Trail Menu

It doesn't have to be all bugs and cactus needles.

Neal Brown, head of Expedition Cure's Bio-Unit Fuel Consulting team and owner/chef of L'Explorateur in Indianapolis understands the culinary needs of our expedition team.  (Notice he didn't volunteer to go along.)

Even more so, Neal is fully aware of the danger in thinking for one moment that Brent and Hanley could pull off a meal of any real sophistication.   For this reason Neal has created a practical and working menu for the pair to follow while out on the trail.  Since they have enough trouble figuring out how to pour milk over cereal, lets start with the easy stuff.

{Ed. note: The menu at L'Explorateur is more interesting than this.  A really big plus is that you don't have to clean your own fish, too.}


  • BBQ tool kit including: tongs, BBQ fork, spatula
  • Sharp chef's knife
  • Wooden spoon set - 3 will be good
  • Cutting board (include a bottle of 409 kitchen cleaner with bleach to sanitize your board)
  • Two cast iron saute pans - you can find good ones in thrift stores everywhere.
  • Cast iron pot with a lid
  • Garden hook (used to hang plants) - this needs to be metal and as short as you can find, this will allow you hang your cast iron pot over a fire to cook things slowly.
  • Two cheap woks - you can find these in any restaurant supply store for just over 10 bucks. These will be your all purpose pans. The swiss army knife of camp cooking.
  • Fish cage - this is a long handled wire contraption that has two layers of wire mesh which unfolds on a hinge so that you can put fish inside, close the cage and presto, your fish (or toast) is secure for you to cook it over a fire.  You can get these at sporting goods stores in the camping section.


  • Dannon Yogurt (not light)
  • Granola bars
  • Bagels
  • Fruits such as: Banana, Apples, Oranges

Egg and Sausage Burrito

  1. Saute ½ link of smoked sausage in a cast iron skillet
  2. Using the residual sausage fat , scramble 2 eggs in the skillet
  3. Warm a tortilla over an open flame to soften
  4. Stuff ingredients inside along with some pepper jack cheese

Egg Basics Bacon and Eggs

In a cast iron sauté pan, fry your bacon till it is as crisp as you like, up to about 4 minutes per side. Discard any residual bacon grease and crack your eggs into the sauté pan.

For sunny side up:  Don't flip the egg, just allow the egg to fry in the bacon grease for your desired doneness, be sure to fry the over a medium flame so the edges don't burn.

For over medium: Crack the eggs and cook as you would for sunny side up.

Once the eggs whites aren't clear anymore, flip the egg with your spatula and cook for 1 minute.

For scrambled: Crack the eggs into a hot wok with a little vegetable oil, stir the eggs like crazy, salt and pepper to taste.

*The Walking Taco

The Walking Taco, steeped in highschool sports tradition, is the ultimate in making the best of a given situation.  When finding yourself with only the local gas station to provide you pallet of ingredients, fear not. The Walking Taco consists of ground beef, cheese, and a bag of Fritos. No plate? No problem. The Walking Taco is exactly that, just pop the bag, pour in your cooked ground beef, smother with cheese, and walk. When available, garnish with lettuce and onions.

Biscuits and Gravy

  1. In your cast iron pot, arrange the biscuits so that they are touching. 
  2. Place a lid on the pan. 
  3. Stick your metal garden hook into the middle of the fire.  Hang the pot on the hook about 18 inches over the fire. 
  4. Cook your biscuits for roughly 15-20 minutes. 
  5. Meanwhile, begin cooking your sausage. 
  6. Add a ¼ cup of flour to the sausage and stir.  Cook the flour until the smell of raw flour is gone.
  7. Add two cups of milk and stir until thickened. 
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  9. Smother your biscuits with gravy and prepare to take a nap.

Beans and Ham - Trail Style

The day before, soak the beans in water and bay leaves for eight hours.  A large thermos would work just fine.  When you have reached your checkpoint, set up camp and...

  1. Dig a hole 2 feet deep by 2 feet in diameter.
  2. Start a healthy fire in the pit and allow to burn down.
  3. Cover the coals of the fire with a layer of rocks.
  4. Place the beans and their soaking water, and two large ham hocks in your cast iron pot. You can substitute bacon or sausage, or after spending at least two weeks in the thick you can try using all of the above. *Note: Make sure your beans are completely covered in water; the rule of thumb is a half inch of water over the top of the beans.
  5. Put the lid on your pot and cover with some coals, rocks, and dirt.
  6. {ed. note: Not sure when Neal went to sleep here.}
  7. When you wake up, if you haven't been consumed yourself, you will be set with a delicious pot of beans and even more delicious car ride after a few hours.

How to Clean a Trout

  1. Gut the fish by splitting the belly with a sharp knife.
  2. Remove the entrails and clean out the cavity with water.
  3. Cut the head off the fish and and slice the fish along the spine.
  4. Once you get to the tail slice the filet through so that you separate one side from the other. You may elect to remove the small bones along the center of each filet with needle nose pliars (clean ones, Hanley) or you can leave them in being careful while eating the fish. The smallest bones will actually dissolve in the heat of the pan or the grill.  If you are making a soup, you will definitely want to remove them because you wont have the opportunity to do so later.

Smoked Trout

  1. Gather up some wood, hickory or any other kind will do.
  2. Cut it into small pieces or gather smaller pieces found around the camp site.
  3. In your wok, soak the wood pieces in water for about an hour.
  4. Discard the excess water.
  5. In your fish cage, place the pieces of trout so that the fish is butterflied. This means having split the fish along its spine and having two separate halves.
  6. Secure the fish in the cage.
  7. Place the wok with the wood chips over a moderately hot portion of your fire.
  8. Now place the fish cage inside the wok.
  9. Take the other wok and place it over the other wok so that you create a spherical smoker. You can align the handles on the woks with the handle on the fish cage and tie the three handles with some twine to secure the apparatus.
  10. The wood in the wok will produce smoke inside of the two woks and therefore slow cook the fish. This process however will only take about 30 minutes because you will be hot smoking.
  11. Serve on a bagel with a little non fruit yogurt.....yum!

Pan Seared Trout

  1. In a hot cast iron skillet, place a little vegetable oil in the pan.
  2. Season your fish with salt and pepper and sear the fish skin side down until the edges are visibly golden brown.
  3. Flip the fish over with your BBQ spatula and cook on the other side for two minutes only.
  4. Enjoy.

Grilled Trout

  1. In your fish cage, secure the fish and season with salt and pepper
  2. Grill over an open flame about 4 minutes on each side.
  3. When available a small portion of unflavored yogurt would serve as a great sauce for this preparation.