Bush Cook Tips - Get Your Roast On!! | Outward Bound Australia
October 23, 2018 10:27AM

Bush Cook Tips – Get Your Roast On!!

If you’ve ever been around a campfire and someone is cooking something delicious you will know that feeling of excited anticipation for the feast to come under the stars. Instructor Marita Hills knows this feeling all too well as she loves to cook outdoors. Marita (Winner Great Aussie Camp Oven Cook Up 3rd Best Roast in 2015 and 2nd Best Roast in 2016) shares some of her brilliant hints for creating the best bush cook that you have ever eaten before in the outdoors. 

Hints and tips by Marita Hills

A hobby worth perfecting!

Just over 4 years ago I brought my first camp oven – a 4.5 quart oven – to try on a family camping trip. Even though some of the first meals I cooked didn’t turn out well I was hooked on bush cooking! Later that same year at a camping expo, Ranger Nick’s camp oven cooking demonstrations inspired me to keep learning. 

I bought a second and bigger 12 quart oven and made a fire pit in the backyard at home and started cooking and learning the art of bush cooking. Now I have 7 ovens including 2 antique ovens and have cooked all sorts of things including cakes and Christmas puddings. Here are some tips I’ve learnt over the years for creating some great bush cooked meals.

Heat Control and Cooking

When I watched Ranger Nick’s demonstrations this was something he talked about a lot. As I practiced more it was easy to see why. It is the most important thing that you have to get right! Here are some tips on how to become a heat control pro.

  1. Get a roaring fire going and pre-heat the camp ovens next to the fire before cooking in them. Treat it like you are cooking something in your inside oven which you pre-heat before cooking. This is more important when you are using cast iron ovens as they heat up slower than spun steel ovens which heat up pretty quickly. Once the camp ovens are heated they are ready to cook in.
  2.  Placement of coals. Depending on what you are cooking will depend on where you place the coals. If you are cooking a roast or baking, place more heat on the top of the camp oven rather than the bottom. This helps prevent burning the bottom and helps the heat circulation within the camp oven. You can also place a trivet or have a layer of rock salt on the bottom to help prevent burning. However, if you are cooking a stew, boiling water or deep frying you will want your heat on the bottom and possibly cooking over the flame.
  3. Testing the heat. Trying to tell if it’s hot enough can be hard and more so when doing a roast or baking. Hold the back of your hand above the camp oven – if you can hold it there for a good couple of seconds it’s usually hot enough.  It’s definitely too hot if the camp oven is turning red or blue like I did once (see top photo) which ended with a very black-bottomed pumpkin damper!
  4. SPECIAL TIP: To get awesome crackling put a little extra heat/coals on top than normal



Cleaning can be as simple as giving your camp oven a wipe out with paper towel. This can then be followed with a light oil. Make your cleaning even easier by lining the camp oven with foil before cooking. That way it is as simple as pulling out the foil and wiping it out.

If you do have to get burnt stuff off a butter knife is my tool of choice. Another option is steel wool which also works well. Whatever you do don’t put cold water in a hot cast iron oven as this can cause it to crack! This is fine to do in a spun steel oven though.

Is it okay to use dish-washing liquid?

A big question is to use or not to use dish-washing liquid in your camp oven. This has been debated amongst the camp oven community for years. Some say that the dish-washing liquid breaks down the season and can ruin the flavour of the food. Others argue using it makes cleaning easier and shouldn’t effect the seasoning of the camp oven because of the heat involved. I generally don’t need to and just clean with water. As long as the camp oven is dry and lightly oiled at the end it is good to go.

I hope these tips have been useful. Now get the fire going, start experimenting and see what works for you.

Happy cooking!

Interested in getting outdoors and learning more? Contact us 1800 267 999

If you would like to create an Outward Bound Australia blog please get in touch with us by emailing mailbox@outwardbound.org.auWe would love to hear from you!


Leave Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


April 10, 2019 3.41PM

Igniting the Spark – How I became an Outward Bound Instructor

From participant to trainee to group instructor, Chelsea is living out the circle of life – Outward Bound style! Part of our...

January 21, 2019 3.46PM

Can resilience be taught? Well nah, but yeah…

AJ attended the 14-day Scenic Rim-to-River 2018 expedition courtesy of her employer Inspire Group. As a passionate learning design...

