When it comes to technology, I am not an early adopter. It took me a long time to get a cell phone, an even longer time to get one with a camera. I buy used laptops, at least a generation out of date, and run Linux on them until they die or are so old that I get tired of waiting for them to boot.
When it comes to cooking appliances I usually shun them, especially single-chore type appliances. Yes, I’m looking at you rice makers and veggie slicers. Those clutter up your kitchen and eventually end up in the landfill. But I have discovered a pair of cooking appliances that are useful and perfect for camping.
There’s Camping and There’s Camping
When I talk about “camping” I’m usually talking about a resort or other groomed campground with electricity. In fact, our entire camper is electric. No propane system at all. When you’re boondocking or camping at remote campsites, most of the time you’re cooking with ether propane or over a campfire. These days portable generators are cheap and, even if we were boondocking, needing wall power would not be a serious limitation.
When I first saw Instant Pot, my initial response was dismissive. It looks like a rice cooker on steroids. Wrong. After getting one I realized it’s actually the most versatile cooking appliance ever made, almost completely replacing our kitchen stove. In the short time I’ve had it, the device has made the best hard boiled eggs ever, soups, stews, sauces, pasta, and frittatas. Load the ingredients, push a button and walk away. It’s amazing. I’ve thrown out all my other cooking appliances, except the crock pot, which I use for making soap.
An Instant Pot and small microwave will be our only indoor camper cooking appliances. Outside we will have a Weber Q1000 grill and the other of my must-have camper cooking appliances.
A Pellet Smoker Grill
Our Pit Boss pellet smoker is amazing. As the name implies it is both grill and smoker, using a feeder to drop wood pellets in a small burn cup at a precise rate. I never thought I’d become a fan of slow smoked hamburgers…until trying them. We’ve smoked every kind of meat and fish you can imagine, made jerky, even smoked apples with a little brown sugar and butter. It’s the convenience of an oven combined with the flavor of a smoker. It’s perfect for areas when building a fire is problematic due to fire risk. We’ve smoked whole hams, pork shoulders, and turkeys for potlucks and my next project is to smoke a whole baby pig.
Having an Instant Pot and smoker grill means we’re on the top of everyone’s list for potlucks. In the RV lifestyle food is a social event and the people who can smoke a whole turkey are always tops on the guest list.