road trip snacks
August 30, 2007 6:18 PM   Subscribe

Road trip food?

Please recommend some good snacks/food for the SO's and my road trip this weekend (about 6 hours on the road). Please be specific, for example: what is the best brand of beef jerky?
posted by shotgunbooty to Food & Drink (45 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Scotch eggs.
posted by Mitheral at 6:35 PM on August 30, 2007

Fresh fruit (grapes are my favorite) and/or dried fruit (raisins, dates, etc.)

Protein sources (individual serving-size sticks of mozarella and cheddar cheese, nuts, etc.)

Salty/crunchy snacks (pretzels, crackers, etc.)

Pick things that won't be "messy" and that are easy to divide into individual servings. And bring plenty of hydrating beverages (water, tea, natural juices).
posted by amyms at 6:40 PM on August 30, 2007

I always make some gorp...
posted by yodelingisfun at 6:40 PM on August 30, 2007

We always stocked up on Gardetto's Italian Recipe, but, then again, we're idiots.
posted by erikgrande at 6:47 PM on August 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

Boston Baked Beans are indispensable for a road trip.
posted by frobozz at 6:52 PM on August 30, 2007

peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! don't spread too much on, and cut into quarters for easy serving. i like whole wheat--it doesn't get as soggy.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:54 PM on August 30, 2007

(and Slim Jim is still the best beef jerky. :) )
posted by frobozz at 6:59 PM on August 30, 2007

Jack Link's is the best beef jerky. Otherwise trail mix is always a good bet. My partner and I like to go to an old-style candy shop beforehand and pick out a few hundred grams of stuff we've never heard of. It's fun to try weird candy and sometimes you hit the jackpot.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:09 PM on August 30, 2007

I always like animal crackers.
posted by emilyv at 7:12 PM on August 30, 2007

Purchase Coca-Cola in bottle. Drink some. Pour in salted peanuts. Drink and munch your way down the road. This is an old family tradition. It has the advantages of being:

1. Slightly dangerous, cuz you could inhale a peanut and die!
2. Just repellent enough to be tempting.
3. Actually tasty.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:20 PM on August 30, 2007 [4 favorites]

Best beef jerky, if you can get it, (i.e. live out west) is World Products. Tangy, sweet, salty, and incredibly cheap. Besides that , get some Clif bars and a bunch of water. And gorp. Best gorp recipe:

1 large jar honey roast peanuts.
1 box raisins
1 packet dried cranberries
1 package (12 oz) peanut butter M&Ms
Put half of each ingredient in a 1-gallon ziploc bag. Put the rest in another bag. Roll the bags over and over to mix. Give one bag to your friends and they will love you forever. Take the other bag on the road trip. Note: this recipe goes well with Red Bull.
posted by notsnot at 7:35 PM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

(the hotter the better)
posted by jimmyhutch at 7:36 PM on August 30, 2007

Dry sausages. Something of at least half-decent quality, of course, not anything that comes in an "individual serving" packet. If you're too lazy to cut it with a knife, you don't deserve nice food.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:46 PM on August 30, 2007

Lunchables! The classic cracker/meat/cheese variety, though, not those strange pizza wannabes.
posted by phatkitten at 7:47 PM on August 30, 2007

OMG 2nding Boston Baked Beans.

Also, corn nuts! Mmmmmm. Conveniently available wherever gasoline is served.

Hard candy is great too. You can pop one in your mouth and see how many miles it lasts.

Also, I notice this is just a 6 hour trip. That means, barring mayo, eggs, or fish, pretty much any food you bring with you will safely last the entire trip. So you can bring any kind of sandwich you like, if our freaky suggestions are weirding you out.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:49 PM on August 30, 2007

Rye bread, swiss cheese, a nice strong mustard.
posted by escabeche at 7:50 PM on August 30, 2007

Oh, here's a wacky idea. If you're not in a rush to get where you're going, rather than stocking up on loads and loads of snacky foods (which bizarrely tend to be pretty expensive -- beef jerky can run 4 or 5 dollars for a puny little bag), why not stop off at a truck stop diner? Some of the most local and tasty food can be had at a truck stop diner. For sure it will give you something to talk about later.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:52 PM on August 30, 2007

Scotch Eggs? Baked beans? I'm either confused or crazy.

