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spoon lifting up rehydrated sloppy joes

Backcountry Sloppy Joes

Backcountry Sloppy Joes is a tangy, sweet backpacking dinner idea easy to make and loaded with flavor. Dehydrate these ingredients at home, then just add water on trail. Rich in protein and fiber with wholesome flavor, Backcountry Sloppy Joes will satisfy after a long day's hike.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Dehydration Time 12 hrs
Total Time 12 hrs 25 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Backpacking
Servings 4 people
Calories 563 kcal


For the dehydrator

  • 2 large green bell peppers
  • 1 ¼ lb lean ground beef such as 93/7
  • 2 tsp raw turbinado sugar
  • 3 tsp yellow mustard
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried minced onion
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes drained
  • 1 cup plain Minute Rice divided

For the trail (per dinner)

  • 2 tsp ghee
  • 2 Tbsp fried onions or Fritos see Notes
  • 1 large whole wheat tortilla


For the dehydrator

  • Heat oven broiler to high.
  • Place bell peppers 1-inch under broiler and roast, turning every 5-6 minutes, until skin is black and blistered. Transfer to a large resealable bag, seal, and allow to steam 15 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, remove and discard skins and seeds. Chop into small (1/4-inch) pieces. Transfer to a dehydrator tray.
  • While peppers are cooking/cooling: In a large nonstick skillet, brown and crumble the ground beef. Drain, then rinse well in a colander with hot water for a couple minutes to get rid of residual fat. Using your fingers, break up the meat into teeny pieces. Transfer to a dehydrator tray, dividing between 2 trays if necessary to allow the meat to be spread out.
  • In a small bowl, combine the sugar, mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, and minced onion. Transfer to a dehydrator tray on a fruit leather insert.
  • Transfer the diced tomatoes to a dehydrator tray.
  • Set dehydrator to 135°F and dehydrate for 4 hours, to start.
  • Each recipe element will take a different time to dehydrate, and this will fluctuate further with the specific dehydrator used. Ballpark dehydration times are as follows:
    Ground beef: 4 hours
    Green bell peppers: 3-4 hours
    Tomatoes: 6 hours
    Sloppy Joe sauce "leather": 10-12 hours
  • As each ingredient is done, pull it from the dehydrator and divide amongst 4 quart resealable freezer bags. To each bag, add ¼ cup Minute Rice.

For the trail

  • Add ¼-⅓ cup boiling water and the ghee to a Sloppy Joe bag. Seal and allow to rehydrate 15 minutes (ensure the sauce "leather" is submerged). Mix well, add more water if necessary, and allow to rehydrate an additional 5 minutes.
  • Serve topped with fried onions with a tortilla for dipping.


Note that the Sloppy Joe sauce "leather" will stay tacky, even once dehydrated, due to the sugar content. It should be pliable like fruit leather.
If the fried onions (or Fritos) are omitted, I recommend adding an extra pinch kosher salt to each dinner.
The preparation and cook times do not include the 15-20 minutes to rehydrate on trail.


Calories: 563kcal (28%) | Carbohydrates: 54g (18%) | Protein: 38g (76%) | Fat: 28g (43%) | Saturated Fat: 13g (81%) | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 88mg (29%) | Sodium: 1286mg (56%) | Potassium: 793mg (23%) | Fiber: 15g (63%) | Sugar: 19g (21%)

Calorie count is purely an estimate calculated using an online application to serve as a guide and not to be taken as accurate nutritional information. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Tried this recipe?Leave a comment below and let me know!