Cooking Around the Campfire: 9 Easy and Delicious Foil Packet Recipes

by Brett & Kate McKay on July 20, 2010 · 60 comments

in Cooking, Food & Drink, Outdoors, Travel & Leisure

In the quest to streamline your camping trips, foil packet meals can be one of your greatest allies. It’s cooking at its simple best; you take some ingredients, wrap them up in a foil parcel, and place the pouch in a campfire’s coals to cook. You can prepare these foil packets before you head out into Mother Nature, and they require no pots and pans, no plates, and no clean up. All you need is a fork and some fire. And, if you know what you’re doing, they can be incredibly tasty and satisfying. So today we’re going to cover the basics of foil packet cooking and provide you with some delicious recipes to try the next time you venture into the great outdoors.

Foil Packet Cooking Tips

  • Use heavy duty foil. You don’t want the foil to rip and have ashes get in and your dinner leak out. If you use regular foil, double up on the sheets. If your food is heavy, and/or if you plan to eat directly from the pack, it’s a good idea to double up even on the heavy duty sheets.
  • Spray the side of the foil on which you’re going to place the food with cooking spray before you add your ingredients and seal it up.
  • When placing your ingredients on the sheet of foil, always put the meat on the bottom as it takes the longest to cook.
  • Cook your foil packet on the fire’s coals, not in the fire itself. Ideally, you want to place the packet on a bed of coals about 2 inches thick.
  • Hard, raw vegetables like carrots and potatoes take a long time to cook. If you don’t want to wait, use the canned variety.
  • When cooking meat, throw in some high-moisture veggies like tomatoes and onions. This will keep the meat from drying out.
  • Cooking times will depend on how hot the fire is and the kind of food in the packet. I generally err on the side of cooking it too long-this is the kind of food that you don’t need to be overly delicate with. Flip the packets over a few times during cooking, and open and check on how the food is progressing from time to time.
  • When it’s finished cooking, open your foil packet carefully, as it’s full of hot steam!

Making Your Foil Packs

Making a good foil pack is essential to foil dinner cooking success. There are a couple of different kinds of foil packs you can make depending on what you’re cooking.

The Flat Pack

The flat pack is best for foods like meat where you’re looking for more browning than steaming.

1. Place the food in the middle of the sheet of foil. If you needed to mix the ingredients up, do so in a separate bowl before transferring it to the foil.

2. Tear off a sheet of heavy-duty foil that is about twice as long as the food you’ll be wrapping. It’s better to overestimate the length than place your food on it, start wrapping it up, and realize you don’t have enough foil to keep everything in and make your folds.

3. Bring the long sides together in the center and crease them together, making tight folds until the foil is flat next to the food.

4. Tightly roll up the shorter sides until they meet the food.

The Tent Pack

The tent pack provides a pocket of air that allows for greater steaming. Thus, it’s best for foods you want steamed more than browned like fruits, vegetables, and meat/vegetable combos.

1. Tear off a sheet of foil just as you would for the flat pack.

2. Place the food in the middle of the foil.

3. Bring the long sides together in the center and tightly fold them together towards the food. This time, stop folding a few inches before you get to the food, leaving a pocket of space and creating a “tent.”

4. Tightly roll up the shorter sides, again leaving an inch or so of space between the end of the fold and the food.

9 Easy and Delicious Foil Packet Recipes

You don't have to limit foil packet cooking to camping. All of these recipes are also good when cooked on the grill. It's an easy way to grill veggies. Above, I took some squash and zucchini and mixed it with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Very nice.

I’ve tried to give somewhat exact measurements here, but honestly I just eyeball it, and I recommend doing likewise. Foil packet cooking is not an exact science. And these recipes represent just the basics-you can add all sorts of variations to them. The foil is your camping canvas and you can do whatever you’d like with it. All servings are for a single person unless otherwise indicated. Just double or triple the measurements according to your needs.

The Classic: Hamburger and Vegg-All

This is my go-to foil dinner recipe.

  • ½ lb ground hamburger meat
  • ½ can of Veg-all or other mixed vegetables
  • ½ can can of cream of mushroom soup
  • spices and seasonings

Mix together the above ingredients with spices and condiments to your heart’s content. Place the mixture on the center of a sheet of foil, wrap in a tent pack, and place on hot coals for 25 minutes.

