Trek Southwest - Hiking and Camping the Desert Southwest

Corned Beef Hash – A Campfire Breakfast Classic

in Skillet and Grill Grate Recipes

Nothing says camping mornings quite like corned beef hash to me. Growing up it was one of the things we had always had camping, but rarely at home. So when I smell it – I think of being in the forest and I swear I can smell the campfire. Now that I have a family of my own, I’ve discovered that we have a particular weakness for corned beef. What started out as a Saint Patrick’s Day tradition has turned into a meal that is begged for and requested on birthdays and other special occasions.

Corned Beef Hash

And it’s one of those meals that’s great for beginners because it’s really hard to get wrong. Since the potatoes and onions are chopped up pretty small, it also cooks quickly. So on those cold mornings (or evenings) at camp you can whip up a batch of this in no time. The secret to making most campfire meals is the prep work you do at home. And this recipe is a perfect example of that principle.

The secret to the very best corned beef hash you’ll ever have is the corned beef you choose. Growing up, my mom always used the canned corned beef. Don’t get me wrong – I love that stuff. And you can’t beat just how easy it is to open a can. But it’s a bit salty and my kids are usually suspicious because it truly does resemble dog food. But now that I’ve realized just how easy it is to cook a piece of corned beef – the version I make is scrumptious! I don’t mean to brag, but I get a lot of rave reviews from the kiddos and hubby. I had a hard time getting pictures of the finished product for this post because it was being eaten so quickly.

However, if you’re short on time or just don’t want to deal with cooking a corned beef, canned corned beef or thick-sliced corned beef from the supermarket deli are great options. I’m going to do the run-down for both variations of this recipe. The only major difference between the two is the corned beef. All the other ingredients are exactly the same. Both recipes make enough to feed 3-4 big eaters. If your family camps like ours and tends to be very active (hiking, fishing, swimming, etc) – you’ll want to plan for very hungry people.

The Quicker Recipe

  • 1 can corned beef* OR 3/4 lb of thick-sliced corned beef from your supermarket deli
  • 2-3 medium Yukon gold potatoes**
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2-3 Tbsp of butter (vegetable oil would also work)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • eggs (1-2 per person – we usually fry them)

* can be found in most grocery stores in the same section as Spam and other canned meats

** other potatoes work great too, but I prefer Yukon Golds for their mild flavor and thin skins

Chopped Potatoes

Chopped Onions

Home Prep (day before your trip)

  1. Cut potatoes into small cubes (I leave the skins on, but feel free to peel them first if you prefer.) Be aware that cutting potatoes up the day before you use them will cause them to turn brown unless you store them in water. Don’t worry though – they’re still safe to eat, just not as pretty as when they’re first cut. When it comes to hash – it’s a big mash up anyway so I find it doesn’t matter much. If it bothers you, store your potatoes in water (but since these are cubed up small, they’ll get water-logged if stored in water for more than a day) or just cut them up at the campsite.
  2. Dice onion.
  3. If you use deli corned beef, dice it into 1/2″ size cubes.
  4. Refrigerate potatoes, onions, and corned beef in separate zip-top plastic bags until your camping trip.

Cooking Day

  1. Melt butter in pan.
  2. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent (approximately 3 minutes.)
  3. Add potatoes to onions and cook until soft.
  4. Add corned beef straight from can (use your spatula to break it into smaller pieces) to potatoes and onions and cook until heated through.
  5. Remove hash from skillet and fry eggs in same pan.
  6. Serve hash and eggs together with salt and pepper to taste.

The Ultimate Recipe

  • 1 2-3 lb cooked corned beef*
  • 2-3 medium Yukon gold potatoes**
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2-3 Tbsp of butter (vegetable oil would also work)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • eggs (1-2 per person – we usually fry them)

* see below for directions – you need to cook this BEFORE your camping trip

** other potatoes work great too, but I prefer Yukon Golds for their mild flavor and thin skins

Chopped Corned Beef

Home Prep

  1. The day or two before your camping trip, cook your corned beef in a slow cooker for 8-10 hours on low. It’s not hard I promise! You simply put the corned beef in the slow cooker (fatty side up) and cover it completely with water. Don’t forget to add the spices and juices from the packaging the corned beef came in. You don’t want to waste any of that good stuff!
  2. Once the corned beef is cooked, cut it into 1/2″ cubes. I use this opportunity to remove as much of the fat from the corned beef as I can.
  3. Cut potatoes into small cubes (I leave the skins on, but feel free to peel them first if you prefer.) (See my note in the quick recipe above about cut potatoes turning brown.)
  4. Dice onion.
  5. Refrigerate corned beef, potatoes, and onions in separate containers (zip-top plastic bags work great and save space in your cooler – just make sure your corned beef is totally cool before you put it in a plastic bag.)

Cooking Day

  1. Melt butter in pan.
  2. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent (approximately 3 minutes.)
  3. Add potatoes to onions and cook until soft.
  4. Add corned beef cubes to potatoes and onions and cook until heated through.
  5. Remove hash from skillet and fry eggs in same pan.
  6. Serve hash and eggs together with salt and pepper to taste.

Close up of Hash

Add some fried eggs

Corned beef hash is ideal for cast iron or non-stick pans. We’ve used both with good results. Only difference is that you might need a little extra oil or butter for cast iron. This is also easy to cook over the campfire or over a camp stove. Here in Arizona during the summertime, campfires tend to be restricted for large chunks of time, so foods that work just as well on the camp stove as they do on the campfire are ideal.

Some people add cheese or bell peppers to the mix – those variations are wonderful additions. We tend to keep it as simple as possible because I think the corned beef is so flavorful it doesn’t need much embellishment.

I hope you enjoy this hash as much as we do!

RobinGuest Post by Robin Laulainen. Robin writes about camping and other outdoorsy stuff at Trek Southwest, pets every dog she meets, and drinks more coffee than she should. She blogs about her other passion - creating - at Make It Yourself Girl.

 

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