Outdoor Eats: Tinfoil Taters
Joshua Wussow 11.06.17
For centuries, potatoes and campfires have gone hand in tasty hand. But when J.G. Neher & Sons began producing aluminum foil back in 1910, they unwittingly created one of the most versatile recipes a wilderness chef could ask for.
In its most simple form, all that’s needed are potatoes, foil, and some form of grease (cooking oil, butter, etc.). But unless you’re preparing this as a side dish, I’d recommend a few additional ingredients.
My personal favorite includes the following: Onions, carrots, sliced summer sausage, garlic powder, black pepper, and season salt. I cut all of the veggies into medium-sized chunks, with the sausage paired just a bit more thinly. I then prepare a slab of foil, onto which I drizzle a bit of olive oil. Onto this goes all of the filling, plus the spices and a bit more oil. You want to make sure that everything gets a light coating so it’ll sizzle against the side of each individual piece. Be careful not to oversaturate things, however, lest the extra oil seep out and cause flare-ups in your coals.
I then fold the tinfoil in on itself, making a fairly flat, rectangular package. Try to keep this between 1.5 and 2.5-inches thick. Any bigger and the stuff in the middle won’t cook while the outer ingredients get over-charred. Lastly, I add another layer or two of tinfoil to keep the oil and and natural juices inside.
Lay the whole package in the center of your coals, and listen for the sound of the oil or butter sizzling inside the foil. Pretty soon, your campsite is going to smell delicious. After about 15 minutes on one side, carefully flip the package over. Try not to pierce the foil, lest the cooking juices spill into your fire. Once time’s up, remove the foil from the coals and let it sit for a minute or two. Use caution when opening it up, as there will certainly be steam.
As mentioned above, this is a recipe with incredible potential for customization. It’s simple, savory, and wonderfully filling. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m getting pretty hungry. I wonder it I can make this same thing in the oven.