I am going to try to explain how happy this post makes me. This meal, a Hobo Dinner, is the kind of thing that will make your wallet happy (you can easily feed four people for less than 5 bucks), will keep your house cool when the temperature rises, and will break the monotony of ‘normal’ dinner, thus making your kids think you are awesome. It will feed one person or ten. There is almost no clean-up. It satisfies picky-eaters or vegetarians. Gluten free? Sure. No dairy? No problem. About the only crowd this is not suitable for is a dinner party. Oh, and did I mention that it tastes crazy good?
If you have made something like this before but usually only when camping, I implore you to expand it to a weeknight dinner. I mean, really. It is kinda fun, you know? And super speedy! Perfect for…well…Wednesday. And I know, because we ate it Wednesday. I vaguely remember making something like this when I was a kid (I think…) and when I went camping with my husband’s family for the first time, this was on the menu. Incidentally, it is great camping food, in that you can make everything ahead of time and keep it in the cooler. Car camping of course. No hobo dinners while backpacking…oy.
OK. So. Details. This can be streamlined in several different ways to make it easier/faster/possible. Instead of dividing up a one pound block of ground beef, you can use pre-formed hamburger patties. You could also use baby carrots in place of the carrot sticks, just know that they might not cook all the way through if they are the big ones. I like to use 93% lean beef for health reasons and you could go even further and drizzle the whole she-bang with extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter. Not a carrot fan? Use bell peppers cut into strips instead. Not everything cooks well with the flavors of beef, but feel free to use what you like and give it a try. The variety is half the fun. Due to the dryness of ground turkey, I wouldn’t use it in place of the beef unless it was the variety that has dark meat mixed in. The pure white meat, nearly fat free ground turkey just doesn’t have enough fat to work here. But again, this recipe is just the basic-and we think, the best-version. So go crazy. Far be it for me to stop you from doing something wild on your Wednesday. One Year Ago: Whole Wheat Cornbread
1 lb ground beef-I use 93% lean-anything too fatty and your food just sits in a pile of grease
1 large potato, scrubbed clean and peeled or not peeled, and sliced thin
3 carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
1 small onion, cut anyway you want
Divide the ground beef into four equal portions, or in our case two a little bigger and two a bit smaller for the kids. Place them each onto their own sheet of aluminum foil. Shake a bit of season salt over the meat and add some sliced or diced onion. Lay on some slices of potato. Sprinkle with a bit of season salt and some garlic powder. Add carrot sticks and place a knob or two of butter on top. Carefully bring up two of the sides of foil and fold-over to seal, leaving a pocket of air if possible. Seal the ends and place on the grill over low or medium low heat or coals. Close the grill and let cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through. Alternatively, bake the meal packets in a 350 degree oven.
Note: The butter helps everything get nice and brown. If the grill heat is too high it might burn, so adjust the heat if you need to.