Johnny Nix: Campfire Cook Extraordinaire

May 16, 2011

By Carol Cowan

Cooking over a campfire is a lost art, but it isn’t rocket science – at least according to Johnny Nix, who’s drawn hundreds to his fireside with this signature invitation: “Y’all eat yet?”

Johnny Nix, the Cowboy Cook

The folksy Alabama native shares his knowledge of cooking the cowboy way on his newly launched TV show, Cookin’ Outdoors With Johnny Nix, which airs on the Blue Highways cable network four times each week.

Campfire Café

Johnny is already known to people all over the country as the host of Campfire Café, a one-of-a-kind cooking show that aired on the RFD network between 2001 and 2006. Avid riders and campers, Nix and his wife, Wanda, had been perfecting their open-fire cooking skills for some 25 years. Their move into television came about when they met the producer of a show at a trail ride in Missouri.

“She [the producer] parked us up with some people she thought we’d become friends with at the ride,” Nix recalls. “So we got to cooking and having everybody over to eat supper with us. One night we cooked for over 200 people. Everybody loved it. Finally we just ran out of food and had to shut the kitchen down about midnight.”

The encounter led to a pilot episode, and Campfire Café was born. From scenic locations such as Whippoorwill Lake and Sam A. Baker State Park in Missouri to a backyard series filmed at the producer’s home, Nix guided viewers through the process of cooking everything from beans and biscuits to peach cobbler – all over an open fire.

Stuffed peppers cooked over a campfire

He even did a series featuring country music stars, among them Mark Chesnutt, Aaron Tippin, The Kentucky HeadHunters, Joe Diffie and Ray Price.

“We had a blast with all the country music artists,” Nix says. “To think the legendary Ray Price came on my show and cooked with me – it was a blast.”

Campfire Café was the No. 1 show on RFD during its run. And although it went off the air in 2006, Nix still gets recognized wherever he goes.

A Passion for Cowboy Cooking

Fans are delighted that Cookin’ Outdoors With Johnny Nix is finally on the air.

Meanwhile, Nix has never stopped sharing his passion for cowboy cooking, and he remains busy conducting demonstrations across the country. “I’ve had the privilege around the campfire to cook with some great chefs. In Colorado, I cooked with the Galloping Gourmet, Graham Kerr. We did a family reunion down in Florida for Mr. Art Smith, who was Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef. He had chefs from Chicago, New York and other places come in; everybody had their own specialty foods that they were cooking. He had linen and china and crystal delivered down there in a cow pasture, and we cooked over a fire for these people.”

A Crescent Apple Tart cooked in a Dutch oven

Essential Equipment

One Nix’s sponsors is the Lodge Manufacturing Co. in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, whose cast iron Dutch ovens and skillets figure prominently in Johnny’s demonstrations and TV shows. In fact, the Lodge skillet and camp Dutch oven top his list of essential equipment for open-fire cooking, and you can find everything you need at his online store.

Because there are no temperature control knobs on a fire, beginners are easily intimidated, Nix notes. But his cooking setups allow people to use different length hooks to set their dishes over the fire at varying temperatures.

“I make all the cook sets by hand myself,” he says. “The hooks are different lengths, for the different temperatures, and I make the pit itself. We make the swing grills, the warming trays and all that. I want people to have a good experience when they’re cooking – ’cause cookin’s fun.”

How to Contact Johnny Nix

To get in touch with Johnny Nix, please visit yalleatyet.com or call 256-561-3409. You can also find a selection of his recipes at yalleatyet.com and order cookbooks and cookware in his online store. Due to popular demand, Nix will be offering cooking clinics to the public in 2014. Check yalleatyet.com for upcoming dates and locations.

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Comments

  1. LuAnne says:

    Pleae add my name for a chance to win Johnny Nix’s cookbook.

    • Blair Thomas says:

      LuAnne,
      We’re going to give away the Johnny Nix cookbook in our June e-newsletter, which will be sent to email subscribers the first week of June. If you receive the newsletter already, look for the contest there and instructions to sign up. If you do not already receive our e-newsletter, you can sign up for it here: bit.ly/THFenews.
      Thanks for your interest!
      Blair
      Tennessee Home & Farm

  2. Regina Hicks says:

    Please enter my name to win Johnny Nix Cookbook.

    • Blair Thomas says:

      Regina,
      We’re going to give away the Johnny Nix cookbook in our June e-newsletter, which will be sent to email subscribers the first week of June. If you receive the newsletter already, look for the contest there and instructions to sign up. If you do not already receive our e-newsletter, you can sign up for it here: bit.ly/THFenews.
      Thanks for your interest!
      Blair
      Tennessee Home & Farm

  3. gail hemphill says:

    Please add my name in the drawing for the Johnny Nix’s cookbook!
    I NEED to win this! LOL

  4. LIsa says:

    Have watch Johnny Nix for several years on RFD TV. Has some wonderful recipes
    Would love to have the cookbook.

  5. Linda Mieke says:

    Nothing better than cooking around a campfire. Need some good recipes :)

  6. Cynthia says:

    I have watched every show you did an luv cooking over the campfire we put together due to you!!! Please add my name as a fan and let us know when you will be close to Tulsa again so we can come watch your talent….thank you :)

  7. Robin French says:

    I know I missed the give away, but does he sell his cookbook somewhere?

  8. Kay says:

    What a wonderful site! Back in the during the 50/60′s My Dad would often make us kids all sorts of foods that he’d claim was Cowboy Cooking. I believed him. To include ‘cowboy coffee.’ And that is the only way I make coffee. And I recall my roommate; back in the 60′s made her coffee the same method and it was great.

