While they aren't too popular with backpackers, the cast iron skillet has plenty of fans with tailgate campers and owners of rustic cabins alike. So long as one does not have to carry the thing over miles of difficult backcountry, the iron skillet has plenty of virtues. It is durable, can be used over even the smokiest fire without being ruined, and most importantly sits at the core of many old fashioned country recipes.
This is a recipe that is so simple that all it takes is cornmeal, some cooking fat or oil, and some salt. Start by mixing 2 cups of white cornmeal with an equal amount of water, and a tsp. of salt. Coat the bottom of the iron skillet with a layer of vegetable oil, lard, bacon grease, or some other form of cooking oil. Take your ladle and put two to four ladle's worth of hoe cake batter onto the hot grease in the pan. When the edges brown and the hoe cake starts to bubble after a few minutes, cover it with a lid. Then put on some mits or get some dry dishcloths, take both the lid and the skillet, and flip it over so the hoe cake lands on the lid. Set the skillet back on the fire and slide the hoe cake back onto the skillet so it can cook on the other side.
This recipe is pretty simple. Make a mixture of 1 cup of yellow cornmeal and 1/2 of a cup ordinary flour, 3 tsp. of salt, 1 tsp. of pepper, and 1 tsp. of chili powder and mix it up in a brown paper bag or clean plastic shopping bag. Dip the catfish fillets in a bowl of milk or water mixed with a beaten egg, and then put them in the bag and shake the bag around to coat the fillets with batter. Let that sit in the bag, and go put the iron skillet on the camp stove or fire with a layer of vegetable oil on the bottom. Once that is hot, lay the coated fillets on top. Cook them for about 5 minutes on each side.
Fried Potatoes, Ham and Onions
Start by cutting up three or four potatoes into cubes or chunks. Peeling the skins off is optional, since potato skins have good nutrients in them. Then peel and dice an onion, and cut about 1/4 or 1/3 of a pound of ham or spam into cubes. If spam is being used as the meat source, start by cooking it over low heat to get some grease on the skillet, and then scoop the spam cubes into a bowl to put back in later. With ham, go directly to coating the bottom with some form of cooking. Fry up the onions and potatoes in the iron skillet for about 10 or 12 minutes, stirring them every couple of minutes to prevent them from sticking. Put the spam or ham in, and then perhaps a tsp. of salt and a tsp. of garlic powder for seasoning. Continue to fry until the potatoes brown.
Article Written By Edwin Thomas
Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.