Much less in tents than a real camping breakfast
how to make pancakes on the grill
Credit: Photo by Ivan Maximov / EyeEm via Getty Images

Try to tell me there’s something more fun than a backyard campout. It's got all the outdoorsy fun of real camping with significantly less risk of bears, porta-potties, and public showers. My favorite part of the backyard campouts I had as a kid, other than the weirdly perfect smell of outside at 5 a.m. was breakfast the next morning, starring none other than grilled pancakes. Even though we were 30 feet from my real kitchen, lugging a few bowls and pans outside and making a pancake breakfast on the grill is just pure joy. OK, I’m not saying you can’t make pancakes on the grill if you’re a real camper, but work with me here. Having access to a kitchen sink is just plain necessary—at least in my book—when you’re trying to safely cook outside and/or not go through 3 packs of baby wipes.

Start by preheating the grill. If you’re using a gas grill, you can easily set it to a medium-high heat. If using a charcoal grill, open the vents wide to let oxygen in and fuel the fire, then let the coals burn for at least 20 minutes until they ash over. Since grilled pancakes aren’t ladled directly onto the grill grates (duh) the grill needs to be hot enough to heat a pan placed onto the grill.

Mix up a batch of your favorite pancake batter—you could go classic (or for a speedier classic, the DIY mix you have the the fridge), or get fancy with boxed cake mix or peanut butter. Cover the bowl with a dish towel or foil if you’re still waiting for the grill to preheat, and try to keep the bowl out of the sun.

Place a large nonstick griddle pan or a large nonstick oven-safe pan (cast iron also works well) onto the grill. Let the pan get hot for 5 minutes or so, then test the heat by flicking a bit of water onto the pan. If the water dances and evaporates, you’re good to go. You can also test the pan by making one small pancake.

Fry pancakes as you would normally. If you’re craving a more complete breakfast, as you fry pancakes, make some room on the griddle or bring another pan onto the grill grates. Fry or scramble a few eggs, and cook some bacon or sausage too.