Food always tastes better when you’re camping but that’s not an excuse to eat mediocre food. Preparing a meal in the great outdoors can be a pain -- there’s no good place to chop veggies and it’s hard to organize all that food.
Not to mention the clean up! Who wants to wash pots and pans when you could be relaxing by the fire or taking an after-dinner stroll?
The solution -- foil dinners.
Imagine eating freshly cooked seafood and delicious vegetables with minimal effort while camping and not have a single dish to clean.
It’s no secret I love foil dinners.
It’s my go-to meal when we go camping and my family loves them too.
The best part? You don’t have to do didley-squat while you’re camping. That’s right: no prep, no clean-up.
What are these “foil dinners” you ask?
You’re about to find out.
Finding the Right Ingredients
Foil dinners (sometimes called foil packets or hobo dinners) are simply a mix of food cooked together in a tightly-sealed aluminum foil packet.
The concept is simple, the execution is slightly harder. You want to make sure your seafood is cooked but your veggies aren’t mush.
That’s why you need the right of mix of veggies and seafood that take about the same amount of time to cook.
Fortunately, I’ve done that step for you already.
The Secret to Cooking It Just Right
You need to make sure you have a good bed of coals going before you start cooking and this takes time so you want to start your camp fire or charcoal briquettes at least an hour before you plan on eating.
Once you get a good amount of hot coals going, you want to separate the coals from the main fire to make a nice bed of coals which you will use for cooking.
The amount of time you will cook your packet will depend on how hot your coals are but you want to do roughly 8 minutes on each side.
You must flip the packet and cook for the same amount of time on each side because there is intense heat coming from only one side at a time. Leaving it too long on one side may result in an unevenly cooked foil packet.
If you’re unsure about how long to cook it, I recommend starting with 7 minutes per side and then checking it. You can always reseal it if it’s not cooked and that gives you a chance to check the tenderness of the veggies so you can guess how much longer it needs.
- 1 Pound Large Shrimp
- 3 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Yellow Squash
- 1 Zucchini
- 1 Small Bunch of Asparagus
- 1 Ear of Corn, peeled
- 1 Tbsp Butter
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Remove the tough ends of the asparagus and cut the remaining stalks into 2″ pieces. Slice or break the corn into 4 or 5 pieces. Slice the zucchini and squash into 1/2″-3/4″ thick slices. Mince the garlic.
- Put all the veggies and garlic together in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and mix well.
- Pull out two 2′ long pieces of aluminum foil and arrange them in a cross.
- Add half your veggies to the middle, then the shrimp, and top with the rest of the veggies. Top with a hunk of butter.
- Wrap the food with the foil, one piece at a time, folding the edges and pinch-sealing them as you go to make the packet air-tight. Add a third layer of aluminum foil if necessary. Keep in a cooler until ready to cook.
- While out camping -- make a good bed of coals separate from the main campfire. You should not be able to hold your hand above the coals for more than a second. Cook the packet for ~8 minutes on each side before checking for doneness. If the shrimp is not cooked or the veggies are not tender, reseal and cook longer.
Looking for something more hardy? How about a beef and sweet potato foil dinner? Click here for the recipe!