Road trip for me = don't have food that may sit dangerously in your stomach... or food that will produce certain gaseous by-products for anyone else the vehicle.

Keep it light, or try something local.
posted by donguanella at 8:01 PM on August 30, 2007

Seconding Deathalicious. For me, part of the fun/adventure of a road trip is trying new restaurants, from truck stops to greasy spoons to chains that we don't have in our area. Although, Mr. Adams loves to munch beef jerky while driving; especially when starts to get road-weary, the chewing plus the spiciness helps to keep him awake. We always stop at Beef Jerky Unlimited on our way out of town to pick up a supply.
posted by Oriole Adams at 8:04 PM on August 30, 2007

Baked beans? I'm either confused or crazy.

Crazy? More like lazy. If you'd read the link, you'd know these aren't the beans you think they are.

For those of you who really are too fricken lazy to click a link: Boston Baked Beans, in this context, are peanuts in a candy shell. If candy-coated peanuts give you lots of gas, the problem is you, not the "beans".
posted by Deathalicious at 8:07 PM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Cheddar flavoured Pepperidge Farms Goldfish crackers, beloved food of preschoolers (and me!). YUM YUM!

Road trip for me = don't have food that may sit dangerously in your stomach... or food that will produce certain gaseous by-products for anyone else the vehicle.

Mr. HGG agrees, but adds, "I'm not so concerned for other people, I'm concerned for myself!"
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:11 PM on August 30, 2007

Great question.

My staples:

1. Favorite frozen pizza cooked the night before, then sliced and wrapped. My favorite is Trader Joe's pesto pizza.
2. Apples with easy-to-eat Laughing Cow
cheese. (My favorite combo is granny smith and light swiss)
3. Whole grain tortillas (pref. Trader Joe's) spread with peanut butter or peanut butter and honey if you fancy that combo.
4. Brown rice cakes (again Trader Joe's-- very tasty) and pre-sliced cheddar cheese. A good subsitute is Quaker rice cakes cheddar flavor.
posted by sneakin at 8:44 PM on August 30, 2007

I have a bad sweet tooth, so it's M&Ms for large bag plain + one large bad peanut...mix well in large Tupperware bowl.

Good for 1500 - 2000 miles.
posted by Exchequer at 8:45 PM on August 30, 2007

If you want to do what Deathalicious is suggesting, a great resource is Road Food. My friend and I just used it and we discovered two hidden gems that we never would've tried otherwise. Beware that it's mostly heavy food, however. If you have any dietary restrictions-- vegetarian, kosher, wheat/gluten, etc.-- it's probably not for you.
posted by sneakin at 8:51 PM on August 30, 2007

We like stocking up on the Monster Mix that is sold by Target. It has M&M's, peanuts and raisins in it.
posted by mmascolino at 9:14 PM on August 30, 2007

Seconding Roadfood...I've linked to their own site.
posted by brujita at 9:31 PM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

GORP made of spanish peanuts, plain M&Ms, and raisins is about the best combination you can get. For jerky, I'd recommend trying to find a local butcher that makes their own - it's usually way tastier than the over-dried, ground-and-reformed junk you can buy at a convenience store, and less expensive too.

Another fun option is to each spend $x at the first big gas station you see, but you're only allowed to buy foods you've never eaten before.
posted by vytae at 9:46 PM on August 30, 2007

The New York Times reviewed some fancy beef jerky samples here. The article is now "restricted," but creative googling or your public library should be able to give you access.
posted by Forktine at 10:24 PM on August 30, 2007

frobozz - (and Slim Jim is still the best beef jerky. :) )

Blasphemy! Homemade jerky.

