Cooking Ideas: Cookware/Ovens/Stoves


If you have a 6 qt. capacity Dutch oven, this would probably be considered to be the 12 inch size (Lodge Manufacturing). This will typically feed 12-14 people at capacity.

On average, a typical meal will require about 25 briquette coals to do the job of cooking the meal (some less, some more), but use this figure for calculations.

25 coals weighs app.. 1-1/2 lbs. Therefore, you can now plan on how much coal to buy and store.

I know that my local Home Depot here is now selling two (2) twenty pound bags (total of 40 lbs) for about $10.00. Therefore, this 40 lbs would cook about 27 meals in the Dutch Oven, costing about .37 cents each time.


<"">Lodge Manufacturing Company, Inc. And to learn such important things such as pre-treating and upkeep (very important!) We use it with charcoal briquettes. Ours is a 12" oven, so we use 15 briquettes around the bottom and 9 on the lid. AWESOME!

IRON COOKWARE: Dutch Oven Cooking

A Dutch Oven with legs is used with coals beneath it and then for certain items, bread/biscuits/, the coals are also piled on top. Am aluminum kettle, etc. will possibility burn out with intense use. Someone left a website from the Scouts and there was description there . As far as baking without power, one can do some things in a Dutch Oven (the #1 thing for any family to have, IMHO) or a cardboard oven. We've baked cakes on trips before with these things. It's basically a cardboard box with some metal skewers in the side (to hold the item in the middle). Then, cover the hole inside with foil. Put a pie tin on the top and bottom with a few pieces of charcoal (or other fuel). It bakes like an oven (remember that it has to have a lid that goes over the whole top (which is now the front).

Also, I don't know if they make them anymore, but we have something called a Zip Stove. It looks like a small camping stove, but instead of propane or white gas it takes whatever you put into it (leaves, etc.)

The web for Dutch Oven cooking is Itís provided by the Boy Scouts and offers all the information regarding the preparation of your Dutch Oven, how to cook with as well as recipes (I believe there is even a bread recipe there)

IRON COOKWARE: More On Iron Cookware

I ordered through Chuckwagon Supply. The URL is

You can get the phone number off the web page and place an order. I ordered the starter kit ( but because of the big family - 8 people - the gentleman suggested a deep 12") plus a 10" oven. I ordered one of those fireplace cranes for the fireplace and hope to be able to have one oven hanging from the crane and one over coals. I am considering getting another stand for the second oven because just recently I have discovered that we can bake bread in these ovens!! I'd make a 10" round and a 12"round bread in the morning and put on the pots with some sort of main meal after this. If I use the woodburning stove too I can have the option of heating up something else with some heavy cast aluminum pots I have. Also making coffee or tea.

Remember to store enough charcoal. For instance to bake bread you need about 7-8 white hot coals on the bottom and 11-12 on the top. The kit comes with a great little coal starter and the lid lifter.


Use a small butane/propane burner, a solar oven, or build one's own clay oven which could be used whether or not we experience severe difficulties. gives a brief introduction to clay oven baking Another major technique to minimize fuel use is thermal cooking where one brings the pot/pressure cooker up to pressure quickly, then the pot is placed in an insulated container (which can be constructed simply from a box big enough to hold the pot, newspaper for insulation as a "sandwich" between the side of the box and a layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil to reflect the heat back to the pot). Check out the soft-sided insulated picnic devices designed to keep food hot which can be used for this purpose. The food will continue cooking in the box, and with the pressure cooker, even hard beans will be ready in an hour. This allows a lot of cooking with a minimum of fuel.

Of course, a wood cookstove may be used, and some folks are building outdoor "summer kitchens"--just an area with a wood-burning cookstove and a food prep area.

OVENS: Building An Outside Bread Oven

Hubby opted to use granite rather than brick in the construction, and was able to get as much as he wants for FREE from the local monument works (they have a pile of broken stone). He unloaded it in the backyard and I'm just sure the neighbors must think we are constructing a mausoleum :-D

OVENS: Outdoor Bread Ovens

For excellent on-line reading about bread ovens, from the construction of to the actually baking of the bread, check out My husband and I are combining the info we received via this article and plans we obtained today to create a custom built oven using local materials, thus substantially reducing the cost of building and improving aesthetics.

A site which will eventually have free plans for an adobe bread oven can be found at The site currently houses great plans for an adobe grill/roasting oven.

For those with a larger budget and time to participate in an apprenticeship, there is Alan Scott, the guru of the brick bread oven. His site is located at His experience and plan selection are amazing (so are the prices!)

Also, as mentioned in several other posts, At this site you can order a book detailing the building of an outdoor clay oven and you can also sign up for a workshop and experience what it is like to bake bread in a clay oven.

