How To's and Information
Cooking Outdoors is a great way to experience life to the fullest. Here’s a short guide that will help you find your way and pick just the right Pellet Grill, Smokers, Grill or stove for the job or as we like to call it “A Better Way” to cook outdoors.
People have been cooking with fire since the cavemen. The invention of the hearth seems to be one of the first cooking methods in recordable history. Over the years fire cooking has come a long way and wood fired grills have even made their way onto back patios. Until now it’s never been so easy to cook with wood fires.
Wood Pellet Grills, from Camp Chef, are up there with Propane grills in terms of approachable cooking. Set the temperature and forget it. The grill maintains the right level of pellets to keep a consistent temperature within 20 degrees of the target temp.
The true benefit you’ll see with a pellet grill vs a propane grill is taste. Pellet Grills infuse your food with a smoky, delicious flavor. Low temp, high temp options provide a wide range of cooking options that make Camp Chef grills versatile out of the box. Accessories such as the Sear Box, Rack, Front and Side shelves, and Pizza Stone take this grill even further as your advanced grilling tastes heighten. The Camp Chef SmokePro Pellet Grills are most appropriate for those accustomed to grill, smoke or bake. Grill / smoke burgers, chicken, brisket, ribs, sausage, bacon, and so much more.
Flat Top Grills are a great option for someone that needs the flexibility to cook for the masses. Need the ability to cook 20 hamburgers at once, no problem! 12 large pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage all at once? Camp Chef’s Flat Top Grill has you covered. Use the griddle in the morning for breakfast, and remove it to use the grill below for lunch and dinner. Great for backyard cookouts, tailgating, large gatherings or events, or cooking a meal for your family and friends on the back patio.
Smoking food was around with the cavemen who found that smoke added flavor to meat that was dried, smoked and preserved. Dedicated smoking is an art that requires greater attention to the details and when done right can result in incredible, jerky, ribs, and more. Camp Chef’s Smoker Vault is a traditional Smoker that has the ability to smoke several racks of ribs, bacon, brisket, burgers, sausage, chicken, all at once using the low & slow method. The Smoke Vault is great for true smoking connoisseurs and also doubles well as an outdoor oven.
Camp Chef’s 14” Explorer Stove is Camp Chef’s flagship product. It was designed to offer A Better Way to cook outdoors. Over the last 25 years, the Explorer has developed into a modular system that has several cooking components that can easily be added to the dual 30k BTU burners (3X more powerful than traditional camp gas stove tops). Grill Boxes, Griddles, Artisan / Pizza Ovens, pots and pans, cast iron, make camp chef stoves incredibly versatile in terms of the food that can be produced wherever you happen to be. Make pizza while grilling burgers, sear a steak while cooking eggs. Take these stove and accessories from the camp site to the back patio and you’ll have a powerful cooking tool wherever you go. Ideal for Campers, Families, large gatherings, and grilling enthusiasts.
Index of Topics:
Here you find a resource of knowledge to learn about all things Camp Chef including our cooking systems, general and “best use” tips, plus tons of other great information. Click a topic below to learn more about a subject, or browse this page to explore.
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We’re different! – Versatility is the name of our game
When you get a Camp Chef stove, you’re not just getting a middle of the road, average barbecue grill. You’re getting a stove that can do it all. Fully customizable so you’re able to cook a wide spectrum of dishes – barbecue, boil, griddle, and fry.
Camp Chef stove accessories are interchangeable so that whether you’re hosting a barbecue, boiling corn on the cob, or both; cooking a flapjack breakfast or doing some home canning outside, one stove can be your solution to accomplish it all.
Your Camp Chef stove will either be 14" from front to back, or 16" from front to back. The NEW COLOR-CODING SYSTEM is an easy way to quickly find which accessories will work with certain stoves.
Because some cooking accessories are designed to work with certain stoves, Camp Chef is introducing a new, simple way to identify these accessories based on the stove you choose. Watch for these new icons on packaging in stores, on our website and in our catalog for a simple way to find the accessories that will fit.
Look for these logos on our website, packaging, catalog, and this Accessory Guide to easily find which accessories belong with which stoves.
A versatile cooking system allows you to switch out a variety of cooking accessories to fully customize your stove. Barbecue, grill, griddle, boil, or fry; whatever type of cooking is on your menu - you can get it done with Camp Chef. Also check out our Smoke Vaults and Camp Ovens for more ways to prepare your food.
Low Pressure 30K BTU Burner
Our Low-Output burners pack 30,000 BTU/hr, which is a lot! (What's a BTU? Check it out below). These burners provide all the heat needed, plus some, for the vast majority of jobs. This is the burner we recommend for all of your standard cooking needs. Perfect for pancake breakfasts, steaks, burgers and so much more. Also plenty of heat for boiling up spaghetti as well as providing the heat needed for canning.
