Food Finds · Trail Cooking

Food Review: The Salt Lick Breakfast Roundup

I’ll be honest here. I am highly biased when it comes to really salty meals. In my younger years I’d eat them, but even then it left me salted out and in the need to chug liquids all night in camp. At my age now, I just don’t want that much salt, nor does my body need it. Some of the newer companies have listened and their meals are much more reasonable in sodium. But Mountain House is the old guard, and while the packaging has become modern, and they have started making meals slightly more adventurous in taste, they still pour the salt in.

The other bias I have is I hate when freeze-dried companies say a meal is 2 servings. No. They are not. For the majority of people eating the meals, they are a 1 person bag. Again, some of the newer companies get this. Others hold on to this claim. And yes, Mountain House stays with for many of their meals (they do of course make 1 person meals, the Pro Pak, which are about 90% the size of a 2 person meal…..for example the Skillet meal is 3.7 ounces for the 2 person, but 3.3 ounces for the Pro Pak, yet it is the same price).

If a whole bag is under 600 calories, that is not two servings. Not many hikers can eat 300 calories and take on the day, to tear out hiking out of camp. So you eat the whole bag and consume over 1700 mg of sodium in one meal. Yikes. Not the best way to start your day.

But I digress, on with the review:

3 meals from Mountain House. 2 skillet style meals and Biscuits and Gravy. All 3 meals retail for $9.99 each, however Mountain House is sold out of 2 of the meals on their website, though Amazon has all 3 in stock. My pouches were marked to expire in 2050 (and I’ll give Mountain House that – their pouches last longer than the other companies. Most freeze-dried companies put 5 years max on their pouches, MH does 25 years).

Breakfast Skillet

510 calories/1580 mg sodium for the bag.

Upon opening the pouch I was hit with all I can say is…like it had been heavily laced with liquid smoke. So I looked. And yes, there it was. In the EGGS. WHY WOULD YOU PUT SMOKE FLAVOR IN EGGS?!?

I really tried. I swear. I made the pouch up. And I tried to eat it. The eggs felt like tough sponges. The meat was bland. But all I could taste and smell…was…smoke. It utterly ruined the meal. It was like eating microwave popcorn that got over popped and reeks of smoke. Only one other meal has made me feel that way….and it was a MH meal, back in the year 2003.

Spicy Southwest Style Skillet

490 calories/1500 mg sodium for the bag.

Of the 3 meals reviewed this was the most ample, in filling of a bowl. It could actually serve 2 people, especially if you had some fruit on the side. It doesn’t have eggs in it.


It tastes like a packet of taco seasoning mix was sprinkled on. And it’s salty as all get out. The texture is just weird. It’s shredded hash browns mostly (cheap filler), with a few beans and meat added in. And it’s wet. A skillet should be crispy, served in a screaming hot cast iron skillet. Which, if this was pan fried after might pass for that. With eggs served on top. But.Why.So.Salty?

Biscuit and Gravy

560 calories/1730 mg sodium for the bag.

Ever spent a night at a chain hotel that has a low rent “free” breakfast buffet? There is the slow cooker fulled of canned gravy, and a pile of hard biscuits taken out of a massive box? Now break up the biscuits and soak it in the gravy. And you have this meal. It’s an odd salt bowl of semi-opaque gravy with chunks of biscuits, that no matter how well I followed the directions were crunchy in the inside. It’s SO salty. And yet, has no other real flavor.

If you look forward to the slow cooker o’ gravy, you will love this meal. For me, there isn’t enough Green Tabasco sauce to make it right. Nor enough water for after. And btw, that small bowl is the entire bag.

Final Thoughts:

Yeah, I get it. I didn’t like ANY of the meals I reviewed here. None of them were even passably good (the “well, I can slap it in a tortilla, add some cheese and ranch and get calories in”). I ate 1 tiny bite of each meal. The textures, smell, and flavors were just so not my type. I get it, I am biased about my food, but I try to put myself into other people and not be a snob. Mountain House doesn’t try hard though. They get away with it because they are revered from the old days – when there wasn’t much competition and America ate bland food.

If you want better choices, they exist. But these meals reminded me of why I develop recipes. Because we can do so much better. And you are free to call me a snob all you want.


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