Lehman's catalog also offers a book. The Bread Book offers instructions for making a woodfired bread oven and instructions for making bread - from the seed to the loaf.

Comment: Ruth had posted an interesting note regarding marketable skills. This is definitely worth considering when building a bread oven. If constructed large enough, you have the capability of baking multiple loaves at a time, which many friends and neighbors might possibly be willing to trade goods or services for. Regardless of the outcome of y2k, the outdoor oven has many advantages for those with large families or for those of us who truly love to bake. Oh - you would definitely want to keep additional wheat on hand if you re considering the "marketable skill" aspect of outdoor baking.

SOLAR: Solar Cooker

From: <>
Date: Wed, 5 Aug 1998 16:01:21 EDT

<< Another issue to address is the amount of time it takes to cook dried beans. A LONG time! >>

A great solution is a solar cooker. I have just put the finishing touches on mine, made completely from things I had on hand...cardboard boxes, aluminum foil, newspaper and a piece of glass I got from an old picture frame. Needs no fuel, except a sunny day, and will work summer and winter.

At first I was disbelieving that it would work, but I was reminded of how you can start a fire with a magnifying glass and the sun's rays. The sun is amazing!! This particular cooker is supposed to be able to even bake bread, which is at about 450 degrees. Beans will take 3-4 hours, depending on the sun.

Missionaries have developed these little wonders so that people in third world countries don't destroy their greatest economic asset (their forests) for cooking fuel. There is also the added benefit of no smoke/ashes/exhaust to deal with.

Tomorrow is the test drive...we are having "solar day" at the office. I will be cooking pot roast in the solar oven, which we will position down in the parking lot. After an impressive demonstration :-) people may be jazzed about making one for themselves. Looking forward to a "solar cooker" party, where we can all make them together...B.Y.O.C.B. (bring your own cardboard boxes.)

I think I saw a link to a solar cooking site once, but if anyone wants these plans, I will be happy to post them.

The one we made and use is: The "Minimum" Solar BoxCooker.
You can also check out these: Solar cooking links

A very simple, inexpensive and effective design for solar ovens can be found in both the Brownie and Junior Girl Scout handbooks.

If you can locate both current, and older handbooks for both Girl Scouting and Boy Scouting, you'll be pleasantly surprised at the resources contained in them that will be useful to anyone looking to become self-sufficient.

Here are some solar cooker sites:


The direct URL for the foldout solar cooker for use in refugee camps is. . ..........

The is a page of useful information for frugality, simple living, and prudence/preparation.

SOLAR: Solar Oven

From: "Susan S. Cox" <>

Well. I did it. I built a solar oven. I found the plans for it at .

They were not real easy to follow because some of the measurements are not there, but the pictures were good. I spray painted the outside a dull black for heat absorption (my idea) and lined the interior with the shiny side of foil as per instructions. It took me the better part of an evening, but it was fun.

Well, I got up this morning and it was cloudy but, not to be discouraged I put my little project out on the deck and, for a test put a Pyrex dish with water in it out for trial. I went out an hour later ( fairly cloudy but some sun peaking through). Touched the oven and it was cool. All that work for nothing I thought. THEN I touched the dish. WOW it was hot. 30 min later it tested the water with a thermometer and it was 200 degrees.

It works, friends!!!! And I wasn't even using the right kind of pot. A black, thin metal pot is recommended. I went out and bought a 4 qt, thin metal, mid-night blue stock pot. A nice little pot. Tried that, and it heated even faster.

SOLAR: Simplest Solar Cooker

Check the following web site for solar cooking:

it is called the minimum solar box cooker Lots of do-it-yourself information.

STOVES: Sierra Camp Stoves

The Sierra is an ingeniously designed stove, marketed as a barbecue cooker. It is a two burner size cooker. Small blocks of wood is all it takes for fuel. A small battery-powered fan blows like a bellows onto the base of the fire. This creates a controllable fire which can go from a warming temperature to 1,000 degrees. Incredible.

View it online:

One can use rechargeable NICAD batteries and a solar charger for the forced air mechanism. It can be used either as a grill, or with pots and pans sitting on the grill. One can also put one of those collapsible camping ovens on the grill and bake with it.

THERMOS: Cooking With A Thermos

As a substitute crockpot, a good thermos bottle will actually work. E.g., you can put oats and hot water in its overnight and it will be oatmeal in the morning. Beans supposedly also can be cooked this way, although I haven't tried it personally. The idea is to bring the mixture to a boil, then pour immediately into the thermos bottle (the source I read said that a steel lined thermos was necessary, the glass lined don't work as well).