Survivalist Forum banner
1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
226 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been experimenting with cooking with the least amount of fuel. The challenge is to cook the most food with minimal fuel.
This is what I have done so far: I had a "volcano charcoal starter". The kind you use for the bbq grill. Instead of loading it up with the charcoal brickets I put just 12 brickets with some chunks (4) of oak. To start the fire I used the paper plates from the last meal. The system is a type of basic rocket stove. After lighting the paper plates the charcoal took off and with the oak it lasted for about 45 minutes of usable cooking heat.

First I put a container of water (coffee percolator) on and this got to boiling in about 4 minutes. I took this (boiling water) and put it in my Stanley food jar container. Let this set for 5-10 minutes.

I then proceeded to cook my breakfast on the volcano charcoal starter. High carbon steel fry pan. Breakfast of bacon, eggs, hash browns, etc.

I emptied the boiling water from the Stanley into slow drip coffee filter.

I then prepared my beef stew after breakfast with the boiling water that was left over and maybe more water. This was put into the Stanley food jar and left for 6 hours. After 6 hours the beef stew is cooked.

All of this done with the 12 brickets and the oak chunks. I did have to add 3 oak chunks (oak chunks are about 2" dia x 4"). Total time about 45 minutes.

I go boondocking and have found this a good way to travel. I have a Colman propane stove but i was looking for another way of cooking. This is cheaper when considering the price of the 20lb bags of charcoal vs the 2lb propane.
I haven't counted the number of brickets in the 20lb bags but it is a lot. I might try to use only 10 brickets.
Anyone else ever tried this?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,321 Posts
Jeb, I've never tried using my chimney as a cook top, but it's a great idea. I do similar when loading mine though, I throw a pecan log in about 1/4 the diameter, and surround with charcoal. Get to grill and smoke with the pile of coals.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
618 Posts
If using the charcoal brickets, there are plenty of dutch oven recipes out there.
I like that charcoal can be stored in areas that liquid or gas fuels shouldn't. It's still flammable but having a couple bags in the basement or garage wouldn't bother me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
178 Posts
There are some mathematical formulas out there that can help determine what you are experimenting with. Below are a couple of links that explains some of the basics of the concept. Different fuel types can achieve different heat density. Basically you should be looking for the lightest fuel that can deliver the greatest heat density for a long period of time. Keep in mind altitude also effects efficiency.

The Science of Heat vs. Temperature

How to Calculate the Amount of Heat Released

Enjoy!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
226 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Great comments. Stop and think of it, I cooked my breakfast and dinner with only 12 brickets, plus the oak is from my property (limbs that fall). I also should mention that there was very little smoke after about 10 minutes. I wanted something very simple at little or no cost. This would be great all else fails.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,732 Posts
Nice first hand report about using the charcoal chimney & briquettes.

Here's a site chock full of detail about (among other things) common backpacking/camping stove fuels. Comparison of BTUs, burn times, carried fuel weights, wood fuel comparisons by tree species, petrol fuel chemical makeup, brand descriptions, portage efficiency vs. expected days of use, etc. Well worth a read and a good future reference:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,998 Posts
I cook on this little ceramic egg At the cabin , 2 ribeyes 11/2” thick 6 min on each side .
But I allready baked bread in a 2 quart cast iron Dutch oven baked 4 potato’s and made asparagus .
I use about a Quart of wood coal , the cook lasted about 2 hours
the eceramic grill is expensive but when I’m done cooking I can turn it off and the fire go’s out so I can just relite it the next time.
2 5G pails of coal last a long time , I can make coal in there with wood chunks .
I just fill the egg with 2”x3” branches and lite it off , when it get burning good I choke off the air when the smoke go’s from white to gray I turn off the air and I’m left with enough coal for a few dinners or I can just cook on the wood .
Food Charcoal Cookware and bakeware Cuisine Dish
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,175 Posts
First I put a container of water (coffee percolator) on and this got to boiling in about 4 minutes. I took this (boiling water) and put it in my Stanley food jar container. Let this set for 5-10 minutes.

