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How many ways can you cook without electricity? Since another thread brought up the specter of living without electricity, it caused me to think of cooking without it.

I have a woodstove, buts it not designed for cooking and I doubt it would work as well as I would like. I guess I could sit a stew pot on it and let it simmer all day, but meals might need to be prepared quicker than that.

I have a gas grill. I maintain three extra full 20lb cylinders for it. Does great if food needs to be grilled or roasted.

I have a Coleman two-burner camp stove that I converted over to use propane - either the bulk cylinders or the small portable ones.

I have another Coleman two-burner that is "stock" and uses Coleman fuel or unleaded gasoline.

I have several one-burner backpacking stoves that run on liquid fuel or propane.

I have a StoveTec emergency stove that burns wood scraps, twigs, or any similar material. Its basically a 2 gal bucket with an opening at the bottom, lined with ceramic, with a cast iron grate on top. Never used it... yet.

I made a solar oven out of an aluminized vehicle sun shade. I have cooked using it, even in cold weather. Does OK. Gets surprisingly hot, even in winter as long as it stays directly in the sun.

Finally, I have a fire ring in the backyard. A circle of mountain rocks, we sometimes build a campfire and just enjoy sitting around it. Using it to cook wouldn't be a problem as my old Boy Scout training would kick in.

Regardless, I will have some means of heating up the pork'n beans.
 

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The wanderer
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This is a great idea for a thread! Thanks, Jescruzen.

Our woodstove has a decent sized flat surface, so we do cook on it in the winter. We are lucky enough to also have a wood-burning cookstove with burners, griddle, and oven.

When we cook over a fire we lay a piece of sheet metal across rocks to set the pan(s) on so we don't have to clean soot off.

Probably the most difficult thing for most people will be finding ways to bake things like bread and biscuits. Biscuits can be fried like eggs, flipped once to cook both sides. If you put a lid on the pan the biscuits cook through better.

A coleman camp oven can be set on woodstoves or on a piece of sheet metal over a fire, as well as over camp stoves. You can bake two loaves of bread at a time in them. Places like Wal-mart, Bass Pro, and Cabelas have the ovens, and it can be ordered off amazon and the Coleman website.

There's a whole array of backpacking stoves that can be put in a bug-out bag, and there are chemical packets that can be activated to heat food.

I, too, like my pork'n beans heated, even though they can be eaten out of the can! :D
 

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The wanderer
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Yes, it does. I've done that in years past. I guess another reason we set pans on a piece of sheet metal is 1) because we found a great piece the right size at the dump a few years ago!, and 2) we've been dumb about the pans we used and melted handles off a couple of them! :eek:

But bar soap or even dish soap rubbed all over the outside does make the clean-up easier!
 

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Eleven years ago I set up a Coleman "Guide Series" model 5428 camp stove in my they new 11" by 23' cabin. The intention was for it to be temporary, and replaced soon, as I did not expect it to last 6 months with heavy use. Eleven years later and it still works like new, after heavy daily use.

In the winter I also cook on top of the wood stove. These are crock'pot type meals that are on the woodstove for weeks, and I just add stuff to the pot when it gets low.
 

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A small "Dakota" fire pit works well for cooking. It is hard for me to describe but it is easy to search for. Also look on here for Paul weatons rocket stove/ rocket mass heater.. I so want to build one here but have strong opposition from the hubby about putting that much "dirt" in the house!:lolsmash:
Also to make cooking over open fire easier-build now a littler square(I used old chimney bricks) "fire ring" that your pot will be covering the whole top one side should be open and I just shovel hot coals from the main fire under the pot on the open side.. concentrates the heat under your pot.. of course mine is all dismantled right now as we are going to repair our fire pit(the old metal rings we have are rusting thru) and make it with cinder blocks... Or I would have posted a picture so that you understand- the whole set up looked like a big "key hole" with the fire ring the "O" part and the little square part of the key hole the cooking area..
 

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The wanderer
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Emerald, what a fantastic idea! Almost like dutch oven cooking but above ground and using 'whatever' pans (though I like using cast iron!)!

Now to scavenge up some bricks! :D
 

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I have the same quandry.
I want to stick with the simplest and easiest. A camp stove that burns wood. We have a pellet stove. In some ways I hate it, but it prevents me from storing/chopping wood, which I did as a kid and would be impractical given my location. It does not function without electricity, so it would be worthless in a SHTF situation.
I dont like the idea of storing large amounts of flammable/explosive materials in my house, so thats out.
Other than a wood burning camp stove, the only option I see is an alcohol stove for its practicality, but I still have the above problem. I just dont want to store a ton of alcohol on my premises. Not gonna happen.
My real problem is that if I am forced to use a wood burning stove of some kind, it would have to be outside, and visible to a lot of people. My only option would be the garage, provided I keep it well ventilated.
 

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We have a gas stove in the house with at least 500 gal of gas. We have a woodburning stove (as soon as hubby finishes hooking it up). We have a propane grill with 3 20# bottles of propane. We have a gas oven/stove in the 5th wheel with 2 RV size bottles of gas. We have a 2-burner duel fuel Coleman stove & a Coleman tabletop grill that uses the bottles. We also have a Volcano stove.
 

