For me, mornings on trail are by far the hardest part of the day. Forget big mileage, blisters, or bugs— climbing out of a toasty warm sleeping bag? Not easy. Luckily, I have a backpacking breakfast recipe that will make you want to get out of bed and will restore some of that belly warmth from the inside out, too.
Behold… Icka Brunch
Where the name Icka Brunch comes from originally, I couldn’t tell you. The name and recipe come to me from a YMCA camp in the Northwoods of Wisconsin where I led canoeing trips. And let me tell you, no trail recipe is more reliably vetted than one by a group of picky thirteen-year-olds. This cheesy-hashbrown skillet dish is well tested and always makes that painful trek out of your sleeping bag totally worth it.
Butter your fry pan generously (you’re hiking, it’s okay to be generous) on both the bottom and sides of the pan, and set it on your camp stove or fire to heat up. Next, add the dehydrated hashbrowns to the pan and spread them evenly across the bottom (I use Hungry Jack Original Hashbrowns).
Let the dehydrated hashbrowns toast up in the pan a bit before you hydrate them. Toasting the hashbrowns before you add water allows for a crispier texture in the final product. After the hashbrowns have begun to brown slightly, add in the water little by little, mixing after each time you pour. Pour and mix the water into the dehydrated hashbrowns until they have reached your desired texture (go ahead and grab one out of the pan and give it a taste to see if you’re happy with it).
Next, using a spatula, push the hasbrowns to the sides of the pan, creating an open circle in the middle of your skillet. Add a pat of butter to the exposed area and crack your eggs into it one at a time (I usually use 1-2 eggs per person).* Scramble the eggs using your spatula and allow them to start cooking in the middle of the pan. After about a minute, combine the eggs with the hashbrowns to continue cooking.
While the head chef is completing these steps, have a sous chef dice up some yellow onion and garlic and cube some cheddar cheese and summer sausage. Add the onions to the pan and mix them into the hashbrowns and eggs.
Next, push the mixture to the sides of the pan and create an open space in the middle the same way you did for the eggs. Add your summer sausage to the middle of the pan to fry up slightly before combining it with the rest of the mixture. Go ahead and add the garlic and cheese and cook until the cheese is melted and the rest of the mixture is cooked to your desired crispiness. Serve it up and add salt, pepper, garlic salt, and hot sauce as you like!
Icka Brunch Ingredients:
- 1 small carton of Hungry Jack Original Hashbrown Potatoes
- ½-1 cup water
- 4 eggs
- ½ large yellow onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 3-4 ounces medium cheddar cheese
- ¼-½ summer sausage
- ¼ stick butter
- Hot sauce
- Garlic salt, cayenne, red pepper flakes… (Spices are the key to backcountry cooking— go big or hike home)
Serves 2 | Cook Time: 15 min
*For shorter trips, I pack real eggs in a plastic egg holder made by Coghlan’s (http://www.rei.com/product/696008/coghlans-6-egg-holder) or pack the eggs in a tin can separated by layers of pine needles and duck-tapped over the top. For longer trips, powdered eggs work just fine.