April 21, 2014

Hobo Packs

Most people really like the idea of campfire cooking, but to do it well, other than the basics, takes a good bit of skill. There are two big mistakes that inexperienced campfire cooks make. The first is they think they can get the fire going in five minutes. It always takes longer than you think. The other mistake is they try to cook on the flames, not the coals. The coals are what give you good, even heat.

Get your fire going early, before campfire-favorites-2you’re hungry. It’s no fun to try to cook this way when everyone is starving.

Hobo Packs are a traditional “first night” dinner for scouts on camping trips. Try the assembly line method for feeding troops of campers with this complete meal in foil.

For cooking utensils, you’ll need heavy-duty aluminum foil, paper towels and a permanent marker.

It’s less likely that you’ll lose your meal if you use heavy-duty foil.

In separate containers, offer:

Ground or diced raw meat (precooked canned chicken chunks are a good choice, too)
Canned potatoes
Canned carrots
Bell pepper, diced
Mushrooms, sliced
Worcestershire or steak sauce (optional)

Cooking Tips
To make the “drug store” fold, bring the short edges of the foil together above the food. Making small folds, fold the foil all the way down to the food. Press the side edges flat and using the same series of small folds, fold each side toward the food until you can’t fold any more.

To assemble the hobo packs, issue each diner two 12-inch (30-centimeter) long pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil and a wet paper towel. Sandwich the wet paper towel between the two pieces of foil. Moisture from the towel helps food cook more evenly and keeps the edges from drying out. Diners then move down the line of food containers, adding what they like to the centre of their foil. At the end of the assembly line, fold the foil around the food using the “drug store” fold. Mark each hobo pack with the diner’s initials and place the pack on warm coals for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the ingredients and heft of the pack.

Remove the hobo packs from the coals with tongs and let them cool for a few minutes. You can eat the meal right out of the foil.