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Of all the items we all have, a grill is very useful. I use indirect heat, meaning, my charcoal is set to one side and I cook on the other. I make meatloaf, burgers, french fries and even pies on the "ole grill" out back. Indirect heat turns you grill to an oven and you are able to cook anything.
My #1 fav is my Safari Chef by cadac. It does like 7 things, and goes with me on every outing. Propane and travels in a shoulder bag.
I brought this up once and it turned into a discussion on exploding rocks. Which is a real threat, I am not belittling it. Like you gypsysue I also have a sheet of metal the goes on a suspended grill and I can griddle whatever needs "griddling'". I hang chickens with re-bar wire beside the fire and bake them for around 2 hours, Moist every time.
Last, and another favorite is the gold old pie iron, do not underestimate those. Again if you can cook it, you probably can cook it on a pie iron.
I have a few others, this is just some I use the most.
Jack
 

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Oh yes, I have to agree, love pie irons. Palmers is the best, I believe. We like to cook over wood outside in our fire ring. But what I would really love to build is an outside wood oven. Has anyone ever built these or have one? I dont want one of those big $$ ones, unless you want to give it to me. Mother Earth had some plans for one for under $300.
btw: this post is from the better half of the family
 

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Ur5hittingme, the funny thing about the lowly pie iron is you can cook eggs, cornbread, steaks and even lemon chiffon pie in one...:D
I made a fire pit, I call it it, with stones on the back side to reflect the heat forward. Metal fence post for the up-rights and a pipe for the top cross piece. Chains hang my pots, grills and meat..lol
Jack
 

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Oh yes, I have to agree, love pie irons. Palmers is the best, I believe. We like to cook over wood outside in our fire ring. But what I would really love to build is an outside wood oven. Has anyone ever built these or have one? I dont want one of those big $$ ones, unless you want to give it to me. Mother Earth had some plans for one for under $300.
btw: this post is from the better half of the family
Hey!! Better Half==you need to make your own account so we can all gossip! lol:wave:
I have an out door wood oven-sure it does need another insulation layer but man it makes a pizza to die for! lol.



It works great as just a pizza oven right now as you keep a small fire/live coals in it while cooking but if I ever get the thicker insulating layer on and a decent door made it will hold heat for many hours and I can bake more than two loaves of bread at a time and also be able to put a couple of my cast iron dutch ovens in there overnight with beans or even stew in them to slow cook. it is a whole process to learn how to cook in the outdoor oven-it starts out really hot-good for pita bread and pizzas and as it slowly starts to cool you bake bread and then slow roasting of meats etc... there have been times where after the pizzas were done and ate and a couple loaves of bread baked I closed it as is and decided to see how hot it would be the next day-not hot enuf to cook anything but warmer than you want put your hands on..
 

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Emerald - You said you're building your fire rings out of cinder blocks. Have you had a problem with them drying out and breaking? A friend had the same setup but had decent size fires in it. In a matter of a couple years, all the blocks had broken apart.

On the pie irons, I wasn't familiar with Palmer's. I did a search and it says they use a non-stick surface. Are the irons made of aluminum? Personally, I like the Rome cast iron models.

For a propane stove/oven, I have a Camp Chef product. Haven't used it a lot (yet), but so far, it's worked flawlessly.
Amazon.com: Camp Chef Camping Outdoor Oven with 2 Burner Camping Stove: Kitchen & Dining

My new best friend for canning is a triple burner stove (with removable skillet). Each burner is like a turkey cooker. Would work very nicely when cooking for a group.
Amazon.com: Camp Chef Expedition 3X Triple Burner Stove: Sports & Outdoors
 

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Emerald, that is AWESOME! Got the plans?
I first saw this in Mother Earth News and went to the library and borrowed the book that the article was about.. How to build an Earth Oven by kiko Denzer... hubby and I read it, then we bought the book and he got me the fire bricks for Mother's day- a whole year later I finally had enuf cinder blocks and clay to make the darn thing... and here a year later I still have to put the second layer on... I think I have enuf clay(which is harder to find when you really want it lol) but I am saving up enuf cash to pick up a bag of perlite instead of straw... I used to use perlite at the greenhouse I worked at and it is super lite but will have great insulating properties in the final layer. They even suggest using it in the book...
If I find the time I'll try to put up the pictures that I took while I was making it along with some of the basic instructions but it is worth a check out at the library... After making this I would love to get another pick up load of clay and make the rocket mass stove in the house..
I'm thinking on having the family over for pizza Labor day weekend as it is the weekend of our towns big celebration here. We always try to do something fun... and I'm gonna make a white cheese sauce and try the chicken/garden veggie pizza that a local pizzaria makes and we love but dang they charge $20 for!:eek:
 

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Two additions to consider. First isn't the most efficient for long term / volume use, butane stoves. Cheap ($20 on amazon), easy to use/carry, very safe, and versatile. Fuel can be more expensive for larger quantities, but this I've found good to use in shorter term situations.

Other is a site I ran into that sadly i've yet to play with the stuff on there: rocketstoves.org :: free local energy *
 

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The pots and pans that I use for cooking over an open fire do not have the bottoms de-sooted - the blackening makes for better heat transference, which I think is important when cooking over something as susceptible to heat fluctuations from random air currents as an open fire. I clean off any soot that's easily removed so that it doesn't rub off on anything and clean out the insides but my camping pots and pans and my Army-surplus dixie all have a permanent black patina.

I go with "so long as the inside is clean and hygienic, it's clean enough".
 
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