These hobo dinners are easy an easy to make, mess free meal perfect for campfire nights or even cold winter days in the oven. Since they’re put together in a foil packet, you can customize each serving to fill everyone’s belly.
Camping is one of our favorite things to do together as a family. We try to go out multiple times every summer and this year we’re even planning a big trip back to Montana.
And every time we go camping, hobo dinners are on the menu. Usually either these traditional packets or sausage hobo dinners to change things up. If it’s a particularly long trip, we oftentimes make both.
They’re easy to make, the kids can even make up their own packets. They don’t require much, they don’t make a mess, and they’re so easy to throw on the campfire.
We like these so much that we’ve even made them at home on the oven, on the grill, or even in the slow cooker.
Yep, I’ve made packet dinners in the slow cooker and they were amazing.
How to make a hobo dinner
Like I said, these are incredibly easy to put together. You simply place your ingredients in a piece of foil, close it up, and cook it. How you cook it is entirely up to you, though.
This recipe is simple. A lot call for things like condensed soups and such and I like just simple and straightforward. All you need is onion, potatoes, carrots, and hamburger.
You can make these with venison as well, but I would definitely add a little fat to it since they’re going to be cooking for so long and to cook venison right you don’t want it overcooked since it’s a dry, lean meat.
You’ll want to cube your potatoes fairly small, any variety will do, but we usually just use russets. You can simply wash them and cube them or you can peel them depending on your preferences. I usually use one large potato per packet.
For the carrots you’ll coin them so they cook faster. How many you use per packet is up to individual tastes, but I like to use 2-3.
I quarter up an onion and just put a quarter section (give or take) into each packet. It makes things easier on me. I usually need 5 sections, so since the kids don’t care much for onion anyway (it really is just there to add some flavor), I just take a quarter and slice it in half.
And for the beef you’ll want to form it into a ball like you’re making a patty, but you don’t have to squash it way down.
Place all of the ingredients on a large piece of heavy duty foil with the beef patty on top, sprinkle with some salt and pepper and bring the edges together and close it up tight and cook it.
When they’re done, I like to top them with a pat of butter to add some buttery goodness to the whole thing.
How to cook hobo dinner packets
The most popular way to make these for camping nights is, of course, on the campfire. To do this you’ll just want to place your foil packets on hot coals at the edge of your fire and allow them to cook for about 45 minutes to an hour, occasionally flipping until the veggies are tender and the beef patty is done.
To cook them on the grill, you will place each packet on a preheated medium hot grill and cook for 20 minutes, flip over and cook for another 20 minutes.
You can also cook hobo packets in an oven at home. I like to do this when it’s cold out in the winter but we want a simple meal. You’ll heat your oven to 350˚F and place the packets on a cookie sheet and bake for about an hour, flipping once.
And last but not least, on hot, summer days when we are not at home, and not camping I still enjoy making these and I put them in our slow cooker. You’ll assemble each packet, place them in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Tender, yummy veggies, cooked beef and not all the heat of an oven and I don’t have to be home to have dinner on the table by 5.
These simple hobo packets come together easily with just 4 ingredients, some foil and a campfire, oven, grill, or even a slow cooker.
- 1/4 Pound Ground Beef
- 1 Potato, Cubed
- 3 Carrots, Peeled and Coined
- 1 Quarter of a Whole Onion
- Sea Salt, to taste
- Fresh Ground Pepper, to taste
- Aluminum Foil
- Prepare your vegetables. Cube up a potato for each packet. You can peel them if you like, but it's not necessary. Peel and coin up 2-3 carrots for each carrot and quarter an onion.
- Measure out a few pieces of foil. However many you need to make enough packets for each person.
- Next, go ahead and make the beef patty. Make an average sized patty just like you're making a hamburger. Sprinkle each side with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Place in center of foil piece.
- Now top the patties with a bit of onion (about a quarter of a small onion in each packet).
- Place potatoes and carrots on foil and add a little more sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
- To cook on the campfire: wrap up your packet, place it at the edge of the campfire on hot coals for 45 to 60 minutes, turning occasionally, until veggies are tender and hamburger is cooked through.
- To cook in an oven: place on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350˚F oven for 30 minutes, flip the packet and bake for another 30 minutes or until veggies are tender and hamburger is cooked through.
- To cook on a grill: place packets directly on a medium hot grill and grill for 20 minutes, flip and grill for another 20 minutes or until cooked.
- To cook in a slow cooker: Place packets in a large slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
- Once cooked, top with a pat of butter and eat hot.
You can individualize each packet depending upon the individuals tastes and appetite which make these an appealing meal.
Cooking times, of course, will vary depending on how large (or small) each packet is.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 575Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 786mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 10gSugar: 12gProtein: 38g
Make ahead instructions
Isn’t life easier when we can make things ahead of time? Of course! Especially when we’re out camping….
You can prepare and assemble your packets ahead of time and keep them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook them. I don’t, however, recommend freezing them, but you could use frozen vegetables in place of fresh. I would allow the vegetables to thaw slightly before cooking because of the additional moisture content.
I’ve made these the day before and just thrown them on the campfire when we’re ready and they turn out just fine. Enjoy!
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