I then proceeded to cook my breakfast on the volcano charcoal starter. High carbon steel fry pan. Breakfast of bacon, eggs, hash browns, etc.
Consider using something like a Kelly Kettle plus pot support to do both at once:
Kelly Kettle Kits Camping Kettle & Stove | Camp Equipment | Camp Cookware | Survival kit | Original & Best

PS: Some scrap wax will turn your dried spent coffee grounds into long-burning fuel briquets/logs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,048 Posts
I choked off air in a charcoal grill once to lower temperature. But hot coals continue to give of flammable gas. I know this because when I opened lid and air hit that gas a ball of flame came rolling out. Lasted just an instant but long enough to crisp my eyebrows.
You can add pasta to cold water to cut cooking time and energy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
226 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Love solar cooking and this would beat all as far as fuel, BUT it's no good when I get up around 5 in the morning. Keep in mind that I boondock in my truck. I sleep in the back with the topper and equip it for out in the woods. If I have to cook inside the topper I use the Coalman stove. My volcano with the brickets (I have 6 packets in ziplock bags and each packet has 12 brickets) plus a sack of oak chunks fits into an old tool bag. No bad for a few days out into the woods. I spend my time fishing and hiking. I have no time trying to find fire wood and cutting and starting a camp fire the normal way.
Of interest is the fact that I use an old grill from a hibachi for grilling, hamburger etc. Now this is fast. It fits perfectly over the volcano.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
565 Posts
Of a small number of things I have used, I get good results with a homemade HOBO stove made from a 20# propane bottle.. It is big enough to cook with kitchen, family size pots and pans.. Fast enough to boil water for many uses to not make a meal prep and clean up a long process.. It seems to do it well with about a 5 gallon pail of small wood chunks... This fuel consumption and use working well with 3-4 adults at most so far..

I have made about 10-20 of these stoves, all a little different, and given them to friends and family.. There typical use is the hot dog cook out..

Cylinder Wood Gas Auto part Bumper
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,175 Posts
Absolute least-fuel cooking boils down to eating canned/precooked freeze-dried/precooked dehydrated.

When you have to cook from scratch, imitate the fuel-scarce Chinese and Japanese by cutting it all up small and using high heat so it cooks very fast. Utilize earth oven, hay-bale, or thermos cooking for anything woking isn't applicable to.
 

·
Bug-In Prepper
Joined
·
1,850 Posts
What's the best approach to solar cooking? How do you keep your food from drying out while waiting for it to warm up? Put oil in the pan, heat it, then add foodstuffs?

It looks like a square yard of fresnel lenses might get you up to 1200 watts of peak power delivery under ideal conditions, but does it make sense to go bigger so you can gather enough power under imperfect conditions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,855 Posts
thanks for the report. I have one of those charcoal starters also and when using it I sometimes wonder if it would be faster and more efficient to just cook off it directly vs. transfering to antother cooking appliance. sounds like it does work. My guess has always been a well set up little rocket stove would be most efficient, especially if you have access to woods and free fuel for it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,925 Posts
I like the Alton Brown technique for skirt steak directly on 'coals', 35 -40 seconds on each side, knock of any charcoal sticking to the meat, char up some peppers and onions with the remaining heat add condiments and supper is served.
 

·
reluctant sinner
Joined
·
18,828 Posts
Must be a lot of folks living on Arecas with a shortage of both water and sticks. I have a propane 4 burner cooktop, a 5 gallon BBQ tank lasts me about a year of cooking for myself. The X who could only cook on high used about 3 tanks a year to cook for us.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,248 Posts
Folks also might consider, if they haven't. Depending upon what needs cooking, obviously.

Stove top pressure cookers.

Wide mouth thermos "cooking".

Cast iron cookware. Pans to ovens.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JLW1974
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top