Camp Oven Mate!

Have you ever heard of a Camp Oven Mate?

Not too long ago we hadn’t either! Southern Metal Spinners, based in South Australia, made the camp oven mate, such a versatile product! Basically, it is a portable convection oven that you put your camp ovens inside to cook with. This product uses a ring burner and gas bottle so there’s no need for fire and coals. You simply turn it on and you’re ready to go! The camp oven mate is fantastic when travelling as it can be used ANYWHERE from campgrounds to beaches and parks.

The team at Big 4 South West Rocks at Trial Bay, New South Wales, saw the Camp Oven Mate being used in our YouTube videos and decided to install a dedicated camp oven bay in their park! An invitation was extended to Nick and me to visit for a few days over the January school holidays to do some demonstrations. We were excited to show people what this new feature was and how to use it! We drove just over an hour south of Coffs Harbour until we arrived at the Big 4. What a fantastic tourist park it is!

South West Rocks Luxury!

We stayed in one of the luxuries “lagoon” cabins. It was a two bedroom cabin with all the features, a galley kitchen, air conditioning, flat screen tv, the works! We headed off to the camp kitchen after we unpacked our bags, to see where the new camp oven bay had been installed. Two brand new camp oven mates were secured to a stainless steel bench, and both of them had a ring burner installed beneath. The small camp kitchen also has a table and chair set, a washing up sink and two barbecue plates, the complete package for cooking up a feast!

The park is perfect for the entire family with plenty of facilities to keep them entertained for hours. After we had checked out the new camp oven bay we decided to check out all the park facilities. The jumping pillow is a must for kids of all ages, and that was the first thing Nick and I went on as it was close to the camp kitchen. Alongside the jumping pillow was the children’s playground, complete with a small rock climbing wall and mini surfboard! We headed to the hire hut to grab some gear and had a round of 9­hole (mini) golf at Sharkey’s Putt Putt, one of the free activities provided. And just for the record, I beat Nick by a mile! Next, we climbed the stairs to the free rooftop half tennis court and played a round or two.

Fishing and Canoeing, then BBQ RIBS!

We grabbed a canoe and a rod and headed to the lagoon to drop in a line and have a paddle. Nick was keen to land a fish but he only thing he caught was a log! After all the play, it was time to cool down in the resort style pool and relax in the spa cave. By then it was time to set up our demonstration area in the small camp kitchen. The boys did daily demonstrations at 3 pm, perfect timing for an afternoon bite. Our famous cola and smokey BBQ spare ribs were on the menu, as well as our tasty date damper. Nick explained to the crowd what these steel things actually were for and how to use them. We then got to work demonstrating how to make our tasty ribs. We boiled three kilograms of beef ribs in the coke for half an hour, then the boys placed the ribs in a 12-quart camp oven. Mick then placed this inside the pre­heated camp oven mate to cook.

We basted the ribs with the smokey BBQ marinade then turned and re­basted every 15 minutes for an hour. Whilst the ribs were cooking, we whipped up our delicious date damper. This was very simple to put together using a basic damper recipe with a few extra ingredients. Mick placed the damper in a 12-quart camp oven then placed it in the second camp oven mate and cooked for half an hour. Whilst the date damper was cooking, it was time to serve up the ribs and boy did they smell good!

Time to eat!

The smell of ribs cooking was attracting more park guests so by the time they were ready to serve, we had a small crowd awaiting! The sticky ribs went down a treat and were all served in less than 10 minutes! The date damper was nicely golden at that time. We served this fresh out of the camp oven with a lashing of butter. We handed out the recipe cards for these treats we’d prepared and the crowd eagerly accepted them. These demonstrations continued for the three days with the crowd growing bigger each day. We had park guests returning each day and I’m sure it was just to get some sticky ribs! Thanks to South West Rocks for hosting us and allowing us to introduce and demonstrate the camp oven mate bay.

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