Cowboy Style Beef Stew Cooked Over a Campfire


When COVID lockdown was in full force during the summer of 2020, we decided to purchase a used pop-up camper and hit the road on the weekends. We've traveled all over the state in our attempt to visit all the State Parks in Georgia. Although we don't currently go as frequently as we did that summer, we still enjoy camping when we have the time.

One of our favorite parts of camping is the cooking. Most of the time these campgrounds aren't convenient to a grocery store, so you just use what you  bring. If you forget a particular ingredient, you adjust on the fly. We've gotten pretty creative with our camping meals over the last couple years as we try a wide variety of meals to break the monotony of hot dogs and hamburgers.

After a few camping trips in 2020, we started experimenting with cooking in a Dutch oven over an open fire. There's definitely a learning curve with this type of cooking, but it's so much fun when you get the hang of it. It's a great way to spend the afternoon cooking a soup, stew, or pot of chili over the fire.

Below is one of our favorite camping meals that we call "Cowboy Beef Stew." We do it similarly at home, but it just seems to taste so much better when cooked over the open fire. We call it "cowboy-style" because that's how we imagine traveling cowboys cooking back in the day. This is our bare bones version to keep things simple while camping, but feel free to add onions, celery, or whatever you'd like!



1) Place the stew beef meat in a ziploc bag. Add steak seasoning and flour, then seal and shake the bag to coat meat evenly.

2) Wash and slice carrots into 1/8" thick slices.

3) Wash and cut potatoes into 1/2", wedge-shaped pieces.

4) Get a medium-sized Dutch oven hot to the point where oil will smoke if you add a drop to the bottom.

5) Add vegetable oil to the Dutch oven followed by the stew beef meat that has been coated with flour and seasonings. Stir frequently to ensure that all pieces have been sufficiently browned. Don't worry about cooking each piece of meat through the middle. The goal here is to get a nice seared crust on the outside of each piece.

6) Once the meat is sufficiently browned, combine the McCormick Stew Beef Mix with water based on the packet directions. Add this mixture to the meat in the Dutch oven.

7) Add the sliced carrots and potatoes to the Dutch oven. Add water to barely cover the top of the solid ingredients in the pot, then stir.

8) Adjust the heat so that the contents of the pot are slowly simmering. Simmer for 1-2 hours or until the carrots, potatoes, and beef are tender. Stir every 15-20 minutes to ensure that nothing is sticking to the bottom. The liquid will thicken as it simmers.

9) Add salt to taste, ladle in a bowl, and enjoy! 

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