Tin Foil Dinners / Hobo Dinners
Ground Beef (1/2 to 3/4 pound per person, depending on person)
Aluminum Foil
Approximate Prep Time of Food: 15-25 minutes
Approximate Time for Coals: 30 to 45 minutes
Approximate Cooking Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Light the coals well before beginning prep, since coals take approximately 30-45 minutes to get hot. You will need enough briquettes to cover an area greater then the amount of your desserts. Do not short change how many coals are needed since you can quickly lose heat, causing a couple of dinners to take far longer than they should.
Place one portion of ground beef on a square of aluminum foil. Add vegetables around, on top of, and inside the ground beef. Season liberally with salt, pepper, and other spices.
Tightly wrap the foil around your dinner. Make sure there are no holes or creases where grease can drip out, causing flare ups. Place your foil pack directly on the coals, preferably avoiding areas with flame. Do not unwrap for any reason while it is cooking. It is suggested you place your foil pack on the coals with the "opening" down, so during the second half of cook you can easily remove it from fire and check doneness.
After approximately 30 minutes carefully flip your foil pack over, taking care not to puncture it. Allow it is continue to cook for another 15-20 minutes depending on size and heat. Carefully remove your foil pack, allow it to cool for a minute, then VERY carefully unwrap it just enough to check the meat. Be careful of steam and hot juices. If your ground beef is cooked then you are ready to enjoy your dinner. If the meat is not cooked yet, then again tightly wrap the foil around your dinner, being careful since it is hot this time. Place the foil pack beck on the fire and allow it to cook at least 10 more minutes, depending on how underdone the meat was. It is better to let it cook a little too long since if you wrapped your foil pack tightly the juices will keep the meat from drying out.
When removing your foil pack from the fire remember that not only is the pack VERY hot but if you use a shovel to remove the foil pack it is possible you will have some coal or embers as well. You might want to pick up your foil pack and place it on the ground outside the fire ring, to make sure the only thing you have is your dinner. Give it a minute to cool. Then carefully transfer it to where you would like to eat. I suggest using a pie tin as a "bowl" for this. Place the foil pack in the pie tin, being careful since the pie tin will heat up quickly once the hot foil pack is on it. Enjoy your dinner, and if you haven't poked many holes in the foil your cleanup involves cleaning your fork, throwing away your foil, and washing out the charcoal debris from your pie tin.
Meat Suggestions: Ground beef works the best, but you could do this with any meat. Choose a meat that is not too low on fat, since the juices from the meat keep your dinner moist and delicious.
Vegetable Suggestions: Onions, Potatoes, and Carrots are the most common. You can also use celery. You want to have enough of each vegetable so everyone can have a healthy amount.
Seasoning Suggestions: Salt and pepper are the standard spice. Montreal Steak Seasoning works very well, as does Lawry's Season Salt. Take care with any seasoning that includes salt, as you can easily end up with a meal that is too salty.