  9. c. l. montgomery says:

    I am so glad for you to get back on T.V. i am aware of the way you were treated i just can’t wait till we can get you in our area… your old fan C.L.

  10. bert sinclair says:

    Thank you for being on rual tv I enjoy cooking outdoors and you got me started doing cast iron and I find it more fun then a gas grill agin I thank you

  11. Marshall Reagan says:

    Johnny
    I just want to let you know that I used to watch you every week & if I couldn,t watch you then ,I would record it & watch it later . but when you quit doing the show I quit watching it as much because it is not as good now as before .
    Marshall Reagan

  12. Mary Owen says:

    Found the show back on recently my husband has talked about it for a long time and while he was at work one Saturday morning I ran across it . He was so delighted. His birthday is coming up in April and I would love to purchase this book. He loves to cook the way yall do. I was reading in the Friends and Family Spring 2012 issue this morning. Would love to see yall cooking live if possible. Have a Great day..Mary

  13. Mary says:

    We have watched Johnny Nix’s for years……on RFD TV…I always look forward to the new recipes..nothing brings the family together then cooking over the campfire if it’s just in the back yard…..or in the camping area…..all coming together around the table with love and laughter and enjoying a wonderful meal……….and making memories…..Life is good……

  14. sherrie murphree says:

    Manager of RV resort in Langston, AL. Would like to have you come and cook for our guest on our large open outdoor fire pit. Our web site is http://www.windemerecove.com

  15. Sue Ann Vest says:

    I am glad to see you back cooking on RFD Tv. My husband and I were not impressed with the host of the show after you left. We enjoy watching your show and cooking your dishes.

    Congratulations on the new show !

  16. Joe Davis says:

    Johnny, saw your show for the first time yesterday, It was great, don’t watch much TV but you had some things going on that I really liked. I would like the Sweet Potatoe white salad that you made on the show. It sounded and looked great. Would like to make it for this Labor Day Weekend. If available thanks
    Joe Davis

  17. Kina says:

    Hi to all :) Smart line for today: I am, indeed, a king, because I
    know how to rule myself. Kina

  18. Jane Stevens says:

    Enjoyed your show on rfd tv several years ago ….. Have made your chicken dumplings with tortillas for the dumplings.I’m searching for the recipe as it has been a few years since I made it I really would be interested in the recipe to refresh my mind as to how to make it again . I will look forward to a reply.Thank You

  19. Erin says:

    I be caught my first show the other day.Loved it always wanted to learn cowboy cooking.I will be getting me one of those cook books
    Man this is the way to gp

  20. Winfred Mercer says:

    Johnny
    Thanks for getting me back into campfire and cast iron cooking. Have done very little
    in the past 10 years. Since I am now retired, I contribute a fair amount of time to that end.

    Thanks again,
    Winfred Mercer

  21. Chyrel Hill says:

    My husband saw the Johnny Nix Cooking Outdoors and wanted me to get the recipes for the chicken braid and sweet pea salad and Sweet Cheese Puff. I have been online for the last two hours trying to find your recipes but have had no luck. Will you please share these three recipes with me to keep my husband of nearly 43 years happy? Thanks in advance,
    Chyrel D. Hill

  22. Steve says:

    I loved your show on RFDTV thwe Campfire Cafe. I wish you would put some of your recipes on DVD. I would buy lots of them. Best wishes.

  23. Gudrun says:

    Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  24. Gene says:

    I seen your show for the first time today and I think finnally found a show and web site that I have been looking for. Ineed tips and recipesfor dutch oven cooking on an open fire when we are camping. I thank you for your show.

  25. Mike says:

    Enjoyed the show on RFD!

  26. Tony Blackwell says:

    Hey Johny just wanted to say Hello

  27. Robert Westra says:

    Great show. Plan to watch a lot more.

  28. Sandy Graham says:

    Saw your show today for the first time. Loved it!

  29. Mimi Hernandez says:

    I want to order to Camp fire cooking equipment as a Christmas present for my son, can you let me know how and how much?

    • Jessy Yancey says:

      To get in touch with Johnny Nix, please visit yalleatyet.com or call 256-561-3409. You can also find a selection of his recipes at yalleatyet.com and order cookbooks and cookware in his online store. Hope this helps!

      Jessy Yancey
      editor
      Tennessee Home & Farm magazine

  30. Russell Parr says:

    Johnny; I like your cooking show, but it’s too dry. I want you to consider including the measurments as you cook the different food items. For example, the shrimp-how much shrimp, how much cream cheese,etc. Hope you try it and see how viewers respond. Keep up the great recipes and great camera work by your wife.

    Thanks, Russell

  31. Tommy Walker says:

    I enjoy Johnny’s show and cooking very much. I like to cook and I am also from north Alabama. I really appreciate Johnny’s take me as I am, just a good ole country boy. It has been my experience that they are the best. You know, being one myself I can say that. I would really like to meet Mr. Johnny Nix.

  32. Alvin Layfield says:

    Im from Alabama , My family and me live in Chapin SC I was channel surfing and saw your show cooking the herb crusted pork loin That looks awesome

  33. Steve Wilson says:

    I love your show could you please send me the recipe for your mexican lassagnia and the apple cinniman bread pudding

  34. Wilma says:

    Do you do any cooking where you stack your ovens? I would like to cook this way and a I am looking for some suggestions on things that would go together. Like a meat dish, a veggie dish, and a dessert. Any suggestions on would be appreciated.

  35. larry pirkle says:

    cookbooks