I enjoy outdoor cooking and over the years have tried many different methods. These days, my rig-of-choice is a tripod made out of three pieces of 1/2 inch conduit joined together with a hinge made out of three "bolt eyes". With this rig, I can hang (from chains) a dutch oven or a grill rack. Since I'm cooking over wood coals, being able to raise and lower my work is a good thing.
Gear mentioned in this thread:
I find it easy enough to regulate the temperature with the coals directly for the dutch oven and for grills. But that does mean a set of long handled tongs is in my kit for that purpose.
Tripods are great if you're only using one pot. Otherwise, two uprights and a crosspiece, along with trammels, hooks, and chains, makes the most sense.
I have a set that can be converted into a tripod or bipod as needed. For the bipod, the two lefts D rings or loops on the end. The crosspiece slips through the loops. When setting it up as a tripod, the loop on the crosspiece fits inside the two D rings on the legs.
That said, I rarely use the tri-/bipod set when camping. I usually work on a fire grate over a campfire.
The tripod is part of a package. You can get or make a hook that comes off where the three legs join and hanf off of that a trammel. This is an adjustable hook, that any self respecting smith can make in 30 minutes. You can view some fotos here:
The other unit which any self respecting smith can make up is a fire ring. Three legs riveted or welded to a steel ring- usually 14 inches across. A grill with legs works just as well. Never cook on flames, let the flames die down and cook on coals. Hard wood works best.
In camp I normally use either a 1' x 2' piece of seasoned 1/4 inch thick sheet metal, a section I cut from a shelf I took out of an old oven (cut to make it smaller), a cast pan, or my dutch oven. I normally just prop them over the coals on rocks.
I've considered a tripod or spit as a way to adjust temperature and make cooking easier, but so far I've just been getting by with adjusting the amount of coals under my cooking surface.
If I build the fire ring I like to make a keyhole shape and use the smaller end as my cooking area and the larger side for the main fire. When I get ready to cook I pull the coals into the smaller area and adjust the temperature that way.
As I think of it, I'm not sure a tripod or spit would work for me as I'm still going to want to use a frying surface or the dutch oven as an oven for most of my meals and both the tripod and the spit would be in my way for the majority of my cooking.
Still might build one to try out though - I could be wrong and end up thinking it's the best thing ever.
I'm thinking I could build a tripod out of rebar with a little blacksmithing. Or even simpler, I could hook 3 rebar poles together with a single metal ring (somewhat like I would tie wood poles together for a tripod). This is going to require some experimentation.
goody, goody, goody (I like building and trying things out)