Out of Bounds

Colorado escape: The backcountry hut trip.

November 2013


Haute Cuisine
Just because you’re cooking on a wood stove doesn’t mean you can’t eat (and drink!) well. Here, four simple but tasty ideas.

Green Curry With Chicken
(Serves 6; best on first night of trip)
2 14-ounce cans coconut milk
2/₃ cup vegetable or chicken stock (can substitute water)
4–6 tablespoons Thai Kitchen green curry paste (use to taste)
3–4 tablespoons fish sauce (can substitute packets of
soy sauce)
2 pounds boneless chicken breast, cubed
3–4 cups vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, red peppers, broccoli, etc.), peeled and chopped
Instant jasmine rice (follow serving sizes and directions on packaging)
Fresh cilantro or basil

Simmer coconut milk, stock, curry paste, and fish sauce for 15 minutes. Add chicken and vegetables. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes (until chicken is fully cooked). Serve over cooked rice and garnish with cilantro or basil.

Jon Krakauer’s Hut-Trip Margaritas
(Serves 10–12)

Jon Krakauer, one of Colorado’s most famous authors and a backcountry veteran, swears by this recipe for hut-trip imbibing. His expert tip: Double the recipe.

750 milliliters Patrón Silver tequila
375 milliliters Cointreau
24 fluid ounces frozen
limeade (2 cans)
Juice from 4 limes
6–8 kumquats
Rock salt
Clean snow

Before departing, mix tequila, Cointreau, limeade, and freshly squeezed lime juice together in a Nalgene bottle. At the hut, slice the kumquats into wedges, then smear the rims of cups with kumquat juice and encrust with rock salt. Add a large dollop of snow to each cup (or crush icicles from the roof of the hut), fill with margarita blend from Nalgene, drop in a kumquat garnish, and enjoy.

Breakfast Burritos
(Serves 6)
At home: Scramble enough eggs, with bacon or sausage and chopped potatoes, onions, and red bell peppers, to fill six burritos. Mix and drain thoroughly. Roll all ingredients together in large flour tortillas, and wrap each burrito tightly in aluminum foil. Transport in a zip-sealed plastic bag. Reheat burritos on stove in the hut. Serve topped with salsa.

Lemon-Brined Smoked Chickens
(Serves 8)
2½ quarts water
¾ cup kosher salt
¾ cup fresh lemon juice
(from about 4 lemons)
2 tablespoons hot sauce (try Frank’s RedHot)
2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
2 4-pound chickens, backbones removed and chickens split through the breast*
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons Paprika-Ancho Spice Rub (see recipe below)

*Tip: Ask your butcher to remove the backbones and split the chickens in half.

Paprika-Ancho Spice Rub
/₃ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup sweet paprika
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1½ teaspoons ground allspice
1½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a bowl, stir the spice rub ingredients together. Prepare the chicken before you leave for the hut. In a saucepan, combine water, salt, lemon juice, hot sauce, pepper, and poultry seasoning and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. Let cool to room temperature. Put two chicken halves each in one-gallon resealable plastic bags. Pour half of the brine into each bag, seal, and refrigerate for eight hours.

At the hut, drain the chickens and pat dry. Sprinkle all over with the Paprika-Ancho Spice Rub, massaging it into the meat. Arrange the chickens skin side down on the grill over a drip pan. Cover and cook for about one hour at 250 degrees, rotating them a few times, until the skin is crisp. Turn the chickens skin side up and continue to cook for about 1.5 hours longer, rotating them a few times, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh registers 165 degrees. Monitor the grill and add more lit coals and water to the drip pan as needed to maintain the temperature and smoke level. Let the chickens rest, then serve.
Lemon-Brined Smoked Chicken recipe from Food & Wine (foodandwine.com/recipes/lemon-brined-smoked-chickens)