Score massive deals on the best outdoor gear   Get on the GEAR DEALS list   sent weekly to your inbox


06/04/2015 by Brian Eagen

Backcountry Chili


Time: 1 day then 10 minutes

Serves: 4

Type: Backpacking


This is a pre-made and then dehydrated meal that you prepare before entering the field. Grab a medium-sized pot and a spoon, get cooking on your home stove, and then dehydrate the entire chili for a lightweight and tasty backpacking meal option.


1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Ea Red Onion, Minced
1 Ea Bell Pepper, Minced
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1/2 Lb Lean Ground Turkey
28 Oz Kidney Beans, Drained
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
2 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Paprika
1/2 Tsp Cayenne
1/2 Tsp Salt
28 Oz Canned Crushed Tomatoes
4 Oz Green Chilies, Diced, Drained
3 Cups Water
1/4 Cup Romano Cheese, Finely Shredded


Start things off by sauteing the onion, bell pepper, and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes over a medium high flame.

Sauteed Veggies

Add the turkey, beans, and spices and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Add the tomato and water and bring the whole mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer without a lid for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Simmer the chili

Add the finely grated cheese and stir to incorporate it into the chili. Make sure there are no big clumps of turkey or cheese (they don't dehydrate well).

Remove the chili from the heat and let it sit overnight in the fridge. In the morning, spread the chili out onto fruit roll dehydrator sheets. These are plastic sheets which can hold liquid, often used when making fruit leathers. If you don't have this type of sheet you can also line a regular tray with plastic wrap, but make sure to cut a hole in the center to allow air to circulate. I used 4 trays to hold all of the chili

Cooked chili on tray

Set the dehydrator to 135 degrees and let it run for 5 hours. Rotate the positions of the trays after 5 hours and break up any large pieces before letting it run for at least another 5 hours. Depending on how soupy your chili came out it may require 8 - 12 hours total to dehydrate. You'll know it's done when you can break apart pieces of the meat and there is no moisture.

Dehydrated chili on tray

Let it cool in the trays, and then transfer it into sandwich sized ziplock bags; each tray will make a generous portion size.

Ziplock of dried chili

In the field, heat 1 cup of water to a boil. Pour the chili into a bowl and then add the boiling water.

Dried chili in a bowl Chili incorporating with water

Let the chili sit for at least 5 minutes before diving in.

Prepared backcountry chili
The Beta:


Want some more of that?
Follow Along