Food on the Trail

If there’s one thing I like to know, it’s where my next meal is coming from. Whether I’m on the couch or out in the woods, I find it of great comfort to know there’s a sandwich available when hunger strikes. And so do my family, since I’m not exactly the nicest woman you’ve ever met when I’m two Ritz crackers shy of a total hunger rage. While a good ole turkey sandwhich or granola bar will keep my crew and me happy out on the trail, from time to time, it’s nice to enjoy something a little more gourmet than Oscar Meyer while you’re enjoying nature.

However, strapping a grill to the back of your quad isn’t exactly a feasible approach to trail food on-the-go, which is why my interest was sparked by the idea of cooking accessories for your ride. Recently, I was watching a television show about snowmobiling in Alaska, and discovered that under the hood of their sleds were small metal boxes, designed specifically for cooking up meat wrapped in foil. Mind you, they were heating up whale meat or caribou or something ridiculously Alaskan like that – but still, I wanted one!

After a little research, I located a nifty pre-made metal box available for purchase, known as the “Hot Dogger.” Designed to strap to your muffler, the basic concept is that meat (or brats, or a delicious and healthy veggie mix) wrapped in foil will cook from the heat of your sled’s muffler while you ride. Cool, right? I mean, there’s a chance it could taste a tad like two-stroke smoke I suppose, but when you’re cold and want a good meal, who’s really that picky?

Other options for trail cooking include homemade contraptions, consisting of primarily the same design: a small metal box that latches closed and installs close to the muffler as a heat source. Ideally, food should always be wrapped in foil to avoid meat juices or sticky gunk from adhering to parts and reduce the risk of oil or other fluids inadvertently making their way into your meal. However, even the option of eating in a new way intrigues me.

Sure, you can always pack a picnic, stock up on protein bars or load your packs with cookies, but exploring new ways to cook and eat while on a motorized trek can add an entirely new dimension to your outdoor recreation. Just imagine the opportunities — treat your lady to a ride on the sled, followed by a romantic meal of muffler meat surprise. Mmm-mmm-good.