For many, Labor Day weekend is the end of the regular camping season. As the days get shorter, the crowds that once flocked to the campgrounds during summer now slowly begin to fade away. For them, it’s time to put away all the fun outdoor gear in the garage and start making plans for next year. But for us, it’s just the start of the camping postseason.
While fall weather doesn’t always cooperate 100% of the time, when it does, it can be truly spectacular. The trick is to keep an eye on the forecast and when a good stretch of weather comes along, seize the opportunity and do whatever it takes to get outside. Warm sunny days, cool dry nights, some of the best days of the year can be found in early fall.
We recently capitalized on such an opportunity by taking a trip up to Maine. We hadn’t explored Maine yet, so when we found out that our friends Johnie and Marlin were going to be traveling along the coast, we happily decided to make the trek up to meet them.
One of our favorite things about fall weather is that you rarely get uncomfortably hot, even while hiking. We spent much of our days exploring mountain cliffs and scrambling up rock ledges. If we had done this during the dog days of the summer, we would have no doubt been drenched in sweat. But in the cool crisp air of autumn, we could climb up the mountain like a jungle gym without overheating.
Another great aspect of postseason camping is the ability to cozy up next to a fire with a flannel and really enjoy some warming comfort food. For some reason, a roaring campfire just doesn’t have the same appeal on a hot, sticky summer night. But in the fall, when the sun goes down and air turns brisk, hanging out around the fire becomes a major evening activity. We’ve only known Johnie and Marlin for a short while, but somehow spending time around a fire can make people feel like old friends nearly overnight.
Thankfully we brought our BaseCamp with us, so not only did we get a chance to warm up, but also cook up some fall-inspired flavors for dinner.
One of our favorite recipes we’ve made this fall are these Oktoberfest kebabs. Combining bratwursts, red cabbage, onions, and apples, this interactive campfire food is pure autumn on a stick. They’re great for groups and can provide endless entertainment throughout the evening. We had a blast roasting these up and enjoying them with some spicy mustard and craft brews.
As the night drew to a close and we all slinked off to bed, we were thankful to be spending the night outdoors. There won’t be too many of these days left before winter arrives, so when the weather’s right, you just got to get out there.
Ingredients (Serves 3-4)
- 1 lb bratwurst
- 1/2 small red cabbage
- 2 apples (Fuji, Gala or Honeycrisp do well on the grill)
- 1 medium yellow onion
- Olive Oil
- Mustard, for serving
- Kebab skewers (if you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in water a bit ahead of time)
- Sharp knife + cutting board
Preheat your BaseCamp: Start stoking your BaseCamp so that it’s ready to go once you’ve assembled your kebabs!
Prep the kebabs: Cut the bratwurst, onions, cabbage, and apples into bite sized pieces, about 1” across. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the cabbage, onions, and apples to prevent them from drying out on the grill. Assemble the ingredients on the skewers, alternating cabbage, apples, onions, and bratwurst. Leave about 1 inch empty on either side of the skewers to make it easy to handle while cooking and eating.
Grill the kebabs: Once your BaseCamp is hot (we heated it to 4), place the skewers on the grill. Cook, rotating them every couple of minutes, until the bratwurst is cooked through and the onions are beginning to soften, about 15-20 minutes total.
Serve: Once the kebabs are done, pull them off the grill and serve with mustard and your favorite Oktoberfest beer!