Sausage and Eggs

  • 1 frozen hash brown patty
  • 2 eggs, scrambled, uncooked
  • 2 frozen sausage patties
  • spices and seasonings
  • Cheese (optional)

Crimp the sides of your sheet of foil so that the eggs won’t go anywhere when you add them. First place your hash brown patty on the foil. Then place the eggs on top of the hash brown patty. Then place the sausage patties on top. Season with spices and condiments and wrap up in a tent pack.

Place on hot coals and cook for 15 minutes. Add the cheese when it’s ready (it turns out better than cooking it in the pack).

Muffins in an Orange Shell

Making muffins this way isn’t actually easier than baking them up at home, but it is infinitely cooler.

  • 6 oranges
  • 1 package of just add water muffin mix

Mix up the muffin mix as instructed. Cut off the quarter top of the oranges. Carefully scoop out the pulp; do not break the skin. Pour the muffin mix into the oranges. Wrap the oranges in foil, crimping the foil around the hole at top of the shell, but leaving it open.

Place the oranges upright in a stable position on hot coals and cook for about 10-15 minutes.

Makes six servings. Well, if you’re someone who can stop at one muffin.

Note: You can also cook eggs this way, but you’ll want to cover the whole orange shell with foil.

Chicken Casserole

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 cup of broccoli
  • 1/2 cup of prepared rice
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup
  • ranch dressing
  • cheddar cheese
  • spices

Pound the chicken thinly as chicken can take awhile to cook.

Mix together the broccoli, soup, and cheese. Add spices and condiments. Place the chicken breast on the center of the foil. Top with the soup mix and then rice. Seal in a tent pack.

Cook on hot coals for about 25 minutes (The thicker your chicken breast, the longer it will take).

Catch of the Day

  • Fish that you caught with your own manly hands and filleted
  • ¼ cup of onions
  • 1 tablespoon of butter, melted
  • lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • parsley
  • dillweed
  • paprika

Mix the melted butter with a dash of lemon juice and the above spices to taste (with the exception of the paprika). Place the onions on the foil sheet. Place the fish on top and sprinkle with paprika. Wrap the foil in a flat pack.

Place on hot coals and scoop some hot coals on top of the packet. Cook for 15-20 minutes.

Apricot-Glazed Pork Chops

  • 1 boneless pork chop
  • 1/3 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ package frozen stir-fry vegetates
  • garlic powder, salt, pepper

Mix together the apricot preserves, the soy sauce, and any seasoning you’d like to add. Place the pork chop in the center of the sheet of foil. Spread half of the apricot sauce on top. Put the veggies on top/around the pork chop. Pour the rest of the sauce over the whole thing. Wrap in a tent pack. Place on hot coals and cook for 20 minutes.

Thanksgiving Dinner

  • 1 turkey cutlet
  • 1 cup of prepared stuffing
  • ½ cup of turkey gravy
  • ½ cup of green beans
  • ¼ dried cranberries
  • salt, pepper, thyme, marjoram

Place turkey cutlet on sheet of foil. Put the stuffing on top and the green beans around the cutlet. Pour gravy over everything and sprinkle with the dried cranberries and seasonings. Wrap in a tent pack and place on hot coals for 20 minutes.

Corn on the Cob

  • 4 ears of shucked corn
  • ¼ cup butter or olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 ice cubes

Place the ears of corn on a large sheet of foil. Spread the butter on top. Sprinkle with the seasonings and Parmesan cheese. Put the ice cubes on top. Wrap up into a tent pack. Place on hot coals and cook for 20 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

Pineapple Upside Donut Cake

Every delicious foil dinner deserves a delicious foil dessert. This is an awesome one.

  • 1 ring of pineapple
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 cake donut

Place donut on sheet of foil. Mix the softened butter and brown sugar together and spread it over the donut. Place the pineapple ring on top. Wrap the donut in a tight flat pack. Place on hot coals and cook for 5-7 minutes.

What are your favorite foil packet meals? Share your tips and recipes with us in the comments!

