the ground beef.

ADD REMAINING INGREDIENTS

Add one chopped carrot, 1-16 oz. can pinto beans, 1-16oz. can kidney beans, 1-28oz. can fire roasted tomatoes, 2 TBS tomato paste, two cups beef broth and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until combined and simmer for 20-25 minutes over indirect heat.

The longer you’re able to let the chili simmer the better the flavors.

Adding the beans, tomatoes, carrots and remaining ingredients.

CHILI TOPPINGS

Some of the best chili toppings are a dollop of sour cream and a bit of cheese!

  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sliced jalapenos
  • Cilantro
  • Fritos chips

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DO CARROTS GO IN CAMPFIRE CHILI?

Why not? Carrots add a bit of sweetness, color and texture to this dish. Be sure to allow them to fully soften before serving. If carrots in chili just isn’t your thing, no problem. Just leave them out completely.

SKIP THE CHILI PACKET

Not interested in using a chili packet? That’s ok. You can easily make your own with just a few spices.

  • 1 TBS chili powder
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
EQUIPMENT – DEEP 3 IN 1 CAST IRON SKILLET

Instead of using a dutch oven for this recipe we are using a large, deep, cast iron skillet. This 3 in 1 Cast Iron Skillet is one of my favorite camping must haves. It’s 3.5 inches deep which makes it great for chili, soups, pizza bites and so much more. It also has a reversible grill/griddle lid. I love using the griddle over the fire for veggies and eggs, and even some delicious french toast.

Using the lid of the cast iron skillet to cook breakfast.

We like to try and camp as light as possible, so finding a skillet that can be used multiple ways has been one of my favorite camping must haves.

Fully cooked campfire chili on the grate of the hot campfire.

This campfire chili is so easy to make and done in under an hour if you’re able to get a nice fire going. It’s perfect for those cool evenings when the weather is crisp and you just need some warm comfort food before tilting your head back in your favorite camping chair with a nice book or some music.

Campfire Chili

Campfire chili recipe. Warm up with this quick and easy campfire chili.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef, camping, chili
Servings: 6
Calories: 306kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb beef
  • ½ onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 chili seasoning packet
  • 28 ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 16 ounce can pinto beans
  • 16 ounce can kidney beans
  • 1 diced carrot
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Place a large, deep, cast iron skillet onto the grate directly over the heat. Allow the skillet to fully heat up. Using heat resistant gloves slide the skillet to indirect heat.
  • Add a bit of oil to the skillet and then add ½ diced onion and one pepper . Cook until softened. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic. Stir until fragrant.
  • Add the beef and your favorite chili seasoning packet. Fully cook ground beef.
  • Add one chopped carrot, 1 can pinto beans, 1 can kidney beans, 1 28oz fire roasted tomatoes, 2 TBS tomato paste, two cups beef broth and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stir until combined and simmer for 20-25 minutes over indirect heat.
  • The longer you're able to let the chili simmer the better the flavors.

Notes

-Skip the chili seasoning packet and make your own
  • 1 TBS chili powder
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic power
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
Optional toppings
  • sour cream
  • shredded cheese
  • jalapenos 
  • cilantro
  • fritos chips 
*Nutritional information provided is an estimate and will very based off of brands of ingredients used and cooking methods. 

Nutrition

Calories: 306kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 19092mg | Potassium: 896mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 2465IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 159mg | Iron: 5mg
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