This is a special Guest Post by Mae over at MommyLovesTrees.com. Mae provides some great tips in this post and a few nuggets that I’m sure you will be trying out on your next camping trip.
Camping is one of my all-time favorite outdoor activities. It is all we ever did for vacations growing up and my husband and I are carrying on the tradition. One of the best and hardest parts of camping is cooking. Although there is nothing quite like eating food cooked over a fire. Tin foil meals are one of my favorites and are an easy campfire meal. They don’t require extra equipment and utilize what you already have.
I have been seeing all sorts of tips for cooking tin foil meals around the web for a while. Generally when I make tin foil dinners, I just use a single piece of tin foil and add cream of mushroom soup. I thought it would be fun to test and compare some of the different cooking techniques just to see if any turned out better meals. I put together a very simple tin foil breakfast meal (Canadian bacon, hash browns, veggies, and an egg) but prepared each foil packet using one of the following techniques:
- Simple – No special technique here, just put the ingredients on a single piece of tin foil. This gives me a base to compare the other techniques to.
- Butter – Before putting the ingredients down, I put a light coating of butter on the tin foil.
- Non-stick Cooking Spray – Used cooking spring instead of butter.
- Double Layer of Foil – No non-stick agent, just used 2 pieces of tin foil.
- Parchment Paper – Layered a piece of parchment paper on top of the tin foil before adding the ingredients.
- Cream of mushroom soup – I added the soup to the top of the hash browns before adding the egg.
I cooked each meal for 15 minutes over charcoal. We don’t have a fire pit at home so I had to make do with what I had.
- The meals using butter, cooking spray and the parchment paper stuck to the foil least. Not a whole lot of difference between the 3 methods in terms of non-stick effectiveness or burning.
- Double foil burned the least but not by much. Could easily add a non-stick agent if you are worried about your meals burning.
- The quickest meal to put together was the Control, but after that it was the cooking spray.
- The meal using cream of mushroom soup was the least dry, butter was second.
- All meals tasted about the same to me; all good. But I personally love the smoky flavor of almost anything cooked over the fire.
Tin Foil Meals Conclusion
No matter which cooking technique you are using, it is hard to completely ruin tin foil meals. If you can, bring non-stick cooking spray or butter. It was really nice that the food didn’t stick to the foil. When I am doing tin foil packets with meat (chicken, pork or beef) and veggies, I love adding cream of mushroom soup. Really helps everything cook more evenly and from drying out too much.
Here are a few general tips for preparing and cooking tin foil meals:
- Make sure all cuts of meat and veggies are the same size. It will help ensure the packets cook at about the same rate.
- Spread meat and veggies about evenly. A mound of veggies or meat in the middle of the packet could cause the food on the outer edge to burn before the center is cooked.
- Don’t forget the salt. We forgot salt on one trip and even with the smoky flavor and cream of mushroom soup it wasn’t that good.
- Quick Tip – If you need your meals ready more quickly, bring charcoal. The match-light charcoal is ready in about 5 minutes and cooks very evenly. This is especially useful when cooking breakfast for a couple very hungry kids.
What are your tips for preparing and cooking tin foil meals?