{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Adam Sell July 20, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Great article on a great campfire tradition! To add, there are plenty of scrumptious variations to be had with the oranges. I used to put ground beef in the hollowed out orange halves…spices up to your personal preference!

2 Eric Granata July 20, 2010 at 11:02 pm

Oh man! That takes me back to my scouting days. I wish I’d had some of those recipes them. We never got past the burger and veggie packet.

3 Darrin July 20, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Awesome stuff. I am a HUGE fan of grilling and also camping. I’ve always brought along pots and pans and done my cooking this way, but I’ll definitely give this a try next time I take the canoe out to The Boundary Waters!

4 Richard Woten July 20, 2010 at 11:49 pm

This has a lot of good to it, i love the article. I have one problem with it and i think people should know. The cooking spray is a bad idea. Being an eagle scout and being in many camp outs, we tried it. I was skeptical and decided on not using it. It proved to be a very good idea because everyone who did use it got charred food while mine was cooked to perfection. Everything else is good, i just advise against the cooking spray.

5 Mutt July 21, 2010 at 4:03 am

A great trick I learned one night, (after a few beers) take some foil place onion slices, a couple tablespoons of butter (use real butter) and a couple tablespoons of BBQ sauce inside, fold into a flat pack and set on coals, in about 15 to 20 minutes you will have caramalized onions that are great by themselves or as a topping to burgers steak or anything. I use a spicy BBQ sauce like “fighting cock”, but whatever your favorite is will do just fine.

6 Schmidty - Man Vs. Style July 21, 2010 at 5:54 am

Great article Brett. I may be hungry, but the sausages and eggs recipe sound amazing right now :-). Schmidty

7 Matt July 21, 2010 at 8:29 am

I will take the catch of the day one step farther. We tend to favor this recipe when up in the mountains and the AOM community should like it because it involves bacon. Take your fresh Trout and lay two strips of bacon on the inside of the fish. Between these two pieces of bacon*, add onion and lemon slices. On the top, and bottom of the fish, add an additional strip of bacon. Cinch up your foil pack and throw it on the coals.

*If you have a local butcher, I recommend that you go to them for some great thick sliced bacon. Or if you are lucky, you can find a paprika bacon to give the fish a nice spicy, smokey kick. Once you start buying local, you will never look at the pre-packaged stuff again.

8 Scott D Baron July 21, 2010 at 8:54 am

The timeliness of AoM’s disbursements of practical wisdom is uncanny.

This Sunday morning – my son and I are going father son camping for our second year!


Signing off from Wisconsin

9 Justin July 21, 2010 at 9:43 am

Great article and thanks for reviving some good memories. Grew up on a ranch and did a load of hunting in the Rockies. We would put these together for trips. Always know as ‘cowoboy packs’ to us mainly b/c you could throw them in the coals of a fire while you set up camp/unloaded the pack animals. By the time your were done, nice hot meal!

10 Kris Verdeyen July 21, 2010 at 10:28 am

The foil packet recipe I make most is simply potatoes, vegetable oil or butter, and lipton onion soup mix. Slice the potatoes, and coat with the fat, then the soup mix. It also helps to lubricate the foil with some of the fat as well. Wrap it up, Stuff it into the coals of a fire, or put on a grill. It works in the oven as well. It’s delicious, and you can completely change the character of the dish depending on how thinly you slice the potatoes.

11 michaelm July 21, 2010 at 10:31 am

Like many of you I’ve been doing these since cub scouts and never stopped. I’ve earned a reputation for having some of the best foil dinners around. I’ll be trying your recipes soon.

I prefer fresh veggies to canned ones which are sometime mushy or too salty, to get fresh cut vegetables to cook quickly and more evenly use a food processor or a manly chef’s knife and slice them very thin. The big hunks most guys use in tinfoil dinners are too large for even cooking with the meat.

Also try stew meat the chunks cook well, I prefer tenderized stew meat. But my favorite is a tri-tip Cook it like the latin ranch hands did who invented grilling tri-tip or do it like a London broil with a brown mushroom gravy. You can get brown mushroom gravy near the canned mushroom area at the store. Add more fresh mushroom slices (I prefer the thick ones) Worcestershire sauce, onions and other veggies. It’s amazing cooked this way and will impress everyone.

