3 Backcountry Dinners That Will Satisfy the Appetites of Everyone in Camp

backcountryfood Sep 12, 2022
Steaks on the Campfire

Have you ever gone on a pack trip with your friends and ended up eating Campbell’s soup for dinner?  Most of your meals can be precooked at home before you leave.  Each meal can be individually vacuum packed for easy cooking and cleanup at camp.  When you have horses and mules, you can eat a better meal than canned soup, and all you need to do is continue reading to learn 3 simple dinners that will blow all our backcountry friends away on your next 4-day pack trip.

 

  1. Chicken Taco Casserole
  2. Smoked Pork Butt Tacos
  3. Campfire Steak and Cheesy Twice Baked Potatoes

 

Chicken Taco Casserole

 

 

               This is absolutely one of my favorite staple backcountry meals that I prepare for every trip.  I prefer to package this meal in individual portions for each person.  This allows the servings to be split between multiple coolers for balancing weight.  I eat mine right out of the bag to conserve on washing dishes and paper plates, but I’ll leave that decision up to you. 

 

Ingredients

  • 4 large chicken breasts
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 2 large cans of Campbell’s Cream of Chick soup
  • 1 large can of Hatch green chilis
  • 1 can Ro Tel original tomatoes
  • 1 large bag of cheddar cheese
  • 2 packages of taco size corn shells
  • 2 tbsps. Olive oil
  • Sliced Jalapeno Peppers

 

  1. Dice the 4 large chicken breasts into small cubes and add to a large saucepan with the onion, garlic, and olive oil. Fry on medium heat for 6-8 minutes until chicken is cooked.
  2. Add the Ro Tel tomatoes.
  3. Chop the Hatch green chilis and add to the mixture with the Cream of Chicken soup.
  4. Bring the mixture to a simmer and shut off.
  5. Lightly spray a deep aluminum pan with cooking spray. Then you can cut some of the corn shells in half and make a layer of corn on the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add a layer of the mixture on top of the corn shell layer and top with cheese.
  7. Place another layer of corn shells and repeat process until the pan is full. You may have enough mixture to create 2 casseroles, but make sure to save enough mixture to cover the top of the casserole.
  8. Place the casserole in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
  9. Remove the casserole and top with cheese and Jalapenos and return it to the oven for 5 more minutes.
  10. Remove the casserole and cool completely.
  11. Cut the casserole into individual servings and vacuum pack for freezing.

 

     All you need to do in camp is make sure to thaw the packages out and heat up a pan of boiling water.  Drop the vacuum-packed meals into the water and heat for 20 - 30 minutes and enjoy!  You are guaranteed to amaze all your fellow campers with this simple meal in any camp.

Smoked Pork Butt Taco

 

 

     Taco night in our camp is something everyone always looks forward to no matter where you come from.  Although this meal takes a little more preparation at home, it is still a very simple meal in camp.  If you take the time to smoke your own pork butt and create a homemade salsa, this meal will be a favorite for everyone.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 7-8lb Pork Butt
  • Your favorite Salt, Pepper, and Garlic rub
  • Regular Yellow Mustard
  • 1 bottle of Apple juice in a spray bottle
  • 1 large bag of Cheddar Cheese
  • 3 bags of uncooked flour soft taco shells
  • 1 pint of homemade salsa (or your favorite store-bought salsa)

 

  1. Rub the pork butt down on all sides with the yellow mustard.
  2. Generously cover the pork butt with the SPG rub on all sides.
  3. Place the pork butt on your smoker at 250 degrees and place a temperature probe in the thickest part of the butt without touching any bone.
  4. Add a fruit wood for smoke and cook the pork butt to 130 degrees.
  5. Spritz the pork butt with the apple juice every 30 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
  6. Remove the pork butt from the smoker and double wrap it in heavy duty aluminum foil. Place the butt in a tin baking dish and return to the smoker.
  7. Continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 202 degrees.
  8. Remove the pan from the smoker and place in a small cooler for 2 hours.
  9. Open the package and pour the meat and it’s juice out of the aluminum foil into the baking dish. Using rubber gloves, pull the meat apart in small pieces.
  10. Completely cool the meat overnight and then vacuum pack before freezing.