Offtopic, but you'll want to have lots of plastic bags in your car - trash/waste/left-over-food goes into bags, bags get tied closed, bags get dumped whenever the car needs fuel. Save supermarket bags and the clear produce bags. Wind them around two fingers, and tie a loose knot - throw into a supermarket plastic bag.

Keeps the smell/accidents down.

As for food outside of making a boatload of your own jerky is/are - fresh (apples/mandarin oranges, &c) or dried fruits (nectarines, raisins, figs, papaya, pinapple [it's hard to find bad dried pinapple], blue/cran-berries, &c) since they 1.last and 2. provide fibre.

Dried fruits are probably the best compromise between economicality and taste/craving.

Stromboli - or any other fat/grease-rich meats-covered-in-pasty also store well are well received and have anxiolitic properties during long roadtrips in small cars.

Avoid tinned meats (and gas-station meat products); too much sodium = drinking too much water = too many stops (unless you have a large/many containers in the car easily marked as and for deposition of liquid bodily waste - and and a supply to replenish bodily fluids.
posted by porpoise at 10:24 PM on August 30, 2007

Trader Joe's peanut butter pretzels!
posted by rglass at 10:39 PM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Tortilla's and Peanut Butter always go down well. =]
posted by cholly at 11:22 PM on August 30, 2007

6 hours? Where I'm from that's no road trip. So, the limit of what I'd pack is what they carry at the single gas station where I would need to stop. Red vines, Corn nuts, (Ranch or Chile Picante), Fruit, In-N-Out Grilled Cheeseburgers, Diet pepsi. Those are all stay-awake foods for me, since I'm usually driving a five-hour slog from 7-12pm.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:52 AM on August 31, 2007

In a similar vein to Cheddar flavoured Pepperidge Farms Goldfish crackers - Cheez-Its, if you enjoy them (people seem to love 'em or hate 'em). Classic travel food to me, and they seem to calm my stomach if I'm a little carsick.
posted by needs more cowbell at 4:21 AM on August 31, 2007

Under no circumstances bring popcorn with you. One popcorn shell stuck in the driver's throat can turn a road trip into a nightmare. I'm half convinced the tire marks I left on I4 are still there.

Other than that - nothing that leaves residue on your hands (wiping cheese off the radio with a napkin at a rest stop is not fun), lots of water (car AC is dry), and something caffeinated.
posted by cmyk at 4:55 AM on August 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

Agree with Ambrosia Voyeur. Bag of chips, couple bottles of generic cold chocolate milk, a run down the candy aisle and grab a bag of whatever makes me go mmmmm the most today. When we stop for gas I assess the situation and repeat if necessary, but for six hours you won't need that much. You don't say where you're going, but also for six hours with family at the end I would go a lot lighter--they'll have food when you get there and will want you to be psyched about it. For six hours on the way home to an empty house I gorge so I can just crash when I get home.
posted by anaelith at 7:41 AM on August 31, 2007

I missed that it was only six hours -- that's barely getting started!

For a trip that short, I wouldn't stock up on food beforehand. (Although you do want to keep some water and snacks (like granola bars, or whatever) in the car as a safety precaution, in case you break down in the middle of nowhere and it takes a long time to sort things out.)

What I'd do is stop at gas stations or diners or grocery stores when you are feeling the need for a break. Walking around looking for food will give you a chance to stretch your legs. A lot of the suggestions so far have been very salty and greasy, which is great, but if you are trying to be a bit more health-conscious, any grocery store (Walmart super centers tend to be next to freeway exits, for example) will have cut fruit, yoghurt, and other healthy options. If you are eating in the car, avoid anything that makes your hands sticky or particularly greasy (like potato chips) -- it will get all over the steering wheel and feel nasty.

