(Survival Manual/3. Food & Water/Cooking with aluminum foil – on grill & campfire)
A. Cooking Around the Campfire: 9 Easy and Delicious Foil Packet Recipes
July 20, 2010, The Art of Maniliness, by Brett & Kate McKay
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.
B. Nine 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. Below, 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.
[Above: Two meat and vegebable meals.]
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.
• 1 chicken breast
• 1 cup of broccoli
• 1/2 cup of prepared rice
• 1 can of cream of chicken soup
• ranch dressing
• cheddar cheese
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
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.
[Above: Aluminum foil wrapped packages of vegetables.]
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.
• 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.
C. More grilling with tin foil recipes:
[Above: Left, 3 pouches, each with a different vegetable medley. Right, foil broiled potatoes with diced onion.]
Baby Beets Toss 1 pound halved baby beets with olive oil and salt on a sheet of foil. Form a packet. Grill over medium heat, 30 minutes. Toss with vinegar, mint and feta.
Roasted Broccoli Toss 1 head broccoli florets, 2 sliced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and salt on a sheet of foil. Arrange in a single layer and form a packet. Grill over medium-high heat, 10 minutes.
Baby Carrots Toss 1 bunch baby carrots, 1 chopped shallot, 1 teaspoon chopped tarragon, a pat of butter, and salt and pepper on a sheet of foil. Form a packet. Grill over medium-high heat, 15 minutes.
Mexican Corn Brush 4 ears corn with melted butter and sprinkle with cotija cheese, cayenne and lime juice; seal in individual foil packets. Grill over medium-high heat, turning a few times, 15 minutes.
Italian Corn Make Mexican Corn (No. 31), replacing the cotija cheese with parmesan and the lime juice with lemon juice.
Jalapeno Poppers Remove the stems from 8 jalapenos; scrape out the seeds and stuff with muenster cheese. Toss with olive oil, salt and 1/4 teaspoon each ground cumin and coriander on a sheet of foil. Form a packet. Grill over medium-high heat, turning often, 10 minutes.
Portobello Mushrooms Toss 4 portobello caps, 4 smashed garlic cloves, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, salt and chopped parsley to taste. Divide among 4 foil packets. Grill over medium heat, turning once, 10 minutes.
Potatoes with Bacon Toss 1 pound halved baby potatoes, 1 chopped bacon slice and salt on a sheet of foil. Add 2 tablespoons water; form a packet. Grill over medium-high heat, 20 minutes
Baked potato Poke each potato several times all over with a fork. Smear each potato with 1 tablespoon of butter, then double wrap in aluminum foil. Bury the potatoes in the hot coals. Allow to cook for 30 to 60 minutes until soft.
Potato Gratin Toss 2 thinly sliced peeled potatoes, 1/4 cup grated parmesan, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Arrange in 4 to 5 layers on a sheet of nonstick foil. Drizzle with 1/4 cup cream and form a packet. Grill over medium heat, 25 minutes.
Succotash Toss 1 pound thawed frozen lima beans, 2 cups corn, 1 diced red bell pepper, 2 sprigs thyme, 2 tablespoons butter, and salt and pepper on a sheet of foil. Form a packet. Grill over medium-high heat, 10 minutes. Open and stir in 1/4 cup cream. Reseal; grill 10 more minutes. Top with chopped parsley.
Pattypan Squash Toss 1 pound pattypan squash, 1 bunch chopped scallions, olive oil, and salt and pepper on a sheet of foil. Arrange in a single layer and form a packet. Grill over medium-high heat, 15 minutes. Top with chopped basil.
Spicy Scallions Toss 2 bunches scallions, olive oil and a pinch of cayenne on a sheet of foil. Form a packet. Grill over medium-high heat, turning a few times, 15 minutes. Serve with lime wedges.
Tomatillo-Pineapple Salsa Toss 3/4 pound diced husked tomatillos, 1/2 cup diced pineapple, 1 each minced jalapeno and shallot, and 1 tablespoon olive oil on a sheet of foil. Form a packet. Grill over high heat, 12 minutes. Stir in some chopped cilantro.
Ravioli with Zucchini Make Zucchini and Tomatoes (No. 20), dividing the ingredients between 2 sheets of foil. Top each with 4 ounces frozen cheese ravioli and form a packet. Grill over medium-high heat, 12 minutes.
Zucchini and Tomatoes Toss 2 sliced zucchini, 2 diced tomatoes, 4 smashed garlic cloves, olive oil, basil, and salt and pepper on a sheet of foil. Form a packet. Grill over high heat, 10 minutes. Top with grated parmesan.
Glazed Peaches Toss 4 quartered peaches, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, and cinnamon to taste on a sheet of foil. Form a packet. Grill over medium-high heat, 12 minutes.
Apple Dumplings Mix 1/2 stick softened butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon apple pie spice; stuff into 4 cored apples. Wrap each in 1/2 disk refrigerated pie dough; seal in individual nonstick foil packets. Grill over medium heat, turning a few times, 30 minutes.
Jerk Chicken Wings Toss 6 split chicken wings, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 3 tablespoons jerk seasoning on a sheet of foil. Form a packet. Grill over high heat, turning once, 25 minutes. Top with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.
