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Looking for Adventure? Hobo Packets To The Rescue!

December 9, 2010

Wrapping a meal in tinfoil is the simplest trick in the book for a carefree adventurer.  All you need is an open flame (campfire, BBQ and oven tested!), a will to travel (in your imagination counts!) and your life’s possessions in a bandanna at the end of a stick doesn’t hurt either.

I am of the mindset that you can cook virtually anything in a tinfoil packet, so let your imagination run wild… Here is a version I made for a fun, slightly dangerous picnic adventure my girlfriend and I took at a nearby beach.  Neither of us had BBQed before thanks to our high rise apartment lifestyles at the time, so for some crazy reason we decided it would be a good idea to buy a ” one-use, to-go BBQ” we found at the dollar store for our first attempt.  We brought that incredibly flimsy BBQ to a public beach where you probably aren’t even allowed an open flame to determine if we could, one, even light a fire, and two, actually feed ourselves upon it.  It was an amazing adventure to say the least.  We learned a survival skill, gained some confidence and ate like there was no tomorrow!



Vegetables of your liking; I used sweet potato, white potato, zucchini, green beans, onion, tomato

Meat if enjoyed; I like variety so I used both trout and thin “sirloin tip sandwich steak” (because it was only $1.21!)

Liquid to ensure your packets are juicy and tender; I used a spoonful of each balsamic vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, and a fresh squeezed lemon

Extras (nice but not mandatory); bit of butter, garlic and some fresh thyme because I had a lot in my fridge already

First lay out a square of tinfoil for each packet you want to create.  I was creating two.  This tinfoil will be your everything – your baking dish, your carrying case and your bowl to eat from.  I put a dab of butter in the middle of each one for good luck.

I always like to get the sauce done first and I was in the mood for something slightly sweet and slightly tangy, so I settled for a spoon of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and some fresh squeezed lemon juice.  I use this combination often, on meat, on fruit, on vegetables, on anything that needs a little extra.  I saved two nice slices of the lemon to place in the packets.

Slice all of your chosen vegetables into as similar size as possible to ensure as even cooking over an open flame with a mind of its own.

Pile your vegetables on each tinfoil square.

Then pile your meat on top of your vegetables.  Meat goes on top because it’s okay if a few of the vegetables accidentally burn, but it’s not so good if your meat burns.

Fold your tinfoil squares up into a bowl shape, then pour one of two spoons of your tasty maple-balsamic-lemon liquid on top.

Fold your bowl shaped tin foil into tight packets at that top so that none of that liquid can escape during carrying or cooking.  It is hard to tell in the photo with no context, but these ended up being some seriously giant, heavy, hobo packets.  I likely could have fed a whole trainyard of workers with these two packets!

Once you reach your destination (even if it’s still your own kitchen!), just throw the whole tightly wrapped packets into an oven at 375 degrees, a BBQ or a campfire pit.  If you are cooking the packets on a real BBQ or in the oven, 45 minutes is likely enough.  On an open flame, an hour is safer.  Once you can smell the maple-balsamic-lemon aroma, it’s ready.

Here is our one-use to-go dollar store BBQ in action!  The “BBQ” is made out of less tinfoil than the packets were wrapped in.  When we dropped the seriously heavy packets onto the BBQ, we thought it would cave in right there.  The lid keep flying off and sometimes the flames were so out of control, we were sure some sort of beach security would spot us and put an end to our adventure, while other times we weren’t even sure the flames were still burning.  Surprising, at one hour precisely, we opened up the packets and everything was cooked to perfection!  It was possibly the most fun I’ve ever had cooking and I hope we do it again next year!

The completed hobo packet, ready to satisfy!

Tell us about your hobo packet inspired adventure!


From → Mains

  1. Awesome. I am planning on trying one of these myself. Your article gives me some great advice and confidence. Thanks for the pics and this posting! 🙂

    • Sorry for the late reply, I’ve been without internet for a week. I love making meals in tin foil packets and I hope you have many successes with whatever you bake in yours! Remember a slice of lemon does wonders, it adds a dash of moisture, flavour and style, smiles! Cheers, Desiree.

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