Last updated August 26, 2016

When traveling, I always find a way to make food the focal point. Usually, our itinerary includes dinner at a local hot spot, a wine tour or a stop at a farmers’ market. But this time, I wanted to challenge myself.

We hit the open road in our RV to go camping. Even though the RV has a great kitchen with a gas stove, oven and microwave, my goal was to prepare every meal on an open flame without using a pan. My only tools were foil and skewers.

I created the menu just before the trip, and I’ll be sharing all of the recipes over the next few days. My first tip is prep everything before you leave.

Campfire Paella from ZestuousI pre-sliced, chopped and minced all of the vegetables, so I didn’t have to pull out my knives and cutting board. This made things so much easier. Also, I brought along pre-roasted shredded chicken, instead of raw chicken. I thought that was safer for this uncertain cooking environment.

The journey from Las Vegas to Zion National Park in Southern Utah is only 3 hours. As soon as we arrived at the campsite, my husband worked on getting things settled, while I jumped out of the RV and got the campfire started for dinner.

Our first meal was Campfire Paella. I’ve made Paella on the grill before, but never without a pan.

Campfire Paella from ZestuousHere’s tip two: Lay a sheet of foil over a bowl to shape it. This gives you a perfect cavity for all of your ingredients.

Tip 3: Use two sheets of foil. During my first attempt, some of the food started boiling out of the sides. Once I doubled-up, everything was fine.

Campfire Paella from ZestuousNow that you have your cavities, fill ‘em up. Everyone can gather around the picnic table and pile in their own ingredients. I had chorizo, chicken, onions, peppers, tomatoes, rice, saffron and salt and pepper.

Then, I topped the bowls off with equal parts arborio rice and white wine. After a quick stir, the pouch was closed up and placed on the side of the fire away from the direct flame.

Cooking times for these campfire meals are going to vary, depending on how close you place your pouches to the flames. I rotated the pouches every 10-15 minutes, and after an hour, dinner was ready.

Campfire Paella from ZestuousThe chorizo was cooked through and the rice was nice and fluffy. Because it was cooked near the open flame, the dish even had the nice crust Paella is famous for, called socarrat.

Campfire meal number 1 was a success. Breakfast the following day was going to be a little more challenging: Blueberry Fire Pit Flapjacks, again without a pan.  Stay tuned.

Campfire Paella

Campfire Paella


  • raw Mexican chorizo
  • roasted chicken, shredded (no skin)
  • onion, chopped
  • garlic, minced
  • bell pepper, chopped
  • cherry tomatoes
  • saffron, salt, pepper
  • equal parts uncooked Arborio rice
  • equal parts white wine, chicken broth or water

Make foil bowls, using two sheets of non-stick foil (dull side in)

Fill the bowl with as much chorizo, chicken, onion, garlic, pepper, tomatoes and seasoning that you want.

Add in equal parts rice and wine (or chicken broth or water). Stir everything together.

Bring the edges of the foil to the top and close up the pouch.

Place on the edge of the campfire near, but not on, the open flame.

Rotate every 10-15 minutes. Cook for about an hour. Remove from the campfire and enjoy.