Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Wahoo! We can cook outside!

I can't express how liberating it is to finally have a good solution for outside cooking. Being off grid (or even for those without a/c), cooking inside is brutal and makes the house a level of hot and humid that nature can not create on its own. So mostly I only cook breakfast and we eat light things and sandwiches.

The last few summers we have tried the propane camping stove and just an open fire (in various forms). All ended up being very susceptible to the wind, even a light breeze could make water not boil. We thought of a propane grill with a side burner,  but a grill is a poor oven and the side burner wasn't rated to get water boiling (one of the hardest things to do!) Plus, propane costs money and money is usually pretty short for us.  The wood was free, coming from our own trees, but it would take so much wood to get the water boiling and boiling long enough.

So our solution started with the kids. This early spring they started making 'camps' with random things we had in the yard, most would be considered trash, but it was so neat to watch them create and see what they came up with.  Paul became obsessed with campfires and cooking outside. In time he found and old pot that had rusted through a few spots on the bottom. He built a fire and cooked hotdogs! Just this week Chip needed to boil some oak bark, a process of several hours, there was no way we would heat the house up, so he started looking around and he ended up elaborating on Paul's camp cooker. Now we can cook outside efficiently using the unsplitable logs. Chip cuts them real thin and then chops them into little blocks.

The bottom pot has slits for air, then a grill grate, and then the pot for cooking. 

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