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Best backcountry meal you ever had

Have a favorite trail recipe or technique you'd like to share? Please do! We also like reviews of various trail food products out there. The Backcountry Food Topix forum is the place to discuss all things related to food and nourishment while in the Sierra wilderness (as well as favorite trail head eateries).
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Best backcountry meal you ever had

Postby sirlight » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:27 pm

So I have been reading the “can your best food beat this” thread and that got me thinking. What has been your “best” meal on the trail. I am talking about a specific meal that you remember for some reason. Now this could be a wonderful trout after a great day fishing or any other meal that is memorable.

One specific meal that comes to mind for me is dinner at kern hot kern hot springs. We had hiked all the way from big arroyo in very hot weather. We were absolutely beat. After setting up camp and getting cleaned up we made dinner. It consisted of fried trader joe’s summer sausage over stove stop stuffing. We poured the sausage grease and all over the stuffing. It was total heaven with all the fat and salt. This is certainly nothing you would get excited about in the “real” world, but it was great out there. The other hikers that shared the camp fire with us were so jealous of our “real food” as they rehydrated their freeze dried dinners!

Too bad trader joe's does not make that sausage any more. It was the perfect size at 4 ounces.



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Re: Best backcountry meal you ever had

Postby Hetchy » Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:54 pm

Back in the early 90's my Uncle Wayne and I would backpack in to Laurel lake.
Usually he would freeze a large Tri Tip Steak the night before and being an engineer he put his car keys in the freezer too so he would not forget the steak.
We would get up at 3:30 AM and make the drive from San Jose up to the O'Shaunessey dam at Hetch Hetchy.
By the time we had labored up the switchbacks and took the cross country route from snow pond to the outlet of Laurel Lake it would be time for late afternoon fishing.
As it got near dark we built a fire and began roasting the now thawed Tri Tip steak.
Cooking it slowly over the campfire and occasionally sprinkling it with salt we took turns cutting "snitches" of meat off as the steak cooked from the outside in. :p
Mmmmmmmmm Tri Tip. (Much salivating)

My favorite side dish was baked beans. In fact uncle Wayne loved to ask: "Wouldn't these beans go great with our steak?" "Yea uncle Wayne!" I would say. Then he'd say: "Good, you can carry them." and he would stuff them into my pack as we headed out the door. :D

My second best meal was a trout i cooked on my zip stove in jack main Canyon.
WARNING! TROUT WERE HARMED IN THE PROCESS OF KILLING AND EATING THEM.
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Re: Best backcountry meal you ever had

Postby gary c. » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:10 am

I would have to say that my best backcountry meal was a result of an unforseen change in plans and resulting grueling hike. A buddy and I had planned an easy downhill hike into the golden trout wilderness but the road to the trail head was not yet open when we got up in the mountains. Because we were sure it would be an easy hike we had packed very heavy including, frozen T-bone steaks, canned chili, and snack-pack pears. Instead we had to drop down into the canyon and try to follow a pretty much non-existant use trail that added another 5-6 miles of miserable hiking. It was dark by the time we made it to camp at the river and the steak/chili tasted about as good as anything could, or at least I thought. The real treat was eating the pears and especially drinking the juice. I've eaten a lot of canned pears in my life but none of them ever came close to those that night.
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Re: Best backcountry meal you ever had

Postby The Other Tom » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:59 am

Hetchy wrote:and being an engineer he put his car keys in the freezer too so he would not forget the steak.


Thanks Hetchy. I laughed out loud at that one :lol:
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Re: Best backcountry meal you ever had

Postby BSquared » Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:25 pm

Sorry, I can't help this: here's the worst food I ever had in the Sierra:

It was the mid-1970s, and we hiked in to Ediza Lake. We made a regular dinner (don't remember what it was) and then the "treat:" Richmore no-bake brownies. They were absolutely indescribably awful, sort of like eating aluminum pie plates. We even, uh, well, did some things that generally enhance apetite <grin -- it was the 70s, after all>, and still nobody could eat the damn things. As the night wore on, I could hear small critters nosing about the plate full of brownies and I remember thinking, "thank God, at least something is eating these things." But no: in the morning they were still there. The critters were at least as smart as we were. We buried them and went home. Never again!
—B²
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Re: Best backcountry meal you ever had

Postby sirlight » Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:31 pm

Oh my! If you can't even get the critters to eat it, you have done something seriously wrong. Don't take the negative dude! I can remember many meals that I was JUST able to get down. You brought it with you and carried it all the way. It's on the menu and it's the last thing in your pack, so it's your dinner, like it or not.

