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Foil Dinners Are The New Must-Try For Summer—Here’s Why

Growing up, I would spend a week out of every summer at camp, away from electronic devices and air conditioning and left to survive in the wilderness. Okay, not really, but the camp was completely focused on outdoor activities, which meant I got to learn a lot about nature, hiking, and camping.

On one of the final nights of camp, it was tradition to hike up to the top of a mountain and have a big campout where we’d set up sleeping bags and all sleep under the stars—but that wasn’t the best part. The best part was the hobos. No, I don’t mean hobos like the people. I mean hobos, the food.

They’d set up plastic folding tables and line out toppings and ingredients like chicken, potatoes, carrots, salt, and pepper. You’d grab a plate, put some foil on it, and start piling in your ingredients. Then, you’d wrap it all up, hand it to a counselor, and watch as they threw it onto the giant grill grates on top of a big bonfire, doing your best to keep your eye on your own pack.

When your hobo was finished, you’d open it up to reveal a steamy, delicious meal that tasted as good as a homemade meal (especially after 5 days of camp food). As simple as they were, hobos quickly became one of my favorite things about summer camp. It’s been years since I actually went to camp, but hobos (which I now call foil packs) have become a staple for my summer grilling ritual.

Here’s why you need to incorporate foil packs into your summer menu ASAP!

They’re delicious.

Honestly, you could come up with so many ways to enjoy foil packs. The possibilities are actually endless, and these foil pack recipes prove just that! From Grilled Pesto Chicken foil packs to Cajun Sausage and Pepper foil packs, there’s major opportunity to get creative with recipes. Just follow this basic formula: meat + veggie + seasoning = deliciousness.

Pro Tip: My personal favorite meat to use is Hillshire Farm® Polska Kielbasa Rope Sausage—it’s flavorful on its own, but can be paired with so many toppings and seasonings for a perfect foil pack.

They’re portable.

If you’re headed out for a picnic or planning to host an off-site cookout, foil packs are an incredibly easy way to take a gourmet-style meal along with you! Just prepare as many as you’d like, then stack them in a cooler with some ice packs. When you’re ready to cook them, just throw the packs on the grill for about 15-20 minutes or until they’re cooked all the way through, then eat them right out of the foil!

They’re safe.

Again, if you’re planning a cookout away from the comfort of your own backyard and grill, foil packs are basically a must-have. Since you cook them right in the foil, you don’t have to worry about your food items touching a shared or public grill. Just be sure to keep your packs cold until you’re ready to cook them!

They’re simple.

Once your foil pack is done grilling, you can eat it directly out of the foil so you don’t mess up another plate or plastic container. And, when you’re done, you can toss it in the trash or wrap up the leftovers in your remaining foil for storage! Voila.

They’re versatile.

Once I started doing some research into foil packs, I was shocked at how many things are able to be grilled like this. I mean, campfire garlic fries?! Yes, please! And, like I said before, there are so many different combinations you could come up with on your own—just pick a meat and go from there! To save a little extra $$, just pick up a bunch of ingredients at Sam’s Club that people can mix and match—like Tyson® Frozen Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, Ball Park® USDA Prime Beef Franks, bell peppers, onion, and seasonings.

They’re party perfect.

While my party setup might look a little different than that of my childhood summer camp, I’ll definitely be adopting their buffet-style foil packing station. Just designate a table or countertop as the buffet. Put foil at the start of the line with different ingredient options, like chicken, rope sausage, franks, onion, potatoes, carrots, asparagus, salt, pepper, cajun seasoning, and so on (I recommend getting these items in bulk from Sam’s Club to help save a little $$!) Let people assemble their own packs, then throw them on the grill! I’d recommend letting people initial their foil packs with a marker so they can keep track of which is theirs.

Whether you’re whipping these up for a crowd or just wanting to enjoy a picnic for two, foil packs NEED to make an appearance at your next summer soiree.