The Best Cookbooks For Outdoor Cooking

10 essential books to help you master outdoor cooking

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This June, join us as we defy the confines of the kitchen and look outside. If you need us, we'll be exploring the Great Outdoors.

You can do a lot with a camping stove: make a bubbling fruit cobbler, foil-wrapped potatoes, kid-friendly banana boats. But the outdoors has bugs and temperamental weather, and even the best campfire falls short of a six-burner magnetic induction cooktop. Should you choose to venture outdoors, there are plenty of guides for that—from lazing on a (perfectly spread) picnic blanket to foraging safely—but we're here today to show you how to cook like a camping pro while inside the comforts of your own kitchen.

 Cooking Wild, by John Ash and James O. Fraioli (Running Press, $35)
These two James Beard Award-winning authors show you how to take foods from the wild and give them the domestic treatment. Ingredients range from familiar (maple syrup) to novel (candy cap mushrooms), but all are worth experimenting with. You'll never know how good wild boar teriyaki meatballs are until you try them.

 A Wilder Life, by Celestine Maddy and Abbye Churchill (Artisan, $30)
This book about "getting in touch with nature" comes from the founder of Wilder, a quarterly magazine that taps into the outdoor spirit. The pages extend past what goes on in the kitchen, like their field guide to butterflies or a primer on healing stones. But there are also plenty of staple recipes that you can (and should) make today, like tomato sauce, sauerkraut and kimchi.

 The Picnic, by Marnie Hanel, Andrea Slonecker and Jen Stevenson (Artisan, $20)
For those who prefer hard proof over Instagram fodder, keep this book in your wicker basket for constant reference. There are ideas for breezy lawn games (to play while you digest tea-brined fried chicken), plus tips for how to deal with situations like iffy weather and ways to transport chilled food.

 Around the Fire, by Greg Denton, Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton and Stacy Adimando (Ten Speed Press, $35)
The first from the chefs at Portland's Ox is reminiscent of Francis Mallmann's perennial favorite, Seven Fires, but the interlaced Oregon vibe gives it a refreshing edge. There are recipes for every season, showing that open-fire cooking doesn't have to burn out when summer ends.

 Camp Sunset, by Editors of Sunset Magazine (Oxmoor House, $25)
This guide is geared toward the "modern camper," which, surprisingly, doesn't mean glamping. It's full of useful tips, like "Do not think you are faster or smarter than a raccoon or bear," as well as recipes for corn bread and apple crisp meant to be made over a campfire. There's even a glow-in-the-dark constellation poster, should you need a reliable stargazing guide.

Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto, by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay (Ten Speed Press, $30)
While people wait hours in line at this Austin barbecue spot, you can spend that time kicking back poolside as your smoker does the work on your very own brisket. It's an all-around guide to grilling, so you can spend every day this summer mastering a new technique without fear of getting bored.

 The New Wildcrafted Cuisine, by Pascal Baudar (Chelsea Green Publishing, $40)
More adventurous cooks will gravitate toward this foraging-forward book, which features recipes for pickled acorns, pine needle vinegar and more. Takeaway message for walking in the woods: Always look down.

 Savor, by Ilona Oppenheim (Artisan, $30)
When Oppenheim needs a break from bustling Miami life, she takes her family and heads to a rustic Aspen cabin. This book gives you a glimpse into that open-air lifestyle, teaching you how to cook apples in hot coals and use red clover to make tea. Adorable photos of Oppenheim's children eating wild harvested berries are an added bonus.

 Feeding the Fire, by Joe Carroll and Nick Fauchald (Artisan, $30)
Brooklyn chef Carroll's breezy grilling style is inspiration for exactly how barbecue should be enjoyed: with good company, beer and always outside. Get a leg up by supplementing your outdoor feast with his grilled Nutella-stracchino sandwich.

 Project Smoke, by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing, $23)
Learn how to pick and use the smoker that best fits your needs, then try smoking any (and every) animal you can get your hands on. The 100-plus recipes prove that everything can be a smoke show, like nachos, capers and deviled eggs. There's also dessert in the form of smoked chocolate bread pudding.