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Monthly Burger Series: Campfire Mac & Cheese Burger

August 19, 2019
5 min. read

Campfire Mac & Cheese Burger

Here we are…nearing the end of August and approaching fall’s horizon. But don’t let summer come to an end just yet. Make one “last hurrah” with a spontaneous camping trip—tent, sleeping bags, campfire, and all! Set up camp at your favorite campground, go exploring, take in the fresh air and sounds of nature, and make great memories with your friends and family.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll share with you some great campfire cooking recipes to use for inspiration. This week’s recipe is Campfire Mac & Cheese Burgers (trust us, you’ll want to give these a try)! Then be sure to check next week’s blog for some Foil Pack Camping Meals.


Campfire Mac & Cheese Burger

The Mac & Cheese element of this recipe alone is enough to make it worthy of a taste (or two, or seven). Add to that a juicy, smoky, flame-grilled burger and some to-die-for aioli, and you have a new favorite burger in your grilling repertoire.

(Sure, you could make this burger at home using a grill and an oven…But isn’t it much more fun to cook over an open fire in the great outdoors?)

Take a look at the recipe below, then read on for some insight into the various elements of this recipe along with helpful tips and techniques for campfire cooking.

Campfire Mac and Cheese Burger



About This Recipe

The best-tasting campfire meals require a bit of preparation and a little finesse. Here are some helpful tips and tricks about each key ingredient:

{The Burger + Method}

burger being cooked over campfire

Grilling over an open fire is a very imprecise method of cooking, however it can be very rewarding if done right. A successful burger grilled over a campfire should develop a nice, even char and a delicious smoke-infused flavor.

The tricky part comes down to the temperature and size of the fire. If it’s too hot or the flames are too close to the burger, you could end up burning the outside before the inside is fully cooked.

burger being cooked over campfire

Here are some tips:

  • Let your fire die down a bit then cook the burgers over the hot coals for more precise, even cooking.
  • If your campfire has a grill grate, you can either cook the burger directly on the grate or on a cast iron skillet on top of the grate. The grate method will ensure more “smoky” flame-grilled flavor while the cast iron skillet method will help you achieve a better sear/crust.
  • Try using a combination of direct and indirect heat to make sure both the outside and inside of your burgers cook to your desired temperature.
  • If you don’t have a grill grate, there are various handheld gadgets you can purchase for campfire grilling. These are also useful if you just want more control over the level of heat and closeness to the flame. Here are a few options:

Whatever method you choose, you won’t regret giving your burgers a bit of campfire-infused flavor. It really makes a difference.

{The Mac & Cheese}

Campfire Mac & Cheese Burger

This is the true star of the dish! Cheese lovers will applaud this magnificent specimen of cheesy goodness. The best part is that it requires very little prep which makes it the perfect recipe for away-from-home cooking.

The Prep:

  1. Before leaving on your camping trip, par-boil the macaroni noodles at home until just before al-dente. Rinse them with cold water to stop from cooking, then drain and store in a plastic zip-top bag.

That’s it! Now the cooked noodles are ready to pack in your camping cooler and add to your casserole dish when ready to cook.

Campfire Mac & Cheese

The Recipe:

  1. In a large disposable aluminum pan, combine cooked pasta, evaporated milk, melted butter, ground mustard, cayenne, and black pepper. Add cheddar cheese and stir to combine. Cover with foil and cook over campfire until cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.
  2. Stir Mac & Cheese, then top with crushed butter crackers and grated Parmesan.

This easy to make recipe requires only a handful of ingredients and is nearly foolproof, even using campfire cooking.

Here are a few tips:

  1. We used a low-flame fire of mostly direct heat and rotated the pan several times throughout the cooking process.
  2. You may also want to check on it a few times during cooking and stir the noodles to redistribute the ingredients and ensure even cooking.

{The Roasted Garlic Aioli}

Campfire Mac & Cheese Burger

This special sauce is based on chef Guy Fieri’s “Donkey Sauce” which he uses in his restaurants and references in several of his TV series. It may just be a simple aioli, but it adds an amazing flavor element to everything from burgers to French fries.

All you need is garlic, salt & pepper, mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and a splash of lemon juice (if desired). We highly recommend roasting the garlic in your oven at home, which adds a great amount of caramelized flavor and extra smokiness.

The Recipe:

  1. Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F. Roast whole heads of garlic, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper, then wrapped in foil, for 35 to 45 minutes.
  2. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from the skins (should have about 1/4 cup). In a food processor, combine the roasted garlic, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Pulse until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

You can easily prepare this aioli at home and store it in a sealed container to pack on your camping trip. It should keep for several days in the refrigerator and make preparing your burgers that much easier!

{The Fixin’s}

With a flame-grilled patty, some indulgent mac and cheese, and a dollop of amazing aioli, not much else is needed for these burgers except a bun and some veggies.

Martin’s Big Marty’s Rolls are more than capable of handling extreme toppings like mac & cheese—and they are perfect for the job! Plus, the sesame seeds add a nice bit of crunch to the mix.

Add the classic burger companions of tomato, lettuce, onion, and pickles, and you’re ready to indulge!


Try it for yourself: 


Mac & Cheese Burger

Let us know your favorite part of this recipe in the comments section below or on social media!


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