"While you're out there, you want to enjoy nature," he says. “You don’t want to be too caught up in cooking.”  He would know. Masih is a devoted hunter who practically lives outdoors — which is how he honed his incredible skills with a grill, seasoning everything from beef  to duck to quail with  the vibrant flavors of his youth.

Masih was born in Pakistan and immigrated to the United States  when he was 9.

He may have been just a boy, but his father had already nurtured a love for the outdoors and respect for nature.

Masih knew he would rear his children the same way, with weekend car camping trips to local Southern California sites like Joshua Tree National Park, home to  its iconic, twisty namesake and skies that sparkle unencumbered by city lights.

“I want to instill that respect in them at a young age, so they can pass that love and respect for the outdoors to their kids — to pass it down through the generations like it was passed down to me from my dad,” he says.

Part of that training involves cooking on an open flame. “Something about cooking outdoors really takes you back to basics,” he says. “We take a lot of stuff for granted. We can go to the store and buy groceries and everything is right there, but there’s a disconnect.”

Cooking outdoors
Marsala Burger Outdoor Cooking

" I want to instill that love and respect for the outdoors in them so they can pass to their kids, like my dad passed it on to me."

Preparation is the secret for camping trips the entire family enjoys.

During hunting season, Masih camps like it’s his job, condensing items and counting every ounce. This experience readily translates to outings with his wife and sons. Simplicity is the key to his family trips, he says. "Keeping stress  low keeps it fun for the kids — and that’s the point."

“I want to teach them about respect for the outdoors,” he says. “I do that through hunting and camping, and getting them involved, and getting  them away from everyday life, and playing Fortnight all day, you know?”

Masala Burger

Pakistani flavors work well when cooking in the outdoors, even for something as simple as a burger.  SRF Wagyu ground beef is rich and delicious and works great with some extra spice. Mix and package the seasoning at home to make camp prep fast. This recipe makes 8 half-pound burgers.


4 pounds SRF Wagyu ground beef
1 large tomato, chopped 
½ yellow onion
2 jalapeños (without seeds)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds 
1⁄8 teaspoon cumin powder 
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
8 burger buns
8 slices cheddar cheese
Toppings: butter lettuce, heirloom tomato, and onion slices

1. In a bowl, mix ground beef with all ingredients. Use your hands
to ensure the meat is mixed well. Divide into 8 even-sized patties.

2. If you have a charcoal, gas, or wood pellet grill, set it for direct heat. Or build a fire in the campfire pit and let it burn down to the coals. Target a grill temperature of 450°F.

3. Place burger patties directly on the grill grate and cook for 4 minutes on each side, or to desired doneness.

4. Top each patty with a slice of cheddar cheese and cook until
the cheese melts.

5. Place the burgers on the buns and add your favorite toppings.
Masala Burgers
Garlic-Dill Cast Iron Fries

Garlic-Dill Cast Iron Fries

French fries are a surprising camp treat that everyone loves. My personal touch is finishing the fries with raw chopped garlic and fresh dill.French fries are a surprising camp treat that everyone loves. My personal touch is finishing the fries with raw chopped garlic and fresh dill.


4 medium potatoes

4 tablespoons butter

4 slices bacon, cooked until extra crisp

1 bunch fresh chives, chopped

Kosher salt

1. Peel or scrub potatoes and cut into half-inch-wide batons. Try to make them as uniform as possible to ensure even cooking.

2. Plunge the cut fries into a bowl of cold water and let them sit for at least 30 minutes. Soaking removes excess starch and results in crispier fries.

3. Rinse the potatoes and blot dry (an important step!) with a paper towel. Place dry fries in a bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil and use your hands to coat.

Fill the cast iron skillet with enough oil to barely cover the fries (approximately 1-1½ inches deep in the skillet). Preheat the oil in the cast iron on a grate set over the campfire.

4. Heat the oil to 375°F (olive oil breaks down at higher temperatures, so don't exceed this level). Carefully add half of the potato fries to the hot oil and cook for 5 to 7 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy.

5. Use a slotted spoon to remove the fries from the oil; drain fries on a paper towel lined cookie sheet. Repeat for the second batch of fries.

6. Salt fries to taste, and garnish with freshly chopped garlic and dill.

Tandoori Spice Ribeyes

Eating a great steak on a camping trip is one of life’s simple pleasures. SRF ribeyes seasoned with tandoori spices pay homage to my Pakistani roots. I would recommend the reverse sear method  on a portable wood pellet grill, but you can also make this work on a bed of coals.


