One of the weirder camp recipes I often cook while on a campout is Junk Yard Stew. I will usually wait till the day before we pack up to leave for this one as it is a great way to use the odd left-over ingredients from other meals cooked while camping.

To make the stew you will need:

  • Fire Pit
  • Charcoal
  • Large Dutch oven
  • Dutch oven hook
  • tongs (for moving hot coals)
  • large spoon for occasional stirring

Ingredients the list here is completely dynamic. the reason it is called junkyard stew is because it’s usually comprised of leftovers from other meals.

  • Bacon
  • Hard Boiled eggs (unshelled there are somethings that just don’t go into Junkyard stew.) (Though I have seen some people put whole un-boiled in the shell eggs in the stew. but that is tricky when it comes to stirring and serving. As you need to be careful not to break the shell. just easier to pre boil then shell them. too much potential for something to go wrong with eggshells)
  • Meatballs
  • bottled waster or (drinking water) may or may not be needed depending other ingredients
  • hotdogs
  • Scallops
  • Squid (Calamari)
  • Shrimp (peal them and remove the tail unless you like hands on food)
  • hamburger meat
  • chicken (boneless or not. If boned please make sure the people you are cooking for know there are bones. or debone it)
  • Canned soup (my favorite Italian wedding soup) Use to flavor and provide the liquid to cook the other ingredients.
  • Matzah ball (just make ball from the kit. you don’t need to use the soup packet if you have already other soups)
  • Mushrooms
  • Uncooked pasta (may need additional water added during cooking)
  • cheese of any kind.


Cooking in a Dutch oven has some tricks that are important to know. One is you need to get the fire going good first with charcoals usually in a fire ring. Before building the fire make sure the base of the fire pit is level and can support the Dutch oven. Then lay on a good amount of coals in the base of the pit, and start the fire. Let the coals get good and red. Do not put the Dutch oven on the fire yet. While that is going on load your ingredients into the Dutch oven. Making sure there is enough liquid in the stew to help the larger ingredients like the chicken. to cook

Once all the ingredients you chose are in the pot mix it all up adding water if it is too thick to stir. It should fill the pot at least halfway. that’s what I shoot for. I usually cook for a group of five. If you have a larger group fill it more. Cover the Dutch oven and raise the handle to the up position. Then carefully lift the pot using the the Dutch oven hook and to hook the handle. Make sure it is some what balanced, and get used to moving it with the hook. Being careful not to tip it. Most pots will stay stable when lifted but I have seen some that spin right over.

Now check on the fire the coals should be glowing red hot with minimal flames. If they are glowing red add a few more coals. If they are not glowing red hot wait a bit possibly add a few coals.

Once the fire it ready you will need to put the Dutch oven directly on the coals using the hook to do this. Once it is down with fire tongs push the coals around the pot up against the sides about halfway. Then with the tongs again put a layer red hot coals on top of lid it is designed for this and should have a half inch lip around the sides to keep the coals on top. Leave room around the loop on the list so you can easily get your hook into it and pull the lid off. (You will need to check and stir it during cooking) Leave the handle in the up position. Make sure you have a place to put the lid with the hot coals on top down safely when you need to stir it. Some fire rings when the grill flipped back it is possible to place the lid and COALS on the flipped grill surface. (If trying this before you start the fire make sure the grill when in the flipped position will hold weight.) If not, you can set it on few rocks next to the pit (make sure they are clean as the inside of the lid will be resting directly on them) DO NOT forget there are hot coals on the lid.

Now let it sit cook time varies. I usually leave it on for an hour to an hour and a half. I check and stir it periodically to make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Don’t be afraid to add water if you add too much you can just cook it out. it just takes longer You may need to add fresh coals to the side and top of the oven.

If you added raw ingredients like chicken, beef, pork, scallops etc. make sure they are cooked all the way thru. you can pull out a piece and cut it to see if it is cook thru. If your raw ingredients are cook fully and any pasta you added it soft, you are done! Enjoy!!!


No two junk yard stews are the same. I can tell you from experience it’s never come out un-edible. Actually, most often everyone is very impressed with it. usually totally surprised at how good it is. I been on campouts where someone watching me cook it has decided they aren’t going to have any when it’s done and start looking for alternative to the night’s dinner. Only to be surprised that the groups is downing it like a pack of hungry wolves and eventually gives in and tries it. Only to love it and then actually make a personal request for it on the next campout.

More recipes to come:

  • Dutch oven lasagna
  • Orange beef burgers
  • Pepper balls

Sorry for the lack of photos of the stew. But i will be sure to take some photo of it on the next outing.

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