I have always enjoyed cooking in my home, outside while camping, for friends, and of course, snowmobile trailside cooking. There is something to be said about cooking a meal on the trail, in the middle of winter, snow everywhere, wind whipping and sub-zero temperatures. Am I nuts? No way!
There is a small breed of trailside cooks out there that enjoy this great therapy, as it might be called. Just throw some food and heat together, and presto, something to eat, right? Maybe for some. A well-cooked trailside meal (gourmet, of course), as with any other meal, needs to be planned. First you need to decide on the table fare, second is to try and make the meal a one-pot-show, and third is to find a place suitable to stage this cooking event. Let me explain please.
Solace with Something Hot to Drink
I like to start off with hot chocolate and/or coffee, always a big hit with kids and adults alike. Don’t forget the cream and sugar. There is solace with something hot to drink on a cold winter day. It’s also a way to start a good conversation while keeping everyone busy as the cooking is going on. Trailside efficiency dictates cooking in the same pot the water was boiled in.
Now, for a simple main course. You can’t go wrong with hotdogs or kielbasa, complemented with sautéed onions and peppers, on a good roll, with a side of sauerkraut, mustard and ketchup. By precooking the veggies ahead of time you can fry the dogs and then add the vegetables… one pot to cook in means only one pot to clean. But more important is that everything is cooked at once, so nothing has a chance to get cold.
Out of the Wind
Just as important as the meal is the ambiance. Find a place to cook and eat that is out of the wind but in the warmth of the sun. It doesn’t hurt to have a nice view or some uniqueness about the dining hall. When planning portions for outdoor meals, always plan on more. I find that everyone will eat more on the trail, and you never know when a fellow rider may swoop in for that extra portion.
Snowmobile Trailside Cooking Utensils
Make sure you bring along all the cooking utensils you may need, including plates, paper towels, hot cups, as well as fresh water. I usually pack everything in a tunnel bag or backpack. And don’t feel guilty about spreading out the gear for lunchtime, you need counter space! As you expand your cooking prowess you may find that more cargo capacity is needed. When done, be sure to attach your kitchen carefully, not that anything could ever go wrong…
I just had finished cooking dogs and peppers, cleaned up, and headed out on the trail. It was a beautiful day, smoooooth trails and a full belly. I was cruising along when I noticed my orange “kitchen” pack was missing from the back of the sled. Okay, time to turn around for a “search and rescue mission.” How hard can it be to find a bright orange pack on white snow, right? After a few runs up and down the trail I found that it had slid over a bank, leaving me to crawl through four-plus feet of snow.
I strapped it down securely this time but should have inspected the pack closer. Off I went, not knowing that the mustard lid in the “kitchen” had departed and was now burping the yellow condiment directly onto the track, thus all over and under the sled. Nothing like a black Arctic Cat with yellow striping… I guess it wanted to look like a Ski-Doo. Unfortunately the mess didn’t come to light until I stopped to talk to a Fish and Game officer. Just think about how that went, and the story he took back to the shop!
I’m looking forward to some good trail cooking again this season, stay tuned for more and maybe some “up-ta-camp” recipes.