document updated 3 years ago, on Aug 23, 2018
There are four types of cooking while camping:
Propane/isobutane — Either a backpacker stove, or a larger car-camping stove.
Wood — Challenging because wood burns hotter and more spotty than other methods. Often involves a cast iron skillet or a dutch oven ( as long as you're car-camping anyway).
Charcoal — People have more experience with this. Lower, more even heat than wood. Dutch ovens are popular with this.
Electric — Either an electric skillet or an Instant Pot. Obviously requires a campsite with an electrical hookup.
While staying at a hotel, you can use the electric option. (Though it's possible the hotel will look down on this for
fire/insurance reasons. They will definitely have a problem if your cooking smells infiltrate neighboring rooms.)
Another consideration is how long it takes to start cooking. A wood fire is the slowest — requiring 30-45 minutes to build up a decent bed of coals if you're using the two-zone method, but still a fair bit of time otherwise. Propane and electric are the fastest, being basically "instant on". Charcoal is almost as slow to start as wood.
Packing lists for car-camping cooking:
 Cooking over a wood fire
Cast iron skillet: