3 of the Best Camping Chicken Recipes for Beginners
We, backpackers and hikers, frequently rely on dehydrated and canned meals on our outdoor adventures since they don’t spoil quickly and they are virtually weightless on our packs.
Sure, you’ll enjoy noodles, dried fruits, Spam, and other canned goodies at first but you’ll absolutely crave for meat especially during week-long outdoor trips. Hence, learning how to make various camping chicken recipes can be a craving-saver at times.
Dehydrated chicken is a common way of preserving chicken for camping purposes. It lengthens the meat’s shelf life, and it’s also virtually weightless, helping backpackers lighten their loads. But dehydrated chicken isn’t the only camping chicken recipe out there. In fact, there are lots!
Check out our carefully curated list of the best and easy to cook camping chicken recipes below.
Why Dehydrate Food?
Dehydrating food is a common form of food preservation. The process removes water or moisture from food items to make them shrink, weigh lighter, and prevent spoilage-causing microorganisms from thriving.
Dehydrated foods are ideal for outdoor activities such as backpacking, hiking, and camping because they don’t need refrigeration and most importantly, they weigh lesser than non-dried foods.
They last pretty long too, depending on the food. Actually, you can subject any food to dehydration - may it be meats, fruits, or vegetables.
Chicken, as with any other meat, can be seasoned and dehydrated in either dried or jerky form. Any of the chicken’s parts can be seasoned and dried whereas the jerky form is much more intricate than simply drawing moisture from the meat.
Jerky chicken is usually made from chicken fat that is smoked and cured with vinegar and sugar.
Either way, both dried and jerky chicken makes portable snacks when hiking, going on road trips, and camping.
Recipe 1: Dehydrated Brined Chicken
Brine, a mixture of salt and water, promotes moisture removal from meat. The high salt content also infuses the meat with a salty flavor and makes it tender and juicier as salt helps break down the meat proteins that keep the fibers intact.
Not all chicken parts are created equal thus some parts benefit more from brining than others. Drier and leaner parts such as the breasts and legs possess less fat that contribute to the meat’s moisture and flavor thus they’re the best candidates for brining.
So to start, make your brine recipe first.
What you’ll need:
- 6 chicken breasts
- 3 tbsp salt
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 2L water
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
There is no single recipe for brine. You can make it simple with the ingredients listed above, or you can also make it fancier with this recipe below.
- Step 1. Pour water into a saucepan and bring to a boil
- Step 2. Add the salt, sugar, and garlic cloves then stir until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Let it cool to room temperature.
- Step 3. Place chicken breasts in the brine solution then refrigerate for 4 hours. Pat the breast pieces dry before transferring them into a pressure cooker.
- Step 4. Add a cup of water (not the brine liquid) to the cooker then cook the chicken for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Step 5. Let the pieces cool down then slice them thinly according to your preference.
- Step 6. Dehydrate sliced chicken using a food dehydrator or oven at 50°C (122°F) until they completely dry out. This may take hours depending on the meat’s thickness and size.
A way of telling whether the chicken is dry enough is to observe its change in color and the manner by which it breaks up when snapped.
When you’re ready to cook your dehydrated chicken when camping, simply hydrate it. Soak the pieces or strips in water for about an hour to give it sufficient time to hydrate and tenderize once more.
After hydrating the meat, simmer it in a soup or sauce for about 15 to 20 minutes to soften it. It’s hard to estimate the exact cooking time since it varies depending on the size of the pieces and the duration of dehydration.
Recipe 2: Canned Chicken Salad
Canned chicken tastes better, way easier to cook, and contains less fat than grocery-bought raw chicken. That’s why some people, especially health buffs, opt for canned chicken than fresh chicken cuts.
Canned chicken itself is very convenient to bring just about anywhere. But if you still find the liquid it’s immersed in too heavy for the pack, you may also dehydrate it.
What you’ll need:
- 1 can shredded chicken
- 3 tbsp mayonnaise
- 3 tbsp bacon bits
- 1 tbsp onion, finely chopped
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- ½ tsp salt.
- Step 1. Drain liquid from the can. Run hot water into the meat if fat is adhering to the chicken.
- Step 2. Pull meat apart to create smaller chunks.
- Step 3. In a bowl, pour in mayonnaise, onion, celery, pepper, salt, and shredded chicken. Stir well. Adjust salt/pepper according to the taste outcome you desire.
You may serve this over salad greens or as a sandwich filling for a snack break at the trail.
Recipe 3: Chicken Noodle Soup
Nothing warms the mind and body like a hot chicken noodle soup during winter and fall outdoor trips. It’s our ultimate comfort food after a long day hiking winding trails and braving the snowy outdoors.
What You’ll Need:
- 2 boneless chicken breasts, skinned and sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tbsp butter
- ½ cup celery, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 4 cans chicken broth
- 1 head cabbage, shredded
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup onion, minced
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp basil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 ½ cups egg noodles
- Step 1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. You may use a portable cooking stove, or you may also set up a cooking fire.
- Step 2. Melt butter in the pan. Saute the garlic, onion, celery, and sliced chicken breasts. Cook until the chicken strips are brown and tender.
- Step 3. Pour in the broth, noodles, carrots, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Stir and bring to a boil. Add the shredded cabbage then simmer for 20 minutes. Serve warm.
Camping novices shouldn’t solely rely on instant foods on their outdoor activities just because they’re beginners. Anyone can enjoy good food! You just need to learn the proper way of preparing and cooking a particular dish.
The three recipes we’ve rounded up in this post -- the dehydrated brined chicken, chicken salad, and chicken noodle soup -- are super easy to prepare and fast to cook. As a matter of fact, brined and canned chicken can last for days, saving you the trouble of food shortage due to spoilage.
But if the night is chilly and the winds are strong, you need a body warmer like the good ol’ chicken noodle soup. Know that these three recipes are just the tip of the iceberg -- there are so many wonderful dishes you can make from chicken.
Hey, camper! What’s cooking? Have you tried any of our recipes? Can you suggest other chicken-based dishes? W’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below! Don’t forget to share this post. Cheers!