Boy Scouts share campfire recipes
By Judy Buchenot For Sun-Times Media February 11, 2013 12:06PM
Two Scouts stir pots of Trippple M over coals on a snowy January campout. The hearty mixture is a breakfast favorite for Naperville/Aurora Boy Scout Troop 81. | Judy Buchenot~For The Sun
3- to 4-pound beef chuck roast, bone-in or boneless
3/4 cup beef broth
1/2 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, sliced into thin strips
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1 cup fresh or frozen pearl onions
Brown roast in Dutch oven. Pour beef broth over roast. Evenly sprinkle remaining ingredients on top in the order listed. The roast needs to cook about 275 to 300 degrees for three to five hours. If cooking in a regular oven, cook at 300 degrees. If cooking on a campfire, maintain the temperature by adding coals as needed each hour. To be certain roast is finished, check with a thermometer. Meat should be at least 160 degrees. Makes eight to 10 servings.
Joe Harrington’s ‘Trippple M’
(Mexican Mountain Man Breakfast)
2 pounds Chorizo sausage (or alternative hot sausage)
1 pound chopped bacon
2 pounds frozen hash browns
1 large white onion, diced
2 15-ounce cans Spanish rice
2 jalapeno peppers sliced
2 pounds cheddar cheese
This recipe can be cooked in a large cast iron Dutch oven over coals or in a large pot on the stove. Cook Chorizo sausage till done. Add bacon, hash browns, Mexican rice, onion and jalapeno peppers. Stir to mix, and cook and stir until all ingredients are cooked through. When completely cooked, sprinkle on cheddar cheese and serve. Some like to add hot sauce to their portion. Serves 15 to 18.
Many are familiar with the Boy Scout law that states that Scouts are trustworthy, loyal and helpful, but few might know that Scouts are also pretty good cooks.
When camping in the wilderness, Boy Scouts quickly learn what they need to know to eat well.
“Some boys claim that they eat better on campouts than they do at home,” says Joe Harrington, an Aurora resident who is the assistant scoutmaster for Troop 81.
The active troop has 90 Scouts, and in 2012, 18 members of the troop became Eagle Scouts. The troop goes camping each month, so there are plenty of cooking opportunities for them.
Charlie Mayton, a Troop 81 leader from Aurora, says that most of the time, cooking is done outdoors in Dutch ovens.
Occasionally the troop camps in cabins, and three years ago, they stumbled on an interesting location when planning a ski weekend.
“Our regular camp location wasn’t available, so we went to Camp Little Cloud in Iowa,” Mayton says.
“It is actually a Girl Scout camp, but they allowed us to use it. The place is gorgeous, and it has a full commercial kitchen that we can use.”
Since they had the kitchen, the Scouts decided to step up the recipes for this annual outing.
“We run the kitchen like a restaurant, and the boys do all of the work. The boys work together to put out a meal for all 70 Scouts. It is a very empowering experience.”
Aaron Clair, a Neuqua Valley senior, was on the kitchen crew for this year’s Camp Little Cloud weekend Feb. 1 through 3.
“It is fun to see everyone enjoy the things you make.”
Highlights of the weekend included a nacho bar, lasagna and Portillo’s signature chocolate cake.
“My dad got us the cake recipe from someone he knows,” says Kevin Harrington, a Metea Valley sophomore on the kitchen crew.
“We made a bunch of sheet cakes, and everyone loved it. I cooked, and I washed dishes, and it was fun.”
Whether the Scouts are cooking in a kitchen or over a campfire, Mayton says they do very well.
“They are constantly challenged with things like someone forgets to bring a crucial ingredient or there is no pot to cook something in. They adapt and figure out a way to make things work on their own,” Mayton says. “I think it is really important that the boys learn what goes on in a kitchen, instead of just expecting food to show up. You can’t be in Scouts and not learn how to camp cook.”
Paul Bainbridge, a Naperville dad and Boy Scout Troop 81 leader, says it is amazing what can be prepared outdoors.
“Basically, most recipes that can be cooked in a regular oven can also be cooked outdoors in a Dutch oven,” Bainbridge says.
“The Dutch ovens we use are cast iron and have to be seasoned. When we get a new one, we clean it well, coat it inside and out with oil and place it in the fire. We season it each time, and over time, the surface becomes nonstick.”
Mayton is amazed at the meals the boys put together.
“I don’t know what it is, but when we go camping, everything just tastes better. Coffee even tastes better,” he said.
He says there are seldom leftovers, but the Scouting tradition is to use everything up on the last day of the campout.
“We put everything that is leftover into one dish with eggs and make something like a frittata. We call it a train wreck,” he laughs.
Here are two of Troop 81’s favorites to try over a campfire or, if you must, in the oven.