Recipe: Hobo Packs

Hobo Packs are a great option for campsite meals. Do the prep at home for an easy meal while camping.

Cook
By Jimmy Kennedy
Cook Ambassador

This recipe brings back a flood of memories from my childhood. Whether I was camping with my friends and family on weekends or on a Boy Scouts field trip, Hobo Packs were usually on the menu for at least one night. As a kid, we always used ground beef, onions and potatoes. Over the years, I’ve changed it up and branched out with whole trout, salmon fillets, chicken thighs, sausage and wild game.

Hobo Packs, or foil packets, as they’re sometimes referred to, are super easy to prepare and a lot of fun to make. They can be custom-made according to your family’s wishes making them even better. This is also a good opportunity to get the kids involved in the kitchen or campsite. Have them put their own packet together. Hobo Packs can be prepped at home and carried to the campsite or you can make them right at the site. If you prep ahead of time, just be sure to put the packets in a plastic resealable bag or container and place them on top of ice in the cooler.

What You Need

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 4 potatoes, sliced
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose seasoning or dry rub (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter, canola oil or olive oil
  • Condiments (ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, steak sauce, etc.)

Prepare Your Hobo Pack

  1. Tear off a sheet of aluminum foil around 1 1/2 feet long for each pack. Lay the sheets out on a table, counter, or picnic table and add a small amount of butter or oil to grease the center part of each sheet.
  2. Place the burger patty in the middle and add a few dashes of the Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Surround and top the patties with equal amounts of vegetables.
  4. Add the salt and pepper, dried thyme and/or seasoning of your choice.
  5. Add the remaining butter or oil around the edges of the food.
  6. Starting with the leading or longest edges of the foil, fold over, join and roll up tightly, and then roll the sides inward, nice and snug.
  7. The idea is to make a steam-proof seal and one where juices won’t leak when you flip them while cooking.

Hobo Packs can be cooked on the grill or in an oven, but the best way to cook them is right in the coals of a campfire. I like to pull coals from the main part of the fire and use this bed for the packets so I can better control the heat. Cooking over coals makes it more difficult to control the cook time, but they should be done in around 30 minutes. I like to cook my packs for around 20 minutes on one side and then very carefully flip them for another 10 minutes or so. Cook until the vegetables are tender and remove the packets from the coals. Carefully and slowly open the packets. There will be plenty of steam. You can serve right out of the foil, but it’s a good idea to place the whole packet on a plate. Add your favorite condiments and enjoy!

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