Campfire Chili

Hiking through the wilderness and sleeping under the stars can work up a pretty serious appetite, and hotdogs on a stick and s’mores don’t always do the trick in terms of campfire food. Maybe you’ve tried the vegetable and meatball packet cooked in aluminum foil in the hot coals? We admit, it’s not terrible… But we think a pan full of frying bacon in the morning and a pot of chili in the evening might just be better.

If you’re setting up camp for a few days at one of the dozens of lovely local campgrounds within a few hours’ drive from Northwest Arkansas, come into Uncle Sam’s first and pick up a couple of items to make life easier. We have enamel coffee pots, potable water containers, and even a selection of iron skillets and Dutch ovens that will make a serious omelet or chili over the fire.

There are probably as many chili recipes out there as there are round rocks at the bottom of the Mulberry River, but here’s one we adapted from Betty Crocker that should be easy to make after a long day on the river:



  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz) tomato sauce or RoTel
  • 1 soup can water
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

To Prepare:
In 2-quart saucepan, cook beef, onion and salt over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain into can. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. This serves 6, so plan accordingly depending on your crowd.

To make the prep even easier, Ms. Crocker suggests cooking the ground beef and onions ahead of time and keeping the mixture in your cooler until you’re ready to for dinner. You could even season the beef before packing it in your cooler.

Sunset Magazine has a nice collection of camping recipes, and check out our Camping Food Pinterest board for links to more recipes and information.

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