Mouth-Watering BBQ Hobo Stew Recipe

There’s something about cooking outdoors that gives food a special flavor. Maybe it’s the smoke, maybe it’s the fresh air, or maybe it’s just the sense of adventure. Whatever it is, I love it. As a BBQ chef, I’m always looking for new recipes to share with my friends and family. So when I discovered this BBQ Hobo Stew recipe, I knew I had to try it out.

This stew is also known as a Mulligan stew or a hobo dinner. It was originally cooked in foil packets over an open fire by American hobos during the Great Depression. But don’t let its humble origins fool you – this stew is hearty, delicious and perfect for any outdoor meal.

You’ll love how easy it is to prepare and how versatile it is as a soup or stew recipe. All you need is some ground beef or hamburger, potatoes, carrots, celery and onions along with some seasoning salt and pepper. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even add some bbq sauce to give the stew an extra kick.

Join me in making this classic dish by following my step-by-step instructions in this article. You won’t regret it!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

BBQ Hobo Stew
BBQ Hobo Stew

This hobo stew recipe is sure to have your taste buds dancing around the fire, begging for more. As a foodie, I can tell you that this hearty and versatile soup is perfect for any occasion or mood. Whether you’re camping in the great outdoors or simply craving a cozy and warm meal, this stew has got you covered.

Let me tell you why you’ll love this recipe. First, it’s an easy BBQ campfire meal that anyone can whip up with minimal effort. Seriously, all you need is some tin foil and a few simple ingredients like ground beef, potatoes, onions, carrots, and celery- which most people already have in their pantry.

Secondly, this stew is so versatile that it’s also known as mulligan stew or vegetable soup. You can substitute or add your favorite vegetables into the pack which makes it a perfect dish for those who love to experiment with different ingredients.

Lastly, let’s talk about how delicious the taste of the hobo stew is! Tender meat and veggies cooked in a savory broth over an open flame make this dish unbeatable. Its slow-cooking process makes sure this stew is full of flavor and aroma.

So why wait? Head out to your backyard or find a nice spot near a fire pit and start cooking up a hearty bowl of hobo stew. Trust me; your belly will thank you!

Ingredient List

 Sizzling away in the fire pit, my BBQ Hobo Stew is cooking up a storm
Sizzling away in the fire pit, my BBQ Hobo Stew is cooking up a storm

Let’s Gather the Goodies!

To start our tasty BBQ Hobo Stew, we’ll need these delicious ingredients:

  • 1 lb. hamburger
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced in ¼ inch thickness
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 2 cups carrots, cubed
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • BBQ sauce

This versatile soup, also known as “hobo stew,” is perfect for a simple dinner on the grill, a campfire meal or even as a quick and easy BBQ recipe. You can place it in foil packets, aluminum foil or cook it up in a Dutch oven over the fire.

The Recipe How-To

Now that you have gathered all the ingredients, let’s start cooking! The BBQ Hobo Stew recipe is a great option for a cozy meal with friends and family. It is easy to make and will certainly satisfy your hungry guests. Just follow these simple steps to create a delicious hobo stew on the grill.


  • Step 1: Start heating up the grill at medium-high temperature.
  • Step 2: Begin the preparation by peeling and cutting four medium-sized potatoes into small cubes of approximately one-fourth inch thickness.
  • Step 3: After that, rinse one celery stalk and slice them into small pieces. Reserve.


  • Step 4: Take a foil packet and place it on a large plate or cutting board. Put half pound of ground beef in the center.
  • Step 5: Sprinkle the beef generously with seasoning salt and pepper.
  • Step 6: Next, add the vegetables over the ground beef and sprinkle with more seasoning.

Tip: You can also use Yukon Gold potatoes if you enjoy sweeter flavors.

  • Step 7: Pour two cups of vegetable soup or water over the mixture.
  • Step 8: Close up the foil packet and tightly seal all the edges.

Tip: You can also add BBQ sauce for extra flavor.

  • Step 9: Place it on the grill over medium-high heat or in an oven preheated to 350°F (175°C) for about 30 to 40 minutes or until everything is tender.

Note: Avoid changing frequently sides of foil packets as it may break open and spill everything.


  • Step 10: Take it off the heat and wait for a few minutes before opening the pack to serve.

The BBQ Hobo Stew is now ready to be served. This flavorful stew makes an excellent meal perfect for any outdoor adventure or backyard gathering. Served hot or cold, this versatile soup can be paired easily with any side dish of your choice. Don’t forget to enjoy this scrumptious meal together with family or friends!

Substitutions and Variations

 This delicious dish is not just for the hobos, but for anyone who loves hearty and flavorful meals
This delicious dish is not just for the hobos, but for anyone who loves hearty and flavorful meals

Now, I know that sometimes recipe ingredients are hard to come by or you may want to try something different. Don’t worry, I’ve got some substitutions and variations for you to consider.

First off, let’s talk about the meat. While I recommend using ground beef for this hobo stew recipe, you could also use ground turkey or even sausage for a different flavor. Vegetarians can substitute the meat with a plant-based alternative.