January 21, 2019 2.06PM

Young Explorer – Rainforest January 2019

Welcome to the Rainforest. We’ve got a great bunch of Young Explorers ready to start their adventure! Follow along and see s...

January 21, 2019 2.02PM

Young Explorer – Australian Alps January 2019

Welcome to Young Explorer – Australian Alps! We have 32 very adventurous young people, 2 groups and 4 instructors ready to s...

January 14, 2019 4.04PM

Navigator – Rainforest – January 2019

Welcome to the Navigator blog for our team on expedition through spectacular Rainforests in Nth NSW. We hope you enjoy keeping up ...

January 14, 2019 2.23PM

Navigator – Australian Alps January 2019

Welcome to everyone to the Navigator – Australian Alps adventure. Everyone has arrived safely and excited to meet their inst...

January 07, 2019 9.01AM

Summit to Sea 2019

26 days 16 crew 1 Adventure of a lifetime Welcome to the Summit to Sea blog for 2019. Updates will occur every couple of days. We&...

December 27, 2018 2.08PM

Boundless Leadership: Soak in awe for growth

Insights from Zoë Routh Zoë is on a mission to encourage big thinkers with big hearts to make a big difference. She is passionat...

December 10, 2018 9.42AM

Scenic Rim to River December 2018

Welcome to the first Summer Scenic Rim to River The adventure has started with all 11 team members geared up and ready to go. Whil...

December 07, 2018 10.17AM

My mum is sending me on Outward Bound adventure…

So your Mum (or Dad) have sat next to you on the couch and clear their throat.. ”Ahem…[insert your name] or darling etc. I’v...

November 27, 2018 12.06PM

Staff in the spotlight: Meet Kevin!

At Outward Bound Australia we have an amazing diversity of passionate staff. Meet Kevin Neff. Kevin hails from the USA and has bee...

October 31, 2018 11.22AM

Feedback: Learn how to give it, learn how to take it and do both – regularly! 

Guest Blogger: Ben J Kelly Ben has a wide range of job experiences including as an officer in the Australian Army and working as a...

October 23, 2018 10.27AM

Bush Cook Tips – Get Your Roast On!!

If you’ve ever been around a campfire and someone is cooking something delicious you will know that feeling of excited antic...

October 01, 2018 11.35AM

Australian Alps Navigator | October 2018

Hello, and welcome to the blog for Outward Bound Australia’s Navigator program! This blog will follow the adventure of the ...

October 01, 2018 11.34AM

Australian Alps Young Explorer | October 2018

Hello, and welcome to the blog for Outward Bound Australia’s Young Explorer program! This blog will follow the adventure of...

October 01, 2018 10.08AM

A Teacher’s Perspective

Guest Blogger: Mark ‘Shrimpy’ Shrimpton Mark Shrimpton began his Outdoor Education career obtaining a Bachelor of Educ...

August 30, 2018 11.46AM

The first 12 months – An Instructor’s Journey

8 years ago Jennie was a young person on an Outward Bound program thanks to the support of her local Lions Club. Describing the ex...

August 30, 2018 11.34AM

5 reasons to go on your next adventure!

Have you ever been caught Googling your next adventure at work? Looking out the window at your university lecture day dreaming of ...

July 30, 2018 12.36PM

Summit to Sea – An Opportunity Like No Other

Recently starting her career as a teacher, Rearne Bray looks back on her Summit to Sea adventure in Team Watson from the start of ...

July 18, 2018 5.27PM

Reaffirming our dedication to Environmental Stewardship

“We have a strong commitment to living up to our environmental ethos. Ensuring that wherever possible, we make the earth a b...

May 07, 2018 4.05PM

Navigator – Success backed up by Research

Posted by Caroline Bowman and Michael Peoples Recently, 28 young people from a variety of backgrounds and geographical locations c...

November 15, 2017 9.58AM

Women of Courage – What inspires me about the program?

It has been my honour to plan and program coordinate two Women of Courage programs this year. Welcoming beautiful and courageous w...

September 20, 2017 4.25PM

Rainforest Navigator, Spring 2017 – Youth Development Program

Welcome to the Blog for our Spring Rainforest Navigator Program which is starting this weekend on Saturday 23 September from our b...

May 17, 2019 3.54PM

Experiential Learning for your Graduate Program

Retain Your Best Graduates through Experiential Learning How can you, as a graduate employer, retain your brightest talent? This, ...