This Kettle Beef Recipe is the ultimate comfort food. It’s the perfect easy dish when you want to create a lot of flavor with simple ingredients. This “meat, potatoes and gravy” classic is one of our family favorite meals. It tops our list of the best hearty camping dinner recipes.
This is one of my easy camping meals that requires very little ingredient prep. The only thing you’ll be chopping is a bit of onion, garlic and slicing the meat into 1 inch chunks.
Cooking Methods & Equipment
Unless you’re making an instant pot beef tips recipe, it takes a long time to cook inexpensive cuts of beef to get them nice and tender. So, since most of us don’t use that equipment, or even make slow cooker beef tips in an electric crock pot while camping, we need to prepare for a long cooking time with camp cooking methods.
If you are making this as one of our easy campfire recipes, you’ll need to get your fire going and prepare for about 1.5 hours of cooking time. It’s best to use a slow-burning hardwood to maintain cooking heat for that period of time.
You can also make this as one of our camp stove recipes (like I did in my VIDEO when I cooked during a time of campfire restrictions) so get your stove ready for cooking on a level surface and make sure you have enough propane for a long cooking time.
Step 1. Prepare your ingredients, heat source and equipment as directed.
Heat oil in a large skillet, large pot with tight-fitting lid, or 12-inch cast iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat using campfire coals, a camp stove, RV or conventional stove top. (Medium-high heat is about 4 seconds using the hand test temperature method.)
Hand Test For Cooking Temperatures
You don’t need a thermometer to determine the temperature of your heat source for cooking. Here are steps for the “hand test”.
- Hold the palm of your hand about 5 inches above the heat source (campfire coals, charcoal briquettes, propane grill etc.) you’re using for cooking. (Make sure nothing is flammable, like clothing or jewelry.)
- Pull your hand away from the heat before it hurts and note how many seconds have passed. Example: 6-7 seconds = medium heat.
Step 2. Add the onions. Add the chopped onion to the pot and sauté until almost translucent, about 3 minutes.
Step 3. Brown the meat. Reduce to medium heat and add the cubed beef to the pot. Stir in the salt, pepper and garlic. Stir the contents to brown the meat on all sides, about 5 minutes.
Step 4. Add liquids and simmer. You’ll add the beef broth, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce to the pot and increase to high heat to bring to boil. Then, you’ll reduce the heat so the liquid is simmering. Cover and cook until the meat is tender.
You’ll get the best flavor and texture if you simmer the 1 inch chunks of meat for about 1.5 hours. If you’ve had a busy day on the trail and are short on time, you can reduce the cooking time but I recommend cooking no less than 1 hour. Tougher cuts of meat need at least that much time to break down to become tender.
Step 5. Make the homemade gravy. You’ve already made half the gravy recipe, now you’ll just need to whisk a little flour (or corn starch to prepare as gluten free camping food) with some water to create a thickening agent. It’s time to add it to the pot, increase the heat so the liquid boils. Cook uncovered until the gravy reaches your desired thickness.
Step 6. Serve hot. You’ll really want to soak up the gravy because there is a lot of flavor in it. So, I recommend serving this meal over mashed potatoes, cauliflower mash, egg noodles or rice.
Fresh mushrooms have a meat-like consistency and are a great way to stretch the meal to feed more people. Just after adding the flour/water thickening agent to the pot, stir in some thick-sliced mushrooms, they’re a great addition to create a mushroom gravy.
What To Serve With This Recipe
When I’m making warm and hearty winter camping recipes, I like serving a hot green veggie on the side. Steamed green beans and broccoli are some of my personal favorites.
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Any leftover roast beef tips and leftover gravy should be stored in an airtight container and kept refrigerated or frozen. Reheating is great but any leftovers can also be used as a base for making a yummy soup.
Fork-tender beef stew is another one of my favorite Dutch oven camping recipes. The bacon and drippings provide awesome flavor to the chuck roast, potatoes, carrots and celery in a tomato-based sauce. This Campfire Stew is a real crowd-pleaser.
This Dutch Oven Beef Stroganoff combines flat iron steak with mushrooms in a creamy sauce that’s served over pasta. You can be confident the whole family will love this meal. See all of my camping pasta recipes.
The next time you want a “Sunday dinner” at your campsite, try this simple recipe. My Campfire Roast Beef is like a traditional pot roast with potatoes but with a Mexican flair. It’s so easy and yummy! Check out all of our Dutch oven Mexican recipes.
Saying you need a handful of ingredients is not an understatement! You only need 3 to make these super-tasty Dutch Oven Beef Sandwiches!
The “drunken meatballs” in my Dutch Oven Spaghetti And Meatballs are so delicious! The homemade meatballs take on an extra level of flavors when cooked in a homemade sauce with a touch of red wine.
When you want an easy recipe that uses ingredients commonly available at your neighborhood grocery store, try Dutch Oven Chicken And Potatoes. Bacon, chicken broth, potatoes, carrots and boneless skinless chicken breasts are combined to make this wonderful recipe.
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Kettle Beef Recipe
- 12-Inch, 6 Quart Cast Iron Camp Dutch Oven (or large skillet with tight-fitting lid)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 lbs beef chuck roast or rump roast trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 (14 oz) can beef broth (see * Note)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 2 tablespoons flour (or 1 tablespoon cornstarch to keep it gluten-free)
- Heat oil in a large skillet or 12-inch cast iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat of campfire coals, a camp stove, RV or conventional stove top.
- Add onion and sauté until almost translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Reduce to medium heat and add the cubed beef to the pot. Stir in the salt, pepper and garlic. Stir the contents to brown the meat on all sides, about 5 minutes.
- Increase to high heat, pour beef broth, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce into the pot. Let contents come up to a boil, then, reduce heat to low and cover with tight fitting lid. Simmer until meat is tender, about 1.5 hours. (see ** Note)
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk water and flour until thoroughly combined, then, add the flour mixture to the meat mixture. Increase to medium high heat and bring mixture to a boil. Cook uncovered stirring frequently until the gravy is slightly thickened and the beef is fork tender. Cook longer for thicker gravy or less time if you want it a little thinner.
- Optional serving suggestions: Serve over mashed potatoes, cauliflower mash, egg noodles or rice and top with the warm gravy.