Foil Cooking

Compiled by Kim J. Kowalewski
Cubmaster, Pack 1009, Bowie, MD
With Additions by the MacScouter

These recipes were sent to me in response to my plea for help with an upcoming Fall Camporee. I needed some suggestions for variations on the "classic" hamburger foil dinner, or "Hobo dinner". Turns out there are lots ot things you can do with foil and a bed of charcoal. Enjoy!


From: Jim Sleezer

Just a touch of garlic salt makes a lot of difference. If you look at the labels in the stores, you will see that onion and garlic are part of almost everything! It doesn't take much to make it great.

I like to use cabbage leaves to wrap it all in before I wrap in foil. A little catsup helps for some boys. I also add a few slices of onion. Around here, we never seem to have enough. The kids all go for seconds!

From: Don E. Robinson, M.D.

We add Cream of Mushroom soup to our "hobos." It adds taste as well as additional moisture. A couple of tablespoons will do just fine. Yum-yum.

From: George N. Leiter II

Just skip the butter and add some soup. Cream of mushroom or something like that. When cooked slow it is wonderful.

From: Cheryl Singhal

How about BBQ sauce, Worchester sauce, or even Italian dressing?

Spices ... a measuring teaspoon of Italian seasoning or of curry powder or of chili powder wouldn't hurt it either.

You might be able to combine BBQ and chili powder; or Italian dressing and Italian seasoning; I don't recommend mixing Worchestershire and curry powder though.

From: Ben Alford

We have spiced up our "hunters pack" aluminum foil dinners by adding Heinz 57 sauce. It is the boys's secret ingredient. It really makes a big difference. We've had boys finish one dinner and return to make seconds and thirds until all the ingredients are gone. I remember some were just cooking the left-over onions or potatoes as long as they had the Heinz 57 left to spice them up.

From: Jeff L. Glaze

Instead of hamburger, try Pork Loin, or Boneless Chicken Breast!

Also vary the vegetable ingredients to include slices of tomato, and/or bell peppers. BBQ sauces may be included also.

If you use chicken, try pineapple slices with mild BBQ sauce.

Ground turkey can be used instead of ground beef, and is "more healthy".

From: Alan Wolfson

I have had good luck asking the kids what they would like in their foil dinners. You'd be amazed at the great ideas they come up with. If, however, your den is gastronomically challenged :-), there are some things you can do to liven up those meals:

I've substituted Mrs. Dash, garlic pepper, Montreal seasoning, or any other favorite general- purpose seasoning for the pretty dull salt and pepper usually found in a foil dinner. We've added celery, green beans, and onions into our dinners for some additional variety. I've also had some good experiences substituting chicken for the beef, and making a pseudo stir-fry dinner using stir-fry oil instead of butter and spices.

From: Mark Wilson

Also, consider replacing the hambuger with stew meat, cubed steak, or chicken or turkey breasts cut into stew meat sized cubes.

As to spices, consider adding a part of a clove of fresh garlic. Smash it first.

You might also consider adding soy sauce, teriyaki, or plain old steak sauce.

Try adding small dough balls of biscuit mix for dumplings.

From: James H. McCullars

In addition to the ingredients you mentioned, I always use onion, bell pepper, radishes, Lowry's Seasoned Salt (and/or Lowry's Seasoned Pepper), and Worcestershire sauce. In addition, I sometimes will use barbecue sauce and if someone thinks to bring some along, sweet potatoes (try it!). I have also seen other people use soy sauce, Tabasco, etc. From: Juel A. Fitzgerald

Instead of salt and pepper, use seasonING salt and pepper. This makes it a whole lot less bland. Of course you could add worchester sauce AFTER you are done cooking for those who like that.

From: Jeff Agle

One of my favorite additional ingredients in a foil dinner is a dash (maybe a big dash) of Wyler's boullion granules. These add significantly to the flavor. I typically use Seasoned Salt instead of just plain salt. You also left out one of the main flavor ingredients, Onions. Anything in the onion family can add lots of flavor, try scallions or green onions if the boys are a little squemish about yellow onions. Garlic (salt, powder, crushed) can add a nice flavor.


From: Michael C. Horowitz

At home, parboil (3 mins) a cornish hen. oil it up, salt and pepper and wrap in foil. Cook as you would a foil pack (15 min/side). Do another pack of just thin sliced potatoes and onion, salt/pepper with a bit of olive oil. Makes an OUTSTANDING meal.

