Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

Two Swans, Two Blokes, and a Pie Iron: Smoked Sausage Campfire Sandwiches

The slow-ebbing curtains of night draped down from the heavens, as the salmon-colored sun waned in the western sky. Coyotes chortledIMG_5764 from distant fields, whilst Venus peaked out in the fading light, and portly bull frogs warmed up their singing voices in the shoreline reeds. An owl yonder takes his chair also in the wilderness orchestra, hooting it up like owls do, it’s otherworldly hoots piercing the forest hollows, and the tender skin upon your soul.

I wiggled into my down sleeping bag, like a snake putting back on his skin, and listened to the night. What a delight it was. Doing a little camping the weekend last, my cronie and I, out way of the hither lands, and far removed from the ever-bustling hubbadee hub of the city mire. It’s not that we don’t like the city most days, it does have a lot going for it. But it’s rather that we like the bush veld a whole lot more. Oh to pitch a tent where the earth meets the sky, and for a good while there, tarry in quiet eddies of wilderness sublimity. This is what we do from time to time. This is who we are.

Long about sunrise, I stirred violently in my sleeping bag, awoken by our resident alarm clocks – the Trumpeter Swans. These large-winged goof balls have no moral fiber, let me tell you, when it comes to being courteous around sleeping campers. But then again, this pond was their home, and we were visitors there. And lo, if they wanted to strut their trumpet-like name sake at the crack of day, well who were we to tell them otherwise. So they honked out some tremendous notes that would have sent a high school music teacher straight for his ear plugs. I’m sure they sounded beautiful in their mother tongue of Swanese or what ever, but early in the morning, through the foggy window pane of your dreams, hark, they sound akin rather to a Wookie who just got his favorite parts snipped off.


One of our favorite things to do whilst camping is to eat. And eat often. Turns out our feathered room mates were on the same wave length. And you just got to admire how they go about their business: nonchalantly sticking their head into the water, and flipping their big white butts up in the air – humbly exposed to predators and shutter bugs alike. Their black bills rummaging through the aquatic muck with the refined deftness of a salty French chef’s ladle. Plucking out what wondrous morsels of goo that one might find sunk in the mud. I dunno. But they were making us hungry. Powerful hungry. And here then is what we did about it, and how it came to be.


I’m sure you all have seen these things before. The venerable cast iron pie iron. Their usual publicity caters to images of molten apple pie filling between two carbonized, and very black pieces of white bread. But that’s only if you screw it up. In the hands of pie iron Jedi, it is quite a different story. Pie irons are not just for apple pies, they are for sandwiches also. And maybe some of the best sandwiches you’ll ever sink your teeth into. They’re real easy to do too! Simply butter both halves of your pie iron in a rather liberal fashion, and assemble thus your culinary brain thrust of the hour. Today, we favored the smoked summer sausage with an obscene about of Munster cheese. Oh man! Pop your cholesterol pills people, this one is out of the park!


Over a quaint bed of embers we placed the assembled pie iron, sandwich and all, for to roast a spell there, beneath a gorgeous, blue Minnesota sky . We kicked back in our chairs, doing what comes naturally to a patron of the pit, even way out in the boonie lands. With a manly beverage in hand, and left leg crossed over right, we loitered with great effect. We thought about the bumper-to-bumper traffic back in the city, the sirens, and the honking horns of rush hour. We thought about it only for a little bit tho, and then we let it go. The heady magic of sandwich cooking seemed more important now, and so did the tweety birds which darted headlong across the sky.

The secret to pie iron cooking is to routinely monitor your plunder. To pull it from the fire and check in on it every two minutes or so, is not nearly as annoying as finding that your beautiful sandwich has morphed into a square-shaped blackened meteorite fit for the trash pile. So check in on the booty often, and flip at your pit master instincts. You can do this!

Oh man. Pulling that sandwich clear of the heat, and taking a gander at the Munster cheese oozing forth from its molten lair of sausage and crust, mercy, this was a sandwich fit to satisfy. A few of which, between the two of us, were thus consumed in a semi-savage sort of way, gobbling them down like two, unshaven, cave men, whilst the puffy white clouds idled over head. I wiped my chin and belched accordingly. All was right with the world. And the two swans sang of its glories. Amen.


Camp Fire Cooking: Smoked summer sausage and Munster cheese sandwiches hot off the coals, courtesy of pie iron immortality.




22 responses

  1. Ironically, I sold pie-irons as a tackle-camping rep. Never used one myself. Now I have to give it a try!

    April 22, 2015 at 11:13 am

    • Yeah, they’re a lot of fun TJ. Some evening around the campfire with your grand kids, you ought to break one out! Good times.

      April 22, 2015 at 1:57 pm

  2. Wow, that sounds like it was worth waiting a brutal winter for. Nicely done and a fine inspiration! Done similar things with those Pillsbury biscuits that come out of a tube, but this looks like a winner.

    April 22, 2015 at 11:15 am

    • Thanks Mr Quincho! Yeah, I thought about trying them tube biscuits in a pie iron, but there were none on hand. I bet it would work pretty good tho. The zenith of pie iron cooking is only limited by our imagination!

