The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Archive for the category “cooking methods”

Lorena Stove Info

Here is some information about the Lorena woodburning stove design.

Pros: It uses very little firewood and burns very efficiently and when the exhaust pipes are clean with little smoke near the person cooking.

Cons: Can be difficult to start a fire in these stoves as the stove’s opening is small. If you blow into the stove a wave of heat can come back at you and burn your face. Apparently it also takes more work to construct than the simple rocket stove, as well.

Here is the Lorena stove being lit:

I’m conflicted about this design because of this — it seems materials matter.

Cinder Block Rocket Stove

Quick and easy construction by hightechredneck

Cooking with the Sun on the Navajo Reservation in Utah

This was a really interesting entry. Here several Navajo students from Paul McCarl’s class at the Whitehorse High School in Montezuma Creek, Utah present their solar cooker projects.

Especially interesting is a Fresnel lens cooker the students built in order to be able to fry the popular Southwest fry bread.

As one of the student notes, you don’t see too many solar cookers that will fry.

The students introduce themselves in Navajo and then go on and explain their projects.

How to Make A 16-Brick Rocket Stove

Here, “Dr. Larry Winiarski makes a clean burning rocket stove using 16 adobe bricks at the Rotary International-sponsored Integrated Cooking Workshop in Tlautla, Mexico.”

Important points: The advantages of this kind of stove – rocket stoves are easy to construct, burn wood extremely efficiently, so a little wood goes a long way, generate very little smoke, and burn hot.

The stove he demonstrates is made with unfired adobe brick that was made with plant material (straw) as a binder. This makes for light but very well insulating bricks.

solarwindmama who posted this video to YouTube says that she made a similar stove with fired red brick from Home Depot and it worked but that she thinks that the heat would have been more concentrated with unfired adobe brick.

Point 2: Rocket stoves have to be used outside or carefully and properly vented, otherwise you risk carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Dakota Fire Hole/Pit

The Dakota Fire hole/pit offers a highly efficient way to create an outdoor camp fire.

Advantages: Burns very hot, the fire is well-contained, uses much less firewood than a conventional above ground fire, is less smoky, is easier to conceal (if that’s a concern) as and after you’ve used it than conventional camp fires. It is also easier to fully extinguish (back fill the hole) and integrates a stable cooking surface into its design.

Disadvantages: Will be harder to dig the two pits necessary for this kind of camp fire if the ground is very rocky, sandy, wet or a tangle of tree roots. It may take more time and physical effort to prepare, since you need to dig dual holes than a conventional fire pit.

The design is actually similar to that of a Rocket stove only instead of constructing out of clay or brick or whatever, here you are digging your heating and cooking chambers.

Some good views of the fire in action here:

I’ve read that Dakota fire holes are NOT good options for use inside a shelter or dwelling unless you can be sure that your fire is venting properly, as you can run a carbon monoxide poisoning risk.

Rocket Stove

“The Rocket Stove is a variety of wood-burning cooking stove. It is easy to construct, with low-cost materials. These are low-mass stoves designed to burn small pieces of wood very efficiently. Cooking is done on top of a short insulated chimney. The stoves are typically constructed out of trash: tin cans, old stovepipes, etc. A skirt around the pot will help hold heat in, increasing the efficiency.

Rocket Stoves use branches, twigs, small wood scraps, or just about any small combustible material. The pieces of wood or other material burn at their tips, increasing combustion efficiency, creating a very hot fire, and eliminating smoke. The low-mass stove body and insulated chimney ensure that the heat goes into the cooking pot, not into the stove. Rocket stoves used in conjunction with hayboxes can save enormous amounts of fuel, cooking complete meals while using very few resources.” You can read the rest of the descriptive article here.

In the following videos, Chris Towerton, shows us how to construct a rocket stove cob oven. He uses clay, a steel pipe and straw.:

Chris’ inspiration video was by Jon and Flip who have built these ovens for firing pottery and for baking/cooking food as part of their relief work in Haiti.

How to Build A Hay Box

A hay box (or hay cooker, insulated box, straw box or fireless cooker) is a method of cooking that saves energy.

From Wikipedia: “Food items to be cooked are heated to boiling point, and then insulated. Over a period of time, the food items cook by the heat captured in the insulated container. Generally, it takes three times the normal cooking time to cook food in a hay box.”

Hay and straw, even blanketing can be used as insulation — but we now have so many insulation options. A quick trip to a big hardware store reveals that, that we can build super-insulated hay cookers.

This is old technology that is now being revived. You can get fancy with the box building it out of wood or as in the following video keep it simple by using a cardboard box. According to Wikipedia, in the past, “Some types were provided with soapstone or iron plates which were heated during the preliminary cooking on the stove and then placed in the fireless cooker either over or under the cooking pot. In these types, a non-inflammable insulating material was used.”

Advantage: Can save on huge amounts of energy. Risk/Disadvantage: Again via Wiki “…there is a risk of bacterial growth if the food items are allowed to remain in the danger zone for one or more hours. For this reason, food cooked in hay boxes is normally reheated to boiling before eating. Using a food thermometer eliminates the guesswork.”

In this video Aaron Mackley shows us how to build a hay box using a cardboard box, styrofoam panels and aluminum foil. I would probably go with an insulator other than styrofoam, especially around something hot because it is just nasty, toxic stuff, but…

Build an Insulated Hay Box from Aaron Mackley on Vimeo.

Post Navigation