How to Cook Outdoors: Moss-Steamed Trout

How to Cook Outdoors: Moss-Steamed Trout

In this edition of our outdoor cooking guides we focus on the method of steaming your food between two layers of moss. While not often seen, this technique happens to be one of the simplest ways of cooking in the outdoors, particularly with fish. It requires very little in the way of utensils or equipment (which also means minimal washing up), and is very hygienic.

To us though, the greatest benefit of using this method is the way that it leaves you feeling truly immersed in the outdoors. The act of reeling in a fresh catch and cooking it just minutes later over the campfire, using little more than the materials nature provides us with, gives a profound feeling of self reliance and respect for nature that is hard to match.

This particular dish requires just two ingredients – trout and wood sorrel, the latter being a very pleasant stuffing when working with fish. In order to cook this meal, you must first prepare a hot fire with a good bed of embers, preferably of oak.


  • 2 x trout
  • 1 x handful of wood sorrel


1. Collect two large handfuls of sphagnum moss, taking care to keep them intact.

How to Cook Outdoors: Moss-Steamed Trout

2. Remove any obvious leaf litter from the moss.

How to Cook Outdoors: Moss-Steamed Trout

3. Collect a handful of wild sorrel (make sure that you are confident in identifying the plant first).

How to Cook Outdoors: Moss-Steamed Trout

4. Gut and clean both fish, then stuff them with the sorrel (at this stage you can use the clean side of the moss as a place to prepare the fish).

How to Cook Outdoors: Moss-Steamed Trout

5. Once your fire is ready, place the first layer of moss on top of the embers. Place both fish on top of the moss.

How to Cook Outdoors: Moss-Steamed Trout

6. Cover the fish with the second layer of moss, so that the soil and roots are facing upwards.

How to Cook Outdoors: Moss-Steamed Trout

7. Leave the fish to steam. When the fire has been prepared correctly, you should see copious amounts of steam rising from the moss.

How to Cook Outdoors: Moss-Steamed Trout

8. After 30 minutes of steaming, check on the fish periodically and turn them if they are not cooking on top. A simple way of testing if the fish is cooked is to gently press your thumb against the skin; when the fish is ready, the skin should slip away from the flesh easily.

How to Cook Outdoors: Moss-Steamed Trout

9. Remove the fish from the fire and peel away the rest of the skin. Spoon the flesh away from the bone.

How to Cook Outdoors: Moss-Steamed Trout

10. Enjoy with a pinch of sorrel.

How to Cook Outdoors: Moss-Steamed Trout

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About Woodlore Limited

Woodlore, The School of Wilderness Bushcraft, was founded in 1983 by the British Bushcraft expert, Ray Mears. Paving the way for Bushcraft courses in the UK, Woodlore began with Ray teaching small groups of students the knowledge and techniques that he had spent most of his early life honing. With Ray’s ambition and perserverance, Woodlore has since grown into a world-renowned and highly respected school, offering in-depth courses on a wide range of bushcraft and survival subjects.

7 thoughts on “How to Cook Outdoors: Moss-Steamed Trout

  1. Scott

    This looks like a great way to cook fish! I wish it would work here in Montana, we don’t have that kind of moss. Instead, I just wrap my fish in a bit of tin foil and throw them on the coals.


  2. Harry T. Eales

    Sphagnum Moss is common in damp woodlands and riverbanks. Please don’t remove it from Peat Bogs or Mires, this is a very endangered habitat and is in dire need of conservation. An excellent way of cooking all forms of trout or small Salmon. Wood Sorrel can be found in abundance in most woodlands and has a small white flower in spring. A leaf or two of wild garlic, or a handful of Garlic flowers will also taste as good as a stuffing.



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