7 Ways to Cook Off-Grid
What will you do about preparing food when the power goes out? It’s well and good to have prepper supplies stashed away, but unless you have a way to fix them, the biggest stockpile in the world won’t do you much good. Having multiple ways to cook off-grid will elevate your level of preparedness.
Have you thought about how you will cook off-grid? This round-up will supply suggestions, links to recommended products, and the best instructions on the internet.
7 Ways to Cook Off-Grid When the Power Goes Out
Here are seven different ways to prepare food without the grid.
Volcano 3-Way Stove
One of my favorite emergency stoves is the Volcano 3-Way Stove. What I like about it is that you can use it with multiple different fuels, making it incredibly flexible. It’s collapsible, so you can break it down for a bug-out bag, and it comes with a grill to cook off-grid with even more versatility. The Volcano uses propane, charcoal, and wood for fuel. It’s far more stable than many of the other survival stoves on the market.
The Kelly Kettle is one of the best ways to cook off-grid if your food supply contains a lot of dehydrated or freeze-dried items. This stove comes in multiple sizes and brings water to a boil within a matter of minutes. You can get them with a whistle (think of those whistling tea kettles), but for survival purposes, you may want to have the silent version. You can burn whatever you want in the Kelly Kettle, and it requires very little fuel to boil your water.
There are many different kinds of solar cookers, and you can even find free plans online to make your own. My favorite to purchase is the All-American Sun Oven. It isn’t the least expensive, but out of all the ones I’ve tried, it seems to be the most reliable.
There are many different ways to cook with a solar cooker to cook off-grid, but I prefer treating it like a crockpot and slow-cooking a meal all day long. This link has two different models you can make and several recipes and cooking techniques to try out.
If you have a way to boil water, did you know that you can cook food right in your thermos? Sailors pioneered this technique, but it’s ideal for preppers who are bugging out. Simply preheat your thermos with boiling water, then add your food and more boiling water. Close it up and put it in your backpack. By the time you stop, you’ll have a hot, tasty meal all ready to enjoy.
To learn more about thermos cooking, check out this article.
One method that nearly everyone is comfortable with when it comes time to cook off-grid is using your handy-dandy barbecue grill. Whether you use a charcoal grill or a propane one, this is a fantastic way to prepare the meat from your freezer before it goes bad in the event of a power outage. Most folks already have this method. Simply make sure you stock up on the necessary fuel to power your grill, and you’ll be good to go.
As a prepper, it’s a great idea to learn how to make your own charcoal. This helps make your grill a viable, long-term option for off-grid cooking.
A favorite activity for my family is cooking meals on the campfire. There’s nothing like going outdoors and preparing meals the old-fashioned way. We generally rely on foil packet meals or meals on a stick, but if you have a tripod, a Dutch oven, and a spit, you can cook nearly anything.
It’s very important to practice cooking over an open fire before the SHTF. If you don’t do it correctly, there’s a higher risk of getting burned when cooking over a campfire. You should never reach over the fire to place food or to rescue food from falling into the fire. This article has some awesome tips for campfire cooking safety.
Bear with me here – chafing dishes are not actually designed for cooking or heating up food. They’re designed instead to keep food warm. Think about the breakfast buffets at hotels – there are often stainless steel vessels with either a candle underneath them, an alcohol fuel pod, or a can of Sterno burning merrily away. This heats some water in a container above it which in turn warms the food above that with a moist heat that prevents it from drying out.
However, if you’re in a bind and have no other way to cook off-grid inside your house, this will work to warm up canned goods and other items that are already thoroughly cooked. It probably won’t get them blazing hot, but it will warm them enough to be more appetizing.
It will take a while for the food to heat up in your chafing dish. Make sure the one you have has a lid that fits well to keep the heat in and start heating your soup or veggies about an hour before you plan to eat them.
How Do You Cook Off-Grid?
It’s important to have multiple options for multiple black-out scenarios. Whether you’ll be preparing food away from home or simply dealing with a power outage, it’s nice to have more than one solution.
How will you cook when the power goes out?
- The Best Dehydrator & 15 Best Dehydrator Reviews (2022)
- Grid Down Fire Safety Considerations
- How To Prepare For Rolling Blackouts
- SHTF Food Storage Tips for Building a Stockpile
Some worthwhile additions to the article’s list:
Hybrid solar cookers that have a built-in electric backup so you can keep cooking (and learning) at night or when the sun is clouded over. The Sun-Focus is made in the USA; the Tulsi is made in India where some units are issued to the Indian army.
If instead you want to make a very inexpensive (and highly portable) solar panel cooker … look for how-to plans on YouTube for the Copenhagen design.
Fresnel lens cookers (typically DIY). The challenge is to learn whether the lens you acquired is UV protected from the sun so it doesn’t turn dark in a few weeks of use. If you can’t get proof of UV protection certification from the seller, you must either test it in actual use for a few months to see if it will last a long time — OR pass on the deal.
Carbon monoxide detectors (with battery backup) in case you need to cook indoors with marginal ventilation while using a burning fuel that throws off some carbon monoxide.
Small multi-fuel back-packable wood-gas stoves that can also use alcohol or wood pellets — often called twig stoves.
Duel-fuel camping stoves such as GasOne makes that burn either butane or propane.
Rocket stoves either at retail or dirt cheap DIY. Very portable and even usable in your house fireplace if you use the right woods that don’t creosote up the inside of your chimney. YouTube is full of DIY plans.
If using wood as fuel in a long term power outage, run a search online to learn about the many unexpected uses of wood ash that were common for thousands of years before electricity became available.
A gas grill will be of NO use whatsoever without the propane/gas to make it work. Better off stocking up on charcoal now and keep it good and dry for cooking with later and the little bottles of lighter fluid. But gas grill will always need the gas/propane and it might not always be in stock or available at all. Just saying…
Here’s one example of what might be a useful backup method for making your own charcoal if local stores sell out of stock or are shut down. This is just the first of MANY such videos on YouTube that were pulled up when I ran the simple search using MAKE CHARCOAL as the search phrase.
How to make Charcoal for your BBQ | Tip, life hack | BBQ Pit Boys
per this 3:54 minute video, from BBQ Pit Boys on 7 August 2020:
Save yourself plenty of money and make your own charcoal at home following these few simple steps show here by the BBQ Pit Boys
Plus many related YT video links.
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