Before they met in 2005, Mac had grown up cooking in his father’s restaurant in Idaho, and Faverman had worked as a chef in restaurants across the US. They decided to combine their two hobbies – making people laugh and cooking good food – into a travelling road show called Ultimate Outdoor Cooking. The idea of the show was to prove that cooking by campfire out in the woods is exciting but not always simple.
Mac had had a lot of camping experience before he met Faverman and it had taught him that food was extremely important for people on vacation. Interestingly, better food brought more people to the campground. When it was their turn to cook, the new campers started to give up eating hot dogs and hamburgers and started to create new recipes.
Mac and Faverman have tried different types of camping together, each time experimenting with the most suitable recipes. Their favourite dish for car camping, for example, is steak in lemon juice mixed with salt and pepper. To keep the meat fresh, they keep it cool in a car while travelling. Afterwards, when they get to the campsite, the steak is barbecued with red potatoes.
For travelling on foot with a rucksack they suggest either red potatoes with grilled and salted fish or sausages with different vegetables like zucchini, cabbage, carrots and onions. The only secret to keeping the vegetables nice and fresh while walking is to pack them properly and leave them until ready to cook in a pan over the fire at the campsite.
As they do a lot of cooking, the most useful instruments for Mac and Faverman are plastic bags, knives, a wooden rack to cut the food on and also matches and a lighter. Besides the latter, they use electric things, which can be a little risky at times. For example, a couple of years ago Mac was using an oven to slow-cook meat on a little grill. Suddenly one of the legs of the oven broke; the grill itself and the pot fell to the ground and the meat fell straight onto the dirt. Luckily, Mac used the “five-second rule”: just wash the meat off and put it back on the grill. He said later that it tasted a bit sandy, but the campers didn’t notice.
Unlike Mac, at the beginning of the project Faverman was usually unsuccessful at making a fire and putting up a tent because he didn’t have enough experience. Later, he became quite a skillful camper who could give a useful tip or two to beginners. The best piece of advice from the pair for cooking in the woods is to design the menu ahead of time and to know exactly what you are going to cook on the first and second days. A good camper should try to make the first meal easy because setting up camp takes a lot of time and effort.