For the vegetables, this versatile soup can handle a variety of substitutions. If you don’t have carrots or celery on hand, you could use parsnips or turnips instead. Sweet potatoes would also be a great addition for some extra sweetness. You could even throw in some green beans or mushrooms for added nutrition.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to switch up the seasoning, try adding some chili powder or cumin for a more southwestern-style hobo stew. Or, if you’re a fan of smoky flavors, add a bit of smoked paprika.

Finally, for a barbecue twist on this campfire hobo stew, stir in some BBQ sauce to give it that extra tang and smoky flavor. It’s sure to take your meal to the next level.

Remember, cooking is all about experimenting and finding what works best for you and your taste buds. So go ahead and get creative with your substitutions and variations – who knows, you might even come up with your own signature version of this classic hobo stew recipe!

Serving and Pairing

 The aromatic smell of hickory smoke mixed with savory vegetables and meats is a match made in BBQ heaven
The aromatic smell of hickory smoke mixed with savory vegetables and meats is a match made in BBQ heaven

When it comes to serving and pairing BBQ Hobo Stew, there are many options to choose from. This versatile soup is a meal in itself, so all you need to do is dish it up and enjoy! However, if you’re looking to add a little something extra to your plate, here are some suggestions.

Firstly, I recommend that you serve your stew with some crusty bread or cornbread. The bread will help soak up the delicious broth and add some texture to your meal.

If you want to add a bit of freshness and crunch to your plate, consider pairing hobo stew with a side salad. A simple green salad with tomatoes and cucumbers will complement the flavors of the stew nicely.

For those who are looking for a heartier meal, you can pair the hobo stew with mashed potatoes. This classic comfort food will elevate the meal and make it even more satisfying.

If you want to continue with the campfire theme, you could also serve your BBQ Hobo Stew with s’mores for dessert. This would be an excellent option if you’re enjoying this dish as part of a camping trip or outdoor barbecue.

In terms of beverage pairing, I suggest either a cold beer or a glass of red wine. The beer’s subtle bitterness pairs well with the richness of the BBQ Hobo Stew. Alternatively, a full-bodied red wine like merlot or cabernet sauvignon will complement the dish’s meaty flavors.

Overall, serving and pairing BBQ Hobo Stew is very flexible, so don’t hesitate to experiment with different options until you find your favorite combination!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Dig in with a spoon and take a big bite – this stew is packed with tender beef, juicy chicken, and smoky sausage
Dig in with a spoon and take a big bite – this stew is packed with tender beef, juicy chicken, and smoky sausage

So you’ve decided to make this delicious BBQ Hobo Stew recipe, but what about those unexpected guests or so you can enjoy the leftovers? Well, let me tell you that this stew is perfect for make-ahead meals and reheating.

To make ahead, simply follow the recipe instructions and store the foil pack in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, heat up the oven to 350°F and bake for 20-25 minutes or until heated through.

If you have leftovers, allow the stew to cool completely before storing it in an airtight container or a zip-top bag in the refrigerator for up to three days. To reheat, place the desired amount of stew in a saucepan and heat on medium heat until warmed throughout. You can also use a microwave-safe bowl, but be careful not to overheat it as some ingredients may become tough and chewy.

If you plan on storing the stew longer than three days, you can keep it in the freezer for up to three months. Before freezing, divide it into portions that you will eat in one sitting rather than thawing and refreezing it. For best results, store it in an airtight container or freezer bags intended for food preservation.

When reheating frozen stew, remove it from the freezer and let it thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating using your desired method.

This versatile soup is perfect for many occasions – from campfire meals to cozy dinners at home. I hope these tips have provided you with confidence when prepping ahead or storing leftovers!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Don't worry about fancy kitchenware - this stew is made in a foil packet that's easy to carry, perfect for outdoor adventures
Don’t worry about fancy kitchenware – this stew is made in a foil packet that’s easy to carry, perfect for outdoor adventures

If you want to achieve the best results when making BBQ Hobo Stew, there are a few tips and tricks that you can follow. Whether you’re cooking it over a campfire, on the grill or in the oven, these tips will help you create a delicious and hearty meal that is perfect for any occasion.

Tip 1: Use high-quality ingredients

The first and most important tip is to use fresh and high-quality ingredients. Especially when it comes to vegetables like carrots, celery, onions, and potatoes, using fresh produce will result in a much better flavor and texture. You can also opt for organic vegetables if possible which will make your stew even more wholesome.

Tip 2: Add seasoning gradually

When it comes to seasoning your hobo stew, it’s always best to add it gradually. Start by adding a small amount of salt and pepper then taste it before adding more. This will allow you to adjust the flavor accordingly and prevent the dish from becoming too salty or spicy.

Tip 3: Brown the meat first

If you’re using ground beef for your stew recipe, make sure to brown the meat first before adding it in with the rest of the ingredients. This will give your meat a nice crust which adds texture and seals in the juices.

Tip 4: Layer your ingredients

When assembling your hobo foil pack stew or preparing it for grill or oven cooking, layering your ingredients is crucial. Start by placing a layer of thinly sliced potatoes at the bottom, followed by a layer of diced onions and celery then sliced carrots. Place a layer of crumbled meat on top of this vegetable mix and repeat until all are used up. Finish with another layer of sliced potatoes on top of everything, then seal tightly with foil and maintain even heat while cooking.

