This Hobo Dinner just may change your life!

 The first time I had a Hobo Din­ner was when I was 12. Mom, Dad, Mike & I were camp­ing in the sum­mer in CO. Once the tent was sent up, the camp­fire wood was gath­ered and the camp­fire was built, mom and I start­ed the meal prep. I remem­ber wash­ing my hands with water from our jug, mak­ing sure not to waste it! If some­thing dropped on the ground, I would do a quick rinse and try to make sure it became part of my brother’s meal ((haha­ha))!

Each person’s uncooked meal was placed on a foil square and fold­ed up–like a hobo’s sack and placed on the fire. Dad and Mike man­aged it from there. My favorite part of the meal was when I opened up my very own pouch after a long, hard day of “rough­ing it” breath­ing  in that home-cooked aro­ma. Just for a minute, as I opened my pouch and peered in, hit with the aro­ma of a Sun­day din­ner at home, I could trick myself into think­ing a date with a rock pil­low was not in my future — when in fact it was… 

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Mom had a way of bring­ing home to where ever we were. I loved that meal then and still do. What is fun­ny about this meal, is the very rea­son it became a tra­di­tion­al camp­site meal makes it equal­ly per­fect for a busy week night in the sub­urbs. Very lit­tle prep, very lit­tle mess, very sim­ple clean-up and VERY tasty!

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I most recent­ly brought this meal to NM. Ski­ing, hik­ing, explor­ing were all part of the week — but I also had a 9 year-old turn­ing into a 10 year-old and I want­ed him to have a “spe­cial” birth­day meal. Like a light bulb turn­ing on in my brain — Hobo Din­ners imme­di­ate­ly came to mind! Home cook­ing at it’s sim­plest AND best. To make it a bit more spe­cial, I added a nice thick slice of bacon to the bot­tom of each pouch. He loved it!! Brod larped it up and clapped with joy — he felt spe­cial and I didn’t feel over­whelmed try­ing to cre­ate a spe­cial meal in a cab­in in the woods.

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I thought every­one knew why Hobo din­ners were called Hobo din­ners, but after talk­ing with Lau­ra — I real­ized that isn’t the case.  She thought we were hav­ing hobos over for din­ner. Once, she real­ized that wasn’t the case, she won­dered if it was a cos­tume din­ner, last if we were eat­ing out of cans that had been heat­ed over an open fire…I had a good laugh imag­ing the pic­tures flood­ing her mind when I told her our menu that night. I hope your fam­i­ly enjoys these tasty pack­ets as much as we do…whether rough­ing in the woods or rushed in the sub­urbs, this meal is sure to bring a smile to your family’s face!

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**UPDATE** Check out this NEW Cheesy Chick­en Piz­za Hobo Din­ner ver­sion by click­ing HERE 

Hobo Din­ners
Serves 6
Sim­ple and sat­is­fy­ing, a full meal stuffed into indi­vid­ual foil pouch­es.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
  1. 2.5 lbs uncooked lean ground beef
  2. 2 T dry ranch sea­son­ing mix
  3. sea­soned salt
  4. fresh ground pep­per
  5. 4 medi­um car­rots, cut into sticks (approx. 6 sticks per pouch)
  6. 1/2 medi­um onion, sliced (6 slices)
  7. 6 red medi­um pota­toes, sliced
  8. 6 slices of thick cen­ter cut bacon, cut in half
  1. Heat grill or oven to 375°. Lay­out 6 heavy duty foil squares & place 2 halves of bacon in the cen­ter of each square.
  2. In a large mix­ing bowl, com­bine meat and sea­son­ings. Divide meat into 6 equal por­tions, form pat­ties and set aside.
  3. Arrange pota­toes atop bacon ((don’t stack the raw pota­toes or they won’t cook through)). Next, arrange car­rot sticks around the bacon. Place the meat pat­ty on the pota­toes and top with the onion slice and a dash of sea­soned salt and fresh­ly ground pep­per.
  4. Seal the pouch­es and place on a cook­ie sheet in the oven or direct­ly on the grill. Cook approx­i­mate­ly 30 min­utes.
  5. Serve pouch­es while still sealed. Half of the fun is each din­er open­ing their very own pouch!
Adapt­ed from Susan Cathey
Adapt­ed from Susan Cathey
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  1. Connie Barnes says:

    I make these dur­ing har­vest — we are wheat farm­ers! After tak­ing them out if the oven, I put in a cool­er and they are still HOT when I get to the field! I’ve always put the meat on the bot­tom and then the veg­gies but will try the pota­toes on the bot­tom next time.

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  3. Cassandra says:

    This brings back mem­o­ries as I grew up with hobo din­ners also. My mom would put cab­bage leaves on the bot­tom of hers and sliced onions on top of the ham­burg­er pat­ty. I will have to try the bacon. Thanks.

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