Perfect (med/rare) Campfire Roast




Step 1: Season the Beast

Unroll some wax paper and plop the roast on to it. Don't be afraid to season it a lot. Some ideas might be to stuff some garlic inside some holes in the roast or just to rub some spice into it.

Step 2: Start Wrapping

OK so let me preface this by the fact that you will be wrapping a lot of wax paper over this roast. Don't be stingy with it as it's going to protect your roast from nature. I don't have an exact amount of rolling that I do, I just kind of judge when it's thick enough. 

I start by tightly rolling it in one direction, and I tuck in the ends of the paper to create a packet. After rolling this with about 6-7 layers of wax paper I cut the paper and rotate the roast and roll it end over end a few times.  I tuck in the sides while doing that. I finish off the roast by rolling it another 6-7 times in the original direction, again tucking in the ends as I go.

In the end you should have a nice compact rolled roast.

Step 3: Truss Me Around This

You will want to truss your roast, this step will keep it from falling apart over the fire.

Make sure you secure the open ends so that they can remain closed. It doesn't have to be a fancy job, just make sure it's thorough.

Now if you go camping for a while (I usually go for 10 day stretches) I suggest that you freeze the roast (in a Ziploc bag) and use it as additional ice for your cooler. As a result I usually serve this meal around day 3-4, basically once it's thawed out. If you try cooking this puppy before it's thawed, then you are on your own for the results, I can't guarantee the cooked to perfection!

This year I will be trying wrapping my roast on the outside with some newspaper to see if it will remain frozen longer. If you try this, remove the newspaper before cooking. (edit: the newspaper helped a great deal with keeping things cold)

Step 4: Prepare the Fire

Ok so you want a good fire that has been burning for a while so that there are some hot coals. If you are impatient, you are welcome to toss some charcoal into the fire, however don't use any that has chemicals on it, just plain old charcoal.

I prefer regular coals myself so I stoke a good fire first.

Push the coals around to create a nice warm bed for your packet. The fire will continue to burn on one side of the fire pit, but you want most of the heat to come from the coals.

Step 5: Place the Packet on the Coals and Wait

Place the packet on the coals. Don't be alarmed when the paper starts to burn, that's why you put many layers. Start your timer, or start counting steamboats but you want to wait 15 minutes before rotating the roast. (For those who care, that's 900 steamboats) never mind the foil wrapped sweet potato there on the left.

In terms of rotating, we are considering this packet as having 4 sides. Each side will be cooked for 15 minutes on the coals. When the 15 minutes are up carefully rotate the roast 90 degrees in one direction to place the next side on the coals. At the end it should look a lot like the final picture in this set.

If you don't like your roast done medium rare, go to the final step to find out about cooking times.

Step 6: Once You've Rotated 4 Times (cooked All Sides)

After an hour you should have cooked 4 sides for 15 minutes each. Carefully remove the roast from the fire and place it on a tray/plate/whatever you've got. Peel the paper back gently and allow the roast to sit for 10 minutes (this will allow the juices to remain inside) You will have to pick off some of the paper left over on the roast while you wait. The first picture has some of the paper on the right and some left to remove.

After the roast is well rested, cut and serve. You should have a beautiful medium rare roast at your disposition.

Step 7: Some Things to Consider...

I like my roast medium rare... If you want to cook it longer go right ahead, however I suggest adding the same amount of time to each side in order to give a consistent heat all around. (ie: 18 minutes on each side) I don't know exactly how long to cook for other levels of  "done-ness", so if anyone experiments with this, let me know and I will add the times here. People can also cook their individual slice over the flames a little longer if there are people with different preferences.




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22 Discussions

interesting, I'm sure a little wax would be no big deal, but... have you thought of using parchment paper instead? Heat resistant to 450 and if you buy institutional grade like I have used in bakeries, it is good till 600 degrees

3 replies

Reply 3 years ago

You definitely need the foil over the parchment. I found this posting today, tried it after we couldn't use the crock pot because we ended up at a rustic camp site. After reading the comments I tried many, many layers of parchment. They torched up in about 15 seconds on the coals, ended up re-wrapping in parchment and foil. Will repost when it's done :)

that might be interesting, and I suppose I could also cook it in foil. I don't think parchment would burn at all and it seems to be a part of the concept. Something to try next year camping!

