International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Campfire Cooking in a Can

Tin can cooking on a camp stove

Image © iStockphoto

As I peered down the hill, I could see that my fishing buddies had just pulled their boat into shore and were heading up to our camp. They looked tired and hungry. I quickly grabbed my trusted Cee Tee pliers out of the belt holster and clamped onto one of the five one-pound coffee cans on the campfire grill and dumped a medley of vegetables and a juicy hamburger inside each can onto the oversized plates.

They couldn't believe that I had cooked such a great meal in such a short period of time since they had dropped me off just a little over an hour ago to go fix supper. I had simply taken the five one-pound coffee cans—which had been prepared at home before hand—out of the cooler,and put them on the campfire grill. I then proceeded to take a nap in the lawn chair. The recipe listed below has a lot of flexibility.

Tin Can Campfire Meal

These prepared-in-advance tin can meals are great for picnics, camping, or going to the beach. This recipe is for one serving in a 1-pound coffee can. Make as many as you need.

  • Hamburger patty -- 1/4 to 1/3 pound
  • Potato -- 4 good chunks
  • Carrot -- 3 good chunks
  • Onion -- 1 thick slice
  • Tomato -- 2 thick slices
  • Corn on the cob -- 1 4-inch piece
  • Butter or oil -- 1 tablespoon
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  1. Place the ingredients into the can, layered as they are listed, starting wth the hamburger. Cover the can tightly with aluminum foil and place into your cooler. You're done for now!
  2. To cook the meal, place the can in a medium hot area of your campfire and let it cook for about 45 minutes.
  3. Slide a fork down the inside of the can into one of the potato chunks to see if it is done. If the potato is done, everything is done.

If you are camping with children and want to have some fun, try this homemade ice cream recipe using, of course, tin cans!

Ice Cream in a Can


  • Half-and-half -- 1 pint
  • Egg, beaten -- 1
  • Sugar -- 1/2 cup
  • Vanilla -- 1 teaspoon


  • A 1-pound coffee can with lid
  • A 3-pound coffee can with lid
  • Duct tape
  • Crushed ice
  • Rock salt
  1. Beat together the all the ingredients until smooth and the sugar is dissolved. Pour into the 1-pound coffee can, replace the lid and seal with duct tape.
  2. Place the 1-pound coffee can inside the 3-pound can. Pack layers of crushed ice and rock salt in the space between the two cans. Seal the lid on the 3-pound coffee can with duct tape.
  3. Have the kids roll the cans around the campsite for about 10 minutes. Unseal the lids and check to see if the ice cream is done yet. If not, add a little more ice and salt and roll the cans around for another 5 to 10 minutes. You will have the best homemade ice cream in the campground.

Ice Cream Variations

  • For fruit ice cream, just add 1/4 cup crushed fruit of your choice.
  • For chocolate ice cream, add 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup.
  • If you're worried about the raw egg, you can eliminate it.

In the evening, you can take one of the cans and play the old-time kick-the-can game. It's a version of hide-and-seek we played out here on the prairie when we were kids.

Kick the Can

  • Tin can (any kind will do) -- 1
  • Dark evening -1
  • Person to be "it" -- 1
  • Other kids -- 4 or 5
  1. The kids who aren't "it" go hide.
  2. The kids then sneak back in and try to kick the can over before the person who is "it" can tag them.

Now there is only one problem with all the above recipe ingredients. It is harder than the dickens to find a tin coffee can anymore. Most coffee is now in plastic containers, but if you look for the private label or off brand, you can still fine the good old tin can containers.

See ya,
Farmer Dan


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