Lessons from the trail

Oregon chef has ideas that will send you packing for the outdoors

Zeb Johnson grew up in northeast Oregon, moving cattle and cooking in the great outdoors, and at 23 he's doing the same thing in his job as chef at Minam Lodge. These days, though, the cattle come in the form of steaks, which he cooks for guests on pack trips in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. But he also surprises guests with Asian flavors, including stir-fries and even sushi.

Cooking on the trail

Freeze individual portions of meat and fish in vacuum-sealed bags. Some butchers will package meat this way, or you can use a home vacuum sealer. Frozen portions act like cold packs.

Cut, season, and freeze vegetables and meats in zip-lock plastic bags for quick camp stove stir-fries.

Transfer condiments and even wine into plastic soda bottles to avoid toting heavy, fragile glass containers.

Keep ice chests cool by draping them in towels soaked in cold water (backcountry streams are a good source).

Minam Lodge: LaGrande, Oregon; (541) 562-8008.

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