Tips for hunt camp cooking

by Linda Gabris | August 21, 2013

hunt camp - homemade rice-a-roni

Here are some tips on planning a camp menu and some hearty recipes that will keep you well fed without wasting precious hunting time prepping and preparing.

    • To ensure your camp will have all the provisions needed, the party should draw up a shopping list of everything from coffee, tea, sugar, snacks and condiments, to fresh foods like eggs, butter, cheese, fruits and vegetables. Figure out the quantities you’ll need too. Be sure to check for food allergies or dietary restrictions before any shopping is done.


    • Decide who will be in charge of what. Is one member volunteering to round up everything, or is everyone handling a piece of the list? Either way, keep receipts so expenses can be shared evenly.


    • Since these food mixes are my specialty, I usually prepare them, while the rest of the guys chip in on the cost. However, everyone can choose and make a couple mixes to bring if that suits your gang better.


    •  The meaty main meals or “supper courses” as dad used to call them can be handled in various ways. Some camps thrive on convenient store-bought canned foods that are fast but, in my book, far from fabulous.


    •  An icebox full of fresh or frozen meats (burger, sausages, smoked side bacon, ham, steaks, chops) guarantees first-rate meals. This works wonderfully in camps where somebody loves to do the cooking, but if that’s not the case with your crew, you’re better off bringing as many ready-made dishes as possible.


    • There are lots of mouth-watering possibilities to choose from: stew, chili-con-carne, lasagna, meatballs, meat pie, meat loaf, casserole, cabbage rolls, perogies, roast chicken, turkey, pot roast, pizza, tacos, burritos, and even taquitos. Just be sure to discuss who is bringing what, so everyone doesn’t show up with a bag of pasta and a pot of sauce, or more wieners than you can shake a stick at.


    •  If you have canned venison or game sausages on hand, you’ll find they rack up big raves at the camp table, and it’s a delicious way of using up last season’s lingering packages of venison. Home-canned chili-con-carne and “pork and beans” travel well, don’t require any icebox space, save indefinitely, make delicious meals in minutes, and are a fine way of paying tribute to last year’s trophy.


    • While you’re at camp, keep notes about what you had too much of, too little of, or none of. After a couple seasons your camp eatery will be a first-class establishment.


Quick and easy recipes

Rice-a-roni-style mix
This recipe is similar to the name-brand product but more highly seasoned and less costly. Break enough vermicelli or spaghetti noodles into small pieces to measure 4 cups. Combine with 6 cups uncooked rice (white or brown), 1 cup instant chicken or beef bouillon powder, 1/2 cup dried parsley, 1 cup dehydrated onion flakes, 4 tablespoons garlic powder, 1 cup dehydrated sweet red pepper, 1 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes, 1/2 cup dehydrated celery (optional), and 1 tablespoon black pepper. Makes about 15 cups.

How to prepare
Melt 2 tablespoons butter or margarine in pot, add 2 cups mix. Cook, stirring until pasta and rice are lightly browned. Stir in 4 cups water. Simmer covered 10 minutes, or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Diced cooked meats can be added.

Hot mocha mix
Enjoy this soothing hot drink before hitting the sack. In our camp we like to add a shot of brandy to the cup for good measure! Combine 3 cups instant milk powder, 1 cup powdered creamer or coffee whitener, 1 1/2 cups instant coffee granules, 1 1/2 cups cocoa powder, 1 cup sugar (more or less, to suit), 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon and 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg.

How to prepare
Use 2 tablespoons mix to 1 cup of water per serving. Blend the dry mix with water in a kettle and stir to dissolve. Bring to boil, let stand a few minutes before serving.

Cream soup base (use with cream soup recipes)
Blend together 6 cups flour, 7 cups powdered milk, 1 cup corn starch, 1 cup onion powder, 1⁄2 cup garlic powder, 1⁄4 cup ground celery seed, 4 tablespoons dried crushed basil, 4 tablespoons dried parsley, 2 tablespoons ground marjoram, 2 tablespoon white pepper and 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper. Seasoned or plain salt can be added directly to the mix to suit taste, or soup can be seasoned upon serving. Makes 15 cups.

Cream of potato soup
Boil 4 cups peeled, cut-up potatoes in 8 cups water until mushy, retain the water. Mash with a hand-held masher in the cooking water. Whisk 1/2 cup soup base into the potato mixture, beating until smooth. Add butter to taste. Simmer 10 minutes. Alternative: substitute about 1 to 2 cups instant potato flakes in place of potatoes, depending on thickness desired.