Monday, July 16, 2012

Making dinner with a "fireless" cooker

Last night I made dinner using a "fireless" cooker.  You really do need fire but not for long.  A fireless cooker is sort of like using a crockpot only it doesn't need to use electricity all day.  It also doesn't give off the wonderful cooking odors, which can be hazardous to your well being in a SHTF situation.  You see, food smells travel a very long way.  You don't want to be advertising to all those within a 1/2 mile or so that you are making a fantastic meal, do you?

I made a bean stew.  I started with dry, rock hard, navy beans.  I used two cups of dry beans and boiled them in water.  After they boiled for a few minutes I took them off the stove and dumped out that water.  I then added more water to the beans and also small pieces of meat, vegetables, and seasonings.  No salt.  The salt will make the beans tough, so that needs to be added right before you eat.  I used enough water to almost fill the pot.  I boiled this filled pot for about 15 minutes.  I wanted to make sure the meat was hot all the way through.  Then I took it off the stove and placed it into my fireless cooker. 

What is a fireless cooker?  It's a well insulated box that will continue to cook whatever you put into it.  If the insulation is good enough your food will be ready in anywhere from 4-8 hours, depending on what you are making.  Since I started out with dry beans I knew it would take all day to "cook".  People use all kinds of things for their cook box.  You can use a cardboard box with insulation and then place another box inside that one.  I know someone who has a piece of furniture that is a big storage box.  When needed, she converts that into a fireless cooker.  Me, I used a cube ice chest. 

I have a couple of old bedspreads that are very thin and worn out.  I don't need them for blankets.  They'd make terrible rags.  They'd be perfect for a dog bed or something like that.  They make perfect stuffing (insulation) for the fireless cooker.  I opened the ice chest and placed one of the bedspreads on the bottom.  It came up the sides a bit, which was perfect.  I then put in my covered, filled pot.  I put the other bedspread on top and down the sides.  The two bedspreads plus the pot fit perfectly into the ice chest.  I then closed the lid and waited. 

About 15 minutes before dinner I opened up the ice chest.  The pot was still so hot that I had to use pot holders to take it out.  Dinner was perfectly cooked.  There weren't any odors.  I didn't use any extra propane to cook it other than heating it up in the morning when I didn't mind the stove on.  This is an easy way to cook soups, stews, and such without having to heat up the kitchen, use a lot of power, or have smells wafting through the neighborhood.  Another great way to prepare your meal.

I forgot to take pictures of the cooked food.  Sorry, there's none left to show now!



  1. I've been meaning to give this a shot, thanks for the reminder.

  2. That's a great idea for an old cooler, I never thought of doing something like that. Thanks for putting pictures up, I'm visually oriented.

    It's also perfect for cooking when it's super hot out and you don't want to run the stove for a few hours!

  3. I have seen alot on this method of cooking on various blogs. I love how you turned items that most of us have in our homes into a cooker. I have several old coolers floating around and I am going to have to give this a try! Thanks!

  4. .thanks for sharing

  5. So you're in a hideout bunker and you not only use much valued water to cook, but you POUR OUT the water you soaked the beans in?! WTF?... Man, you're gonna die

    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Thanks for making me laugh! I don't think I wrote that I poured the water down the sink and into the septic tank. I just poured it off the beans. It can go into the bread dough, or on the dog's food, or watering plants. There are so many uses for bean water. Most people who cook beans pour out the intial water because it seems to take out much of the gassyness from the beans. I don't know why, and maybe it doesn't do that for you.

      But you are right, I don't value water the same as most people because both the main property and the bug-out place are both on shallow wells with hand pumps available if there isn't power to pump the water. I also have stock tanks to catch water and someday would like to put in a couple of cisterns too. At any point in time both the main house and the bug-out place have about 600-1000 gallons of water on hand, without having to get it from the well. I don't think pouring out bean water when my world as I know it has not ended means I don't know what I'm doing. Thanks for your concern and have a great day.

  6. Thank you! I hadn't thought about the smells cooking makes. Smells do travel too. This is a very nice tutorial. Just about everyone has all the gear laying around too. I think that shreaded newspapers might also work to insulate if something like old bedspreads aren't available. I live in the south, and sometimes people have used Spanish Moss to insulate. Probably that stuff would work as well.

    You did a great job explaining! I will try this very soon. Thank you!