Very funny about these backcountry meals. I usually plan this menu with all kinds of variety. Once I hit the trail, it seem that all I want to eat is ramen!
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Re: Best backcountry meal you ever had

Postby oldranger » Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:28 am

I think the consistently best food I ever had in the BC was last summer when I got together with rlown, markskor, TehipiteTom, and a couple of other friends. We had ample liquor and while we did not plan any meals ahead of time we pooled our resources. First night Russ's abalone! Second night burritos with rice and lots of fresh stuff, third night mark's fried fish and toms pasta and ... "more ice Matt!" for the cocktails! The good thing about short trips is that you can eat really well!

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Re: Best backcountry meal you ever had

Postby markskor » Sat Feb 12, 2011 11:09 am

Yes, That was indeed some fine grub last year's Quartz Mountain group trip...
everything worked and no real planning ahead of time... who would have thought it?
5 (later 6) solo hikers got together for 3 days and everybody knew what they were doing.
From the time immediately after I inadvertently fell through that log spanning the outlet - (lucky for me the water was only a few inches deeper than my testicles, so the "boys" also got a chance to experience the bridge too),
It was lots of laughs, good fishing, great meals, and almost enough ice...Matt!
Stuff of legends, glad I was invited along.
Pass the abalone please...more Putenesco? (two phrases I never thought I would hear in the backcountry)
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Best backcountry meal you ever had

Postby Cross Country » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:46 pm

The best meal I ever had was each year on my first trip, the first day eating fish. I would make a meal in a pot to put in my fish fillet. I always liked my bar b qued fish cooked open over wood so much that very little of the fillet made to the pot. I'd eat it while cooking. I'd be nearly full (of fish) before I ever got to the main course.
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Re: Best backcountry meal you ever had

Postby rlown » Sat Feb 12, 2011 3:13 pm

hmm. For some of us, fish are a given, and serve as a base to bigger creations. I think it's more about "above and beyond" what you do normally. I'd concur with Mark and Mike that last July's meals were some of the best I've had. The cheese and cracker plate, pre-cocktails was very nice as well.

On other trips like to Upper Mattie, we've hiked in deer sausage. Very tasty and goes well with fish, the onions, and the peppers; all fresh.
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Re: Best backcountry meal you ever had

Postby Cross Country » Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:40 pm

I never took meat into the back country. I wanted to leave all the room inside for fish. As for other stuff, I'd just eat it at home.
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Re: Best backcountry meal you ever had

Postby Troutdog 59 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:07 pm

The best backpacking meal I ever had was in 1989 with my wife Deb. We had taken a 4 day 3 night trip to a remote little lake out of Florence Lk. With the trip being shorter and the lake being just below the "fire line," I had packed in what are called "campin taters" at our house and we hoped to add some trout. These campin taters consisted of 2 spuds, a yellow onion, a red and green bell pepper, and some garlic seasoned with some seasoned salt and pepper. Wrapped em in foil and in the fire they went.

Luck was with us and this was one of those days that we actually caught a fish as intended for dinner, a very nice 13+ " golden. I had actually intended on keeping 2 smaller fish, but this one took my spinner deep and went belly up, so he was dinner. The fish was to big for my skillet, so we wrapped it in foil after flavoring it with some garlic salt, stuffed it with a little bit of the onion and some fresh rosemary I had brought along, and drizzled it with some oil and a little water. Wrapped it up and in the fire with it as well.

The end result was a meal even my wife still talks about. Both foil packages came out perfect. The campin taters were great with just the right browning for flavor. Man I never thought spuds could taste so good. But the fish........................, the fish was what made the meal, It was fantastic!! The most delicate, tasty, pinkish red meated trout I have ever had. We ate until we were completely stuffed. Man it was good!!! Fresh veggies and trout roasted on the coals and devoured by the warmth of the fire with my wife. Simply perfect!
If you stand in the light, you get the feel of the night, and the music that plays in your ear......
In your mind you can hear, a voice so sweet and clear, and the music that plays in your head......
As it flows up from the ground, taking all that hear the sound, close your eyes, it’s about to begin.

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