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Foil Packet Cooking

Cooking Around the Campfire: 9 Easy and Delicious Foil Packet Recipes

by BRETT & KATE MCKAY on JULY 20, 2010 


In the quest to streamline your camping trips, foil packet meals can be one of your greatest allies. It’s cooking at its simple best; you take some ingredients, wrap them up in a foil parcel, and place the pouch in a campfire’s coals to cook. You can prepare these foil packets before you head out into Mother Nature, and they require no pots and pans, no plates, and no clean up. All you need is a fork and some fire. And, if you know what you’re doing, they can be incredibly tasty and satisfying. So today we’re going to cover the basics of foil packet cooking and provide you with some delicious recipes to try the next time you venture into the great outdoors.

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.

9 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. Above, 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.

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.

Chicken Casserole

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 cup of broccoli
  • 1/2 cup of prepared rice
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup
  • ranch dressing
  • cheddar cheese
  • spices

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
  • parsley
  • dillweed
  • paprika

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.

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.

Thanksgiving Dinner

  • 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.

Icon File Name Comment  
FoilCook.pdf More Foil Pack Recipes  

Dutch Oven Care And Use


Welcome to the Troop 1299 Dutch Oven Cooking Page. The page is really dedicated on how to cook in a dutch oven, not what to cook. We do have some recipe links at the bottom of the page. Whatever recipe you decide to cook, knowing how to cook it properly is probably the most important thing you can learn. Personally I never look for "Dutch Oven" recipes, I simply look for "recipes", because what ever you can cook in your house, you can cook in a Dutch Oven, and for some unknown reason it tastes better.

OK Lets get started. There are two basic kinds of Dutch Ovens; Cast Iron and Cast Aluminum. This page will focus solely on Cast Iron. You need to pick a quality Dutch Oven, there are hundreds of brands out there but only two I'd recommend; either Lodge or Maca. Buying cast Iron can last a life time.

This is what you need to look for no matter what brand you decide on:

  • The walls of the oven should be the same thickness all the way around.
  • There should only be three pieces in your Dutch Oven; The Body, The Lid and The Bail
    • The Bail should be thick and sturdy and should not be attached to a riveted tang. The Tang should be molded into the body of the oven.
    • The lid should fit securely in the body but able to come off without resistance.
    • The Bail should extend beyond the rim you you can get lid lifter on it easily.
    • The Lid Loop should be welded to the lid on both sides.
    • For outdoor Dutch Oven cooking (Is there any other kind?) the Body should have legs on it, normally there will be three legs.
  • The roughness of the Dutch is often controversial, I like my new ovens to be rough, it gives the seasoning something to stick to. If your oven is too smooth, then you might experience a peeling of the seasoning under some cooking conditions. Also you'll find if the ovens don't have that roughness, sometimes the seasoning will never completely stick to it and you'll be left with a grayish spot where its smooth.
  • Don't get ovens with really short legs (No issue for Lodge or Maca) this makes it real hard to get coals underneath them and makes it harder to do stacked cooking.


Selecting a Dutch Oven

Dutch ovens come in all sizes and shapes; round oval, deep, shallow, skillets, deep fryers, specialty ovens for bread, corn bread, fish, etc. Remember you cook on the top and the bottom in allot of cases, so the shorter the oven the more heat will penetrate the middle of the oven and the taller it is will be the opposite.

Taller ovens are good for large stews, casseroles, bread and other dishes where the heat needs to be more controlled. Dutch ovens are typically measured by their circumference and depth. Typically Lodge Dutch Ovens are the most common you'll find, but when you need to feed ALOT of people, nothing touches a MACA.

I recommend a 12" Lodge Dutch oven for anyone just starting out. If you're a Boy Scout Troop, 12" Lodge's are a really good size for patrols. (Follow the patrol method !) It is a very versatile oven and one that is not overly large. Also, most Dutch oven recipes are written for a 12" or 14" oven. A 12" Deep or 14" Deep Lodge or 13"; MACA Dutch oven would be my next choices.

