Cooking when the grid is down can be a bit tricky for those who rely on their oven or other electrical appliances to prepare a meal. Whether you live in an area prone to power outages or simply want to add some emergency cooking methods to your bank of knowledge, here are some ideas for making a hot meal without power.
Keep in mind that cooking methods or tools for outdoor use are labeled that way for a reason! Be safe and if you aren’t sure whether a particular grill or other cooking device can be used indoors, take it outside.
Naturally an actual woodstove would be the obvious way you could cook off-grid, but if you only have a traditional fireplace, don’t worry! If it’s cool enough to start a fire, you can easily cook in your regular fireplace.
2. DIY alcohol stoves
Alcohol-fueled stoves are easy to make at home and cheap to use. These types of stoves are super portable and can be quite small, making them popular among campers and backpackers. They burn hot and can easily heat up a pot of water quite large compared to the stove itself.
3. Propane camp stove
Most campers probably have at least one propane camp stove. Even stores like Walmart or Target sell them. These stoves tend to work very well and are pretty easy to use. The only downside is that you will need to keep canisters of propane on hand and if you run out, you are out of luck.
4. Versatile ‘Crisis Cooker’
Unlike a propane camp stove, this handy portable device lets you use not only propane but also wood or charcoal. It works great with propane but in a pinch will allow you to boil, grill, bake or fry using other heating sources. For example, because of its unique design, you can cook a meal with only six briquettes. Wood chunks work, too.
A great way to cook up a meal is just to make a fire outside. You can either build a campfire in a safe area or build a dedicated fire pit for cooking. In good weather it can be a lot of fun to gather around a fire in the backyard and make a meal with family or friends around. As for cooking techniques you could make a spit, build a rack for grilling or go the route of using a Dutch oven. Click here to learn how to cook with a Dutch oven.
6. Rocket stove. The rocket stove is an efficient option that uses only bricks and wood and can be assembled in a short amount of time. You will still be able to use all of your other normal kitchen equipment with this stove. The other beauty of the rocket stove is that it doesn’t just have to be used in a survival situation; it can also be used as a temporary backup on normal days when your regular kitchen stove breaks down. The downside: It’s not portable.
7. Charcoal grills
Grilling or barbequing isn’t just for summer events. A charcoal grill has the advantage of you also being able to use it for a wood fire if you don’t have briquettes. The downside is that grills tend to be rather large.
8. Dedicated outdoor oven/outdoor kitchen
Everyone can benefit from having an outdoor kitchen area, but especially those who live in rural areas. A dedicated outdoor oven (whether it’s an old wood stove, masonry stove, etc.) heated with wood or propane makes cooking more enjoyable and it’s always reassuring to know that there is always a way to cook outside. Consider building an outdoor kitchen area or at least have the oven covered with a simple structure. A big benefit of having an off-grid outdoor kitchen is that you can still cook up big meals in summer without heating up your house.
How do you prefer to cook when you have no power? Please share your comments and your favorite easy off-grid recipes below!