How to Prepare A Thanksgiving Dinner While Camping
Many of us will not be able to keep our usual holiday traditions this year, but we can find new ways to celebrate. Make your holiday season special by camping this Thanksgiving in an Escape Campervan. November and December are great times to visit some of the outdoor destinations that get crowded in the warmer months of the year. Stay warm with the Escape winter bedding kit and electric kit and get cozy by the campfire this holiday.
Worried you’ll miss the turkey dinner? You can keep that tradition! A Thanksgiving dinner while camping can be a slow-cooked gourmet feast or quickly whipped up out of boxes. Check out these recipes and ideas for cooking a turkey dinner on an Escape campervan holiday getaway.
And a few tips before you get cooking your camping Thanksgiving meal:
- Prep what you can at home and bring them in labeled containers or bags. Wash the produce, chop the veggies, shred the cheese, measure out the dry ingredients, etc.
- Spread out your recipes among the campervan’s stove, campfire, and campsite grill to ensure you have space to make all your favorites. Check for fire restrictions in the area before you start planning!
- Be sure to get the Escape kitchen kit for the stove top dishes. Make a list of equipment you’ll need for your recipes and check for any extras you might want to bring from home.
- Bring a couple of insulated food bags to keep warm any dishes that are done ahead of dinner.
Cooking Your Thanksgiving Turkey
You probably aren’t going to lug a whole turkey around in a campervan, but you can bring turkey breasts with you in the van’s refrigerator. And you won’t have to touch any gizzards!
On the stove: This simple recipe for turkey cutlets with pan gravy saves you a dirty dish by letting you make the gravy in the same pan as the turkey breasts.
On the campfire: REI’s campfire Thanksgiving menu has a very manageable recipe for smoked turkey breast on the campfire (actually, that whole menu looks pretty great if you have the equipment). You’ll need to find a New England steamer pot to make the smoker, but hey, then you’re ready for your clam bake next summer.
On the grill: If your campsite has a grill, using it will save you some space on the fire and the stove. Once these marinated turkey breasts are on the grill, they’re ready in about 30 minutes. Get the turkey marinating before your morning hike so they’re ready to go for dinner time.
Easiest Option: Cook your turkey breasts ahead of time using your favorite recipe (or pick up Trader Joe’s pre-cooked turkey breasts) and heat them up on the campfire grate wrapped in aluminum foil. Bring some prepared gravy in a jar.
Preparing the Stuffing
On the stove: Cut the bread to dry it out the night before (no oven required!) for campervan-made stove top stuffing.
On the campfire: If you have a camp Dutch oven, you can make Fresh Off the Grid’s Apple Fennel Stuffing on your campfire.
Easiest option: Bring a box of classic Stove Top stuffing and make it on the van’s stove.
Whipping Up the Mashed Potatoes
On the stove: Most mashed potatoes recipes are made on the stovetop at home. You can find myriad mashed potato recipes online, or ask your mom or your grandma for her recipe to feel like she’s a part of your holiday.
Over the campfire: Use a foil pan to cook these Rustic Campfire Garlic Mashed Potatoes entirely over the fire.
Easiest option: Bring a box or bag of instant mashed potatoes and follow the easy stove top directions. Some brands offer tasty flavors like cheddar, bacon, or garlic. I’m always surprised by how good instant potatoes can be.
Baking the Bread
Over the campfire: Fresh Off the Grid does it again with this easy Campfire Skillet Cornbread.
Easier option: Pick up a bag of dinner rolls at the grocery store. If you want them warm, wrap them in foil and heat them on the campfire grate.
Making Cranberry Sauce
On the stove: Make this easy, one-pot Bourbon Cider Vanilla Cranberry Sauce on the campervan stove. Heat up the leftover cider on the other burner, then add a little leftover bourbon for a warm and festive cocktail.
Easier option: A cylinder of cranberry gel isn’t your only option, but some people swear by it. If it’s not your thing, Trader Joe’s sells a few different prepared cranberry sauces that are delightful, as do the higher end grocery stores and food gift retailers. Take it easy and spoon some straight from the jar.
On the campfire: Veggie foil packets are my favorite way to cook veggies at camp. Go traditional holiday and cook brussels sprouts or green beans tossed with a little oil, salt, and pepper. Here’s a guide to cooking foil packets you haven’t tried it yet.
On the grill: Toss halved brussels sprouts with oil, salt, and pepper, then grill them on skewers to get them crispy and browned. Here’s a fancier version of grilled brussels.
Easiest option: Bring a pre-packaged salad or some crudites and hummus to snack on while you cook.
Dishing up Dessert
On the campfire: For an easy twist on pumpkin pie, make s’mores but instead of (or in addition to!) chocolate, spread some pumpkin butter on your graham cracker.
More for the campfire: Toss these apple pie foil packets on the fire if you prefer apple over pumpkin.
Easiest option: Grab a pre-made pie from the grocery store so you can relax after dinner.
Book Your Campervan
Whether you’re super bummed or honestly a little excited to be changing up your holiday routine this year, renting an Escape campervan will be a fun and adventurous bright spot in the season. You can keep some of your favorite traditions and potentially create a few new ones along the way. Book your campervan from your closest Escape Campervans depot and start dreaming up your holiday adventure today!