Friday, July 23, 2010

**Hobo Dinners = Foil Dinners ** and a Single Kabob

(From our July 1 to 6, 2010 TERT Weekend)

It was time to do some foil dinners.  You know the foil wrapped dinner you cook in the coals.  Hamburger, slices of onion, potato and carrots, with salt and pepper.  That you cover in ketchup and devour.  In our photo you can see our latest hobo/foil dinner with meatballs and/or chicken chunks.

Everyone in the family loves them and they are pretty easy.  The best part is that you can do some of the preparation at home before you leave.  But if you don't, it isn't that hard to do in camp. 
(Thanks to for the photo of preparation.)

Foil dinners vs hobo dinners.  Well virtually they are the same.  It all depends on where you come from and of course what you learned and your own personal experience. 
I have usually called these foil dinners, but when I called them hobo dinners, everyone thought that was pretty ingenious.  Of course it helps that we love to watch the movie, Kit Kitterridge which tells a story about the hobos and life during the depression.

After researching the Internet, I found some fun ways to change the basic formulation.  I sometimes use a cream of mushroom or chicken soup addition to make a stew.  Some folks add cheese and no soup, comes out more like a cheese burger with veggies.  

There is a wonderful article from Heather's Happy Havenexplaining how she made hobo dinners at home and sent them pre-made and pre-wrapped to a Father's and Son camp out for her husband and son.  They were already cooked and just needed heating up.  Smart gal.  Sounds easy and looks delicious.  

I might make hobo-foil dinners at home in the future to take camping and we could toss them on the fire for the first night.  

But I always seem to run out of time to do my pre-made meals.  I suppose I should be assigning the kids to make these, so for future reference I need to involve the kids a bit more in the planning and getting ready part of our trips.

So here are the resulting photos of our Hobo Dinners:

Store purchased meatballs with chicken chunks, sliced onion, potatoes, carrots, fresh mushrooms and a spoon of mushroom soup over the top.

Heres a chicken one with a couple of diced green and red pepper chunks.

An all meatballs one.

Smothered with ketchup.  I don't do this, a little catsup can be nice, but I like all natural.

The menu called for Hobo Foil Dinners or Kabobs.  I had pre-cut the chicken and peppers into chunks to make easy Kabob making.  But at the last minute I decided to use these ingredients in the hobo dinners.  I also had not brought any hamburger for the patties in the hobo dinners, but I knew I could substitute the chicken chunks and also use the frozen meatballs.  

Both of these meats were heading for kabobs.  So I preempted the menu and altered the plan.  I came up with the Chicken Chunk/Meatball foil dinners.  

Then there was left over kabob chunks, so I went ahead and made one kabob.  I have never really made kabobs before- as a meal.  I always want to, I love how they look.  I think they would be awesome, but I have never broken down and done them. 

So I made one.  And I didn't take care of it.  My firepit was jammed pack full with cooking foil packets and making hot water to clean with and ........ well I don't remember, but it was full.  

I also wasn't prepared with a place to cook kabobs.  I do have the skewers, so I used one and then put it on the grill grate.  I didn't keep my eye on it and so it got quite well done.  I actually loved it, it didn't taste as burnt as it looks.  It was good, but the hobo/foil dinners were much better.  

Juicy and tender.................. just wonderful.


  • Use your favorite meat.  Cutting into chunks usually quickens the cooking time.
  • Pre cut/chunk and bag your ingredients before you go camping.
  • You can even pre-cook and pre-wrap at home so when you arrive at camp just reheat them.
  • Research the Internet- there are many ideas, tips, recipes and stories concerning hobo/foil dinners.
  • These obviously can be vegetarian meals.  Adjust to your liking.
  • I usually start cooking them top side down and then halfway through I turn them over.  I find that if I have not folded and sealed the foil correctly, I have less leakage during the first half of cooking.  My wrapped bottoms almost never leak as I keep the folds and crimps on the top side.
  • Adding an ice cube per packet can help with moisture and keep your dinner from burning and drying out.  Although remember if you use fresh mushrooms, they release water as they cook.  So use your best judgement when added ingredients.

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