Delicious Hobo Stew

Hobo Stew is also known by some as tin foil dinners. I first learned about these when I was a camp assistant cook back in college at Hidden Valley Camp. During our training week, we got to go on an overnight and the counselor in charge of training during this evening showed us how to make these. He first showed us how to build a nice cooking fire and while that was burning down to some nice coals, he began cutting up the vegetables and mixing up a biscuit mix. Then he got out the foil, placed some hamburger on in and then some vegetables and finally the biscuit mix. We each did the same in turn and this is when I learned a valuable lesson about cooking over a fire or on a barbecue, always double wrap your foil. The reason for this he said was to keep it from burning as easily. I also find it helps to cook the item more evenly. After wrapping the dinners we tossed them in the coals of the fire for about 20 to 30 minutes and what came out of the fire was completely amazing. I had never known you could cook such wonderful things in a fire before. After that camp experience and have the chance to work with one of the best camp head cooks ever I never went back to just eating hot dogs and hamburgers when camping. Now it’s an obsession with me.

This recipe is the basic recipe from my book that I learn that day. I was recently also introduced to a new way of cooking these by my friend Kathleen. The trick was to use tater tots in the stew. This was amazing and I’ll never go back to eating these without tater tots again. It adds a lovely crispiness and saltiness that was lacking in hobo stew before. Try it you will love it!


Hobo Stew

Also known as Tin Foil Dinners. This is a delicious recipe you can make ahead of time and have ready to cook after you setup camp. One of my all time favorites.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 1 Person
Calories 2266 kcal
Author Barbara Tidwell


  • 1/4 lb hamburger
  • 1/4 c carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 c celery, chopped
  • 1/4 c mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 c onions, chopped
  • 1 can premade biscuit (or home made or mix if you prefer)
  • 1 c tater tots


  1. Prepare campfire.

  2. While campfire is burning down to coals cut vegetables and set aside.

  3. Prepare biscuits if not using canned.

  4. Tear off two long sheets of heavy duty foil.

  5. Place hamburger on the bottom of the foil in patty form.

  6. Place vegetables on top of the burger meat.

  7. Place the biscuit on top of vegetables.

  8. If using tater tots add them around the outside of the burger patty.

  9. Cover the food with the foil and use the second piece of foil around that making sure that both are sealed as well as possible.

Recipe Notes

The 30 minute cook time varies. If the packet is small it may take less time to cook. Also, the temperature of the fire and where you place the foil packet also may vary.