Lodge Dutch Ovens
Size Capacity Depth Weight Description
8" 2 qt 3" 11 lbs Side dishes, vegetables, desserts, and sauces. Ideal when cooking for 2 or 3 people.
10" 4 qt 3 ½" 15 lbs Side dishes, vegetables, beans, small roasts, desserts, and sauces.
12" 6 qt 3 ¾" 20 lbs Roasts, poultry, fish, stews, potatoes, beans, rolls, breads, and desserts.
12" (deep) 8 qt 5" 23 lbs Standing rib roasts, hams, whole chickens, stews, potatoes, beans, rolls, and breads.
14" 8 qt 3 ¾" 26 lbs Larger roasts, poultry, stews, potatoes, rolls, breads, and desserts.
14" (deep) 10 qt 5" 28 lbs Standing rib roasts, hams, hens, stews, potatoes, rolls, and breads.
16" 12 qt 4 ¼" 32 lbs Large quantities of meat, stews, potatoes, rolls, breads, and desserts.
Maca Dutch Ovens
9" 5 qt 6" 18 lbs Perfect for cooking a main dish for a small group or a Side Dish for a large group.
11" 9 qt 6½" 26 lbs Small Enough for a side dish, Large enough for a meal. Just right for cobblers, upside down cakes and other deserts. Good size for medium sized groups or Family Gatherings, BBQ Chicken or Cheese Potatoes
13" 12 qt 6½" 40 lbs Perfect for cooking a main dish for a small group or a Side Dish for a large group.
15" 18 qt 7½" 46 lbs Large enough for 12-15 lb. turkeys, Family Reunions or Scout Camp-o-rees. Wonderful size because it is big enough to feed large groups yet small enough that it is still easy to use for Tailgate Camping or to bring with you to a Backyard BBQ.
17" 29 qt 9" 67 lbs This one cooks it all, and a lot of it. The oven for catering, large family reunions and scouting retreats. This oven makes the impossible, possible.
22" 45 qt 9½" 160 lbs In charge of cooking at the Klondike for all 45 troops of Scouts or the Big Family Reunion Dinner that reaches well past your family tree? This oven is for you. The leading ooh and ahh getter at Dutch Oven Shows. Can cook 50 pounds of Turkey side by side, two 18 pound roasts with room for more potatoes, carrots and onions than you would ever need, or a stew to literally feed the masses.

My favorite Dutch Oven, Hands down is a Lodge 14" Deep; Stews, breads, roasts, chili for the masses. Very versatile for top cooking when the coals don't need to be so close to the food.


Cleaning a Dutch Oven

Please see the Gear Care Guide under the Training header to see how we recommend you clean a cast iron Dutch Oven.

Regulating Temperature in Dutch Ovens  Keep in mind the briquettes must be applied to both the top and the bottom. Use only quality charcoal briquettes for consistent temperature control. (We recommend Kingsford but not match light, they burn too fast, maybe use some match light to get the fire going) The chart below tells how many briquettes to use for a desired temperature. As a rule of thumb to achieve 325° use the following method. Take the size of the oven and take that number of briquettes less three for the bottom and that number plus three for the top. For example with 12" oven you would place 9 briquettes on the bottom (12-3) and 15 briquettes on the top (12+3). This works for Lodge™ Dutch ovens and GSI™ Aluminum ovens.

Temperature in Dutch Ovens
Temperature 8" Oven 10" Oven 12" Oven 14" Oven 16" Oven
Degrees F Top Bottom Top Bottom Top Bottom Top Bottom Top Bottom
300° 10 4 12 6 14 8 16 10 18 12
325° 11 5 13 7 15 9 17 11 19 13
350° 12 6 14 8 16 10 18 12 20 14
375° 13 7 15 9 17 11 19 13 21 15

Note: Adding one set of briquettes (one on top and one on bottom) will raise the temperature of the Dutch Oven approximately 25°. Or conversely removing one set of briquettes will lower the temperature by 25°.

For the MACA Dutch ovens more briquettes are needed to compensate for the depth and thickness of the ovens. Take the diameter of the MACA Dutch oven and add three briquettes for the bottom heat. Then add six to the diameter of the Dutch oven to get the number of briquettes for your top heat. This gives you a temperature of about 325° F. For example with a 15" Dutch oven your will need 18 charcoal briquettes for the bottom heat and 21 charcoal briquettes for the top heat to achieve a temperature of 325° F.

I recommend Volcano Outdoors Cook Stoves as a means to cook on Dutch Ovens. The temperature regulation is quite different than described above, but once you get used to cooking on one, they are the best dutch oven cookers I've used and it's safe for your scouts!!!!!!. It doubles as a grill and small fire ring. We use it to cook everything in Troop 780. Nothing makes better deserts than this tool! However, often we don't use briquettes to heat up our stoves, we use hot hardwood coals from the fire.

Tools You'll need Cooking in Dutch Ovens

Here is a small list of Dutch Oven necessities and accessories.

