What better way to celebrate Memorial Day and the start of summer, than to have a cookout with family and friends? So let’s unplug this weekend to enjoy the weather and this beautiful nation that so many have given their lives to protect…
My Papaw, Grandpa Brady, is a Veteran and avid outdoorsman. I have so many memories of getting up way too early going fishing and then having a fish fry later that day. Of being a little kid roasting hot dogs, eating burgers, and having s’mores around the hugest -what he would call- ‘shortcut’ bonfires, made with who knows how many gallons of lighter fluid, wood, and cardboard boxes.
I used to love my grandparents’ several acres of property in the rural Minnesota woods where all of those good times and memories were made. Summers spent there as a kid were so fun, and gave me a sincere appreciation for the outdoors and this beautiful country. Especially now that we live in one of the most populated areas in the USA. I like to dedicate my Memorial Day every year to my Papaw, and to my other grandfathers who were also veterans that have passed away. It just feels right to be outside enjoying what God has given to me, and remembering precious times spent with my family!
This year we all were able to get together earlier this month. We had several fires, roasted hot dogs and marshmallows, had burgers, went fishing, and just enjoyed being together. We also made some smoky dutch oven potatoes and chicken, as well as tin foil Hobo Meals in the fire pit! We had a lot of fun together, and even managed to kill a rattle snake! Long story short, the snake was just feet away from my 3 year old cousin. Papaw took out his pistol, hit it just below the head, but it was still alive, so Laura continued to throw large rocks at it, until it lost it’s head! Memorial Day Weekend is great for family adventures!… Okay, now on to the food!
Dutch Oven Roasted Chicken
Juicy, flavorful, falling off the bone chicken that you can’t get enough of!
1 Whole Chicken, thawed and rinsed
1/2 Large Onion
2 Sticks Celery
1 Carrot Stick
3-4 Tbs Season Salt (our own recipe)
1/2 Cup Diced Bacon
This bird is so simple. Get your charcoal cooking down and clean out that dutch oven, you won’t want to miss this! Once your charcoal is nice and grey, lay about 7 or 8 briquettes out flat. If you can hold your hand for only 2-3 seconds just above the coals then they are ready to start cookin’! Place your seasoned dutch oven over those 8 coals and then throw your bacon in. Let your bacon start to cook. Stuff your bird with the half of the peeled onion, celery sticks, and carrots. Then dust the outside skin and lightly in the cavity with our season salt. Before the bacon gets crispy, but has had time to render some good fat on the bottom of your oven, throw your bird in. Cover and place about 10 briquettes on the top on your dutch oven. Let cook for 45 minutes or so depending on the size of your bird. Once you can cut into the thigh and all the juices run clear and the meat is completely white your bird is done! If you have a thermometer, you’ll want the temp to be at 165-175 degrees in the thigh. Seriously this was so good, I couldn’t get a picture of it before it was all gone!
Dutch Oven Potatoes
3 Parts Potatoes , diced
1 Part Onion, diced
1 Part Bacon, diced
Salt and Pepper
Now these potatoes are also super easy! Similar to the chicken. We set up our dutch oven the same way, and started the bacon going. Then we added our onions to the bacon and let that cook until the onions were nearly translucent. We added the potatoes, some salt and pepper, covered the oven, placed the coals on top and let is cook for about 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. You could use butter in addition to or instead of the bacon if you need some more moisture in your oven. Enjoy! We did check on both the Chicken and Potatoes once in the middle of cooking to make sure the heat was even, they were cooking, and to gauge how much longer they needed to cook.
Hobo Meals/ Foil Dinners
To feed several hungry people ranging in age from 3 to 73 we needed a cheap and simple solution! Make your own Hobo Meals! You provide a wide array of ingredients, veggies, proteins, and spices, and allow each person to make their own meals! (or you safely assemble them for your kids). The beauty is these meals can be made in the oven if you’re staying in for the night, over charcoals or hot coals from the burned down campfire. You can also make these way ahead of time and even freeze them! They’re perfect to take with you camping -already assembled and ready to cook!
We used chicken, shrimp, several veggies, salt, pepper, season salt, and Italian seasoning as our choices. I’ve also had great Salmon hobo meals with some potatoes, lemon pepper, and a dab of butter. These are also great made with ground beef, potatoes, carrots, peas, and onions. They are so fun, and can include anything you want or need to use! Try any protein, veggies, spices, and sauces!
Spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray. Add your protein, about a 1/3 cup. Pile on your veggies and chosen seasonings, about 1 Cup. Wrap, and place meat side down over hot coals, charcoal, or 350 degree oven. Cook for about 20 minutes depending on protein and how large your meal is. And I’ll just leave you with some photos of different meals that were made at our dinner! Have a great weekend!!!
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