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Aluminum Foil Cooking with Camping Pockets

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camp-out-colorado-camping-pocket-meal-1One of the easiest and often the tastiest of camping meals come in a handy little aluminum foil pouch. These aluminum foil pouches, or pockets, as I call them, are my very favorite camping food! When I am camping I don’t want to use a lot of my valuable vacation preparing, cooking, and then cleaning up a meal. I want my meals to be easy to prepare and cook with as little clean up as possible. This way I can get back to doing fun things!

With a little forethought and preparation I can prepare just about any meal I like at home, put it in a pouch, and just heat it up when I am camping.

These Camping Pockets are already prepared so I can just pluck one out of the cooler and toss it onto some heat, preferable a campfire, and then sit back and let it cook. Then, the aluminum foil acts like a bowl to keep the mess of the meal contained. When I am done, whatever is left all goes back into the camp fire, no fuss, no muss!

You may find a lot of different recipes on CampOutColorado.com as well as other places and the basic idea is the same. You can put almost anything in the camping pockets and have a clean and easy meal camping out anywhere.

Here are the specifics on making a good quality Camping Pocket.

Use the Right Aluminum Foil for Camping Pockets

First, buy some Heavy Duty aluminum foil, 12-16 inches across. Smaller aluminum foil won’t let you have much of a meal and larger sizes will make your camping pocket too unwieldy. Camping pockets that are too big will easily rip or tear and the folded sealed edges may come undone.  The Heavy Duty foil really stands up to some abuse and lends itself to nice even cooking.

The final finished size you are shooting for is something roughly 4-5 inches square that is about 1-2 inches thick. This will be the ideal size and width to heat up properly on a campfire.

Tear off square sheets of the aluminum foil and spray the inside side of the foil with some non-stick cooking spray. This is a good idea for just about any food you put in there. This will not only keep it from sticking as easily but will also keep the food inside from burning as easily.

Don’t Overdo the Food in a Camping Pocket

Put about 1 ½ cups of food in the center of the camping pocket. That should be just about the right amount of food to make a properly proportioned meal that cooks evenly and quickly.

It’s easy to put too much food in and this will cause a lot of problems later on. If this is not enough for a single person’s meal, just make another pocket. Don’t try to cram all of the food into one.

Depending on the recipe you are using, you will also want to make sure you are taking into account any of the extras that might go on now such as olive oil and butter for potatoes, bbq sauce for wings, or even an ice cube for rice or noodles. Refer to the specific recipe for the details.

Fold the Camping Pocket Right

Make sure you take the time to do this step right. A sloppy job will mean a sloppy meal and it may even fall apart in the fire. So take your time and fold your Camping Pocket carefully and correctly!

 

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Place your food centered in the middle of the aluminum foil sheet.

 

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Fold two facing edges together so their edges meet and are even.

 

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Fold over this seam an 1/8th of an inch the entire length of the seam.

 

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Fold this seam edge over itself at least two more times.

 

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Fold the end edges in to make a 45 degree angle. Do this for both ends.

 

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Fold the end over itself by about 1/2th of an inch. Continue folding until you reach the edge of the food.

Detailed Folding Instructions

  1. With your food centered in the middle of the aluminum foil sheet, fold two facing edges together so their edges meet and are even.
  2. Make a small fold over this seam, about an 1/8th of an inch that runs down the entire length of the seam.
  3. Fold the 1/8th seam edge over itself two more times. This should give the top seam a total of three fold overs.
  4. Flatten out your Camping Pocket so the top seam is flat against the food and the food inside is centered and as square as possible.
  5. Choose one side and fold the outer edges in to make a 45 degree angle. Do this for both edges.
  6. Fold the folded end over itself by about 1/4th of an inch.
  7. Continue folding the end over itself until you reach the edge of the food.
  8. Pick up your Camping Pocket and carefully shake it so the food settles into the end you just folded.
  9. Set your Camping Pocket back down and pat it flat again.
  10. Repeat steps 5 through 7 on the other end of the Camping Pocket, sealing it.

Now you should have a nicely wrapped camping pocket that is sealed. Because of the seal your camp pocket will cook better and not burn as easily because of the steam that will be trapped inside. The folded ends should be able to unroll slightly while it cooks in case it needs to expand.

Cooking a Camping Pocket

To get the best results when cooking a camping pocket, you will want to cook it for 6-10 minutes per side on medium heat camp fire coals. A good rule of thumb is, if it’s something that’s already cooked, and you just need to warm it up, go with the low end of the time. If you have something that needs to cook (such as meat and potatoes), you will want to leave it on a bit longer. You can tell how it’s doing by both the sound it makes (it should begin to sizzle halfway through) as well as how much it swells up. This tells you that the camping pocket is filling with steam, thus cooking your meal.

You should be ready to cook when you don’t have flames, but you do have a bed of coals a few inches thick, and those coals have started to get white ash on them. When you are ready to cook move the flaming pieces of wood over to one side and spread the coals out in a nice even layer on the other side where you want to cook.

Kenmore Fish Grilling Basket

These fish grilling baskets are perfect for cooking camping pockets.

I would highly suggest that you use one of the many different kinds of campfire cooking utensils that they sell such as those to cook fish or burgers or a myriad of other things. Basically you want to use something that has the wire mesh on both sides and a long handle that you can easily set it in the fire without getting burned. These are great because you can easily place your meal where you want, flip it, and otherwise mess with it without much fear of tearing the aluminum foil. Plus, it sure beats sticking your hand in a fire!

If you do not have something like this handy, you should just buy some, but if you don’t have them, a good thick leather glove can work well. Tongs and fire poking sticks also work well but you have to be careful about tearing the aluminum foil.w

If you don’t have a camp fire or they are not allowed, the camping pockets will cook just fine in ovens and on stoves. If you are using an oven, set the temperature to 350 and leave it in for 15 minutes or so. For the stove, put them in a pot or a pan on medium heat and cover it if possible. Turn it as you would on a campfire and the results should be about the same.

Reap the Reward of a Good Camping Pocket

Once it is done cooking, I like to pull it out of the fire and place it on a paper plate or bowl. Either one is fine as you are using it more as a support and a heating pad. Place the Camping Pocket top (seam side) down with the bottom facing up. Then take a knife or whatever else is handy such as a plastic fork and cut a biwg X across the bottom. Peel the foil back and enjoy your piping hot tasty camping pocket! Be careful because it will be very hot! Eating the meal straight out of the bottom of the camping pocket keeps the mess to a minimum and keeps the food hotter than it would if you tried to transfer it to a plate.

Clean Up Your Camping Pocket

I think the best thing about these camping pockets is that after you have finished a fabulous meal camping there is no cleanup or dishes to do afterwards. Instead, you can just toss out the plate, camping pocket, and the plastic fork you eat it with. That is how camping meals are supposed to be done!

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