I fully admit it: I’ve been slacking on the blogging. In a blink of an eye, summer was half over and while I could have been diligently typing away on my laptop, instead I was super busy prepping, packing, unpacking and then re-packing again for my favourite type of trip: camping. Being able to choose from so many beautiful provincial parks is one of the many reasons I love living in Ontario and ever since the age of four, I have gone camping every single year of my life. Camping has become essential for my soul and I love leaving city life behind to connect with nature and above all: to make copious amounts of yummy camp food.
Our car camping trip this year was to Bon Echo, a beautiful provincial park in the South Eastern part of Ontario just north of Kaladar. While there are several lakes throughout the park, Bon Echo is most known for Mazinaw Lake, the second deepest lake in the province. The other main feature of this lake is the Mazinaw Rock, a massive 330 foot escarpment that towers high above the water and is adorned with native pictographs. The rock is a popular challenge for outdoor climbers, and is most impressive up close by canoe.
We arrived really late on the first night and were setting up our tent as quietly as possible at two in the morning. Relaxed, we had the munchies and were so tired that we disregarded the number one rule about camping and brought some Pringles into the tent. Within seconds there was an animal poking around the outside, and we could see their little paw imprint searching for the zipper – freaky! The chips were quickly thrown into the car, and while we were rid of animals, the rain started soon after we fell asleep and we woke up to a few puddles in our tent. Murphy’s Law – as soon as we put the up the tarps it never rained again, but we didn’t complain!
For lunch we roasted some maple pork sausages from The Healthy Butcher over the fire. Crispy, juicy with an addictive sweet and salty flavour, a roasted sausage over the fire is still one of my favourite camp foods. So simple, yet so effective. We bought some fresh Italian buns and topped off the yummy sausages with some sauerkraut, hot banana peppers, mustard and pickles. And so…the meat marathon began!
For dinner we smoked a pork shoulder in my handy little Bradley smoker, one of my best additions to my camping equipment to date. I can smoke anything, anywhere, anytime! We rubbed the shoulder a few days before with Paul Kirk’s Dry Rub and smoked it for three hours, about an hour per pound. We also wrapped some apples, asparagus and carrots (with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper) in aluminum foil and roasted them over the fire.
The sweet roasted apple was the perfect compliment to the fatty, salty pork and we paired the dinner with a Crazy Beard Wild Apple Ale, a natural apple flavoured ale that had a bit of sweetness like a cider, but cut through the rich pork like a beer. Pork is really one of the tastiest meats to smoke. I remember thinking “will it really be as good as I remember?”. Yes, yes it was.