For the steaks: 
2 American Wagyu Gold® Ribeye Steaks
Tandoori spice rub (recipe follows)
¼ cup butter (½ of a cube)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
Olive oil
For the tandoori spice rub: 
½ teaspoon salt 
¼ teaspoon celery seeds
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon cumin powder

1. Build up a bed of coals and set up two-zone cooking: a hot side and cool side. If using a wood pellet grill, set temperature to 225°F.

2. Rub steaks with a light coating of olive oil and season both sides
of steak with the tandoori seasoning.

3. Place steak on the cool side of the grill and cook for 30 to 45 minutes or until the thickest part of the meat reaches 120°F. If you’re cooking over coals, monitor the temperature and flip and move the steak to avoid overcooking.

4. Let the steak rest while you heat a cast iron pan on the campfire. Add ¼ cup of butter and 2 larger sprigs of rosemary to the cast iron pan.
5. Add steak to the pan and cook the first side for 2 to 4 minutes,
or until browned.

6. Flip the steak and cook the other side. Cook while tilting the pan and continuously spooning butter over steak. Once both sides are browned and braised with butter and rosemary, pull the steak off the pan. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before eating.
Tandoori Ribeye Steak
Fire Roasted Loaded Potatoes

Fire Roasted Loaded Potatoes

Baked potatoes complete the outdoor steak experience. This is a side dish that practically makes itself and takes advantage of the hot bed of coals. Precook the bacon at home  to minimize the cooking time and effort.


4 medium potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
4 slices bacon, cooked until  extra crisp
1 bunch fresh chives,chopped 
Kosher salt

1. Poke each potato several times all over with a fork, then double wrap in aluminum foil. Bury the potatoes in the hot coals of a campfire and cook until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, about 40 to 60 minutes.

2. Cut open the middle of the potatoes to make an opening. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and pinch of salt on the inside of the potato. Add 1 tablespoon of sour cream and top with bacon and chives before serving.

Make the Outdoors your Kitchen

The key to outdoor cooking is simplicity. “You don’t have to have a full-on kitchen out there, you know?” Masih says.  “I just get the grill going and keep everything real quick  
and easy.”

Prep, prep, prep. Make it easy on yourself. Prep as much as you can at home. Masih swears by large Ziploc bags that can hold his must-haves, like chopped tomatoes and onions.

Let it marinate a bit. When camping, Masih likes to choose cuts that can marinate for hours before cooking. He packs the meat, still in its marinade, in vacuum-sealed bags and throws them in his pre-chilled cooler. Bonus: Masih says vacuum- sealing pushes the spices from  the marinade further into the meat, so you’ll have a tastier  dish in the end.

Grab and go. Masih packs one of his clear plastic boxes with cooking utensils, a cast-iron pan, knives, a good thermometer, and spices. And, of course, his Traeger makes the trip, too. Taking a few moments to organize and set up is key. “When you’re open-fire cooking, time management is real critical — you don’t want to have a steak on the fire and be looking for something. Organize everything so you know where to find your tools and supplies. Otherwise you might end up burning your food and making  
a mess.”

Something for everyone. Prep two meals — one for the adults and one for the kids. It’s an easy way to make dinner exciting for all. Burgers are an easy kid option. Do all the prep work at home so making two dishes isn't a hassle in your campground kitchen.

Outdoor Kitchen

Pack Like a Pro

Masih relies on clear plastic boxes to keep his family’s stuff organized. “With the kids, you don’t want to be digging through everything,” he says. “You want to have everything on the go, so you can pay attention to them and play games.” The kids’ clothes go into one box and his cooking setup goes into another. 

When you’re away from refrigeration for a few days, you want your coolers to stay cold for as long as possible. Masih uses thick-walled coolers and pre-chills them using empty milk cartons that have been filled with water and frozen. Instead of a melted, slushy mess at the end of his trip, Masih simply removes the cartons and freezes them again for his next trip.

Big trash bags are a staple. “As soon as I get to camp, I set up a trash bag,” he says. "I have at least one for camp and one for the car, and throughout the day, when they fill up, I take that trash away from my campsite. You don’t want a bear or a coyote  to have any excuse to come through the camp.” 

Helping kids love the outdoors takes a bit of planning. “I pack the Jeep with everything I need for the boys,” he says. “You want to make it as comfortable as possible. I have a lot of snacks and a lot of fun activities for them, so their experience is  warm and friendly.”