Lemon-Herb Chicken Toss 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, 1/4 cup chopped mixed herbs and 3 tablespoons each olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl. Divide among 4 foil packets. Grill over medium-high heat, 12 minutes.
Paella Combine 1 cup uncooked Spanish rice mix, 1 1/4 cups chicken broth, 6 peeled large shrimp, 2 skinless chicken thighs, 2 ounces sliced dried chorizo, 1/4 cup each pimiento-stuffed olives and roasted pepper strips, and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika in a disposable pie pan. Drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with pepper. Seal the pan in foil. Grill over medium-high heat, 30 minutes.
Meatballs Mix 1 pound ground beef with 1 egg, 1/4 cup each breadcrumbs and grated parmesan, 1 minced garlic clove and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a bowl. Roll into 1 1/2-inch balls. Arrange in a single layer on a sheet of foil; top with 1/2 cup tomato sauce and form a packet. Grill over high heat, 20 minutes.
Asian-Style Ribs Mix 1/3 cup each hoisin sauce and ketchup, 4 teaspoons Sriracha and 1 1/4 teaspoons each salt, sesame oil and rice vinegar. Coat 2 pounds baby back ribs with the hoisin mixture; place in a single layer on a double sheet of foil and form apacket. Grill over indirect heat, covered, turning occasionally, 1 hour.
Glazed Pork Mix 1/4 cup peach preserves, 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard and 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce. Season 1 pork tenderloin with salt and pepper and coat with the peach mixture; seal in a foil packet. Grill over high heat, turning, 18 minutes.
Garlic Shrimp Mix 1/2 stick softened butter, 1 cup chopped parsley, 2 chopped garlic cloves, and salt and pepper. Toss with the juice of 1 lemon, 1 pound unpeeled large shrimp and a big pinch of red pepper flakes. Divide between 2 foil packets. Grill over high heat, 8 minutes.
Lobster Scampi Make the butter mixture for Garlic Shrimp (No. 8). Split 4 thawed frozen lobster tails lengthwise; spread the cut sides with the butter. Divide between 2 foil packets. Grill over high heat, turning once, 10 minutes.
Mussels Toss 2 pounds mussels, 1 shaved fennel bulb, 8 halved cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup white wine, 1/4 cup olive oil, a pinch of red pepper flakes and salt. Divide between 2 foil packets, leaving extra room for the mussels to open. Grill over medium-high heat, 10 minutes.
Portuguese Clambake Toss 2 pounds small clams, 1/2 pound each sliced small potatoes and linguiça or andouille sausage, 8 small rounds corn on the cob, 2 sliced garlic cloves, 1/2 cup beer and a drizzle of olive oil. Divide among 4 foil packets, leaving extra room for the clams to open. Grill over medium-high heat, 25 minutes.
Fish Provençal For each serving, pile 1 halibut fillet, 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes, some shaved fennel, 2 olives, 1 teaspoon each capers and chopped garlic, and the juice of 1/4 orange on a sheet of foil. Form a packet. Grill over medium-high heat, 10 minutes. Top with olive oil and chopped basil.
Mexican Fish For each serving, pile 1 tilapia fillet, 1/2 cup fresh salsa, 4 olives, and olive oil and lime juice on a sheet of foil. Form a packet. Grill over high heat, 10 minutes.
Mustard-Dill Salmon For each serving, layer a few lemon slices, 1 salmon fillet and some dill sprigs on a sheet of foil. Sprinkle with brown sugar, salt and ground coriander; spread whole-grain mustard on top. Form a packet. Grill over medium heat, 12 minutes.
[Above: Left, checking the progress of a bag of mixed vegetables. Right, making pop-corn in a foil covered, ‘any kind of pot or pan’.]
Popcorn Combine 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1/4 cup popcorn kernels in a disposable pie pan. Seal the pan in foil, making a dome shape on top. (Use 2 sheets of foil, if needed, to cover.) Grill over high heat, shaking, until the popping stops, about 8 minutes. Season with salt.
S’mores Popcorn Make Popcorn. Toss in a bowl with 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and 1/4 cup each confectioners’ sugar, crushed graham crackers and mini marshmallows
Quesadillas Sprinkle shredded pepper jack cheese on one half of a flour tortilla; top with chopped rotisserie chicken and cilantro and fold in half to close. Repeat to make more; seal in individual foil packets. Grill over medium heat, turning once, 5 minutes.
Cheesy Garlic Bread Mix 1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend, 2 tablespoons softened butter, 1 grated garlic clove and salt. Halve 1 loaf French bread lengthwise and place cut-side up on a sheet of foil. Spread with the cheese mixture and form a packet. Grill over medium-high heat, 10 minutes.
Bread Pudding Whisk 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl. Add 4 cups bread cubes and 1 cup berries; soak 30 minutes. Butter a sheet of nonstick foil and add the bread mixture; form a packet. Grill over indirect heat, turning a few times, 35 minutes.
Upside-Down Cakes For each cake, mound 1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar and 1 tablespoon butter on a sheet of nonstick foil. Top with a pineapple ring, a maraschino cherry and an upside-down small shortcake shell. Form a packet. Grill sugar-side down over medium-high heat, 12 minutes. [Photo at right.]