Oh, the great outdoors! A time to enjoy nature, especially while camping, and participating in a variety of activities. Additionally, camping offers a change as it pertains to enjoying different kinds of foods that typically range from living off the land or bringing meals that have already been prepared. One such meal type that can be prepared at your campsite is the hobo packet.
What We'll Cover
- What is a Hobo Packet?
- Advantages of Using Hobo Packets While Camping
- The Best Hobo Packet Recipes for Camping
- Beef: Steak & Potatoes
- Seafood Recipe: Shrimp Boil
- Vegan Recipe: Grilled Cajun Veggies
- Vegetarian Recipe: Pesto Butter Veggies
- Keto Recipe: Chicken Fajitas
- Gluten-Free Recipe: Grilled Sausage & Veggies
- Breakfast Recipe: French Toast
- Dessert Recipe: Campfire Apple Crisp
Fun fact: no matter what hobo pack recipe you choose, they make for a quick and easy dinner–even at home. Hobo packets are a staple of camping. Once you’ve tried them for yourself, it’ll be difficult to go back. Here is everything you need to know about hobo packets and my some of my family’s and friends’ favorite recipes.
What is a Hobo Packet?
A hobo pack is a foil-wrapped meal that is cooked in the ashes of a campfire or a grill. These meals are also commonly known as foil packets. In the early days of hobo packets, they were most commonly used for making burgers or cooking vegetables. Nowadays, there are thousands of recipes of all different varieties you can pick from. You can also throw anything you like into a hobo packet and make your own recipe. Hobo packets are so easy to make that the most difficult part is waiting for them to cook.
Advantages of Using Hobo Packets While Camping
Using hobo packets while camping has a few advantages over trying to do traditional cooking over a campfire.
First, hobo packets quick and easy to prepare, and that prep work can be done at home instead of on the trails. Just chop up the ingredients, season them, and wrap them in foil. Like that, you’re done. After that, it’s just a matter of putting them in a camping cooler until ready to use. This saves a lot of time and means you’ll get to spend more time having fun on your camping trip. Just make sure you wait to add any liquids to the packets, unless you want them to leak in your backpack or camping cooler.
Second, using hobo packets means you don’t need to bring as many things with you while camping. If all the food is pre-seasoned and pre-cut, you don’t need to worry about bottles of herbs and spices loose in your backpack. And instead of bringing an entire set of knives, you may be able to get away with just one chef’s knife or utility knife. There’s no need to bring heavy cast iron cookware or worry about maintaining the cast iron if all you’re using to cook is aluminum foil.
Third, it’s easy to customize meals for every camper when using hobo packets. If all the meals are going to be prepared in advance, you can prepare different meals for people who have allergies, special diets, or are just picky eaters. There’s no having to worry about getting everyone to agree on one meal when you have hobo packets that are pre-made to cater specific tastes.
These are just three of the different advantages that hobo packets bring, and I hope they’re enough to entice you into trying a few recipes for yourself!
The Best Hobo Packet Recipes for Camping
There are thousands of different hobo packet recipes out there, and it’s just as easy to make your own custom recipes as it is to follow someone else’s. Hobo packets are a staple of the camping trips I go on with my friends, and we all have our favorites. Here are some of the different all-star recipes I’ve learned from my friends, my parents, and even my siblings. They’re sure to be crowd-pleasers.
Beef: Steak & Potatoes
I didn’t start eating vegan until I was an adult, so I was raised on steak & potato foil packets. This is one of the easiest hobo packets to make, and someone always has one with them when I go camping. The smell of the roasting beef is irresistable, and even though I’ve sworn off the omnivorous life, I still find my mouth watering when someone cuts one of these packets open.
- Ribeye or flat iron steak
- Your favorite potatoes, cut into pieces if they’re too large
- Seasonings of choice
- Olive oil
- Cut steak and potatoes into one-inch pieces.
- Toss with olive oil.
- Season to taste.
- Wrap in foil and place in fire potatotes are fork-tender, typically 30 minutes.
Seafood Recipe: Shrimp Boil
I have some friends from Louisiana who swear by this recipe. I haven’t personally tried it due to it having shimp, mussels, and kielbasa, but the smell is divine. It’s almost enough for me to call a cheat day and try it.
- 24 shelled and deveined large shrimp
- 16 mussels, scrubbed
- 6 ounces kielbasa, sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 1 large ear of corn, shucked and cut into 8 rounds
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- Old Bay seasoning
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup water
- Lay shrimp, mussels, kielbasa, corn, thyme, and butter on two sheets of foil.
- Season food with Old Bay seasoning.
- Wrap up foil packet. Before completley sealed, add white wine and water. Seal tightly.
- Place in fire until corn is cooked.
Vegan Recipe: Grilled Cajun Veggies
This is one of my top camping meal choices. It’s hard to pick my absolute favorite, but this one is definitely in the running. The Cajun seasoning packs a punch, and the natural sweetness from the corn complements it perfectly. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll understand why I also use this recipe to show people that vegan food is so much more than just salads.