Tip 5: Cook at the right temperature

Whether you’re cooking your hobo stew over a campfire or on a grill or in an oven-stove, making sure to cook at just the right temperature is essential for getting perfect results. Cooking too hot will cause your vegetables to become mushy, while cooking too low could result in undercooked food.

By following these tips and tricks, you can elevate this hobo stew recipe into something amazing that everyone will love. Try out different variations such as adding some bbq sauce or cheese to finish it with flair!


As we come to the tail-end of this recipe article, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions about this BBQ Hobo Stew recipe. These responses will be helpful in understanding the dish and making it to perfection. Let’s dive into the queries that have been lingering in your minds.

What is hobo stew made of?

Hey there BBQ enthusiasts! I’ve got a delicious recipe for you to try out – Hobo Stew! To make this hearty meal, you’ll need ground beef, onions, beans, and potatoes that have already been cooked. Once you’ve drained the hamburger, it’s time to combine all the ingredients together in a skillet. Just cover the skillet and let everything simmer for around 20 minutes. This recipe is perfect for serving 6 to 8 people, and I guarantee it’ll be a hit! Let’s get cooking!

Why is it called hobo stew?

A stew called Mulligan or Hobo stew, was reportedly made by American travelers, known as hobos, who lived in camps during the early 1900s.

What is the secret to good stew?

When it comes to making a delectable stew, time is an essential ingredient. In order to develop its rich flavor and succulent texture, it is important to use tough cuts of meat that contain collagen. However, these cuts need ample time, at least two hours, to properly break down. Hasty attempts to rush the process by boiling the stew can result in toughened muscle fibers. So, it is best to give yourself several hours to let the magic happen.

Do you need to peel Yukon Gold potatoes for stew?

When it comes to potatoes for BBQ sides or dishes, one of my top picks are Yukon Golds. Not only do they have a deliciously creamy flavor, but they also maintain their shape and don’t require any tedious peeling. It’s a win-win situation for both convenience and taste.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, I urge you to try this mouth-watering BBQ Hobo Stew recipe. Not only is it an easy-to-make, hearty meal that can be enjoyed by the whole family, but it also allows for several variations and substitutions to suit your taste preferences.

The combinations of meat, vegetables, and seasoning give this stew a unique flavor and texture that everyone will love. Whether you are a foodie hobo or an experienced chef, this versatile soup can be made in many ways and enjoyed in many settings, from camping trips to backyard barbecues.

So why not give this stew recipe a try? I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed with the outcome. Enjoy it with a slice of toast, a side salad or just by itself as a fulfilling meal. This hobo stew recipe will surely impress everyone at the dinner table.

Thank you for following along with me through all the sections of this recipe article. Now it’s time to dig in and enjoy this delectable BBQ Hobo Stew!

BBQ Hobo Stew

BBQ Hobo Stew Recipe

This is a summer favorite. I grew up having these…my grandparents made them and then my parents made them. My whole family loves these! You could make them in the oven but for some reason they just don’t taste as good as they do on the barbecue! You don’t want real lean hamburger as the dish needs some "juices" but you don’t want it too greasy either. I usually use the 12-15% fat. If you go with less fat your meat patty and veggies will seem dry. If you don’t like any of the ingredients like onions or celery…cook it all together and then pick those parts out. It is important to the taste for it to all cook together.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 405.1 kcal


  • 1 lb hamburger
  • seasoning salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 medium potatoes (peeled and sliced to about 1/4 inch thickness)
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 cup carrot, sliced


  • Tear off four good sized pieces of aluminum foil to make pouches for the "stew".
  • In the center of each piece of foil, place a 1/4 pound patty of hamburger. We generally try to have the patty about 3/4 inch thick.
  • Sprinkle meat with seasoning salt and pepper to your tastes.
  • Layer on top of the meat, potatoes, then celery and then carrot.
  • Fold up foil to make a sealed packet. You want it to be "tight" as you don’t want all the yummy juices to run out when you turn them on the barbecue.
  • Place the four packets on a heated to about medium barbecue.
  • Cook 15 minutes on the first side and then turn over and cook 10-20 minutes.
  • Check by opening a packet and making sure the potatoes feel done.
  • When the meat and pototoes are done, remove to a plate and let sit for five minutes meat side down to let the juices run back into the meat.
  • Dump out onto a plate to serve.
  • Sometimes I season the meat like meatloaf before I make the patties and sometimes I serve it with A-1 sauce and or ketchup. The vegetable and the meat compliment each other with their juices. You can add extra potatoes or make the patties bigger — you are limited only by your imagination!



Serving: 369gCalories: 405.1kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 28.4gFat: 13.2gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 76.1mgSodium: 117.9mgFiber: 6gSugar: 4.3g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Healthy, Stew
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Shara @The Bird BBQ

Shara loves to experiment with different flavors and techniques when it comes to BBQ. She has been perfecting her craft for years and loves hosting backyard BBQs with friends & family. She often comes up with creative recipes that her guests rave about.