For those who don’t now about tri-tip or do not see it in your local stores you can get it form most butchers and some better grocery stores will cut it for you if you request it ahead of time. It is a cut of meat close to a filet in tenderness and flavor but was not popular with consumers. Butchers who used to do their own meats would hold this cut back for their own families and in many parts of the country it’s still a very inexpensive cut.

In the South west it was made famous buy ranch hands, when cutting all the traditional cuts during butchering it was a piece the ranch hands would hold back to grill for lunches in the field. It would be marinated in fruit juices, mostly lime or lemon, fresh garlic, peppers, and onions and other spices they had on hand and slow grilled in the morning so it would be ready when they came in from the herds for lunch.

As some stories go the ranchers would come out to see the mexican workers and get a taste of the meat and were surprised to learn how amazing it was. It was kept somewhat as a secret on the ranches but as people would get a taste when visiting ranches the word would spread about this amazing and inexpensive meat was prepared.

It’s been popular in California for many many years but moving eastward as people move around and the word gets out. I currently live in Wisconsin and just recently started seeing it on butchers display cases. When I have asked about it they say they are carrying it more from requests of people who have moved here from California, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico like my self.

Only sad part is in the West tri-tip costs about the same as hamburger, here it’s priced like a filet.

You can get tri-tip at Claim Jumper restaurants or a so-so version of it at some Famous Dave’s BBQ’s. But to me they do it completely wrong with BBQ sauce and sugar which is not how it was done in the South west.

12 Brian July 21, 2010 at 7:04 pm

For corn on the cob, forget the foil altogether. It helps a little if you soak the corn in water first, but it’s not necessary. Simply place the unhusked (husks still in place) directly on the coals. Removing the silk first is optional. Rotate occasionally, when the bottoms of the husks turn brown/black. After 3 to 4 turns the husk should be mostly black. Peel back the husk, leaving the stem in place to hold onto. Try it without any butter or salt.

Be very careful peeling back the husk – it’s full of steam. Most of the base should still be green, but occasionally some corn toward the top might be charred a bit. The flavor on good corn is still exquisite. This of course does not work if there is much of a flame remaining on the coals, but no foil is necessary as long as the husks are in good shape.

13 Gordon July 21, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Men have been cooking like this for 60,000 years in Australia, only we don’t need foil (Although, i am a fan of foil cooking too), simply catch a beast, like a snake, rabbit or kangaroo and chuck it on a fire until the skin is black. Then it is a simple matter of taking it off the fire and peeling off the skin to expose the lovely cooked meat underneath. The skin is the foil.

14 Gary Olson July 21, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Recipes and comments list various soup mixes to provide moisture and flavor. I was always partial to natural spices [basil, cloves, pepper, etc] and Applejack, vodka, or [pilsner] beer to moisturize and tenderize the meats and vegetables. And, then you also had a before dinner drink while cooking.

15 Kyle July 21, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Great article! I love this practical “how to” stuff. Anything that makes great cooking simple scores a lot of points by me.

16 Caroline July 22, 2010 at 4:39 am

This method I used..Can be placed inside meat that will be more delicious

17 Walker July 22, 2010 at 10:14 am

Great post. We called em Hobo Packs.

18 Nathaniel July 22, 2010 at 10:40 am

A great one that we do is corn wrapped in bacon. One or two strips of uncooked bacon wrapped around the corn. Wrap that in tinfoil and then put in the fire for like 15 minutes or so (depending on how hot you make the fire). It tastes great, and there’s no need to salt or butter your corn.

19 Alex July 22, 2010 at 11:06 am

You can also do biscuits in a tomato.
A few other tricks I learned in my scouting days are you can always par(half) cook things like a stuffed pork chop in the microwave before going or you can take, say a frozen steak in a ziplock bag and place it in the frame of your backpack at your lower back and not just will it keep you cool but it will be thawed by the end of your day hiking.

Also mixing a cajun spice with some butter and putting it on the corn between the corn and husk before cooking can be very good.

