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Author: Trent Short
After a great day fishing, hiking or swimming, there’s nothing better than sitting beside a campfire with your friends and family. Once the flames swell into a blaze and the smoke shoos away the mosquitoes, it isn’t long before someone wants to roast something over it.
In my experience, there are really only a few classic foods most consider using a campfire to cook. The most common campfire eats seem to be the roasted marshmallow, the flame-cooked hot dog and the ever-popular s’more.
All of these are great and I’ve rarely experienced a camping trip without enjoying one or two of them. But there’s a fourth campfire treat that really should be recognized – the hobo pie.
I should stop right there. Some of you are nodding your heads and remembering a camping experience from a long time ago. Others of you are scratching your heads and thinking, "I thought everybody did hobo pies." But too many of you have no idea what I’m talking about, so let me explain.
Since 1964, the Rome Company has been making and selling a device called the Pie Iron™, the inventive tool needed to make a hobo pie.
The Pie Iron’s two solid metal plates, each with long metal rods and wooden handles, are made to be used with a campfire. The two plates hinge and latch neatly together sealing a concave space between the two plates. Like an old-time iron that’s put in the fire to heat, the Pie Iron is specifically designed to hold a sandwich-sized object for safe, in-the-fire heating.
In order to make a hobo pie, you only need a fire, silverware, a Pie Iron, two pieces of bread, butter and your favorite fruit pie filling.
To begin, simply take your two pieces of bread and butter one side of each. Keeping the butter to the outside, place one piece of bread over the concave space of one half of the Pie Iron. Next, fill the middle of this piece of bread with fruit pie filling like you’re making a sandwich. Keeping the butter on the outside, place the second piece of bread atop the other. Now, hinge the second half of the Pie Iron in place, bring it down and lock the handles. All that’s left to do is to place the end of the iron in the fire and wait.
After a few minutes, the butter will melt, the fruit filling will heat and the bread will transform into a tasty, crunchy crust. Pop that pie out with a butter knife and you’re ready to take a bite.
What’s great about this treat is that it can be custom-made to suit the pickiest eaters. You simply have to choose the fillings that will best please your crowd of fireside snackers. Whatever flavor pie filling the grocery store has, whatever preserves grandma has in her pantry, even the commercial-made jelly from out of the fridge – it all works equally well.
The most genius part of Rome’s Pie Irons is that its design is simple, yet its variable uses as a cooking device are hard to count. Think about it, it seals, protects and evenly heats a sandwich-sized cavity. What else could be cooked in the fire with this kind of setup?
Without any extra effort, it can be used to make grilled cheese or grilled cheese and meat sandwiches. With ease, it can campfire cook a sized-to-fit amount of ground meat, a small steak or even a chicken breast. With practice and some milk and eggs, Texas toast might heat into an outdoor French toast breakfast. The possibilities are almost limitless.
Rome does make many other over-the-fire cooking utensils and Cabela’s does sell many of these. We offer Round Hobo Pie Irons, Double Burger Grillers, Dog n’ Brat Cookers and more. These are also great products, each made with heavy-duty cast iron and the easy-to-use hinge design. But only the Pie Iron’s versatility has merited its own cookbook and yes, we sell that too.