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As promised in last week’s post, I want to share about one of my favorite campfire foods – mountain pies.
Mountain pies (also called hobo pies or campfire pies) have always been a staple at any campfire cookout my family has hosted. If you’ve never heard of mountain pies before, just think of a perfectly toasted grilled cheese sandwich, but instead of cheese inside there are endless options for fillings. We usually stick with pizza or crab pies.
The trick to mountain pies is A: having the perfect mountain pie iron and B: the perfect fire.
For our Deep Creek Lake camping trip, we borrowed my father’s pie irons so we had the biggest necessity nailed down. They’re well-seasoned cast iron makers and have had many years of deliciousness made in them.
The second thing to making the perfect mountain pie is making sure that you have a nice even bed of coals, not too close to the main fire.
Pie irons heat up quickly, and if you don’t have just the right temperature you wind up with burnt bread on the outside and un-melted cheese on the inside of your sandwiches which is not what we’re going for. (Pancake rules apply here. You’ll probably ruin the first pie dialing in on your location/timing.)
There is definitely an art to making the perfect mountain pie, just like there is to toasting the perfect marshmallow.
Just like a grilled cheese sandwich, you butter bread. The bread goes against the cooking surface butter-side down. Next add your toppings; sandwich on the top piece of bread and cook until “melty.” Unlike a grilled cheese made in a skillet, you have to be pretty quick with your pie assembling because once you put one piece of bread down into the pre-heated iron, it immediately starts cooking. The Fellow did try to completely pre-assemble a pie but trying to push that into the pie iron just wound up with cheese everywhere. Stick to the traditional method and work quickly!
As I mentioned, our two favorite pie fillings are pizza and crab. They both take basic ingredients that are easy enough to tote to a campground
Butter Mozzarella Cheese
Pepperoni Pizza Sauce
Butter Imitation Crab Meat Mozzarella Cheese Old Bay Seasoning
We’ve also used apple pie filling, and that makes for a yummy campfire dessert!
If you’re going to purchase your own set of pie irons for your next campfire, I highly recommend getting cast iron. They make aluminum ones that are cheaper and lighter, but I’ve never had a good experience using them.
I also recommend just getting single pie irons. The double ones are so tempting, but trust me, it’s harder to get two pies assembled quickly, and one side always ends up burning.
**A little safety note about pie irons: Whichever ones you buy may come with a little latch to keep the iron shut. Remove it first thing. Two things happen when you keep it on – it gets hot and poses a burn risk when you go to open it and remove your sandwich. Secondly, when you pull your pie iron up and out of the fire, the catch can fall up or down the iron also creating a burn risk. So just pop it off before you even start to season it.
Have you ever heard of mountain pies? What flavors and toppings are you excited to try? Let me know in the comments below!