How to prepare your family to survive and thrive in todays uncertain world

Three Cooking Options For When The Fuel Is Gone

Sooner or later in a survival situation you’re likely to be faced with a lack of fuel for preparing food. Eventually everyone runs out of propane!

At that point the question becomes how do you cook without your normal fuel source? There’s a number of options for food prep that don’t consume normal fuel.

The most obvious is of course the plain old campfire. As simple as it sounds, it can actually be somewhat difficult to cook over a fire. It’s easy to burn stuff, so you have to be careful. Of course even burned food that was cooked over a campfire usually tastes better than normal…

The neat thing about campfires is that you can usually find fuel lying around and they’re pretty straight forward to start once you learn how.

Another option that’s similar to a campfire is a rocket stove. They are a specially designed stove that concentrates the heat from a small fire into a smaller cooking area. They get really hot with a fairly small amount of fuel. You can literally run these things on twigs and leaves if need be.

You can make a makeshift rocket stove called a “hobo stove” using a tin can as well … doesn’t take much work and I’ll write a how-to in the future.

Another decent option is a solar oven. They’re basically a box with a transparent or translucent window that lets light in. Set it out in the sun and it gets pretty hot. Hot enough to bake bread, cook a roast, etc.

You’ll have to have one of these on hand though. You can make one out of a box and tin foil, but it won’t be as effective as one that you bought.

So there’s three decent options for cooking without a standard fuel source. What are your favorites that I didn’t list?

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7 Responses to Three Cooking Options For When The Fuel Is Gone

  1. We have purchased a stainless steel Kelly Kettle and a Crises cooker as well as sever sized dutch ovens. We have stockpiled a ton of wood and charcoal to use in both of them. We particularly like the crises cooker because you can use a whole lot less coals with the dutch overn than normal. We have practiced using them both and have found they are simple to set up and use and are both fuel efficient.

  2. We built a solar oven with our homeschool group a few years ago. Using a good template, tinfoil, cardboard, and tape we made a fold-able oven that, amazingly, worked! We’ve cooked hot dogs, toasted marshmallows and other kid happy foods. I’d like to try an actual meal in a cast iron pot to see how effective it really is… maybe this summer.

  3. You missed some…first, there’s a camper’s oven, which they say needs a camp stove, but I wager you could bake with the thing over coals; second, there’s earth ovens, among which are Sunset Magazine’s famous ‘adobe” oven, and, which has another version, and there’s also Dutch ovens cooking in coals. If you can make a campfire you can use any of these.

    • Oh, I missed plenty :) Left the list at three for a reason. I like hearing what everyone else thinks too, not just myself talking…

  4. Like Dan, I too have purchased a Kelly Kettle. My research, which was somewhat exhaustive in this area, showed that their customer reviews have been great. There are a number of youtube videos which show the ease of use. I look forward to using my Kelly Kettle cooker this summer during my camping time, otherwise know as “outdoor survival training exercise”. During this time we proof our new purchases to see if they meet our expectations. Better to find out early that an item did not work as advertised then when you need to rely on it for your existence.

    Another option I have purchased is the Alpaca Kerosene Cook Stove, which is rated at 8500 BTU. It was stated that it will boil several gallons in a few minutes. Have not used this item yet, but the summer is coming and it will get a workout then. I am planning to purchase one of the solar stove units to give this a try. I also found a youtube video for a parabolic solar cooker using an old satellite dish which looks quite interesting. A summer project for sure.

    I have thought about the surrounding area and the abundance of certain types of fuel. Pretty much everywhere you live, there is sunlight, so solar seems like a good first step.
    This has guided my search for ways to cook food. I live in New England and there are lots of trees, so anything that burns wood is great. Then I thought about winter and whether I would want to trek all over the woods gathering on bad days. Enter alternative sources: kerosene, propane, solar, etc. I guess my point is – consider where you are and look at what you have in abundance to get you by, then add to this a backup.