You don't list your location, but many small towns in the US and Canada are now much more culturally mixed than they used to be, with large populations of Latinos, Vietnamese, Somalis, Indians, and more popping up in the most unexpected places. So if you drive a block past the strip of fast food outlets just off the freeway interchange, you may well find yourself a tasty bowl of pho, or a taco truck, or who knows what, even in very small towns. In the US, ultra-local diners can be fun, and are very rooted in American culture. Sometimes they are just dreadful greasy spoons, though, but finding that out is part of the fun.
posted by Forktine at 8:13 AM on August 31, 2007

Well, my favorite jerky in the world is Damn Good Jerky's Death by Jerky, but the best widely available jerky is definitely Jack Link's.

I tend to avoid starchy snacks and go for things like jerky/nuts/trail mix/dried fruit because it doesn't make me feel quite so terrible. Too many BBQ Pringles on too many road trips taught me this.
posted by atomly at 9:16 AM on August 31, 2007

Yeah six hours is barely a road trip. I drive that to projects in Nevada all the time. That being said, I loves me sunflower seeds and ice cold Vitamin Water in a cooler.

And definately stop at diners or roadside stops along the way, especially if you've never been there before. Pick the strangest place you see that would normally never be caught dead in, and try it out. You may be surprised at how cool such places are.
posted by elendil71 at 9:24 AM on August 31, 2007

couple bottles of generic cold chocolate milk

Just wan to point out that I didn't know I was lactose intolerant until I drank a whole bottle of chocolate milk. I didn't even know what lactose intolerance meant.

Well, for me it means gas. Lots and lots of gas, and a level of discomfort that -- well, at least it wasn't this bad.

So I've learned that, no matter how good it looks, a large bottle of M&S chocolate milk is not my friend. I can still eat normal amounts (i.e. 1-2 servings worth) of cheese, milk, yogurt, and ice cream. But I'm not touching a quart of milk ever again.

So the point of this is that a road trip is a very, very bad time to find out that you're lactose intolerant. If you must drink a quart of milk, do so at home.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:11 PM on August 31, 2007

And oh yes, forgot to mention. This was on a road trip of sorts -- a guided tour of Bath and Stonehenge. At least I didn't have to drive but I'm sure they were wondering why I popped into the toilet at every stop.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:13 PM on August 31, 2007

Why not hit the bulk bins and get a bunch of different things? I'd opt for almonds, some dried fruit, pretzels, cashews, trail mix, etc. In the non-bulk category, Baby Bell cheeses are fun to eat and expensive enough to feel like a treat (to me).
posted by lindsey.nicole at 3:34 PM on August 31, 2007

i agree with the many people who reccomended trail mix with raisins, nuts, and MMs. i also like to split a bottle of coke with the driver (because a whole coke makes you pee too much).

for listening, download some david sedaris audiobooks ("naked" is a great one), or "this american life" podcasts, or some energetic standup comedy (i like dane cook and old eddie murphy). great listening to keep you peppy for the 3pm slump- the talking is more energized than music.

other road trip essentials for me include baby wipes (for spills and sticky hands) and a pack of post-it notes, to write the name of the next few exits & stick on the dash, which saves opening the atlas every 25 minutes.

have fun!
posted by twistofrhyme at 4:10 PM on August 31, 2007

Wasabi peas.
posted by fiasco at 9:48 PM on August 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

Stuntman Mike's Roadtrip Nachos.

Lay out a few sheets of alumin(i)um foil. Add corn chips, a couple of different kinds of cheese, and jalapeno slices (optional - diced, deseeded tomato; olive slices). Fold over foil and seal tightly.

Sit on engine block then drive for about 20 minutes, staying alert for early 70s muscle cars full of scantily clad girlies. If you have a cooler, take along some club soda and throw in some sour cream to blop over the nachos when serving.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:03 AM on September 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

So were any of our suggestions helpful?
posted by Mitheral at 10:11 PM on September 2, 2007

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