When many of us think of survival cooking, it is likely cooking over a camp fire that comes to mind. While cooking over an open flame is effective, sometimes an oven is the best method of getting the dinner job done. Without the modern convenience of electricity in your home, how are you supposed to cook in an oven? By making one, of course!
Photo: Weeding for Godot
Through the use of mud, clay, sand, etc. along with a few other components it is actually possible to create your own oven for cooking. Mud ovens, or earth ovens, as these creations have been dubbed, work by utilizing a wood fire as a heat source to warm the oven. After the oven is heated, the fire source can be removed and put out and the oven itself will then retain the heat created, which can be harnessed to slowly cook a meal.
Using a mud oven is actually a very economical yet effective way of cooking. As far as your heat source, basically anything that will burn can be placed inside and ignited. Pallets, logs, wood scraps, twigs, etc. you name it--if it will burn, it can heat a mud oven. An additional bonus is that it takes very little fuel to create the heat necessary to acquire the desired temperature for your mud over, which is about 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The way this works is that the walls and base of the oven retain the heat generated inside. Due to the thickness of these components, they are able to hold heat for a long period of time without the need for a continued heat application.
Photo: The Fresh Loaf
Many sets of instructions are available online if you wish to create a mud oven of your own. If you wish to build one, peruse tutorials to find one that seems like it will work for you. Even though do-it-yourself instructions will vary somewhat, the general concept remains the same. Expect to acquire items such as bricks, cinder blocks, bottles, wood, clay, and sand as well as tools necessary to get the job done.
Mud ovens can be built in different sizes to accommodate your needs. Once completed, you will essentially have a natural crock pot on your hands that will retain heat inside to create a meal at a slow, steady pace. Even if building a mud oven is not desirable to you at present, it might be worthwhile to read up on them and understand the concept as well as how to make one. Tossing a set of printed instructions in your BOB or stockpile won't hurt either because it is never too late to change your mind as long as you are equipped with the necessary supplies to build an oven and cook with mud.
Photo: Wild Yeast Blog