20 John McHan July 22, 2010 at 1:06 pm

You left out one of the easiest….Baked Apples
indredients: Apples, brown sugar and butter (equal amounts of each) and cinnamon (to taste)
As many apples as needed….crisp baking kinds are best
Core apples but do not peel
Wrap apples on a double thickness of foil filling each with the butter, sugar and cinnamon mix.
Seal foil and bake on coals until the apples start to soften, usually about 20-30 min.
Open the foil at the top (rembering to watch for the steam) and eat!

21 Ehren July 22, 2010 at 1:56 pm

You know, if you don’t shuck the corn, you can just toss the ears right into the coals. The husk keeps out ash and seals in moisture better than any foil does.

22 Camp Easier July 22, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Great advice, I know how hard it can be to get the foil wrapped tight. The “Tent” is very important for steam to build, especially if your cooking ribs or meat that creates a lot of juice that makes steam. Great article , Thanks!!

23 Susan July 22, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Some great ideas here. My son and I tried a few of our own ideas for foil food, and we need more experimentation to get it right. The tortillas with peanut butter, mini-marshmallows, and chocolate chips were a bit rich! haha

24 M. Michael Hyatt July 22, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Don’t forget red bell peppers. They turn sweet when roasted. They also send a great sweet, spicy taste through any meat they’re cooked with. And nobody mentioned the lowly potato or sweet potato. Sliced and roasted in foil they are great.

25 Titus July 23, 2010 at 3:20 am

These recipes are gorgeous.
As I am just starting my holidays, I’m definitely going to have some of them.

26 Nick July 23, 2010 at 8:36 am

I like to grill (or place on coals) corn in the husk too. One thing I have done successfully many times is to pull back the husks without fully removing before cooking, remove the silk, rub with butter and a few spices and then carefully replace the husks to create a new seal. Yes, you have to basically pull back each piece individually to make this work, but it doesn’t take that long, and the end result…. A nice ear of corn already cleaned, buttered and ready to eat!

27 captainmeta4 July 23, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Hobo Hamburgers

Take a lump of ground beef the size of a 4x4x4 rubik’s cube. Place it on the foil and flatten to a rectangle the size of the top of a kleenex box.

Add mixed veggies and bbq sauce.

Fold the meat over the veggies and crimp it at the edges to create a closed pouch.

Wrap up the foil and place in campfire

28 Wayne July 24, 2010 at 4:46 pm

For a great appetizer, peel a large onion, core it almost to the root, but not all the way through the bottom. Next slice it into 1/4′s, but not all the way. Next place a beef bouillon cube in the hole, and a slice of butter between each knife slice. Wrap with foil, leaving air space at the top, and set it in the coals. Makes as good an onion soup as you have ever had.

29 Money Reasons July 25, 2010 at 10:30 am

Thanks for the great recipes, I was getting tired of pizza pies (or campfire pizza), hot dogs and marshmallows!

Using the foil technique above, it sounds like it’s possible to experminent quite a bit too!

30 Kyle July 25, 2010 at 2:07 pm

I took my girlfriend camping last night and made two foil dinners before I left. The first one I made was zucchini, squash, carrots with butter, a little chicken broth, parsley, salt and pepper. The second one was sockeye salmon from the store because we were leaving after work and I did not get a chance to fish. The salmon had .5 of an onion, 2 lemons that I squeezed over the salmon and then placed on the side, a tomato cut up and placed around the salmon, as well as butter, parsley, dill weed, salt and pepper. I built a fire and let some coals collect in the pit and then started putting the firewood in a tent shape so I could place the food on top of the coals but under the fire. I cooked everything for about 27 minutes and my girlfriend could not stop talking about how good it was. It was by far one of the best meals I had ever cooked.

31 Rick July 25, 2010 at 8:55 pm

While camping with the Cub Scouts (several years ago – my son & I are now Boy Scouts), our pack had a neat tradition that is called Silver Turtles, which was always Saturday lunch. Oviously, the turtle is a foil packet, and the ingedients vary by Scout, according to his likes. Main ingredient is hamburger and the rest is dealers choice – sliced bell pepper, onion, sliced link sausage, cowboy beans, jalapenos, sliced or cubed potato, carrots, canned corn, barbeque sauce or steak sauce.
Cook the “turtle” in a bed of coals for 25-35 minutes (depening on it’s total volume), and eat it right out of the foil (you might need a paper plate under it for stability, again, depending on volume – do NOT use styrofoam plate).. You can’t beat ‘em for taste, ease of clean up and best of all, FLAVOR!!!

