Easy Campfire Cooking: Silver Turtles

Whether you call them silver turtles, turtles, hobo packs, or foil dinners, these main course or complete meals in a foil pouch are one of the easiest ways to cook dinner when camping or even at home on the grill or in the oven.

silver turtle

I first started making Silver Turtles, henceforth called turtles, when I was a Junior Girl Scout. My mom, the Leader, had us make the classic turtles…a ground beef patty version of a pot roast dinner. The seasoned ground beef patty was accompanied by onions, potatoes, and carrots.

Today, we make turtles with a variety of ingredients including pork, turkey, chicken, mushrooms, peppers, squash,…almost anything. In fact, the foil packet technique is great to use to cook many things including fish, vegetables and even fruit-based desserts.

It is a super simple method with just a few tips:

  1. Make sure your packets are closed well so that the “juices” do not escape.
  2. Do not have your coals too hot.
  3. Cut the vegetable thicker/thinner so that everything is done at the same time.

silver turtle cooked
Sometimes the heat of the coals can be misjudged :/ Despite getting browner than I would have liked on the bottom, the turtle pictured above was still very good.

To make a turtle:

  1. Lay out a rectangle of heavy duty aluminum foil that is at least a few times larger than all of your ingredients.
  2. Form ground meat into a patty with the center being thinner than the outside, season.
  3. Cut same-type vegetables into slices as uniform as possible.
  4. Cut longer cooking vegetables thinner/smaller than quicker cooking.
  5. Place meat patty in center of foil.
  6. Cover with vegetables, season, and add sauce, if applicable.
  7. Bring long edges of foil together until they meet in the center.  Fold foil over to create a sealed edge.  Continue to fold until you have almost reached the top of the vegetables.
  8. Neatly fold open end of foil to seal.  Repeat folding several times until getting close to enclosed food.
  9. Repeat on the other open end.
  10. Should have a packet similar to what is in the first picture.
  11. Place in coals (or on grill) and cook until done…checking one after about 15 minutes to see how fast your coals are cooking.
  12. Generally it takes 20 to 25 minutes for an average size patty and packet to cook.
  13. OR, you can place them in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until done.

Cooking time will vary depending on what you place in your turtles.  Potatoes, onions and carrots can take a while to cook.  Using par cooked potatoes or canned potatoes and slicing carrots and onions very thin can speed the process so your meat does not get over done while waiting on the vegetables to cook.

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  1. […] for many years now. I expect that the first complete meal I ever cooked was the first time I made “turtles” in Girl Scouts. While I still love “turtles,” I now like to cook many other dishes in […]

  2. […] three large rolls of aluminum foil. They were just taking up space until I started making Silver Turtles (Hobo Packs to some) and throwing them on the grill. There is no easier way for me to grill up […]

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