Pudgy Pie: The Art of the Campfire Panini

What is it that you crave? Versatility and creativity is the name of this family friendly dinner adventure. Dream it, build it, stuff it and toast it over the backyard campfire. Invoke patience, and wait.

Pudgy pies are great because you can cater to the pickiest of eaters or the family epicurean. It truly is about the ingredients you offer up for the feast that makes all the difference. There are no wrong answers here. A couple of basic guidelines to ensure perfection, and the sky is the limit!

The finished product will have a nice grilled golden crust and the inside will be melted and steamy hot. Be careful not to burn your tongue. I recommend cracking your pie open and blowing on it.

Spring is the perfect time for backyard food adventures. We’ve all been cooped up way too long and it’s time to share a deep breath of the fresh spring air.

What you will need

  •    Pudgy pie toasters — found at any store that carries camping gear
  •    2 slices of your favorite soft bread
  •    Hot campfire
  •    Cooking oil spray — olive or canola variety
  •    Hot pads or oven mitt
  •    Spatula or tongs
  •    Imagination

To get started

Build your fire prior to cook time. Get a good bed of coals set. Prepare desired ingredients. The recipes on the following pages are all ideas, but don’t be afraid to experiment.

Assembly & Cook TimeBrett Kosmider

To avoid sticking, spray both sides of the toaster for each pie. Place one piece of bread on each side of the toaster. Add your ingredients. Seal up the toaster, trim any excess bread from the edges and place it in the fire. Depending on what you are making, start with a cook time of two minutes and flip; cook for two more minutes. Check to see if it is cooked. You’ll know it’s done when the bread is toasted golden brown.

The Young at Heart

Pigs in a Blanket in a Pie

Makes one pie

1 hot dog, grilled on a stick and cut in half

cheddar cheese


variation:  kettle chips for a little crunch

Place the hotdog, cheese and ketchup on the bread (for picky eaters, keep the ketchup on the outside for dipping).

Ooey Gooey Peanut Butter Nutella Banana Pie

Makes one pie

1 banana, sliced

Nutella, big dollop

peanut butter, big dollop

variation:  coconut flakes

Pizza Pie

Makes one pie

pizza sauce, 1 Tbsp for each slice of bread

favorite pizza toppings:  pepperoni, onion, olives, spinach, peppers

mozzarella cheese

variation:  a sprinkle of crushed red peppers

The Sophisticated Palate

Campfire Muffuletta

Makes one pie

2 slices hard salami

2 slices ham

provolone cheese

roasted red peppers

olive tapenade

drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar

variation:  red onion, thinly sliced

Door County Turkey

Makes one pie

smoked turkey

1 Tbsp cherry chutney

brie cheese

variation:  red onion, thinly sliced

Spicy Veggie

Makes one pie



tomato, thinly sliced


pepperjack cheese

variation:  red onion, thinly sliced

Campfire Reuben

Makes one pie

turkey or corned beef

Swiss cheese


spicy mustard

The Sweet ToothBrett Kosmider

Crispy Marshmallow Peanut Butter Pie

Makes one pie

3 – 4 toasted marshmallows

peanut butter, spread on each slice of bread

handful of Rice Krispies cereal

variation:  four squares of chocolate

Berrylicious Pie

Makes one pie

1/2 cup of macerated berries* — strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, your choice

2 – 3 slices of brie cheese

*Macerated Berries:  Place four cups of washed and sliced berries (of your choice, but keep raspberries and blueberries whole) in a bowl. Drizzle with a half-cup of liquid (I like to use something sweet like maple syrup or honey). Liquor or wine adds a nice flavor as well. I recommend mixing the sweetner and the alcohol to produce a half-cup of liquid. Let the berries sit overnight, stir often. Add a bit of fresh thyme or mint for a hint of summer.

S’more Pie

Makes one pie

3 – 4 toasted marshmallows

1 full-sized graham cracker, crumbled

half-bar of chocolate

Photography by Brett Kosmider.