Low Pressure Burner 30K BTU
High Pressure 60K BTU Burner
Our High-Output burners pump out a whopping 60,000 BTU/hr! These burners are recommended for home brewers, or anytime you'll be heating up large quantities of liquid over and over again. Camp Chef does not recommend use of High-Output burners with griddles, grill boxes, or pizza ovens.
High Pressure Burner 60K BTU
What in the world is a BTU anyway? BTU stands for British Thermal Unit and is used in North America as a way to measure energy output. One BTU is equivalent to the energy released by burning one match.
Most household stove burners are around 10,000 BTU’s.
For basic cooking needs and cooking for only a few people, we recommend that you look for a stove that has burners that put out at least around 10,000 BTU/hr. This is about the minimum amount of heat to use in these cooking settings.
Most of our stove’s burners feature output of 30,000 BTU/hr each. If you’re cooking for a family or larger groups, we recommend a two or three burner stove in which each burner features 30,000 BTU’s. The heat produced by these stoves as well as the cooking area supplied, will make greatly simplify your cooking tasks. These burners also supply enough heat for canning needs as well.
A couple of our stoves feature high-output burners that pump out 60,000 BTU/hr each. That’s a ton of power! These are best for use with home brewing, high capacity boiling, and use in extreme cold temperatures. Camp Chef does not recommend the use of griddles, grill boxes, or pizza ovens on 60,000 BTU burners. The higher output can cause warping of griddles and can burn out grill boxes.
Camp Chef propane tank regulators are built to US safety standards, which require a lowflow safety feature. This feature restricts the flow of gas from the tank to the unit when too much gas is released too quickly from the tank into the regulator. This will result in lower levels of propane flowing through the burners.
To avoid this, simply attach your regulator to your tank as always. When you first open your tank’s valve, crack it open slowly to start the flow of gas then open the valve the rest of the way. This will ensure the correct flow of gas from your tank, through the regulator, and into your cooking unit. This procedure should be followed anytime you open the flow of gas from your propane tank.
After each time using your Camp Chef equipment, be sure to close the valve on your propane tank. This will eliminate any possibility of losing gas from your tank.
Don’t worry about where the lighter is, when you have matchless ignition you can get your stove roaring with the twist of a knob.
True Seasoned Finish
Camp Chef’s True Seasoned Finish is an all natural finish that means our griddles and Cast Iron come out of the box ready to cook with.
Our Even Heat technology helps to reduce hot/cold spots on our griddles by distributing the heat more evenly.
Out of the Box, Ready to Cook
The majority of our stoves, all of our outdoor ovens, griddles, and grill boxes come out of the box and ready to cook with very little or no setup required.
Emergency Preparedness Recommended
Durability, dependability, functionality. These qualities define many Camp Chef products. They are also crucial qualities that are needed from cooking equipment you can rely on whenever an emergency strikes.
Camp Chef products are a great way to keep the smell and heat out of your RV so you can cook outside where you’ll have more room. Many Camp Chef products like stand up stoves, Ranger stoves, Camp Ovens, and Smoke Vaults will hook directly up to your RV with an RV Connection Hose. Simply hook the RV Connection Hose to your RV then connect it with your Camp Chef cooker and you’ll be enjoying the fresh air while preparing your meals.
If your home has a natural gas line hook up on your back patio, you can put the hassle of wondering about your propane tank levels behind you. With a Natural Gas Connection Kit you can simply hook up your Camp Chef cooker and you are on your way to building your own outdoor patio kitchen.
Natural Gas Stove Conversion Instructions:
Before attempting the conversion to natural gas, please be aware of the following requirements:
Requirements for natural gas connections:
The Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Ovens recreate the cooking process of a true wood fired, brick pizza oven in your own backyard. Camp Chef’s pizza ovens allow you to have fun creating your own combinations of toppings and you can enjoy the delicious flavors and textures of true artisan styled pizza. If you own an Italian Artisan Pizza Oven, please refer to the included cooking guide for more information and recipes to try, including how to make your own dough.
Proper Use Tips
DO NOT USE YOUR CAMP CHEF STOVE ON HIGH HEAT WITH THIS PIZZA OVEN. Medium to low heat provides all the heat you will need. This oven is designed to cook artisan style pizza, deep dish pizza, premade and frozen pizzas, and calzones - each requiring slightly different cooking styles. Just like with a true brick oven or your home oven, preheating your Italia Artisan Pizza Oven is essential. The temperatures and cooking times will vary slightly depending on outside temperatures, weather conditions and what type of pizza you’re cooking. I.e. frozen pizza will cook differently than a pizza made from scratch or store bought dough.