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 4 ears sweet corn shucked & cleaned
- 1.5 lb bag baby red potatoes (about 20 potatoes)
- 1 large onion chopped into large pieces
- 2 cup mushrooms sliced
- 1 cup kale packed
- 1/8 cup vegetable broth or water
- Combine all Cajun seasoning ingredients in a bowl.
- Distribute veggies into separate foil packets.
- Toss with Cajun seasoning to taste.
- Seal packets and place in fire for 30-35 minutes or until potates are fork-tender.
Vegetarian Recipe: Pesto Butter Veggies
I have a lot of vegetarian friends who don’t want to give up butter and eggs. One in particular swears by this recipe. I can vouch for it, too. All you need to do to make it vegan is swap out the regular butter for vegan butter.
- 1 ear sweet corn, quartered
- 2 cups baby red potatoes, chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 1 yellow squash, chopped
- 1/2 cup
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup pecans, halved
- Combine butter and pesto in a bowl until smooth.
- Roughly mix all chopped veggies and pecans.
- Place chopped veggies on top of two sheets of foil. Add a few tablespoons of the pesto mixture. Add another layer of veggies and pesto.
- Seal packet. Place in fire for 25-35 minutes or untl fork-tender.
- Serve with an extra dollop of pesto mixture on top.
Keto Recipe: Chicken Fajitas
Going on the ketogenic diet is becoming more and more popular these days. It’s also very easy to eat keto while camping–all it requries is eating a lot of protein and vegetables. You don’t even need to be on the keto diet to enjoy these. Just serve them with tortillas, sour cream, and cheese, and you have fajitas like you’d get in a restaurant.
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds preferred protein, cut into strips (steak, chicken, or shrimp are recommended)
- 2-3 medium bell peppers
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- Juice from 1 lime
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Combine seasoning ingredients in a bowl and mix. Use half the mixture to coat protein. Toss to combine.
- Use remaining seasoning on veggies. Toss to combine.
- Divide protein and veggies equally among four sheets of foil.
- Drizzle olive oil over protein and veggies.
- Seal packets and place in fire for 25-30 minutes. Rotate halfway through.
Gluten-Free Recipe: Grilled Sausage & Veggies
Growing up, my sister was sensetive to gluten, so we needed gluten-free options to eat while camping so she could have fun like the rest of us. I asked her if she had any that stuck out in her memory, and she immediately thought of this simple sausage & veggie packet.
- 1 package (5 sausage links) your favorite sausage or bratwurst
- 1 large head broccoli
- 8 oz baby bella mushrooms or other small mushrooms
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 orange bell pepper
- Garlic powder
- 2-3 oz shredded fresh parmesan cheese
- Fresh parsley
- Cut broccoli into bite-size pieces. Slice bell peppers into thin strips.
- Divide veggies into five portions. Distribute onto five sheets of foil with one sausage in each. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.
- Seal foil packets. Place in fire for 15-20 minutes or until sausage is thoroughly cooked.
- Remove from fire, top with parmesan cheese and parsley to taste.
Breakfast Recipe: French Toast
While bacon and eggs are the typical camping breakfast, this French toast was an instant classic for my friends. It’s easy to prepare, and it only takes about ten minutes for it to cook. This sweet recipe goes great with a cup of coffee.
- 6 slices toast preferably stale bread
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup (0.24 l) 250 ml milk
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 6 strawberries
- 4 tbsp walnuts crushed
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- Spray foil with baking spray.
- Whisk eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon in a bowl.
- Dip slices of break in egg mixture to coat. Arrange on sheets of foil.
- Top with diced strawberries, walnuts, and cinnamon. Seal foil packet.
- Place in fire until toast is slightly crisp, about 10 minutes.
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice over top to taste.
Dessert Recipe: Campfire Apple Crisp
The traditional camping dessert is, of course, s’mores. In my opinion, there’s no way to make s’mores in a hobo-packet that does them justice. When I make a hobo packet dessert, I make this campfire apple crips (with vegan alternatives, of course). If you’re making these at home, try serving them with ice cream!
- 4 cups apples (crisp apples work best), peeled and sliced thinly
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup quick oats
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Divide apples into four equal portions.
- Combine sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Sprinkle evenly over apples.
- Combine butter, brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Sprinkle evenly over apples
- Seal foil packets and place in fire until done, about 20 minutes.
If you’ve never cooked using hobo packets before, I hope this article has given you the inspiration to try them. Whether you’re making them at home or while camping, hobo packets are extremely an extremely convenient way to cook. They give you more time to spend with your friends and family and less time slaving away in a portable camping kitchen.
No matter what kind of diet you have or what kind of restrictions your friends have, there’s a hobo packet out there that fits those needs. Whether you use one of these tried-and-true recipes or create something brand new, you’re sure to have a great time eating during your next camping trip.