32 JohnM July 26, 2010 at 4:25 am

A trick I learned from a Canadian Boy Scout Troop is to wrap the foil pack meal with wet paper towels prior to wrapping it with the second layer. The meal will not burn.

33 Mark Adkins July 27, 2010 at 11:13 pm

A few things from our years of these…

1. Some of these can be premade and frozen, or mostly premade and frozen, especially if dealing with a group or using it for breakfast. Another nice thing is that several of them really don’t need refrigeration, or can be modified thusly.

2. Try the Foil Pizza- a pita topped with pizza sauce, pepperonis, and mozzerella. You can add more. The beauty of this is that it cooks quickly and can be eaten pretty much raw- perfect for impatient kids. These are also great for groups of kids- build it like an assembly line.

34 Matt Z. July 28, 2010 at 11:58 pm

I was just wondering how you go about keeping the meat cold if you’re going camping for a week or even a couple days? I doubt that ice in a cooler would last that long.

35 Brett McKay July 29, 2010 at 12:18 am

@Matt Z.-

Foil dinners are best for a 2-3 day camping trip. You’re right-they only keep as long as the ice in the cooler does. For longer trips, dehydrated meals are the way to go.

36 FingerSoup July 29, 2010 at 5:00 am

I do foil pack potatoes…
1. Grease the bottom layer of your foil pack with butter.
2. Put thinly sliced (Approx. twice as thick as a store-bought potato chip) or cubed (approx 1/4″ – 1/2″ cubes) potatoes one layer thick in the center of the foil pouch.
3. spread a dollop of butter across your layer
4. season your layer. Use salt(If your butter is unsalted), Pepper, garlic (Fresh or powder), parmesean Cheese, Oregano, or whatever other herb/spice combinations you enjoy.
5. Repeat for several layers. the last layer should just be buttered, to prevent any burning/sticking.
6. tightly seal a “tent pack”. I prefer folding the foil over in half, over top my pack, then doing a triple fold over each side to crimp it shut. I usually double-foil the whole thing because I will flip my foil pack a few times.
7. The pack should balloon out while the foil pack is cooking. Flipping the foil pack in this case causes the layers to cook relatively evenly and prevent blackening/burning. the more potatoes you cook, the longer your cook time. I uually do 2 or 3 potatoes for 30 mins on a BBQ grill.

The butter will eventually fry the outer layers creating crispy brown potato-chip like potatoes, where as the inner potatoes will have a soft, almost poached texture. I like the crispy, but sometimes these burn, and the center potatoes have butter-steamed goodness

37 Brad July 30, 2010 at 6:06 am

Matt Z: If I’m going away for more than one night I go to my local ice works & buy a block of dry ice for my icebox, you can get different wieghts that will last for different lengths of time, pack in normal ice around it & anything you’d like to stay frozen & anything you’d like unfrozen keep away from the dry ice. This can keep your food fresh and beer cold for a little over a week in warm weather. Great stuff!

38 Eric Phillips August 1, 2010 at 9:13 pm

One of my favorite camping memories is cooking foil packs on a camp fire. We usually stuck to hamburger, potatoes and carrots. I’m definitely going to bookmark this page for my next family camping trip. Thanks.

39 Ray August 8, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Read the article and just happened to be going camping this weekend. Tried the muffins in an orange shell and don’t know what I did wrong but they didn’t work at all! The muffin never baked/cooked and all I got was muffing mix boiled in orange juice. Anyone had any luck with these and what was the trick? Thanks.

40 Brett McKay August 8, 2010 at 10:29 pm


Did you scoop out all the pulp before you put in the muffin mix? There shouldn’t be any orange juice left in there.

And did you leave the top of the foil open?

