How to Cook a Whole Chicken on a Campfire

The art of cooking on a camp fire is simple and very rewarding.  There is nothing better than the taste of fire cooked food.  To prepare and cook a whole chicken on a camp fire is easier than one might imagine.  The best way to cook a whole chicken in camp is basically in a fire pit.  The first thing needed is a good fire pit surrounded by stones; the stones should be approximately 1 to 3 inches in diameter.  Most organised campsite will have a contained fire pit which is ready to go. In this case all you have to do is find some stones, enough to pile alongside the fire pit but not directly into the fire.  If you have to build your own fire pit, dig out a hole about 3 to 5 feet in diameter, 12 to 24 inches deep, and line the base with gravel or sand.  You then take the larger stones and surround the pit with them, the more stones you have the better your containment wall will be. 

Once your fire pit is ready, using your woodsman skills, start a fire using clean wood. Avoid at all cost using wood contaminated with paint or chemicals; this is harmful to the environment and is very toxic.  Let the fire burn until a good coal base is present and your fire has heated up the stones around the fire pit. The stones can be tested by throwing a bit of water on them. If they are hot, steam will be ready seen coming from the stones. You are then ready to cook the chicken. You will need one whole chicken, butter or oil, some spices (salt and pepper for starters), aluminum foil, and some vegetables like onions, carrots, and garlic if so desired.

To prepare the whole chicken, you first rinse the chicken with clean water, grease the chicken up with oil or butter. Spice the chicken to your liking, rosemary, salt, and pepper is usually good. Assure that you do not leave the bagged giblet inside the chicken. Butchers will usually leave the inner chicken parts in a bag inside the whole chicken. You can remove the giblets from the bag and reinsert them inside the chicken. This is not for everybody since they are a delicacy to only a few individuals. You can also add your favourite vegetables like onions, carrots, and garlic to the chicken. The veggies can be stuff inside with or without the giblets; this will give the chicken some flavour. Once the chicken is prepared, double wrap it inside the aluminum foil. Assure that the foil is tightly wrapped and that there are no holes puncture through the foil. This is important because you do not want any grease or heat to escape the wrapping, as well as any dirt or outside contaminants in. Depending on the thickness of the aluminum foil, more than a double wrap might be needed; this is a judgment call.

Take the foil wrapped chicken and place it on the stones that are piled up around the fire pit. The stones should be placed in a matter where they form a hole or a bowl. The stones should be hot so take care not to burn yourself, use cooking mitts or a good pair of fire retardant gloves that will prevent you from getting burned. Usually a small shovel or a heavy duty pair of forceps can also be used. The chicken should be placed as close to the heat as possible but not directly onto the flames of the fire. Once the chicken is settled inside the stones, use more hot stones to carefully and fully cover the wrapped chicken. Watch that the foil wrap is not damaged and ripped open by the stones. For better results you can dig a whole going under the fire pit, and then put stones inside the hole where your chicken will be inserted. The hole should be so that it will not cave in on itself.

Make sure your fire is well stoked and that it stays hot at all time. Depending on the size of your chicken and the heat of your fire, the chicken should be ready to eat within 40 to 60 minutes. If your chicken is well wrapped and well covered with hot stones, most of the time the chicken will not burn. It will burn if it is in direct contact with open flames. In this case the chicken can be left to cook and simmer for a long period of time. Usually the longer it stays buried by the fire pit, the better the chicken will taste. You can even cook a chicken over night while your fire is slowly dissipating, make sure the foil wrap is not leaking, this will attract unwanted nocturnal guess.