Cowboy Burger Style Hobo (foil packet) Dinners

Sep 2021

Sinkology is proud to present Emily Schuermann, our food-loving guest blogger who runs Food for a Year. Emily is here to share some recipes she has created exclusively for the Sinkology blog that reflect her view of a copper sink: simple, timeless, affordable, and beautifully rustic. 


These cool Fall days really lend themselves to an entirely different set of cooking techniques and these foil packet, or Hobo Dinners as they’re called in my memories, are a perfect crisp Fall evening dinner solution. I love these for so many reasons and after making and eating them- I believe you will too!

hobo dinner assembly spread

The first thing about these Hobo Dinners – they are so adaptable! Depending on your eating habits, taste preferences and ingredients on hand, you can make any combination of flavors. Each packet can be prepared individually or collectively so even the pickiest eater can have their way with this recipe!

Next, these are a super easy make and go type of meal. Do all the prep and packing even a day or so in advance and then cook when the fire is ready! That’s what makes this meal idea perfect for a camp fire or cookout.

Another awesome thing about these packets – if the weather doesn’t cooperate, these Hobo Dinners can be cooked indoors in your oven. The adjusted instructions for this is included in the notes section of the below recipe.

special sauce hobo dinner

A few things that make this foil packet meal a success :

  1. pre-boil the potatoes. Hobo Dinner potatoes are notorious for being raw in the middle! Boiling ahead solves that problem

  2. weigh out the ground beef in 6 oz portions. This ensures EVEN cooking for every packet.

  3. prepare the add-ons ahead of time, it makes assembly so much easier.

  4. season with a little s + p + garlic powder between each layer.

  5. make sure the packets are tightly sealed so that moisture is trapped inside the packets. (follow the step by step tutorial below)

  6. when finished cooking, allow the packets to rest for 3-5 minutes before opening (because they will be HOT)

grill pit cooking hobo dinner

Once the packets are assembled and wrapped, simply place them in the hot coals of a camp fire or grill pit for about 10-15 minutes until desired doneness is reached. I agree in advance with you – determining the doneness of these Hobo Dinners can be tricky.  Here’s what I suggest:

  1. take one packet, test the doneness after 10 minutes by either inserting an instant read thermometer (you’re looking for an internal temperature of 155°) (this is the easiest) or
  2. open to check the pinkness in the center and then reseal and return to the flame

Once the Hobo Dinners are cooked through, open the foil packet and serve. These easy meals are so tasty, the juices of the meat and veggies are trapped inside the tightly sealed foil packets making such a flavorful, moist meal. I love the “cowboy style” twist with the smoked cheddar, jalapeños and special sauce so hearty and simple! A great (and fun) fall time meal – what will you put in your packet?

not eaten hobo dinner

served hobo dinner packet

Hobo (foil packet) Dinners

  • (4) 6 oz patties of 80/20 ground beef
  • 3-4 medium Yukon gold or red-skinned potatoes, boiled and fork tender*
  • 1 medium onion, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 2-3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced (optional)
  • 1 small red bell pepper, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 8 slices smoky cheddar 1/4″ thick
  • 1 t garlic powder, divided over the 4 packs
  • s + p
  • 2 T chopped fresh cilantro

Special Sauce

  • 1 c BBQ sauce (your favorite brand)
  • 1 c crushed tomatoes

Cut (4) 16″ sheets of grilling style or nonstick aluminum foil. In the center of each foil sheet, layer ::

  • 4-6 carrot sticks
  • 4-5 slices of potato
  • hamburger patty
  • seasoning (sprinkle of s + p + garlic powder)
  • sliced onion
  • sliced jalapeño or bell pepper
  • 2 slices of cheese
  • 1/4 c special sauce
  • 1 t chopped cilantro

Wrap each foil packet, making sure the edges are folded together to create a tight seal. Place the packets in the hot coals of the fire pit or on the grill over medium/medium-high heat. Cook to desired doneness, (I prefer medium/medium-well) approximately 10 minutes.

Unwrap (carefully because of the steam) and serve.

*boiling the potatoes first ensures that they are tender when the foil pack meal is done cooking. You can boil the potatoes 3-4 days ahead.

**rather than cooking in a fire pit, you can follow instructions up to the cooking method, place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 425° for 15 minutes or until hamburger patties are cooked to desired doneness.

hobo dinner

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