Hearty, satisfying, easy but most of all delicious backcountry jambalaya you can enjoy while on the trail!

Backcountry jambalaya is my attempt to stay on schedule with my once a month backpacking meal series.  I think I’m doing great so far…two straight months in a row.  Yay me!  I only made this declaration of a once a month meal series about, oh, 10 months ago, so… Yeah.

But I’m here for month two and I’m telling you, I’ve outdone myself.  Seriously.  Jambalaya doesn’t seem like something one would have while out on the trail, I know, but once I got this recipe right, I feel bad for myself that I’ve not made this sooner. 

The wife and I have been working this through in different variations for a long time. Probably a year. It all started when she told me that when she was a kid, there at the grocery store checkout near the candy bars, there was dried shrimp and sometimes she would get that and how great it was. 

Then we just thought, that could make a great jambalaya for the trail.  It spiraled from there, like how to we get the rice good and not mushy, will it be too salty from the shrimp, how packable is this gonna be, is everyone able to access dried shrimp?  

In the end, we left out the shrimp because I love my fellow trail people.  I don’t want to have people out buying dried Taiwan shrimp because they can’t find Louisiana wild.  I just can’t do that to you guys.  That would be sad.

So after testing this like, 5011 times, I settled on chicken, beautiful spices, a spicy tangy sausage and dried veggies.  I’m not kidding when I tell you, this jambalaya is actually better than 90% of the jambalayas I’ve had in real life.  Yes, even in the swamps of Louisiana.  This jambalaya is so satisfying on the trail and way easy to pack.  

Let’s do this!

Backcountry Jambalaya

Hearty, satisfying jambalaya on the trail.


  • 1.5 ounces fuel
  • 3/4 cup instant rice
  • 1 tablespoon dried tomato flakes
  • 2 teaspoons dried bell pepper
  • 1 teapsoon dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon freeze dried garlic or garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon tomato bouillon
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3-4 ounces packed chicken, Sweet Sue makes a great one
  • dried/cured/pickled sausage, sliced Smokey Valley summer sausage is great in this
  • 1 cube beef bouillon cube, powder, or paste will work
  • water, just to cover all ingredients


  1. To pack this up:  In a zippie bag, place the rice and all the dry ingredients together.  In the same bag, toss in the container of chicken and the sausage.  Done.

  2. On to the cook. Light your fuel and toss in your sliced sausage of choice in the pot and brown it up. This browning is for flavor enhancement but totally optional.  If you’re hangry, just skip this step.

  3. Once browned to your liking, add in all other ingredients. Add enough water just to cover the concoction. Give it a stir. Add more water if needed.  

  4. Put the lid on the pot and bring to a boil.  Cook until you run out of fuel, which is right on time for me, or just check it and see what it looks like.  The rice should be plump and the liquid should be pretty much gone.

    Give a good stir and eat up!

Recipe Notes

  • I’ve tried a few different sausages.  I like the one from Smoky Valley.  It’s spicy and very slightly vinegary.  But all the ones I’ve tried were good.  You could use a dried salami, chorizo, even Spam.  
  • If you want to use the Keith Titanium Ti6300, scroll to 5:57 time frame.
Hearty, satisfying, easy but most of all delicious backcountry jambalaya you can enjoy while on the trail!

This post partied at: Weekend Potluck

Backcountry Jambalaya - Trail Food

18 thoughts on “Backcountry Jambalaya – Trail Food”

  1. Great recipe! I always bring this with me on my backpacking trips. I’ve made a minor modification by using my own cooked, dehydrated rice instead of instant rice so I can easily rehydrate this in silicone bags (done in around 5 minutes + the time it takes to boil water). I usually carry some pepperoni sticks and chop them into the bag before cooking. The flavors were really punchy when I used homemade tomato flakes and dried peppers.

  2. I live in Canada and can’t seem to find tomato boullion or tomato flakes – do you think I could substitute with dehydrated tomato sauce?

    1. 1 or 2 people, I would say. Depends on how hungry you are. I have eaten it all and I’ve also split it. I would give it a test at home before you take it out, just to see what you’re looking at, serving size-wise.

  3. Hey! I tried this with a group in an outdoor skills training and everyone loved it but said it could use a little more tomato. I bought the tomato bouillon I could find (knorr tomato with chicken flavor) and I was really curious what you used to make your recipe? I’d love to hear what companies you have found product from so I can beef up my backpackers pantry! Thanks! Maria

    1. That’s the brand I use. I have found the brand of tomato flakes used makes a difference. Some are more punchy and tomatoey and some are just sad and lacking in flavor. Piggly Wiggly sells a large shaker container of tomato flakes that really like. Piggly Wiggly also has shaker containers of dried bell peppers, onions, and mixed veggies.

      You can always dehydrate some tomato sauce/paste and toss that in for more tomato flavor. Or dehydrate quartered cherry tomatoes.
      I lean towards more of a cajun jambalaya than a creole style, so the tomato amount is just my personal preference, but I think adding more flakes tomatoes or sauce/paste would take it where you want it to go.

  4. Wow, Jaxx, this is like having gourmet food while on the trail! The flavours all sound great, and your Jambalaya is nutritious too. Thank you for sharing, and for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party. Hope you are having a good week!

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