Tasty Survival – Campfire Trout

Surely cooking a tasty meal isn’t going to be high on your list of priorities during the early onset, but once you’ve made your way to (relative) safety and your stomach wants more than energy bars and water, it’s time to think about what to do next.

The most obvious first step is to consider your surroundings. Did you escape the city and make a run for the hills? Mountains? Woods? Is there an easily accessible water source? River, stream or lake? Wherever you are, as long as it’s safe to build a small fire and you’ve got the skills to manage it, you’re already one step closer to dinner. This week’s recipe is for those who had the foresight to include fishing gear and aluminum foil in their Go Bags. Even if you lost your gear during the mad dash through the shambling horde, all is not lost. A bit of creative resourcefulness can help anyone can hook a fish or two.

The biggest drawback – fish is very perishable. You can’t take it with you. Without proper refrigeration, your catch of the day will spoil very quickly. If you can, keep it alive in a bucket of water or other container until you’re ready to clean it. Fish is healthy, easy to cook and might just be the best damned thing you’ve ever eaten if you’ve been living on energy bars long enough. You can wrap your catch in leaves and steam it, roast it on a stick or, if you happened to remember to pack aluminum foil and a few choices spices, keep this traditional campfire foil cooking recipe in mind.

Campfire Trout in Foil

1 large square of aluminum foil (about 24-by-24 inches)
Salt, pepper, any favorite seasonings or wild herbs (Some plants are toxic. Don’t eat it if you don’t know what it is)
2 lemon slices (you can also use apple slices, grapes, wild blackberries or huckleberries)
Butter or a bit of cooking oil
Small trout

Clean the fish thoroughly. Good cleaning helps prevent spoilage and the spread of any bacteria. Just chop off the head with a large, sharp knife and gut the fish. Remove the entrails and rinse it out to remove any blood, bacteria, parasites and enzymes.  Don’t be squeamish. You’ve just hacked and slashed your way through a zombie hoard, haven’t you? This should be the easy part. Small trout are easy to clean. If there are larger fish available and you’re able to hook one, this part will be a little messier.

Place the aluminum foil on a flat surface and put the trout on top. Sprinkle the fish, inside and out with salt, pepper and seasonings. Put lemon slices on top and a couple pats of butter. Wrap tightly, making sure that the foil is at an even thickness all the way around. Place your foil pack directly onto the coals of a campfire. Cook about 5 to 8 minutes on one side, and then turn. The fish is done when the flesh is opaque and flakes easily.

Simple, right?  What? No aluminum foil? Well, that’s all right. Season it and put it on a stick. Find a stick that’s forked and sharpen the prongs a bit with your knife. Insert the prongs of the fork on either side of the backbone. Make sure it’s sturdy or it will end up in the coals. When the fire has burned down to red coals, simply hold the stick so that the fish is about 6 inches from the coals and grill it about 5-10 minutes per side. When it’s flaky, it’s done.

Now, eat it!