Grilled Surprise Packages

June 22, 2010 · 19 comments · Print This Post

in An Erin Cooks Original, Dinner, Grilled, Maine, Nostalgia

My grandfather, Edgar, passed away when I was in Kindergarten but even though that was 25 years ago I still have a host of lovely memories of the short time he and I spent together.

I often fondly recall how he would let me sit on the kitchen counter while he mixed up a batch of fluffy biscuits for dinner. Then he’d patiently allow me to cut out each circle of dough with my small clumsy hands. In addition, my grandparents used to have an enormous garden back then and I vividly remember helping my grandfather dig potatoes in the backyard. He’d hand them to me and then I’d gingerly pile the dirty vegetables into my candy red Radio Flyer wagon. This same man would also allow me to tie pink bows and place plastic pastel barrettes in his hair while he watched M*A*S*H after dinner.

Perhaps one of my favorite childhood reminiscences though was when my grandparents purchased a brand new gas grill. I remember riding my Powder Puff Big Wheel back and forth on the soapstone roads that I had carefully drawn on their driveway while my grandmother read the assembly instructions for the new grill to my grandfather. When everything was finally put together he made “Surprise Packages” for us.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever really heard of other families making these but Surprise Packages in my family are a combination of thinly sliced potatoes, onions, and carrots topped with bacon and butter. This mixture is then placed in an aluminum foil pouch which is tossed on the grill until the bacon is cooked and the veggies soften. Often the carrots caramelize quite a bit which I just love. The smell of this combination of ingredients takes me right back to the summer days of my childhood when my day-to-day cares consisted of little more than blowing bubbles and badminton.

I wonder sometimes how accurate the memories I hold are. Perhaps I only remember these moments with my grandfather via conversations with my mother and grandmother? Or maybe I’ve seen pictures of us doing these types if activities so frequently that I’ve created a history for us? I suppose in the end it shouldn’t matter. After all, we’ll always have Surprise Packages.

Surprise Packages
Yields Two Servings. Simply double the below amounts to accommodate more hungry mouths.

1 potato, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
1 onion (red or white), thinly sliced
2 strips of thick cut bacon
2 teaspoons of butter
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
2 pieces of aluminum foil (enough to make a neatly wrapped packet)

Lightly coat the foil with cooking spray. Layer the potato, onion, and carrot slices evenly on each piece of foil. Top the vegetables with a single slice of bacon. Then season with the salt, pepper, onion and garlic powders. Top with a small dollop of butter.

Fold the foil into well sealed pouches and place onto a hot grill. Cook until the bacon is cooked through and the vegetables are softened; approximately 15-20 minutes.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nat June 22, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Yum! These look great! I’d imagine you could do this in the oven too, right? Maybe at around 180 – 200 C?
Might try one when I get home from work!


2 Erin June 23, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Nat – I’ve never tried these in the oven but I bet that would work perfectly fine as well. Please let me know if you have good results!


3 Julie June 22, 2010 at 10:09 pm

What fun memoris of your grandfather! We make something similar to this, just with potatoes. Love the addition of the bacon.


4 Sharlene June 22, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Lovely post and memories of your grandparents! I can taste the bacony buttery goodness just looking at your pictures. Can’t wait to throw these on the grill!


5 Julia Barrett June 23, 2010 at 8:48 am

BEST. POST. EVER. I am going to try it!


6 wummy June 23, 2010 at 8:54 am

Grandpa alway cooked all week-end along. From Saturday breakfast to Sunday night homemade pizza.


7 Charles G Thompson June 23, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Really wonderful post. I enjoyed reading every word. The Surprise Packages are so unique – I love the idea of them. I often wonder how many of my childhood, family memories are clouded by time, and my mother’s stories. They may be but they’re my memories all the same!


8 EB June 23, 2010 at 6:04 pm

I LOVE the image of your gpa with barrettes and bows in his hair.


9 Jenious June 24, 2010 at 10:55 am

This is such a darling tribute. What a great man. And, this recipe is awesome. I’d be serving it up asap if someone hadn’t stolen our grill. City living…


10 Kelly June 24, 2010 at 5:45 pm

We would make something very similar when we went camping. We called them ‘hobo dinners.’ I’m not sure where the name really came from but that was always what they were known as in our family by that name. Ours were usually ground beef plus a mixture of veggies. We made them on camp fires and tried them at home but they were never the same.


11 Jen July 3, 2010 at 8:03 pm

We too made something similar while camping! Only we filled out campfire pockets with skinless, boneless chicken breasts, layered with thin slices of potatoes, zucchini and squash, onions and of course garlic and butter! I love when the insides get all crispy and charred. YUM!


12 joan June 25, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Great memories! We are camping in August and this would be so good. I can prepackage them beforehand.


13 Lindsey June 27, 2010 at 8:31 pm

I need a grill now.


14 Katelyn Likes This June 28, 2010 at 7:54 pm

What a lovely story! I have nice memories of my grandparents too 🙂


15 Kerri Anne July 2, 2010 at 2:18 am

Such a sweet post. (And I totally grew up watching M*A*S*H with my grandparents, too! I loved Radar.)


16 Anne July 10, 2010 at 12:24 pm

My father used to make these to go along with his fried fish – usually fish he had just caught in our nearby lake. Yum!


17 Bill July 17, 2010 at 11:31 pm

Thanks for posting this recipe and describing grandpa memories. He sounds like he was a fun guy who really loved his grand-daughter. Joy!


18 Matt March 18, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I make them all the time……But here’s what I do….

I make a burger patty, season it and throw it on the tinfoil. Then I cut up potatoes, and onions and put that over the burger. Then put corn (frozen) all over the top of that. Half stick of butter. Salt and pepper. SUPER AWESOME!


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