      Ten four…It was a long winter. Felt great to get out, and loiter in the hammock.

      Take care

      April 22, 2015 at 1:59 pm

  3. Guess what I’m asking for for Mothers’ Day! You really got the creative juices flowing, so to speak. Who needs a panini press?

    April 22, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    • Well hopefully the little Deerslayer offspring will come through for you. It would be a fine extension to your already impressive cast iron kitchen. Good luck!

      April 22, 2015 at 5:16 pm

  4. I love campfire pies. I am partial to pizza and apple. I just may have to find mine. Thanks for reminding me PotP!

    April 22, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    • Same here, Bill. Yeah my camping buddy brought his along, and it didn’t take long for me to rekindle the simple joys of pie irons. They’re just plain fun I guess. Something different for a change of pace.

      Thanks Bill. Take care man!

      April 22, 2015 at 5:14 pm

  5. We had one of those contraptions in the States. Now that you’ve reminded me of how fun they are I will start looking for one here!

    We are glad to see that you Northerners can get back to one of life’s pleasures that we are lucky enough to enjoy all year – siestas in the hammock! Enjoy life my friend!

    April 22, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    • Thanks John. Indeed. Much premium hammocking was experienced. I love hammocks. Oh to swing happy go lucky in one the year round. I envy you! But alas, winter has abated, and our time is here. Well, it actually snow showered yesterday, but that’s all in a day’s work for Minnesota in the spring.

      Yeah, them pie irons are fun to play around with round the camp fire. So many things to try. Fill em with pepperoni and mozzarella and peppers and a little sauce for example, and you got yourself a little pizza. The ideas are endless. Good times.

      Take care, mate!

      April 22, 2015 at 9:22 pm

  6. I love a good camp fire toasted sandwich… we call those things waffles out here… just because we can 🙂

    April 23, 2015 at 12:11 am

    • Waffles you say… Well that works! You Aussies have all the power!

      April 23, 2015 at 3:35 pm

      • Ha. Bloody auto correct. That should’ve been jaffles!!

        April 23, 2015 at 3:53 pm

      • Hahaha, that’s funny stuff! Auto correct sure has soiled many a good phrase.

        April 23, 2015 at 4:37 pm

  7. Well that’s just brilliant. Now I need one for when we go camping – I’ve always by passed them, I’ve never seen the potential!

    April 23, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    • I’ll admit to doing the same, but my buddy brought his, and I got to dabbling with it, and wouldn’t you know, it was actually useful. I wouldn’t rate it higher than other camp cooking vessels like a good frying pan or dutch oven, but they are kind of fun, and do put out a tasty product. I cannot deny. Yeah, you’ll have to play around with one your next trip afield.

      Thanks Kate!

      April 23, 2015 at 3:38 pm

  8. It’s good to see that the swans weren’t like their seafaring cousins the seagulls, who would have swooped on your BBQ post haste. I love campfire cooking,it has that certain something about it.

    April 24, 2015 at 5:42 am

    • Ah yes, them seagulls are a pain in the buttocks some times. But they are also accomplished pilots. I do like to watch them ply their craft. These swans tho were just big and loud and ate all day… Hmm… Well anyways, many thanks Laurie!

      April 24, 2015 at 10:20 am

      • Seagulls are certainly masters of survival and flight, the food stealing, squawking, pooping things that they are. Then those guzzling swans and don’t even get me going on geese. When I was five I was bitten on my little manly bit while having a pee behind a farm house. I never pass up a chance to eat goose. 🙂

        April 25, 2015 at 2:55 am

  9. Ok so … I know I’ve been rather delinquent in posting on my blog AND, staying in touch with you my smokie Brutha but, it’s not because you guys haven’t been on my mind.
    I’ve had a few “set-backs” this winter past (not the least of which, involved some serious “writers block” (just couldn’t come up with anything meaningful to talk about) AND, a rather nasty spinal surgery, but … I digress).
    I VERY MUCH enjoyed this post because it reminded me so of camping trips past, with my dear ol’, departed Dad.
    Thx for the memories old friend … I’m “kinda” on the mend and, sitting in a chair … pecking away at the keyboard is getting a bit easier each day.
    Amen indeed to the cast iron sangwiches (as my Italian buddy says)
    🙂 🙂 🙂

    April 24, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    • Greetings old boy. Any time I can assist someone rummage up some worthy memories, I’m all for it. Memories after all is kind of who we are. Glad you have some good ones, wrought in the prettier places with your pop. That’s good stuff.

      Sorry to hear of your set backs. I was starting to wonder where you’ve been. Spinal surgery, I will assume, sucks the big one. Prayers old chap that such heals good for you and that it did its job. Man. No fun.

      Feel better soon, Smokie brother, and mend thyself with great haste!

      Take care man

      April 25, 2015 at 3:57 pm

  10. Cheers buddy …
    Ya, … it’s a slow road back to health after this kinda thing. I’ll be able to “light up” the metal detectors at the airport with all the new hardware I have installed in my back!!
    Dougie 2.0 🙂

    April 27, 2015 at 3:00 pm

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