Last updated October 11, 2015

Campfire Hobo Stew from ZestuousThis is my all-time favorite camping recipe. I learned it while I was a camp counselor at YMCA’s Camp Piomingo in Kentucky. It’s a great dish to prepare with your kids on a camping trip or in your backyard fire pit.

As counselors, we would pack up all of the pre-chopped ingredients (ground beef, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, peppers, cheese and condiments) along with lots of foil. Then we hiked out to an elevated ridge near the Ohio River for an under-the-stars adventure buffet and campfire tales.

The campers would each grab a piece of foil, and they would travel down the line of counselors who each had an ingredient. Everyone started with ground beef. Then, they could add their veggies of choice.

Campfire Hobo Stew from ZestuousThe mound of ingredients was usually topped with a slice of American cheese and a few squirts of ketchup or mustard.

The kids would fold the foil over their ingredients to make a ball, add their initials on their pouch using a marker, and then, they’d find the perfect spot on the fire to start cooking their campfire entrée.

Hobo Stew with potatoes can take about an hour to cook, depending on how you slice the potatoes. Slices cook faster than cubes. If you leave out the potatoes, dinner is ready in about 30 minutes.

Campers had such pride in their creations.

I hadn’t made this campfire dish in almost 20 years. When my husband and I decided to go camping a few weeks ago, I had to introduce him to it.

Packing for 2 was a lot easier than packing for 50. I just packed up a few containers of ground beef and chopped veggies. This time, I added some more adult flavors, including minced garlic, jalapenos and some of my favorite seasonings.

It was a true treat. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to make this again. It will become a regular fire pit meal this fall.

Campfire Hobo Stew

Campfire Hobo Stew


  • Ground beef
  • Garlic, minced
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Onions, chopped
  • Peppers, chopped
  • Potatoes, sliced
  • Carrots, sliced
  • Jalapenos, sliced
  • Seasoning: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, Lawry’s
  • Ketchup and mustard
  • Sliced cheese

Lay out a piece of foil and shape it into a bowl.

Add any ingredients you want, starting with ground beef.

Shape the foil into a ball and place on hot coals.

Cook for 30-60 minutes (if you added potatoes, it will probably take the full hour).

Peel open the pouch and eat with a fork.