Foil packs. So warm, so yummy, so deliciously lazy. My kind of cool-weather festival eats. Sitting around the campfire, eating straight out of the sooty metal pouch.
Bad news for you “Long time campers, first time festi-goers”: most large festivals have banned open fires.
The good news is: many fests will allow small charcoal grills, which cook foil packs more consistently, anyway. There are many portable and disposable charcoal grills on the market, or you could make your own from dollar store parts.
The Foil Pack Basics:
- Foil: HEAVY DUTY. Even if you buy the top of the line, ready-to-make-ductwork thickness foil, go ahead and slap 2 layers on that puppy. The slightest hole will have liquids leaking out of your dinner like tears down the cheeks of a hungry hippy.
- Steam: The primary cooking mode inside the packet is steam, so keep it sealed tightly! This makes veggies and potatoes cook quickly using their own juice.
- Fats: I tend to only add butter for flavor, especially if cooking with frozen mixed vegetables or potatoes. When cooking space is limited, and you are forced to put the packs directly on the coals, you have 2 choices:
- Resign yourself to the bottom 1/2″ of your meal becoming blackened crust.
2. Install a Bacon Barrier (TM) in the bottom of your foil pack.
What is the Bacon Barrier (TM), you ask?
It is the insulation you’ve been looking for. Increased flavor, decreased burn loss. I have yet to find a meal that isn’t improved by a little bacon grease (and side of bacon).* Which brings us to:
The Veggie Pack:
Until Bacon Barrier (TM), the asparagus foil pack had an expected mortality rate of 25%. Now? The bacon layer under your veggies makes it 100% edible. (You’ll have to believe me, the family was starving, and foil pack asparagus is like mana around here…)
I see you under there, beautiful…
Yukon Gold is right. You can see the crispy (i.e. perfect) bacon peeking out near the top.
This only works if the bacon is on the bottom! If you attempt to mix bacon into the middle of your foil pack (the steam zone), it will be floppy, soggy, and possibly under-cooked.
The Breakfast Pack:
This breakfast pack contains:
- Bacon Barrier (TM)
- Frozen diced hash browns (partially thawed, 1-2 days in cooler)
- 2 eggs
- Shredded cheddar
- Asparagus, cut
- Salt, pepper, & butter to taste
Place packs toward the outside of the charcoal bed, rotate (but never flip!) every few minutes.
After approximately 15 minutes remove from fire and let stand for 2-3 minutes.
So. Damn. Good.
Do you see a face in there, or is it just me?
He’s winking. I think he likes you.
The Laziest Pack
Lets face it. After a long, hot day of wandering around the festival grounds, you’re not going to want a lot of prep or cleanup. That’s the whole point of foil pack cooking, right? By far the easiest prep for the biggest bang, 1 smoked sausage + 1 bag mixed veggies of your choice = 4 to 6 very happy campers.
This pack used a mixed bag of white & yellow corn, carrots, and asparagus tips. I added salt, pepper, and approx 2 Tbsp butter for flavor.
That’s some beautiful dancing fuel.
Happy Festi-Camping! -KT
*Vegans: You might ask, “But I’m vegan, I can’t use a Bacon Barrier (TM)!”
To which I reply: