Cooking Backyard to Backcountry

Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-60639-000-9
Author: John & Lori Rittel
Pages: 192

Cooking Backyard to Backcountry

12 Techniques and 150 Recipes for Fabulous Outdoor Cooking

by John Rittel and Lori Rittel

Make outdoor cooking more fun, more interesting, more delicious.

Cooking Backyard to Backcountry is a unique approach to memorable outdoor cooking. Whether you use a gas grill, a charcoal grill, or a wood fire, you’ll find special techniques—some new, some ancient—that will enhance your cooking experience.


Learn how to:

  • Create crowd-pleasing barbecue the traditional way
  • Fire up flavor by cooking directly on a wood plank
  • Have great grilling anytime, anywhere, even on simple “grills for the hills”
  • Bake anything and everything in a classic Dutch oven
  • Prepare spectacular meals in a deep-pit barbecue
  • Go primitive—and delicious—by cooking on a hot stone slab
  • Boil up an unforgettable stew—or just a fabulous cup of coffee—using the Native American technique of stone boiling
  • Cook with foil, spits, reflector ovens, and steam pits

Plus, the 150 mouth-watering recipes are tried and true family favorites that have been “field-tested” in backyards and backcountry camps. Many of them are sure to become your favorites, too.

If you want new recipes for the grill or want to learn entirely new ways to cook outdoors, this book is your guide to great times and great food.

About the Authors

John Rittel and Lori Rittel, a brother and sister author duo, grew up on the Blacktail Ranch, a guest ranch in Montana, along with two other siblings, brother Eric, and sister Jeri. The four spent much of their childhood camping outdoors, packing into the backcountry, and even spent a summer living in a teepee in the mountains with their father, Tag Rittel, and a handful of other children from the Dearborn community. Their vast experience outdoors began as children and both continue to enjoy outdoor recreation and outdoor cooking.

John is a geologist, with many published papers in scientific journals. Lori has a master's degree in Food Science and Nutrition, and is a Registered Dietitian. The two decided to bring their experience and unique expertise together to turn their legacy into a book for others to learn from and enjoy.

1. Foods & Fundamentals

Important information about nutrition, safe food handling, measurements and conversions, cooking temperatures, cooking tips, herbs, spices, and ingredient substitutions.

2. Heat Sources

A comparison of cooking with campfires, wood and charcoal briquettes, and gas barbecues and grills. Includes smoking with wood chips.

3. Rubs, Sauces, and Marinades

How to make and use these flavor enhancements.

4. Barbecue Cookery

The differences between barbecuing and grilling, the history of smoky barbecue, tips for choosing woods, and recipes.

5. Grill Cookery

Preparing the grill for cooking, temperature management, special techniques for seafood and vegetables, and recipes.

6. Deep-pit Barbecue

The succulent advantages of deep-pit barbecuing with complete instructions on how to construct a barbecue pit, how to prepare the meat, and recipes.

7. Wood Plank Cookery

Where to obtain wood planks, the best woods for different foods, how to prepare planks for cooking, and recipes.

8. Dutch Oven Cookery

Easy ways to use a traditional Dutch oven, including tips, techniques, and recipes.

9. Stone Slab Cookery

How and why to cook on a hot stone slab, simple ways to obtain proper stones, heating techniques, cooking tips, and recipes.

10. Foil Cookery

Fun, flavorful cooking in aluminum foil, including simple ways to cook delicious meats, vegetables, and desserts.

11. Spit Cookery

A primitive technique that produces a visual feast for one person or many, various spit designs, and recipes.

12. Reflector Oven Cookery

History of reflector ovens, how to build and use them, and recipes.

13. Steam Pit Cookery

Origins of steam pit cooking, how to construct a steam pit, and step-by-step instructions for a New England Clambake, a Maori Hangi, and a Hawaiian Imu.

14. Fireless Cookery

The timesaving and tenderizing advantages of fireless cooking, making a fireless cooker, and recipes.

15. Stone Boiling Cookery

An ancient form of cookery used by Native Americans, the best stones to use, and recipes. This is the way to make “real” cowboy coffee.


Press Release

New book makes outdoor cooking deliciously different

Tired of the same old outdoor grilling? Then try cooking in a hole in the ground or on a sizzling stone slab, or make a super stew by dropping hot rocks in a pot. These are a few of the fascinating cooking techniques in a new book by co-authored by a Montana brother and sister.

“Cooking Backyard to Backcountry” by John and Lori Rittel features 12 cooking methods and 150 recipes that make outdoor cooking more fun, more interesting, and more delicious. Readers will learn how to create crowd-pleasing barbecue the traditional way, fire up flavor by cooking directly on a wood plank, bake anything and everything in a classic Dutch oven, and prepare spectacularly succulent meats in a deep-pit barbecue.

For the more adventurous, there are instructions for going primitive by cooking on a hot stone slab, making a fabulous cup of coffee using the Native American technique of stone boiling, and staking salmon on a spit for a rich smoky flavor and visual treat.

The author’s inspiration for the book came from their experiences growing up in the Montana mountains. The children of legendary wilderness outfitter Tag Rittel of the Blacktail Ranch near Wolf Creek, John and Lori ate many great backcountry meals cooked on wood fires and Dutch ovens. Big celebrations were marked with deep-pit barbecues or steam pits, while busy days in the woods called for quick, easy cooking with aluminum foil, simple grills, and fireless cookers.

The $19.95 paperback includes color photos and detailed instructions for all of these cooking techniques. It is available at bookstores or by calling Riverbend Publishing at 1-866-787-2363


A handful of color photographs illustrate Cooking Backyard to Backcountry: 12 Techniques and 150 Recipes For Fabulous Outdoor Cooking, a no-nonsense guide to the art of cooking outdoors, from crowd-pleasing barbecue to baking in a classic Dutch oven to cooking on a hot stone slab, over a steam pit, using Native American techniques, and much more. 150 tried and true recipes fill this "field tested" compendium. Cooking Backyard to Backcountry is an excellent choice for cooks of all skill and experience levels, and includes a wealth of practical information and instructions to balance its step-by-step recipes. "Lump charcoal can be ignited in the same way as briquettes, but it's best to avoid lighter fluids ... Fumes from unburned lighter fluid in cool spots can contaminate the food. You can usually light lump charcoal by piling it on top of wads of crumpled paper; this will avoid any possibility of petroleum fumes tainting the food."

Midwest Book Review

Outdoor Cooking Magic

Missoulian: Field-tested recipes - Montana siblings write cookbook that uses ancient outdoor techniques Magazine: Field-tested recipes - Montana siblings write cookbook that uses ancient outdoor techniques

The Billings Outpost: Cookbook looks at range of outdoor cooking methods

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