Dutch Oven Riverside Cooking with Hells Canyon Raft

A rafting trip with Hells Canyon Raft always includes hearty and delicious meals cooked for you by our multi-talented guides.  They can provide you a day packed with river excitement and then whip up an unforgettable dinner – all while telling terrible jokes. Our meals are full of fresh ingredients and made from scratch every day of your trip. When possible, we even use produce such as radishes, tomatoes and herbs from our own greenhouse in McCall. The abundance varies each year and each trip dependent on Mother Nature, of course.

Imagine a vacation where you connect with loved ones over a shared meal – and someone else does the cooking! On your rafting vacation with us, we take care of preparing, cooking and serving each meal while you relax riverside. Wake to brewed coffee and get ready to greet your day over the smell of sizzling bacon. While on the river, you’ll stop mid-day to refuel with a filling lunch spread. In the afternoon, our gear boat goes ahead first to set up camp and our kitchen. When you arrive, we’ll prepare dinner while you get cleaned up from your day on the river and find a cold drink to enjoy.

One of our favorite ways to make the desserts and appetizers on our Snake River and Salmon River rafting trips is with a Dutch Oven. This method of cooking allows us to bake like you would in an oven – but instead of being inside a kitchen, we’re outdoors on a wide, sandy beach under Western summer skies.

A Dutch Oven is a large, thick-walled cooking pot with a tightly fitting lid. You can cook with Dutch Ovens many ways, but on the banks of the Salmon or Snake Rivers we heat the contents using charcoal briquettes placed on top of the pot as well as underneath it.

Cooking with a Dutch Oven is simple and fun but requires a bit of experience and finesse. To figure out how many total coals we need to heat with, our general rule is this: take the diameter of your oven and multiply by two. Hells Canyon Raft uses 12” aluminum Dutch Ovens, so we need 24 coals for ours. Because heat rises, you want twice as many coals on the top as the bottom, or you run the risk of burning your meal. So we put 16 coals on the top and about 8 on the bottom. This makes for perfection when baking a cake or bread.

Some of the most popular recipes on our guided river rafting trips are rosemary focaccia beer bread, pineapple upside down cake, and molten lava cake with drizzled chocolate and raspberries.

One of our favorite Dutch Oven recipes this time of year is an appetizer of Baked Brie with Idaho huckleberry puree, fresh grapes and toasted baguette crostinis. For maximum enjoyment, we recommend you put a little bit of each ingredient – brie, huckleberry puree, and grape – on your crostini and then pop the whole thing in your mouth. You’ll hardly need dinner after you indulge in this delectable goodness (but don’t worry, we still serve you an ample evening meal!). Huckleberries are a staple of Idaho culture and are the basis of dozens of local celebrations and festivals across the state. Coming upon a ripe patch of huckleberries while on a hike or bike ride is a true delight to the senses.  They can be found all over Idaho, but you have to know the secret spots!

Because we love to share, below is our recipe for Baked Brie With Huckleberry Puree. We’d much rather be enjoying this Dutch Oven delight with you on a river trip, but when that’s not possible you’ll have a little bit of Hells Canyon Raft to keep your river memories alive.

Hells Canyon Raft Baked Brie with Huckleberry Puree

1) Melt 1 stick of  butter and 3 crushed cloves fresh garlic (or more if you like garlic) together in pan

2) Start with 1 piece of phyllo dough on flat surface

3) Place wheel of brie in center of dough, fold dough into center and brush with garlic butter

4) Continue adding layers of dough and garlic butter

5) Bake in Dutch Oven for 20-30 minutes with 8 coals on bottom and 16 coals on top

6) Remove from oven, top with Huckleberry Puree

7) Serve with fresh grapes and crostinis made from toasted, sliced baguette

We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we love serving it to you on our river rafting trips!


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