BTW, differentiate your foil pack by wrapping a length of foil in with the folded seam; never an argument over who's pack it is - Mike


From: Don Izard

I have seen a pizza pocket dinner, made with those packages of 'flat' dough (those tubes from The Dough Boy). You take the flat dough, and fill the center with pizza sauce, peperoni, cheese, with optional mushroom, olives etc. Fold it over to enclose the 'goodies' and wrap in 2 layers of foil.

'BAKE' 10 minutes on each side, and you might have a pizza pocket.


From: Jim Sleezer

For variety, try peeled shrimp or scallops, snow peas, strips of red pepper, sliced mushrooms, thin slice of ginger root. This cooks rather quickly, usually in less than 10 minutes depending on size of shrimp or scallops. Kids seldom like it . . . it's too different.

Shark chunks cook up well with a thin slice of lemmon.


From: Jim Sleezer

I have done chunks of ham, sweet potatoes (par boiled), pineapple. As soon as it comes out of fire, I add a few mini marshmallows on top.

Upside Down Ham, from Mark Michalski

Ham pieces or steak, Pinapple slices (or tidbits) dash of teriyaki sauce (or marinade) and mixed vegetables to taste.

Ham & Potatoes Au Gratin:

Cubed Ham, chopped Potato, Onions, Grated cheese of your choice.


From: Scott Miller

Try using boned chicken instead of hamburger. Cooking time is the same, add a small amount of water or soy sauce to replace the water found in hamburger.

From: Peter Van Houten

One of the best foil meals I had included a combination of chicken breasts, shrimp, snow peas, celery, and bean sprouts. Similar to a stir-fry. The meat was place on the bottom (by the way, the chicken had been slightly cooked prior to going), with the vegi's on top. I had a couple of dashes of Teryaki sauce, some spices (tarragon and others from a pre-mix spice jar).

Only exception was that I didn't turn it over, I let the vegi's cook in the heat from the meat. They were still slightly crunchy, almost steamed.

Lemon Chicken, from Clif Golden

>Take a whole chicken.
Brush with melted butter.
Take a whole lemon, slice, squeeze juice over chicken.
Sprinkle generously with Lemon & Herb spice.
Put leftover lemon peel & pulp inside chicken with slices of onion.
Wrap in foil. Cook until done. 40-60 minutes.

We also cook potatoes & onions in other foil packs.

For dessert. Take a banana, slice in lenghtwise in the peel. Insert butter and brown sugar into the slit. Wrap & bake.

From: R. Edward Fickel

Try boneless chicken breasts, green peppers, onion, carrots, potatoes (I think), mushrooms, in a cream of mushroom sauce. They are cooked the same way as your foil packs, but are gourmet quality!!

From: Wayne Hill

One that we tried is the chicken with instant rice and cream of celery soup (undiluted). I thought it was good and it cooks up quick. You can also try baked Apples with sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Bisquick mix is good for individual biscuits just coat the foil with butter or oil before you plop the biscuit dough on the foil keeps it from sticking. Baked potatoes are good and you can put cheese,butter,etc on after they are cooked.

One other point in case you are not aware, use hard wood for making your charcoal resinous wood like pine or cedar doesn't make long lasting charcoal.


From: Mark Michalski

>Marinated Fajita Meat (Beef or Chicken), Onions, Green Peppers. Serve on tortillas with cheese, salsa, etc....


From: Mark Michalski

Core small to medium potato, insert a small pre-cooked sausage or weiner. Wrap in foil, set in hot ashes to bake. Takes 45-90 minutes to cook. Remove and slice top and add cheese, chili or fixins of your choice.


From: Mark Michalski

>In center of 18" x 18" square of heavy or doubled foil, place one tspoon of oil and one tbspoon of popcorn. Bring foil corners together to make a pouch. Seal the edges by folding, but allow room for the popcorn to pop. Tie each pouch to a long stick with a string and hold the pouch over the hot coals. Shake constantly until all the corn has popped. Season with salt and margerine. Or soy sauce, or melted chocolate, or melted peanut butter, or melted caramels or use as a base for chili.


