I like to cook over a campfire and sleep next to it.
Most of the guys I run with are tougher than a three-dollar-steak, but that doesn't mean that we like to eat three-dollar steaks. Allow me to share with you some guerilla grub recipes I have picked up over the years that make for tasty, cheap-o meals when you’re layin’ down miles. If you carry a pot and schedule in a grocery store visit sometime before sundown every day, you can eat like a king when you're on the run.
Frito Pies (also known as “Walking Tacos”) are low-buck, low-class, and highly tasty. To whip up a Frito Pie, you need to start out with a big bag of Fritos, as you may have guessed. Munch on a few while you set up your tent, and have another handful while you’re sipping your first beer. Put a can of chili in a pot of water on the campfire. (Open the can first, or you’re cooking a bomb!) When the chili’s good and hot, pour it into the bag of Fritos. Fold the bag over and give it a shake or two to mix everything up. You can eat right out of the bag! If you’re feeling fancy and your saddlebag has some room when you're at the market, you can throw in some cheese, sour cream, onions, or jalapeno peppers to really class up the meal.
Hobo Packs, v 1.0
My friend TWT Mike turned me on to Hobo Packs a few years back. There are a million ways to make these. Here's how I recommend you do these babies: Slice up some spuds and onions. Cut up some hot sausage (or chicken breasts or chopmeat, whatever the grocery has on sale). I throw all this onto sheets of tin foil, giving each a healthy squirt of barbecue sauce. Roll the packs up tightly, and toss them onto the fire, moving them in and out of the heat often so nothing burns. They’re done when the spuds are tender enough to eat. Because this meal needs a little prep and the packs need some babysitting, it tends to work out better when you have a few folks together to share the work and the food.
Moto Meatballs win two awards: "Grossest Sounding Dinner" and "Greatest Tasting Meal." I learned this little culinary gem from a gal I used to run around with. Rustle up a big bag of frozen meatballs, a small jar of grape jelly, and a bottle of Heinz 57 Chili Sauce from the store, along with some sammich rolls. Throw the meatballs in the pot, and add the jelly and chili sauce. Start swilling beer until the whole mess comes to a simmer. (The jelly sort of liquefies and blends into the chili sauce.) You're done when the meatballs are hot in the middle. Serve ‘em up in the sammich buns. At the end of the meal, expect sticky fingers and jelly-coated smiles.
Even if you’re not a gourmet, you can make French Dips. Score roast beef from the deli counter, sammich rolls, and beef bouillon cubes. Add water to the bouillon cubes, and let it simmer away. Drop the RB into the pot. You’re just heating up the meat, really — it’s barely even cooking. A quick dip for just a couple of minutes does the job. Load up some of those rolls with meat, and dunk your sammich back into the pot with each bite. It ain't glamorous, but it is delicious, and it's probably the easiest meal on this list.
Hobo Packs, v 1.1
Now, when you wake up ready to cross some state lines, you might want a little somethin’ that can stick to your ribs to help you power through. Let’s go back to the Hobo Packs, but this time, make a breakfast version. Lay a few sheets of foil out, and start with some frozen hash browns (shredded or patties, whatever your pleasure). Cut up some onions and peppers, toss them in there, and a whole big handful of shredded cheese. Frozen breakfast sausages are optional. Crack a couple-three eggs over the whole mess, wrap it up like a taco, and toss it onto what’s left of the previous night’s coals. (You did get up to put more wood on the fire, right?) Rotate and flip the packs often! Be careful unwrapping these. The contents are hot, and your watering mouth will often cause you to be impatient and burn your fingertips. Bonus: If you made Frito Pies the night before, drop in some of the salsa and jalapenos before you chow down. Do not blame your early, unplanned bathroom stop on me, though.
There's lots of ways to eat tasty food on the road. If you're not way out in the back country, picking food up as you go and eating on the fly is a good way to make sure you're not stuck with the camper's usual fare of canned and dehydrated food. I'm always looking for tasty and easy stuff I can munch on while I'm swilling beers, so if you've got suggestions, please lay 'em on your fellow riders.