Gourmet Camping Recipe: Biscuits and Gravy
Ah, camping. Is there anything better than waking up in the forest surrounded by the songs of birds, the rushing sound of a breeze through the pine and fur needles above, and the sweet smell of a rhododendron nearby? Well of course there is! All of that with the addition of some tasty biscuits and gravy for breakfast!
When I make biscuits and gravy at home, I always make my own scratch biscuits. Flour, some butter or oil, baking powder, sugar, and salt, all gently mixed up with some water, then baked at 375° for about 20 minutes. Easy to do, and I’ll have to do a “how to” post on it soon. But being that I didn’t want to pack all those fixin’s on my camping trip, I went the easy route and bought some Pillsbury Grands Biscuits instead. They are surprisingly delicious biscuits, but full of all sorts of crap I’d prefer not to eat. Oh well, camping is about getting dirty right?
What You’ll Need to Make Biscuits and Gravy for Four While Camping
- 1 large Dutch Oven, or 2 small Dutch Oven’s stacked
- 2 packages Pillsbury Grands Biscuits
- Campfire grate
- 12 inch cast iron skillet
- 1 pound breakfast sausage
- 2 handfuls all purpose flour (little less than 1 cup)
- Seasoning salt to taste (maybe 1/3 teaspoon)
- Thyme to taste (maybe 1/3 teaspoon)
- Onion powder to taste (maybe 1/2 teaspoon)
- Black Pepper to taste (between 1/2 – 1 teaspoon, depending on how peppery and hot you like it)
- Milk to cover sausage (maybe 4 cups)
How to Bake Biscuits in a Dutch Oven
The secret to Dutch oven cooking is temperature regulation, especially when baking bread. You need an even balance of heat on the bottom and on the top in order to bake evenly. You can use briquettes, or coals from the fire. Either way, place more on the top than on the bottom, as the bottom coals will be closest to the baking bread. There is a fine line here; too many coals and you burn your bread, not enough coals and it will take forever to bake. There are formulas of how many briquettes equal so much heat, but I just eyeball it and go. After all, if you burn the bottom of the biscuits, you can always cut off the burnt part and give it to your dog.
Rub a bit of oil on the bottom and sides of Dutch oven to prevent the biscuits from sticking. If your Dutch oven is very well seasoned, this may not be necessary, but what the hell; add it anyway. Arrange the biscuits in the Dutch oven so that they barely touch. they will expand, so leave some room between them for this. Put the lid on the oven, set on a bed of coals, and add coals to the top of the lid. Walk away and tend your fire.
I like to check the biscuits after about 10 minutes to see how they’re coming along and if I need to change up any of the coals. I encourage you to do this as well, as it just might save a batch of “too hot” biscuits.
How to Cook Sausage for Gravy over the Campfire
While your biscuits are cooking, turn your attention to your campfire. It’s a good idea to have it raging before you get things started so that you have a nice bed of coals. I use this “high heat” opportunity to heat and clean my cast iron skillet.
Once your fire has dropped to a hot bed of coals, return your skillet to the heat and brown your sausage. I used a 1 pound tube of Jimmy Dean original sausage, as it is delicious and is a perfect cooler stuffer. If your pan is very hot, you may need to add a touch of oil to keep your sausage from burning.
Once your sausage is browned, add two handfuls of flour and mix to coat the sausage with it. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, so that the flour looses its “raw” flavor.
Next, you need to season the sausage. This is where I stray a bit from traditional biscuits and gravy. I season mine with thyme, seasoning salt, onion powder, and lots of black pepper.
How to Make Gravy on the Campfire
Now for the easy part, making the gravy! Let’s see, you’ve already seasoned it, and you’ve already added your flour thickener, all that’s really left now is the milk. You can use 1%, 2%, whole, skim, whatever. I recommend at least some cream in it though for added flavor. Simply pour the milk over the sausage while still on the heat. Pour enough to just come up to the top of the sausage.
Stir the milk and scrape the bottom of the skillet to get all the goodies up. If your coals have cooled and your milk doesn’t seem to want to come to a boil, add some more fire to raise the temperature. You must bring the gravy to a boil, otherwise it will not thicken. A properly thickened gravy should coat the back of your spoon and not easily run off.
Allow to boil for a minute or two, stirring frequently, then remove from the heat. If the gravy seems to be too thick, simply loosen it with some more milk. Taste your outdoor creation and make sure that you have enough seasonings. Add additional seasoning salt, black pepper, and/or thyme to your liking.
How to Eat Biscuits and Gravy While Camping
As if you really need any help figuring this out! But for resolution to this post, I will show you.
Take two of your Dutch Oven cooked biscuits, split in half, and place on a camp plate. Then spoon loads of delicious sausage all over them. Eat quickly, humming loudly to inform all your neighboring campers and wildlife that you are the best cook in the woods!
Serves 4 with a few left over biscuits.
Recipe by Jothan Yeager, May 2012
The Bald Gourmet makes delicious Biscuits and Gravy while camping.