Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A1 and Brown Sugar Bacon Wrapped Chicken Skewers

It was Groundhog day, our fifth wedding anniversary. My husband and I were camping in Joshua Tree, expecting very few other campers because it was the Monday following Super Bowl Sunday; who else goes camping on a Monday in February? We were enjoying the sun and solitude, catching up on some reading, when a giant RV full of what appeared to be rambunctious college guys pulled up and parked in the space across the street from us.

Slightly annoyed because their RV was blocking our view of the sunset, we started preparing dinner. On the menu that night was hobo stew--a family favorite and camping staple consisting of ground beef and vegetables cooked in foil pouches over the campfire.

As we were getting ready to cook our stew, one of our new neighbors came over and asked if we had any pepper we could spare. Of course, I am always over-prepared for every situation. So, I handed him the miniature, made-for-camping salt and pepper shaker I had just bought at REI. A few minutes later, a different neighbor (this one was shirtless and noticeably drunk) returned with our pepper shaker, empty. He handed me a bottle of red wine as he explained that he didn't realize how small the container was. We definitely got the better end of that deal, and a great story to tell!

Later, as we enjoyed our wine and stew, we were serenaded by a man who was evidently hotboxing in the space next to us. I suppose the desert is a prime location for that sort of thing. We thought he was singing hymns at first, but I'm pretty sure he started making up songs, or at least improvising lyrics, as it got later. It was a very memorable evening.

My husband and I have been on a few backpacking trips together, but this was our first experience staying at an actual campground, just the two of us. We both have fond memories of family camping trips, so it was nice to be able to make some similar memories together.

Every evening was an absolute delight, between campfires, an endless supply of snacks, even our rowdy neighbors and their RV full of wine. My parents even joined us the first night and brought their telescope along. The full moon was beautiful, though it made stargazing a little difficult. However, we did get to see Jupiter and some of its moons.

Even with an all-day hike on Sunday, I managed to gain weight on this trip. I can honestly say, though, that I thoroughly enjoyed every ounce of it. Seriously. Check out the view we had every night while we cooked dinner.

Don't mind my greasy hair. That's just part of the camping experience.

As a last-minute addition to our camping menu, I put together some bacon-wrapped chicken skewers. I was going to be good and do veggie skewers, but decided against it when I discovered we had an open package of bacon in the fridge. (I didn't want it to go bad while we were on our trip... You believe me, right?) I poured some A1 and brown sugar on the skewers, let them marinate in the ice chest for two days, then cooked them over our campfire. The result was magical!

A1 and Brown Sugar Bacon Wrapped Chicken Skewers
(Print Recipe)

6 wooden skewers
3 Chicken Breasts
6 slices bacon
1/2 cup A1 Sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar

Cut chicken into bite-sized cubes. Slide one end of a slice of bacon onto a skewer so that it hangs close to the tip.

Follow with a piece of chicken, then pull the bacon up and slide everything down an inch or so.

Repeat until you reach the end of the bacon slice. I ended up with 6-7 pieces of chicken per skewer.

Trim a few inches off the pointed side of the skewers. This is for two reasons: so they will fit easily into a gallon-sized re-sealable bag, and so they won't tear giant holes in said bag. Just in case, I recommend double-bagging the skewers to guard against leakage, especially if you plan on transporting it anywhere.

Before you seal them in, mix the brown sugar and A1 together and pour it over the skewers. Close the bag(s), then gently work the whole concoction until the marinade covers all the skewers. Keep in the fridge or ice chest until ready to cook, up to 4 days.

In my opinion, these are best grilled, but they are also very good baked. Grill on high, or over a campfire grate lined with foil, for 20-30 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.

Or, bake on a cookie sheet lined with foil at 375° F for 30-45 minutes, flipping after 20 minutes. They are done when the bacon starts to crisp and the marinade caramelizes.

These are so easy to prepare ahead of time, and they taste amazing after a long day of hiking. I will make these for every camping trip I embark on, forever.