From: Carol Eichinger

Cook up a pot of chili (homemade or canned). Buy individual size bags of Doritos or something similar. Cut an X on front of bag and open. Put chili on top of the chips, and shredded cheese. And you have portable lunchtime nachos/tacos. This was in my Crafting Traditions Magazine.


From: Jess Olonoff

Do NOT, REPEAT NOT use cheese in your recipes, unless put on after cooking.

The cheese will warm and separate and the oil will catch fire or cook the food faster than expected. We had a few very unhappy Cubs expecting Cheeseburgers, but receiving, well something else if you can imagine.

It may cost a bit more too, but try to keep your meats lean and let the veggies add the moisture necessary.

Also, have some extra bread and cheese slices available as there will inevitabally be an accident or two (broken foil-food in fire), and a few boys who will not be to happy with the final product.

Don't forget extra utensils as you'll be moving alot of packages around.


How about baking muffins in half an orange with the pulp removed (and we hope eaten). Eggs in onion half with all but outer few layers removed. Meat loaf (I use recipe on Quaker Oats oatmeal box) cooked in onion half (mound it up as it shrinks while cooking). Twist on a peeled green stick. Potatoes wrapped in "clean" mud and baked in fire. Skin comes off with mud.

How about chicken and dumplings. Envelope of chicken & vegetable soup, about half the regular water, a small (6 oz) can of chicken. Bring to a boil. Drop spoonfuls of biscuit dough on top (use drop biscuit recipe). Cover tightly and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes or until dumplings are done.

I also like to make stone soup. Everyone brings their favorite vegetable to toss in the pot with a few seasonings. Add some bullion for extra flavor. (Bullion can also be added to foil dinners to add a bit more flavor--go gently until you find the right amount.)


From: Jess Olonoff

With Thanks to The Indian Nations Council Pow-Wow Book

Foil Cooking Hints

Use two layers of light-weight, or one layer of heavy duty aluminum foil. Foil should be large enough to go around food and allow for crimping the edges in a tight seal. This will keep the juices and steam in. This wrap is know as the "drugstore" wrap.

Drugstore Wrap

Use heavy foil three times the width of the food. Fold over and roll up the leading edges. Then roll sides for a steamproof seal.

A shallow bed of glowing coals that will last the length of cooking time is necessary.

Cooking Times:

  • Hamburger: 8-12 minutes, Carrots: 15-20 minutes
  • Chicken pieces: 20-30 minutes, Whole Apples: 20-30 minutes
  • Hotdogs: 5-10 minutes, Sliced potatoes 10-15 minutes


Lay slices of potatoes, onion, and carrots on a sheet of heavy-duty foil then place hamburger patty on top. Cover
with slices of potato, onion, and carrots. Season with butter, salt and pepper. Cook 20-30 minutes over hot coals, turning twice during cooking.



Hash brown potatoes
Salt, pepper and spices to taste

Place potatoes, scrambled egg (doesn't need to be cooked) sausage patty and spices in foil. Wrap securely. Place on coals for 15 minutes.


In a square piece of heavy duty aluminum foil place enough
of each of the following to make one serving:

Sliced ham
Sweet potatoes

Surround the ham slices with the other ingredients on the foil then add 1 tablespoon of syrup or honey. Fold using "drugstore" wrap to hold in the juice. Cook package on hot coals for approximately 15 minutes on each side.

Chicken When Its Cold Outside

We tried the foil cooking method with skinless, boneless chicken breasts and came up with this recipe that was absolutely great on a thirty degree night with forty mph winds.

Each foil pouch contained:
1 medium handful diced potatoes 1/4-inch
1 medium handful diced zucchini
1 medium handful diced carrots
1 tsp Italian dressing
garlic powder to taste
sprinkle of dried onion flakes
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 medium handful finely chopped cilantro(secret ingredient)
Put potatoes, zucchini, and carrots on foil. Lay chicken breast on vegetables. Spoon Italian dressing on chicken. Sprinkle with garlic and onion flakes. Spread cilantro on top of chicken. Seal foil, double thickness if necessary, very tightly. Cook ten to fifteen minutes per side. Serve piping hot (whatever that means!).

My daughter, nine years old the first time we tried this, ate two foil dinners that night. Enjoy!!

-- Thanks to Paul R. Wojdynski ASM, Troop 90, Newport Beach, CA


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