Hobo Dinners on the Campfire

This Homesteading Thursday, I want to bring us back to the campfire.  Campfire cooking is the most primitive way of cooking.  Every homesteader in times past learned to use the fire to heat their homes and to cook many meals.

During the depression, many people were homeless and lived in encampments.  They were known as Hobos.  Whatever food they could find, whether it was wild caught, wild grown, in the trash, or given from a neighbor, they would cook all the food over the fire.  Because they were hungry, they would use even the peelings of vegetables that others would throw away.  Being resourceful was their survival.  I am sure that is where we get the term “Hobo Dinner”, because it is comprised of simple ingredients that are cooked together.

Hobo Dinners take me back to my childhood.  My parents used to take us on very remote camping adventures in the forest.  We never had much money, so camping for free was what we did the most.  And it was one of my fondest memories growing up.  We would backpack deep into the woods and set up our camp.  All our meals were cooked over an open fire.  There is nothing that makes you feel closer to nature than sleeping under the stars and cooking all your food over that open fire.  Hearing the crackling of embers, the smell of smoke, and the noise of wind blowing through the trees is such a wonderful experience.

Mom would pack a roll of tin foil along with vegetables, potatoes, and beef in a little cooler that we would tote along.  Hobo dinners are both a simple meal and fun to make together as you huddle around the campfire.
For less need of refrigeration, you could use a quart of my canned potatoes, canned veggies, and canned hamburger.  We like to make individual servings for our Hobo Dinner.
1. Tear off a sheet of tin foil about 24 inches long.

2.  Add your hamburger (1/2 cup per serving).  You can brown raw hamburger meat and add that.  If you want to use all raw ingredients you can use raw hamburger and raw potatoes.  It will have to cook longer.
3.  If using canned potatoes, drain and rinse.  Add about 1/2 cup of chunked potatoes per serving.  If using raw potatoes, you can leave the skin on and slice thin.  Add sliced onions as well if you like extra flavor.
4.  Add 1/2 cup of veggies.  We used frozen mixed veggies for this Hobo Dinner.  You can chop up fresh veggies or use canned veggies.  Drain all liquids first if you are using canned veggies.  Season with salt and pepper to your own taste.
5.  Wrap the tin foil.  Start by rolling the foil up the long way.  Seal it by folding in the sides and pressing them tight.

6.  Set all the Hobo Dinners on a grill piece over an open fire for about 20-30 minutes.  Try not to position them too close to the flames.  Flipping the packets is also a good idea.  This will help avoid burning the contents on one side.  You can also use a grill to cook these.  If the contents are raw, you should cook them twice as long.  You can check inside the foil to see if one is steaming hot and the contents are cooked.  Keep a close eye on the dinners so they do not burn.  If one is ready, they all are.****By the way, if you are worried about using tin foil, just use a cast iron pot.  Dump all ingredients into one pot and stick the pot over the open fire.  Stir your contents frequently.  Enjoy!

We made the Hobo dinner for our company last week.  Mark’s sister and her husband from Wisconsin were visiting.  We enjoyed the campfire cooking one beautiful evening in our woods that lay right beside the creek.  For dessert, we all had smores.  It was a great time together.  That night all the boys slept in the tent.

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10 thoughts on “Hobo Dinners on the Campfire”

  1. Pingback: Hobo Foil Packets (With Sausage – NO Dry Beef!) – WellDone

  2. How do you tell the individual packets apart? I want to do this for my sons birthday, but I need to be able to tell all the boys’ packets apart

  3. Blahhhhhh 12321

    My mother is making these for camping tomorrow . I just heard of them. Sounds cool but I don’t really like vegetables…..

    1. I know right! Vegetables are nasty, but they r healthy soo… The only vegetable I don’t like is onions. Ew.

  4. I never even heard of a hobo dinner. Until the other day when I was looking for camping meal ideas and they just popped up. Tonight will be the first night ever making them/eating them 🙂

  5. Hobo dinners bring back fond childhood memories as well. We used to canoe down the river and then build a fire on the embankment as night fell, where we would each create our own hobo dinner to cook in the fire. We cooked directly in the fire so we would add a pat of butter and 2 or 3 ice cubes & double wrap our meals. Definitely some of my best memories!

  6. This looks yummy and like you and your family had a great time. We made bean and ham hocks in a Dutch oven over an open fire this weekend. Thinking about trying some succotash this weekend. Thanks for sharing.

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