Cool, that's how we do a lot of camp cooking, wrap in parchment, then in foil. That way you get the benefits of foil type cooking with a no stick coating, you can cook scrambled eggs on a sheet of parchment. But keeping in mind, if aint broke... your idea seems to work just fine


6 years ago on Introduction

that roast looks so............... good ! That really is a LOT of wax paper, is it for insulation purposes or for cooking? Have you considered or tried aluminum foil as the initial wrap

2 replies

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

It is a lot of paper but it helps seal the roast and it also burns while cooking. foil would work, however it wouldn't seem so cool, as one can cook pretty much anything with foil. :)


6 years ago on Introduction

Now I have done steak, burgers, & brats when camping, but whodda thunk you could do a roast this way? I love a good roast anyway and the smoky flavor of an open fire can only make it better! I didn't read ALL the comments so I hope this is not a duplicate question, but what cut did you use? This looks like a sirloin tip. I am guessing that would be a great cut to use for this. Thanks for sharing. ... it is on the menu for our next trip!

1 reply

Hey there, I used a cut of meat called eye of round. I use it because of the consistent size of the roast as well as the predictable cook time. You could however use any even sized roast and experiment with the time. Some people find eye of round to be a little tough due to it being so lean; you could also experiment with wrapping it in bacon first then cover it with the paper.
Let me know how your works out!


7 years ago on Introduction

Awesome 'ible! I second the parchment idea though, just in case the wax does melt into the meat a little. Also, I add a layer or 2 of foil and use a few less layers of parchment. The foil retards heat better so there is less need for all that parchment 'insulation' to protect the meat. Your pic of the finished roast sliced open should be on the cover of a summer grilling magazine! Man that looks good...

1 reply

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

thanks for the comment! You've made me beam with pride when you mentioned the magazine cover thing! It is delicious!

I might experiment a little next year with the outer wrappings; see if it influences the cooking process.


Good question; i'm not entirely sure how much if any get's absorbed by the meat. What I can say is that it looks like it gets mostly cooked off by the heat/fire, and that the meat does not taste like paraffin. I know that the paper helps protect from the direct contact with the coals, and that I have to remove a thin remaining coating of paper; I Imagine that catches most of it.

any scientists out there care to give their 2 cents on this?


Thia sounds like an old camping trick we used when I was a kid. (i have more) In answer -or sort of one-to a question asked.
you could use a brown paper bag wrapped with the newsprint, or alumiumn foil, or just about anything and it won't burn. The reason? When red meats are wrapped tightly the natural dampness and juice from the meat will keep the interior of the wrapping from catiching fire.. When wrapped the blood seeps out , or if you are wrapping before you thaw,,That moisture will keep the inner wrapping from burring. I might suggest that if using waxed papper you might concider wrapping the roast with a "plastic wrap" first. This would take the problem of wax away. Be sure take the time to make sure your wrapping you usecan be used in the microwave and that should protect it from melting in the heat.


thanks for your detailed response! I would be afraid that plastic wrap would melt (but then I rarely use the stuff for more than wrapping cheese.
I am sure there is a world of plastic wrap out there for me to discover!


not terribly sure; I've done it with various weighted eye of round roasts. (this was my 6th time doing this style roast) To give you some other ideas of how much this was...
-this looked like a 1/2 to a 1/3 of the whole cut of meat (If you've ever spotted the whole cut for sale)
-The length was about 8 inches and the diameter was about 3 1/2 inches

The diameter seems to be about the same on all the roasts i've used, hence why the cooking time is so consistent.

Hope these vague recollections help.


7 years ago on Introduction

Nice ible! Thanks for sharing. Last year we made our entire thanksgiving dinner outside. It was amazing! Wished I made an ible while we did it. Maybe this year!

1 reply