There are two temperatures you should be aware of with your pizza oven. The internal air temperature and the temperature of the pizza stone.
Internal Air Temperature
You can read the internal air temperature by looking at the built in temperature gauge on the top of the pizza oven. Internal air heat will help cook your crust, cheese and toppings. The internal air temperature will react quickly when you change the amount of heat produced by your stove.
Pizza Stone Temperature
The pizza stone temperature will rise slower than the internal air temperature at first, but will gradually become hotter than the air. The pizza stone does much of the cooking.
- Artisan Pizza: Approximately 500° to 550°
- Other types: Approximately 400
We highly recommend using a cooking surface thermometer or an infrared thermometer to gauge the temperature of the pizza stone.
Camp Chef prides itself on durable, quality cooking equipment. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your stove by following these tips before using your stove:
- As you connect the gas hose line onto the stove unit, first hand tighten the hose nut onto the stove, then use a wrench to tighten it the rest of the way.
- Connect regulator to the propane tank and ensure a tight connection.
- Gently crack the valve open on the tank with no more than a half turn to start the flow of gas.
- To check for any leaks, do a soap and water test by using a wet soapy rag and wiping along hose and valves.
If you have a yellow flame, adjust the air vents. If that doesn’t work, clean the burners. You can clean the burners out by using an air compressor to blow down onto the burners, you can also squirt the stove down with a garden hose then lay the stove on its side and let it dry for 2hrs before you use it again. After the stove is cooled off, cover the stove with a patio cover or store it in a carry bag.
Most of Camp Chef’s Griddles come with a True-Seasoned Finish, which will appear as a black finish. This True-Seasoned finish will protect your griddle as well as help to provide a nonstick finish.
Proper pre-heating will get the best performance out of your griddle. Adjust your heat to Medium or Med-Low heat setting for approximately 5 minutes. This should produce a griddle surface temperature of 350°-400° F. Now turn heat to med-low to low for 2-3 minutes for uniform heat. You are ready to cook.
Manage heat from low to medium to maintain desired heat for the cooking conditions. Consider what the weather conditions are like. Cold and windy? You’ll need more heat. What’s being cooked and how much of it? Considering these elements will help you cook better and get the most of out your griddle.
Cleaning & Storage
After each use allow cookware to cool completely. Wash with hot water and/or mild dish washing liquid (never use abrasive detergent). Rinse and dry thoroughly. Never scour or use a dishwasher. You may wish to use a plastic scrubber or plastic pan scrapper to remove stubborn food particles.
Slowly warm steel griddle or pan on burner. Lubricate cookware with a thin coating of Camp Chef Conditioner or olive oil. (Camp Chef Conditioner is recommended because it is palm oil based which gives it a longer shelf life than any other natural oil) Be certain that the entire surface, including all corners, have been coated thoroughly. This will help maintain the seasoning on your cookware. This seasoning protects the steel from rust as well as providing a durable coating that helps non-stick properties. After cookware cools, wipe off excess oil/conditioner with a clean cloth.
Store in a dry, clean area. Be sure to properly clean griddle before storing. When storing in a carry bag, leave the zipper open 2-4 inches so the metal won’t sweat.
Tips for Best Use
- Cook with even heat if using an accessory that covers two burners. If cooking on low, be sure that all burners are on low, etc.
- When managing the temperature of the griddle, it will heat quickly and cool down slowly.
- Adjust heat up slowly. This provides more control and even heating of the griddle. Keep all burners at the same output setting for even cooking and to avoid warping.
- Use an infrared thermometer or griddle surface thermometer to help manage your griddle temps.
- Lightly oil the griddle before each use while it is heating up. We recommend Camp Chef Cast Iron/Griddle Conditioner. This will help promote and maintain the True-Seasoned Finish of the griddle.
- After cooking – clean any food particles from the griddle while it is still warm and apply a light coat of conditioner or cooking oil. This will help prevent rust and protects the natural seasoning of the griddle.
- Steel, Camp Chef True-Seasoned cookware will continue to antique and darken with use providing a durable coating that helps minimize sticking.
- Rust, metallic taste or discolored foods are signs of improper or inadequate seasoning or may result from cooking heavily acidic foods. If this occurs, wash thoroughly and re-season.
- Protect your investment. Visit www.CampChef.com to find a Carry Bag to store and transport your griddle. There you’ll find other great products to help you cook, like spatulas and Cast Iron/Griddle Conditioner.
- NEVER HEAT GRIDDLE ON HIGH. THIS CAN CAUSE GRIDDLE OVER-HEAT AND WARPING. LOW TO MEDIUM WILL PROVIDE ALL THE HEAT NEEDED TO COOK WITH. NEVER LEAVE UNATTENDED.