 

Now that you’re in camp and ready for taco night, make sure you have thawed out the meat.  You will need to prepare a pot of boiling water and reheat the meat for about 30 minutes.  Heat a griddle on the fire or stove and cook the tortillas according to the directions on the package.  Enjoy the tacos with cheddar cheese and salsa.  I can guarantee everyone will rave about the meat and fresh tortilla shells and will beg for this meal on every pack trip.

Campfire Steak and Cheesy Twice Baked Potatoes

The last night of every pack trip should be Steak Night.  Not only does it provide a dramatic ending to the backcountry experience, but the frozen steak in your cooler acts as your largest piece of ice for keeping the rest of your food fresh and cold.  I’ve even gone as far on longer pack trips as packing a chunk of ribeye roast and cutting the steaks in camp to prolong the life of my cooler.  Matched with Cheesy Twice Baked Potatoes, this meal will put everyone in camp to bed completely satisfied.

 

Ingredients

  • Boneless Ribeye Roast (approximately 1lb per person)
  • Salt, Pepper, and Garlic seasoning
  • 1 Large Potato per person
  • 2 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Chopped Green Onion

 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Poke holes in each potato with a fork and spray the potato skin with cooking spray.
  3. Bake the potatoes for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the potatoes from the oven and carefully cut them in half. Scoop the inside of each potato out into a mixing bowl.
  5. Add the butter, cheddar cheese and green onion to the bowl.
  6. Thoroughly mix the ingredients until mixture is a smooth texture.
  7. Scoop the mixture back into the potato skins and top with more cheese and lightly salt and pepper to your liking.
  8. Put the potatoes back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes.
  9. Remove the potatoes and let cool. Vacuum pack the potatoes in equal size packages and freeze.

 

It’s the final night of your pack trip and everyone is already sad to ride out tomorrow.  This meal will bring everyone together at the fire for one last night of backcountry socialization.  Pull your steaks out and allow them to partially thaw.  Making small marks on the fat side of your rib roast, count out the number of steaks you need to cut for your cook.  Slice the steaks, season them with the SPG and place them into a zip lock back to finish thawing.  Don’t forget to pull out your Twice Baked Potatoes and place them in a pot of boiling water to reheat. 

               You will need to gather as much small cooking wood as you can find and a few medium sized pieces of firewood.  Create yourself a nice fire with the small wood until you have a decent amount of coals.  Place your grill over the fire place a medium piece of wood on each end.  Reserve some small sticks for heating the fire up as needed.  Cook the steaks over the fire to your desired temperature.  Here are a few tips for successfully cooking steaks on a fire.

  • Have a cup of water handy in case you need to extinguish the flames if they get out of control. Don’t worry about putting the fire completely out, just pour enough to put the flames down.  Avoid pouring the water directly over the steaks and washing the seasoning off.
  • Use the small wood to heat one side of the fire up to a higher temperature. This will allow you to rotate the steaks around and cook make sure they get a good sear and keep cooking.

This meal will create an atmosphere no one will ever forget.  Eating a campfire steak in the backcountry satisfies every appetite and creates a memory that can not be forgotten.  The only way to top this meal is to create it with backstraps from a fresh kill on a backcountry hunt.

 

Make your next pack a grand slam by doing a little food prep and planning some home run meals for your friends.  Having your some of your meals precooked and vacuum packaged will save you time and set your cooler up to last multiple days in the summer heat of the backcountry.  The meals you serve will taste better and impress anyone will exploring backcountry wilderness areas around the country.

 

Remember to always double check that you have all the gear loaded and packed before your next pack trip.  Make sure you click the button below and sign up for our free Backcountry Gear List complete with all the items you need to make it the best pack trip of your life.  Check back soon for the more articles on Bonedout.com.

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