I Make My Best Lazy Meals With This Novelty Camping Tool

This delightful camping tool doubles as an at-home sandwich enhancer.

7/30/2021 12:05:00 AM

This delightful camping tool doubles as an at-home sandwich enhancer.

To make crispy, melty sandwiches around the fire—or simply over your stove—turn to the pie iron.

If you’ve encountered a pie iron before, odds are it was in the vicinity of acampfire. The contraption consists of two pieces of aluminum, either circular or square in shape, joined together by a hinge at the top to form a press. Two long metal handles stem from the top and bottom parts of the press, which you use to bring the pieces of metal together, and hold the pie iron over the campfire.

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Simply oil the insides of the iron, place two pieces of bread (white sandwich bread works best, in my opinion) and whatever fillings you have on hand inside, press the clamp together, remove any crusts that have been pinched off, shut the metal clip on the handle, and into the inferno it goes. Minutes later crack the pie iron open and find a delightfully

with a molten cheese center.Toast Tite Pie Ironat AmazonNow, if you’re a regular camper—or have an outdoorsy trip coming up—I definitely recommend a pie iron as a way to expand your campfire cuisine beyond the usual grilled meat and scorched marshmallow fare. With one, quesadillas, pizzas, and, yes, pies are possible, even when you’re in the wilderness.

But, as someone who grew up eating tuna sandwiches for breakfast, I’m all for breaking the arbitrary conventions of “when” certain foods ought to be consumed and “where” certain tools ought to be used. So it should come as no surprise that I use my pie iron at home, over my stove. The pie iron allows you to access the superior crispiness of a pressed sandwich, no bulky panini press required.

My favorite quick-and-easy meals come by way of this tool. I blame an early diet of Hot Pockets, a.k.a. the people’s calzone, for my love of foods that 1) consist of a crispy shell containing injuriously hot innards and 2) require no effort. The pie iron delivers on both counts—and allows me to master

pantry-cleanout cooking. All manner of refrigerated odds and ends are far greater than the sum of their parts when sandwiched between two pieces of toasty bread and coated in hot cheese. Simply load up the pie iron, place it over medium heat for five minutes on each side, and you have a campfire sandwich, without the campfire.

Let me clue you in on my classic pie-iron meal: the pie-iron pizza contains cheese, red sauce, and whatever vegetables or meats you need to evacuate from the fridge (I still use white bread but you could use dough if you’d like). In an homage to a Costco chicken bake, I particularly love combining leftover chicken, bacon, mozzarella cheese, and

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Caesar dressing. Any typical hot sandwich fillings work, provided you don’t stack them too high. I’ve tried tuna melts, ham and Swiss, and kimchi-mozzarella. You can also go the sweet route with PB&J, banana and Nutella, leftover pie fillings, or jam and cream cheese.

In the context of a summer campfire, where you set up a picnic table buffet full of fillings both savory and sweet and allow everyone to assemble and toast their own crispy-melty sandwich, a pie iron is sure to impress. At home, cooking with a pie iron in front of guests might come across as a little eccentric. I think you should own a pie iron for two scenarios: as a camping tool that’s sure to delight friends and family, and as an at-home sandwich enhancer, perfect for those easy, fridge-dump meals best savored alone.

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