Trail RecipesBy Akira Suzuki
Burger and Beans in a Bag
Retort hamburger or Retort meatballs (ketchup seasoning added)
Canned pre-cooked chili beans
Jalapeno or Tabasco sauce
Chili is a campsite favorite, of which I have a personal penchant as the spicy flavors make a good meal and go well with a drink. The long shelf-life in the field is an added bonus. You can eat it sandwich-style with bread, or mixed with meat, lettuce and cheese to create “taco rice,” an Okinawan favorite.
Chili is best cooked with ground beef and finely chopped onions, carrots and celery. Add some tomatoes and chili powder, and you’re good to go. However, ground beef goes bad quickly compared with whole cuts of meat. Although it’s safe to say there’s no ground beef that can stand up in the outdoors for a long period of time, in our search for “better beef” we came upon retort hamburger.
Basically these hamburgers and meatballs are ground chuck and onions pressed and cooked—a heat-treated and spiced type of ground beef. The sealed pouches are good for one or two days in normal temps, thus turning the possibility of “portable” ground chuck into a reality.
Cook campground staple by (1) crushing a heated package of either the hamburger or meatballs. Best to use gloves or a towel to handle the hot package. (2) Pop the seal and add the canned beans, chili powder, jalapeno or Tabasco sauce and other spices to your liking. It doesn’t get any easier than that.