Grapevine columnist Andy Perdue has recommendations for everything from elk tenderloin to that campfire staple, s’mores.
MY APPRECIATION for the great outdoors doesn’t extend much beyond the occasional 18 holes of golf or hikes through Northwest vineyards.
But I was a Boy Scout (for a few months), and back in the early 1980s some high school friends and I took a memorable camping trip to Lake Cushman that played out like a “Three Stooges” episode (note to self: remember can opener next time). Oh, and I successfully lit a beach fire last summer at La Push.
None of which qualifies me to make suggestions on cooking while camping. So I turned to folks who could share what they like to eat while enjoying campouts in the Pacific Northwest.
I started with longtime Seattle Times scribe Ron Judd, a college chum who has actually written books about camping. Then I asked more friends who spend unseemly amounts of time camping so I could get a feel for what they might enjoy. While I don’t understand the need to spend a lot of money to live like a hobo, I can appreciate that others enjoy the activity.
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The biggest disparity appears to be whether you are pulling up to your campsite in your vehicle or you are hiking in. I cannot imagine dragging a case of wine into the backwoods without a dedicated assistant, but you might consider carrying wine in the PlatyPreserve from Seattle-based Cascade Designs. (Judd did tell me that if you want to hike in with a bag-in-a-box wine, the emptied bag could serve as a rudimentary pillow. Whatever.)
First, let’s look at our basic needs: a corkscrew and a glass. I doubt I would risk my Riedel on a camping trip, so plan to rough it by taking a plastic cup or using a coffee mug.
Now let’s consider food-and-wine pairings:
• Roasted corn on the cob: The sweetness of corn can be a difficult pairing, but with butter, a good choice would be a chardonnay from Gilbert Cellars in Yakima.
• Grilled sausages: The saltiness in the sausages will pair well with an off-dry riesling from Hogue Cellars, Chateau Ste. Michelle or Pacific Rim. Avoid tannic wines such as cab or merlot.
• Fresh trout: This calls for a bright, crisp white wine, such as a fumé blanc from Barnard Griffin in Richland or a pinot gris from Willow Crest in Prosser.
• Cube steak with cubed potato, red bell peppers, carrots, celery and onion: This amazing concoction calls for a rich red wine. Consider a cabernet sauvignon from Camaraderie in Port Angeles or Reininger in Walla Walla. You might also think about a succulent merlot from Milbrandt Vineyards in Prosser.
• Hot dogs: A deliciously crisp rosé from Maryhill in Goldendale or Mercer Estates in Prosser is the ticket with this camping staple.
• Elk tenderloin stuffed with aged Gouda and seasoned with garlic salt: Whoa. Pop the cork on a Saviah Cellars syrah for this dish.
• S’mores: This campfire classic calls for a fortified wine, such as the Port-style dessert wines from Thurston Wolfe in Prosser or Brian Carter Cellars in Woodinville.