41 dennis huff August 10, 2010 at 5:54 pm

been a long time fan of the foil packs. My favorite is a nice ribeye steak, potatoes (cut to peices the size of strawberries to speed cooking), some carrots, a half of an onion, about a quarter cup of butter and about a mouthful of fat tire. butter on the bottom, then the steak, the the veggies and beer. Drop on top of a 1-2 inch coal bed, and stack the coals a little higher around the foil package, somewhat of a “pit and go drink some beer. come back in about 30 minutes and take it out, tear a small hole for steam to start escaping and set it aside for about 5 minutes to start cooling and juices to start soaking back into the meat. Cheers! -Huff

42 Daniel August 13, 2010 at 4:22 pm

My grandad had a variation of this: he would put a large potato in foil in the morning and put it in the engine bay of his delievery truck. At midday, break out a lump of cheese and a tin of beans, and the hot spud from the engine. Spinkle the cold beans & cheese on the steaming hot spud and voilà, a filling meal on the road that was far more good for you than a grease covered burger!

43 georgie57 August 16, 2010 at 11:30 pm

having spent YEARS in the pow-wow circuit, i learned LOTS about cooking on fire…here’s one of our favorites you can cook in an oven (non-manly i guess, but good in the winter in New England) or on a fire in a dutch oven…it’s not a precise recipe, so make it using your imagination!
hollow the seeds from a small/medium pumpkin, leaving the meat…cook about a pound of hamburger adding some poultry seasoning & a little extra sage (you can use venison too, or buffalo…MMMMM-MMMM!!)…drain off the fat…make mashed potatoes, instant or fresh….spread about 1/3 the potatoes around the bottom of the pumpkin…add the meat…add a can of corn…and a can of green beans…and then the rest of the potatoes…then put the top back on the pumpkin…(did i forget to tell you to cut it leaving the top whole? sorry)…..put it all into the dutch oven….no top required…bake just over the coals or at about 375 deg. until the pumpkin collapses… should be done then.
this was a favorite (for winters especially) in my family…i hope you enjoy it too!!

44 Eric August 17, 2010 at 3:57 pm

I’ve been selected as “Chef for Life” by the friends I go camping with and it’s all because of foil meal cooking! Our favorite side dish, which could easily be a meal unto itself, is a roasted sweet potato. Just split the potato in half, lengthwise, and puncture it several times with a fork or knife. Place some sliced raw onion, a few pads of butter, salt, pepper, thyme or sage, in between the two potato halves and sandwich them together. After wrapping them up in foil (I use a triple layer) I like to slow-roast them on the edge of the coals – which takes about 60 to 90 minutes. Keep rotating them and they’ll come out perfect every time!

I’ve also had great success cooking peeled, raw, frozen shrimp. I wouldn’t recommend it if camping for more than two nights, but shrimp with any kind of “Asian” marinade, some scallions, and snow peas, makes for a perfect foil meal. Cook for about 10 minutes, max, and you’re set.

45 Joyce September 25, 2012 at 5:23 am

I have made the hamburger, potatoes and carrots too in the foil but have you ever tried putting chicken instead of hamburger? It works great, I use chicken tenderloins and layer thinly sliced potatoes and carrots with a little butter on top with seasonings of course, fold it up in foil and at the end I pour some chicken broth or stock in before closing up the last corner. Turns out great every time.
I’m sure you all have heard about the banana boats. Take a banana, slice a wedge out of it like a canoe, length wise leaving the peel on. Take your excess banana out of your wedge and fill it with whatever you would like. marshmellows, chocolate, peanut butter, nuts, etc. pull your peel back up over your goodies and then wrap in foil. Put over the fire until melted, very yummy, the kids love it.

46 Bren October 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Here’s one I’ve done often in the oven, but have yet to try it on fire:
Ground beef patty (size to personal preference) in the center of the foil. Surround that with tater tots (frozen) and top with frozen mixed veggies. Sprinkle with brown gravy mix and any other seasonings you enjoy. Tent-pack and place on coals. (In the oven it’s about 45 min. @ 350F.)

47 Donna Clayton Lloyd November 3, 2012 at 7:50 pm

With the national disasters we have seen lately, these ideas seem like some really smart things to prep during an impending storm. Perhaps even freeze some of them– but at least have on hand so if power goes out– a cooler and a grill will maintain some level of nutritional options. Very savvy recipes.

