We love campfire cooking, but the kit you need isn’t always easy to transport to a campsite or the beach. It gets mucky, and then everything else gets mucky too!
So, we like the look of the collapsible tripod sets (also called kotlich) that give you versatile campfire cooking and packability.
(Last updated May 2019)
At their basic, tripod campfire sets are three metal legs with chains, from which you hang a pan, a grill and so on over the flames.
Possibly the snazziest of these is the Bon-Fire, which claims to be a fully equipped mobile kitchen with pots, pans and grills for all sorts of outdoor cooking.
Though it’s not cheap (and there are more affordable, but less streamlined available), these tripod-style campfire cooking sets are designed for meals with friends and family. They’re an occasion! Potatoes or vegetables can cook in the pot over the flames to begin with. When the flames turn to live coal you can barbecue the meat or veggie alternatives on the big grill grid, putting bread on the outer sides of the grid.
With a pan you can cook paella, and you can use a stone or cast-iron plate for pizza or griddling meat. The Bon-Fire has some novel accessories too, including a popcorn net and pancake pan, and useful carrying bags.
Kotlich cooking – enamelled pots for your campfire
“I saw my first kotlich at a tourist fair in Novi Sad in Serbia. It was evening, and atmospheric Balkan music was pulsing out of ancient crackling speakers,” recalls Trish Maccurrach, a long-time kotlich fan.
“I noticed the wonderful curve of the kotlich body, the attractive speckled grey and white inner lining, the strong arched handle, the way the paprika thick gravy bubbled and spat, the rising and falling of fish tails, heads and fins. Where could I buy one of these fantastic cooking pots? I’ve had my kotlich now for nearly eight years and I’ve never had a dull moment.
“The kotlich is obliging and uncomplicated and turns out a great dish almost every time, as long as I follow a few basic tips. Food we’ve grown ourselves jumps straight into the kotlich and is really fresh.
“Food we’ve foraged or picked at a local farm tastes delicious. Fish, meat, vegetables, jams, chutney, marmalade and hot drinks are all cooked in my kotlich too.”
How to cook in a kotlich
A typical stew (often a paprikash) is started off by frying onions, garlics and spices in hot oil. The meat’s added and then the kotlich boils fast without a lid. The stew is cooked in much more liquid than we would normally use in a casserole.
This is cooking by reduction. After an hour and a half, the contents will have reduced by nearly a third, to a thick tasty gravy. The rolling boil, in lots of liquid, means that the meat is kept moving and doesn’t sit on the bottom and burn. Potatoes are often added during cooking and these contribute to the thickening process by releasing starch.
It can be simple too. Set up your fire on the beach, pour some tinned tomatoes, precooked chick peas and smoked sausage or chorizo into the pan and heat. In half an hour you’ll have a delicious stew. You just need to remember to maintain enough stock so the meat and vegetables are kept moving in the kotlich.
- Why not have a go at Trish’s recipes for nettle soup and fish soup?
- And here are more great kotlich campfire recipes sent in by Campfire Magazine readers.
- Here’s a round up of some kotlich tripods. We’ve weeded out the poorly reviewed ones, so everything here should be a good bet.
The winner of our Bon-fire cooking set
We had amazing number of interesting entries for our competition to win a Bon-Fire kitchen set, worth around £200, courtesy of the UK suppliers, Laminvale. The prize was a tripod, chain, grill and a six-litre pot.
We asked people to tell us why they’d like to win a Bon-Fire and where they’d cook with it. You can see lots of the entries in the comments below. And our winner was Sophie Cartwright, who wrote: “We have just got into camping and returned from a four-day break in Snowdonia. Our seven-year-old son has spent the whole time building dens, wildlife spotting and walking Triffin & Snowdon! The only downside was trying to cook on throw away bbqs! this would be super handy to win!”
For inspiration, here are two delicious-sounding Bon-Fire recipes to try
Pesto marinated lamb fillet
- Enough lamb fillet for four
- 2 tbsps chopped basil
- 1 clove garlic
- 25g grated parmesan
- 10g pine nuts
- 1 tbsp virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Blend the basil, the pine nuts, the garlic, the parmesan cheese and the olive oil. Use a mortar and pestle or a small blender.
Set the grill grid on the tripod at a moderate heat. Fry the lamb fillets on the grid till almost cooked. Spread the pesto over the fillets and cook for a couple of minutes longer. Serve with the ratatouille and some good bread.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 125g chopped onion
- 200g red and green pepper in small pieces
- 250g aubergine in small pieces
- 250g sliced tomatoes
- 250g courgettes in small pieces
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp mix of chopped rosemary and thyme
Put the Bon-Fire pot over the fire, hanging on the Bon-Fire tripod.
Fry the onions lightly in the oil and add the other vegetables. Simmer with the lid on until tender. Add the herbs and season to taste.
Hang the pot up high to keep the ratatouille warm.
Have a look at our article on wood-burning camping stoves recommendations too.