Tools Description
Dutch Oven Lid Lifter Great for taking the lids off those hot dutch ovens. I'd recommend at least a 9" lifter
Dutch Oven Locking Long Tongs Heavy-duty stainless steel tongs are ideal for handling hot coals or briquettes while cooking in Lodge camp Dutch Ovens. 16" ones are great.
Lid Rest or Rack Ever wonder where to put your lid? Now all you need to do is place it on top of the nice stand. Also great to use for serving. Just put your lid upside down and then put the leg of your Dutch Oven on top of that and you have a nice looking way to sever your food. If your Dutch Oven is missing legs all you need to do is place this under it and you have it.
"Lil' Chizler" If you hate cleaning out that Dutch Oven this little tool will make your life easy. You will notice that it is rounded on the one side and that fits in the rounded part of your Dutch Oven so now all you have to do is scrape and it peels all that left over stuff of the sides of your Dutch Oven. Just a little warning you will love them so much you will want to put one in each of your Dutch Ovens. I have also used it on car windows, wall paper, and a ton of other things.
Vinegar They ultimate cleaning solution!
Stainless Steel or wood Utensils Nice solid handles you wont bend these babies. Stainless Steel never hurts a good seasoned Dutch Oven.
Oven Mitts I know everyone uses welding gloves, but they get hot real quick. Get yourself a pair of Oven Mitts that will handle 750° you'll be happier for it.
Hot Handle Holders For the ultimate in cooking comfort we recommend our two piece set silicone lined Handle Holders.
Dutch Oven Trivet Great for not letting your meat sit in the oils. Also allows the heat to circulate better inside the Dutch Oven. Just spray with a little bit of Pam before you use it. That way it cleans up easier.
Dutch Oven Name Tags Stainless Steel Dutch Oven Tags are a must for every dutch oven. Remember you want to put one on the lid and on the bail of the dutch oven. Tired of not getting your own dutch ovens back you have now just solved the problem with these dutch oven tags. Have them engraved if you like or just scratch it in with a nail or punch it in with an awl. Now you get your nice dutch ovens back and you keep that smile! You can even number them if you like keeping your lids with the same dutch ovens.
Charcoal Lighter Basket Light your charcoal quickly and easily with a Charcoal Lighter Basket, plus you can have the next batch of charcoal ready to go for those meals with a long cooking time.
Dutch Oven Camp Table Compact table will hold two 14" dutch ovens and provides extra preparation and serving space to keep your food up off the ground. Safe for use with charcoal.
Dutch Oven Tote Bag They are durable, lightweight, dry quickly, and have exceptional resistance to abrasions and tears. They have double bottoms with 1 1/2" nylon straps. A must for every Dutch Oven Cook who likes to take there Dutch Ovens everywhere. Get ones made of Cordura.
Max Temp Handle Mitt Heavy-duty Pyrotex outer fabric resists scorching and burning. Steam barrier, heavy cotton batting, and thick terry lining all combine to provide ultimate heat protection.
Protection to 650° F

 Dutch Oven Section Divider

Cooking tips using Dutch Ovens

When cooking with cast iron, heat the piece slowly. Cast iron works best when there is an even heat source spanning the piece's bottom. Old-fashioned wood- and coal-burning stoves are ideal for this, but very rarely does a modern gas or electric range provide this type of heat. The solution is to set your burner on very low and allow the cast iron to gradually warm up. You can then turn up the heat to medium or medium-high, as necessary. There is no reason ever to use the highest settings with cast iron, as it collects and conducts heat so readily.

Alternatively, you can evenly heat your ironware by popping it into an oven set on low. Once it's heated, simply transfer it to the range top and cook as usual

Be particularly careful when cooking with an electric range, because the burners create hot spots that can warp cast iron or even cause it to crack. Be sure to preheat the iron very slowly when using an electric range and keep the settings to medium or even medium-low.

Preheating is not a problem when baking or oven roasting, since the iron will heat evenly in the oven. However, you may find that you do not have to cook the food quite as long as the recipe calls for, because of iron's heat-retaining property.

Finally, be sure to use the appropriate iron for the task at hand. A three-legged Dutch oven is not the right choice for an indoor stove. Nor should a large baking dish be used on top of the range, unless you can perfectly balance the heat from the two burners it sits across.

Pick the right iron, treat it to the proper cure, dig out your favorite recipes and soon you'll understand why grandma spent so much time in the kitchen.


Recipes and Recipe Links