48 Cherie January 23, 2013 at 2:28 pm

We use individulal frozen turkey burgers in our foil packets (we also use the butter flavored nonstick spray-we have never had a charred dinner) sliced potatoes, and add veggie packets from the grocery like broccoli, carrots and cauliflower—very short prep time and does not take long to cook over the fire. Delicious and nutritious…I have also frozen some dinners in individual portions using the seal a meal bags then when you get to the camp just put into foil packets to heat…less dishes to wash ….to keep your cooler cold longer, fill 1/2 gallon milk jugs approx 3/4 full of water and freeze, then add your ice over the food, even as the ice melts you have “blocks” of ice which lasts longer and does not add water to be drained. This site also gave me some great tips for our next camping trip to YNP…can’t wait to try them out! Thanks!

49 Sherron February 15, 2013 at 11:18 am

Thank you for some fun recipes! Instead of using canned carrots, I just grate my carrots or thinly slice them (julienne) and they cook up wonderfully! Works the same for potatoes, but sometimes they turn colors- I’ve had the best luck with using frozen hash browns (sometimes I use cubed, other times shredded).

50 Vickie Gooch February 16, 2013 at 10:44 am

We do these meals at home on the barbeque or even in the oven. No dishes to wash afterwards, just throw the foil away. Our favorite, Italian sausage and kielbasa, onions, carrots and potatoes. Oh don’t forget to add some pieces of garlic and salt and pepper. Enjoy!

51 NJ Pop Up February 26, 2013 at 2:16 am

2 large onions, cut off enough of the top and bottom so they stand upright and have a flat top to them. Core out the middle of the onion, jam a beef bullion cube into the center as well as butter. Put on coals and let it go. Makes a perfect onion sauce for marinated / grilled steak. Tasted even better the next morning for breakfast as steak and eggs.

52 Lesa Kosteck March 1, 2013 at 4:04 pm

you can line the foil with cabbage leaves instead of the cooking oil to keep things from burning… put the leaves on the foil, put other ingredients on top, then another layer of cabbage leaves over that… seal it up and put it on the coals.. it helps to keep things from burning and helps to keep ‘em moist… you can usually eat the cabbage as well… just another way to go… Best to All.. ;) me

53 Rks1157 April 4, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Being disabled I no longer camp but in the past I enjoyed many hours around the campfire. As I grew older and less enthusiastic about scouring pots and pans with sand from the riverbed I started experimenting with precooked meals of my own making. Some were disastrous, others turned out fairly well.

Instead of foil packs I tried cooking meals at home and sealing them in plastic bags that I could reheat in boiling water. Pastas, chillies and stews worked well. In my early attempts I used ziplock type bags but they softened too much and while none tore, some became dangerously stretchy. I moved on to seal a meal type solutions and these held up well.

If you choose to give this a try, my solid bit of advice is to remember to bring tongs! The packs get too hot to handle comfortably.

54 Samantha Walker April 25, 2013 at 2:51 pm

I am going camping with my husband and two of my brothers in a few months. I thought to myself what on earth is going to keep them all from starving and eating each other in the wild lol then I found your website. Thank you for all the recipes and those of previous comments :) Happy camping!

55 Jessica Kaml July 14, 2013 at 5:53 pm

My family has been cooking foil dinners every summer, most of the summer long, before my mom was even born. It helped keep the house cool since up until 5 years ago they have never had ac. iI cook foil dinners about 2 to 3 times a week on the grill and my boyfriend loves them. Great recipes and also a few in the comments.

56 Scout commissioner October 19, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Don’t forget potatoes and sweet potatoes in foil. Food always tastes better outside.

57 jesus beltran November 6, 2013 at 10:06 am


58 Jarod December 20, 2013 at 10:23 pm

If you really want to impress someone, boil an egg over the fire. . . on a stick.

59 alex December 30, 2013 at 3:21 am

Don’t use aluminium ! It’s toxic ! It goes in your food, the food goes into you, you get poisonned. Aluminium is a poison.

Alex, a french gentilhomme and reader of The Art Of Manliness.

60 Joe February 13, 2014 at 9:45 am

A carb friendly meal:

I used precooked brats to save some time.

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