33.6 F
Thompson Falls
HomeOutdoorsCampingHow to Make the Backcountry Mac and Cheese of Your Dreams

How to Make the Backcountry Mac and Cheese of Your Dreams

It’s not impossible to roast a whole turkey outdoors, but it’s hard. It’s also not easy to make stuffing out of a backpack, on a camp stove. So what iconic Thanksgiving dish can we still have on our holiday backpacking trip to escape the Black Friday droves? It’s got to be mac and cheese.

Mac and cheese is a mainstay in backpacking meals already. It’s not hard to make out there, and more importantly, it’s not hard to make it delicious. I’ll help you make backcountry Thanksgiving mac and cheese better than your grandma ever could. It’s going to be so good, so fragrant, that the wild turkeys will come out of hiding to share in your feast.

Photo by Dina Badamshina

Choose Your Base

Maybe you’ve been planning this out for days, weeks already. Maybe you’ve done some meal prep, getting the mac and cheese ready in its baking tray so you can just toss it in there on Thanksgiving Day. Well then, all you have to do is dehydrate it. Spread it out in your oven on the lowest temperature for hours, until all the moisture has left. That’ll get rid of all the water weight so you can pack it out more easily. From there, get somebody in your party to pack out a big pot in which to rehydrate and cook. If you have the chance, homemade is always the best call, of course.

If you’re no home chef, don’t fear. All is not lost. Here’s a guide to the best dehydrated mac and cheese on the market. RightOnTrek Meals wins out, (and rightfully so, I’ve tried it) with their Bechamel-style offering. Their herb additions are out of this world, and their portion sizes are hearty. You can’t go wrong with Farm to Summit’s Green Chile option, either. A little bit of heat goes a long way. If you can’t find these in your local stores before you leave town, you might be able to track down another brand. Most dehydrated foods will have a mac and cheese offering, because it’s such an obvious staple.

The Secret to Backcountry Thanksgiving Mac and Cheese: More Cheese

What else should you pack out for this dreamy, Thanksgiving mac? More. Cheese. The answer is obvious. Especially if you’re using a dehydrated option as your base, nothing revitalizes it like some real, melted cheese. Put your cheese somewhere in the middle of your pack, so it’s not hit by any sun. By now, in November, it should be chilly enough for your cheese to make it up the mountain without sweating too much. The colder your climate, the more free refrigeration you get.

Here’s the key, though: which cheese? Now, I’ve never been a chef, but I was a second-rate cook for almost a decade. If I learned anything in professional kitchens, it’s that butter and cheese are the cheat code. Really nice cheese is a cheat code that still feels prestigious. You can absolutely revolutionize your backcountry Thanksgiving mac and cheese experience with this step. Get a little bougie with your cheese choices—it’s a holiday, after all. Here are my recommendations:

Bucheron Goat Cheese – The tang on this is insane. Include the rind, it melts down well and contributes extra flavor.

Gruyere – A complex, full-bodied cheese. This is class at its finest.

Burrata – Creamy and dreamy. Add this soft cheese after cooking for maximum enjoyment.

Photo by David Trinks

The Real Secret to Backcountry Thanksgiving Mac and Cheese: The Fixings

The base is our diving board. The cheese selection is all the flips we’re doing in the air on our way down. The fixings, our final additions, are our seamless re-entry into the Olympic pool, where we earn our gold medal. There is an incredible amount of diversity available to you here, and you should make the call based on your personal choice. Some of these ingredients will be the same deal as our cheese: pack it out and eat it that same day, to avoid issues with your lack of refrigeration in the backcountry.

Here’s a short list to make your backcountry Thanksgiving mac and cheese dreams come true:

Hatch Green Chile – Any green chiles will do (Farm to Summit is on to something), but if you can get Hatch chiles from New Mexico, there is nothing better.

Pulled Pork – You can get some pre-cooked, store-bought versions that will bring you all the way home.

Crab Meat – This is real class, a whole new dimension of flavor.

Bacon Bits – Easily packed out, easily added, even better if you make it at home.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes – This is a little healthier, but with a robust, earthy tang to add to the flavor profile.

Your Choice of Hot Sauce – I’m a Tapatio devotee, but Cholula, Valentina, and all those little boutique hot sauces across the country will serve you well, too.

Photo by Chris Holder

The Final Secret: You Can Do This Whenever You Want

We need the excuse to make turkey. We need the holiday to make stuffing and gravy. We can’t be doing that all year long; it’s just not healthy. Mac and cheese though? That’s a year-round treat, everybody. The dairy-first backcountry kitchen is open for business. You can spend almost all of 2024 getting ready for next Thanksgiving, doing research and development. By the time next Thanksgiving rolls around, you’ll be ready. Plan that backcountry getaway, convince your friends to come along for the ride, then blow their minds.

The post How to Make the Backcountry Mac and Cheese of Your Dreams appeared first on Outdoors with Bear Grylls.

Outdoors with Bear Grylls

- Advertisment -
Google search engine

Most Popular

Recent Comments