Rating: 6.8/ 10
Value for Money 1.0/2.5
The Back Country Cuisine range of outdoor meals is probably the best known in Australia. These meals are stocked by the majority of outdoor stores and many people consider them the staple meal choice for outdoor activities. Back Country do a huge range of meal choices and many stores seem to select a ‘top ten’ so you are unlikely to find the full range in stock in any one store. In addition to the large variety of twin serves, the company also provides single serving (entree) although the single serve options don’t seem to have as large a variety at least as far as what the stores seem to stock. I’m still working my way though the very large range but I am finding this adventure is a bit hit and miss. everyones tastes are different.
These meals are very convenient and preparation only requires the addition of 250 ml of boiling water and a recommended ten minutes to rehydrate. I have found leaving the meals for about 11-12 minutes tends to get a better result and I would suggest cutting the water back by about 20 mls as well; see what you think on this one.
The normal price sits around the $10.95 mark for a single serve pack with the twin serves working out more cost effective. Most of the larger chain stores offer member discounts or have regular sales so its worthwhile looking around. I brought this meal and a number of others at 20% of at an end of year financial sale so this makes a big difference when you are buying up big. As these products do have a long shelf life you can stock up as the sales come on line in anticipation of an upcoming trip.
The meal comes in a bag that is well designed and the bottom opens out to provide a flat base for those minimalists who want to leave the bowl at home. The option exists to tear the top off the bag to allow easy access to the food but you if you have a long handled spork/fork you won’t need to tear the bag. My other reason for not tearing the top off the bag is that you minimise any mess and after you’re done, you can re-zip the zip lock.
Not for the taste test! This is not a meal that I have ever eaten as a home cooked meal before but figured that it’s hard to go wrong with pasta. I was however apprehensive about this meal choice as it contains a flavour enhancer and while not MSG I know from personal experience that I don’t react well to them. My first comment would be that this meal requires a fork/spork to eat as the pasta spirals and beef pieces are hard to manage with a spoon. The next thing that I noticed is the strange beef pieces. The only way that I can describe the appearance and the texture is as a square sausage that has been thinly sliced. My first taste confirmed my initial thought of the beef as it tastes like a thinly sliced square sausage. I felt that the meal tastes a bit underwhelming as it lacked a degree of spiciness but that probably suits the majority of hikers. However as I continued eating this meal it surprised me. For all my negative thoughts I couldn’t stop eating it and in fact rather than pacing myself I couldn’t stop shovelling the food into my mouth. Go the flavour enhancer!
So what is the verdict? I think that there are a number of meal choices from both Back Country and Outdoor Gourmet that taste far better, and are more satisfying. While I wouldn’t add this to my normal meal rotation on a long trip I think that some people will like this meal option.
An easy to prepare meal whether it be on a short or long trip for camping and hiking
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This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by the reviewer
Back Country Cuisine Beef and Pasta Hotpot as purchased
The bottom of the bag opens out to provide a flat surface. Opening out the base will allow the meal to more evenly rehydrate. If you don’t open the base fully, you will get ‘dry pieces’ in your dinner
Uncooked meal in the now opened bag
The meal now rehydrated and the bag torn down