Some folks are a little hesitant to use cast iron because they’re worried about how to clean it and care for it. Hesitate no more. This information will help answer all of your question and guide you through proper care and maintenance to help your Dutch ovens, pots, skillets, griddles and more last a lifetime.
Prepping Cast Iron for Seasoning
Some cast iron cookware brands come with a wax coating, which protects the product during transport between the manufacturer and you. This coat helps minimize rusting. Being metal, cast iron is susceptible to rust if not properly cared for. Camp Chef cast iron comes with a True Seasoned ready-to-cook finish which provides that initial protection against rust and means no preseasoning necessary on your end.
If your iron is not seasoned, do the following. Place your cast iron upside down on your Camp Chef outdoor cooker, in a barbecue or in your home oven. If using an oven, use a cookie sheet under your cast iron to catch any wax drippings. Set your heat source to medium heat to melt off wax coating. When burning off the wax on your cookware, the wax will smoke. This step is best done outside to avoid excess smoke in the kitchen. When smoking stops, your cast iron is ready for seasoning. Remove from heat source and let cool. Wash and dry thoroughly with hot water to eliminate any deposits.
**BE SURE TO WEAR PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND THICK LEATHER GLOVES WHEN HANDLING HOT CAST IRON TO AVOID BURNS**
- Liberally apply Camp Chef Cast Iron Conitioner to a clean cloth rag
- Coat all surfaces of the cast iron with conditioner
- Place in heat source upside down and heat to between 400° and 450° F in oven or on medium setting of a low pressure Camp Chef burner
- As the cast iron begins to smoke, remove carefully from heat (be sure to wear protective clothing at all times while working with hot cast iron)
Your cast iron cookware is now ready for use. Let cool, then store for next use. After each use, apply a small amount of Camp Chef Cast Iron Conditioner, about a dime's diameter worth, and thinly coat all surfaces of the cast iron. Over time, this will make your cast iron black, creating a finish called a "patina." This patina will enhance your cast iron by creating a glasslike finish, which also provides a nonstick surface.
How to Clean Your Cast Iron
We want people to feel comfortable about using cast iron; that goes from cleaning, to heat management, to seasoning and caring for your cast iron. Proper use and care will ensure a long life for your cast iron.
Many have asked about ‘the right way to clean your cast iron’. While there are several ways, Camp Chef has developed two products for anyone that wants a sure fire way to clean and care for cast iron. Cast Iron Cleaner and Cast Iron Conditioner. These two are designed to be used together for best results.
Camp Chef Cast Iron Cleaner cleans using natural oils. This special blend of oils and cleaning agents breakdown sugars and other food particles. The natural oils will not damage the finish of your cast iron cookware, it’s safe to use on all seasoned and enamel pieces.
Instructions for Cast Iron Cleaner:
- Use a pan scraper to remove excess food from cast iron.
- Put apporoximately 2 teaspoons of Cast Iron Cleaner in with a small amount of clean warm water into the pan and rub with a plastic brush or clean rag. If dealing with stubborn or hardened food, let the pan sit with warm water and cleaner for about 10 minutes, then scrub. This cleaner does an excellent job of releasing even the toughest gunk.
- Rinse the cast iron with clean water.
- Wipe the cast iron dry with a clean dry rag
- Apply a light coating of Cast Iron Conditioner, warm cast iron back up and let cool.
After each use, re-applying a small amount of Cast Iron Conditioner on all surfaces of cast iron, this will help continue to build your patina.
Camp Chef Cast Iron Cleaner includes trace amounts of citric acid, this is present as a cleaning agent and is normal. We recommend avoiding soaps that are heavy in citric acids.
Some people feel comfortable just using hot water to clean their cast iron. Here's how:
- Remove all food particles from cast iron cookware using a Dutch oven scraper or a plastic pan scraper.
- Fill pot half full of hot water; allow to sit for a period of time. If you have burnt food in it, it may require the water to be boiled to help loosen the food.
- With a stiff bristled long handled brush, scrub the remaining food residue away and off of the iron. Rinse thoroughly, pat dry with a towel. If the finish looks healthy or black and shiny, you can store your oven. If it is dull, gray or marble looking you may have to touch it up with a little Cast Iron Conditioner to apply a healthy coat of seasoning.
Have Rusty Cast Iron?
Though there are many methods for cleaning rusty ovens, the one that we have found to be the easiest to use is a can of cola. If the inside is rusty, pour the cola in and let it do its job. Depending on how rusty the oven is will depend on how long you will need to leave the cola on the rusty spot. If you have an issue with the outside of an oven, use a sponge to apply the cola, or place the cast iron in a large bowl or bucket with enough cola to dissolve the rust (some rotating may be necessary). After rust is removed be sure to wash and re-season your cast iron by following the steps provided above.