How prepared are you for cooking outdoors? Not many preppers are. But with the uncertain times, it’s better to be more than prepared for anything.
Cooking Outdoors Tips for Preppers
There is something depressing about looking at your grill all wrapped up and protected, hiding from the winter cold and snowfall. Many of us look forward to lighting that grill up when the weather warms in the spring and summer. For most of us, the grill is where our outdoor growing adventure begins and ends.
The electric stove is what cooks most of the meals in American homes. Gas stoves are powered by a flow of gas that would also be affected in a true grid down situation. How are you going to cook if you find yourself living through an off-grid disaster?
During the California wildfires, the power was shut off too many to avoid damage to powerlines that could spark further fires. The sun itself has the power to send a CME our way that would put the lights out forever! An increase in unrest and domestic terrorism could also result in the government willfully cutting power to certain areas or to damage to the power grid.
Let’s look at some methods for cooking outdoors that you should begin to explore:
1. Outdoor Smokers
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Outdoor smokers can be both powered by electric or just from a simple fire. Electric smokers don’t use a ton of power and can be powered by alternative means like solar panels. Smokers create amazingly flavorful food and if you become a master of slow smoking with flavorful wood, you will fall in love with this cooking tool.
Building a simple smoker from brick and wood is a great exercise in learning how to build and creates confidence in your ability to build and operate a cooking system from raw materials if you needed to.
Obviously, you have the barbecue grill. I prefer a cast iron bodied charcoal grill. This model can double as a smoker and can handle a wood fire if you find yourself in a situation where things like charcoal and propane are unavailable.
It is also beneficial to learn how to create charcoal of your own. Wood charcoal is made from high heat affecting wood but not coming in direct contact with it. There are a number of ways to do this including creating a mud mound over some wood pieces and then building a fire on top of the mound. When it all cooks down and you put out the fire you will have a stack of charcoal underneath the mud.
3. Fire Pits
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A simple wood fire pit serves not just as a place to sit around at night but also as an outdoor cooking option if you have spare grates or kabobs for cooking over the fire.
Every meal doesn’t have to be a masterpiece and during a disaster that has ravaged your living space or created calamity in your home, hot dogs on a skewer might be as delicious as any other meal.
It’s best to line your firepit with firebricks so that the structure can endure the heat of consistent fires. Beyond that, you can build your pit from cheap pavers, cement, cinderblocks or whatever else you can come up with.
4. Brick Pizza Oven
A little more challenging a build is the brick oven. While this is not something that will test you to your limits, you might need to get creative with how you build the section that covers the food. A wood-fired brick oven gives you the ability to cook great pizza but also anything else if you have quality metal or cast-iron cooking pans.
That said, be incredibly careful as these ovens can create a massive amount of heat. I have seen them melt cast iron pans when they are left in for too long.
Roasting meats in the wood fire grill is just wonderful. You can even cook vegetables near the front of the oven as it is less hot.
5. Solar Cooking
Solar cooking is for real! A lot of people look at things like the Sun Oven or the Go Sun and assume they are just gimmicks. I am telling you; you can eat well with these solar cookers on a sunny day. It doesn’t even have to be a hot sunny day.
These solar ovens can be used to roast meats and even make desserts. I have eaten fresh-baked bread from a solar oven that was delicious.
Do not discount the power of the sun as a means of cooking your food. Unfortunately, building your own solar oven is tough and requires some skill and some understanding of materials. I wouldn’t recommend it. We have built our own in the past but were underwhelmed by the results.
Invest in a quality cooker and you will have a means of cooking food that requires no added fuel!
Explore Something New
Just because we spend most of our cooking time in the kitchen doesn’t mean we cannot expand our horizons to the outdoors. The outdoor kitchen is becoming a trendy thing and in areas with perpetual or predominant good weather, it is commonplace.
Start your own outdoor kitchen with these off-grid outdoor cooking builds and methods. Your family will love the change of pace and when you hit them with that first slow-smoked turkey breast or brick oven pizza, they will be hoping you cook outside every night.
Do you have other cooking outdoors tips you’d like to share with your fellow readers? Please share them in the comments section!