Bearkiller, Breakfast of Camping Champions

When Linda and I were doing shopping lists for our Memorial Day weekend Palo Duro Canyon trip, we were divvying up who would grab what for meals. I’ve got some steak still in the freezer from my last trip home, you grab some tortillas and veggies and sides, don’t forget the hot tamales when you go to the store, and I know how to make pizza so we can do that one night, too. All good!

“What should we do for breakfast,” asked Linda.

“Don’t worry,” I said, “I’ve got breakfast. I’ll make Bearkiller.”

Linda’s chip hovered over the guacamole as she blinked at me a few times. “Bearkiller?” she asked.

It’s easy to forget that people outside of my extended family don’t know what Bearkiller is, and that is truly a shame. It is one of the most useful breakfasts ever invented, sort of a cross between a cowboy strata, breakfast tacos, and that casserole your mom used to make that used up all of the weird leftovers in the refrigerator. It was my Uncle Dave that started the legend of Bearkiller. Many years ago, he had taken my cousins Sarah, Clint, and Ty camping. Dave always was the first one up amongst us all, so he generally got breakfast started. He got everyone moving with a bit more hustle when he showed them the cans that the bear had clawed up a bit. If they wanted to outrun that bear, they’d need to eat a good breakfast.

Note: There was no actual bear. Dave simply pawed the cans, added some punctures with a can opener, and told a tall tale. We were not bright children, but in our defense, Dave does tell a pretty good whopper.

To this day, whenever any of us gather for family ski trips or salsa festivals, Bearkiller is often on the breakfast menu. We each have our own variants–my version now includes guacamole–but the name stays the same, as does the legend.

Bearkiller Breakfast

And for the record, any food that you make in the great outdoors tastes amazing!


  • Eggs, beaten well (1-2 eggs per person)
  • Peppered bacon, cooked until crisp
  • Refried black beans (yep, canned is fine)
  • Red and orange bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • Potato, diced
  • Onions
  • Flour tortillas (corn tortillas get too soggy
  • Salsa, cheese, guacamole–condiments of your choice


  1. In a hot skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon from the skillet, retaining a bit of grease to cook the eggs and vegetables.
  2. Using some of the retained bacon grease, scramble 1-2 eggs per person. Set eggs aside.
  3. Add the bell pepper, potato, and onions to the hot skillet with the last of the grease. Cook until soft, approximately 8-10 minutes. Helpful camping tip! Cook these ingredients ahead of time at home. It will save you time at the campsite.
  4. Slide the cooked peppers, potato, and onions to one side of the skillet.
  5. Add in a few healthy spoonfuls of refried beans. Cook beans until they are hot.
  6. Spoon beans, eggs, peppers, onions, and potato onto a tortilla. Add salsa, cheese, guacamole as you see fit.

Second helpful camping tip–Bearkiller is great for lunch on the trail! Make a few extra in the morning, slide them into a ziploc bag, and take them with you for later in the day. When everyone else around you is unwrapping bars and dehydrated snacks, you’ll be packing into all kinds of protein, veggies, and spicy yumminess, making you the envy of all in your vicinity.

And there you have it: Bearkiller, in all of it’s morning glory. Go forth and conquer your day!

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