Written by Debbie Robertson, my wife and prepping partner. She is an excellent cook, both indoors and outdoors.
Practicing cooking skills in preparation for a grid down situation has been a priority of mine. I knew that in a real grid down situation we would all be stressed, burn lots of extra calories and ultimately have lots of hungry mouths to feed. Practicing before hand would give me the confidence I needed to actually be able to cook anywhere in any weather.
For alternative cooking methods, we had purchased three sun ovens, two thermal cookers and I had sewn a wonder oven. I diligently practiced cooking and baking using these various methods and experienced success with them all. This gave me a sense of empowerment and I knew I could feed my family healthy meals in any situation.
Soon after my husband purchased our wall tent and stove with a chimney oven, I began wondering how I would be able to bake in a chimney oven. Setting up that heavy wood-burning stove in the backyard to practice cooking was just not practical. I remember wishing that one of my great grandmothers would help me know how to stoke the fire so I could bake eatable bread.
Last winter one of our prepping friends, Kevin Card, told us about a special rocket stove he had designed and built. He was able to attach a Cylinder Stove chimney oven to the top of the rocket stove. He tested it out by baking bread out on his patio on a cold snowy February day. The bread baked successfully and thus the Rocket Stoven was born. Here is his story about inventing the Rocket Stoven - click here.
When I first saw the Rocket Stoven, I was very excited. This would give me the opportunity to practice baking in my backyard without a lot of hassle. Kevin shared with us that the oven's thermometer located on the outside of the door did not give an accurate reading of the inside temperature. He learned by monitoring the inside temperature that the oven was about 120 degrees hotter. For example: a temperature reading of 230 degrees on the outside thermometer was 350 degrees inside the oven.
With this information and my new Rocket Stoven, I was ready to practice. I decide to make a favorite family casserole and a pan of brownies for my first try. With the outside temperature reading 230 degrees, I opened the oven door and slid in the casserole. I baked it for about 40 minutes. It turned out perfectly!!!
Next I slid in the pan of brownies and set my timer for 30 minutes. I felt a little uneasy about this so I opened the oven door a few times to check on it. Towards the end of the cooking time, I realized that opening the oven door multiple times had caused the brownies not to cook through on the side closest to the door. So I just turned the pan around and cooked it another five minutes. Again, I had another success. Yeah!!!!
With all this cooking, which amounted to 1 hour 15 minutes, I had cooked a dinner and a dessert with a few sticks for fuel. This was just amazing! I still had a hot oven, which I easily could have boiled some water on top had I been in a camping environment and needed to wash some dishes. Actually, I could have heated water on top while I was cooking.
A few weeks ago we were camping and I was cooking lasagne in a sun oven. We had a potluck dinner that began at 6 PM. While the lasagne was cooking, some clouds rolled in and the sun oven cooled down. It couldn’t maintain sufficient heat to cook. There was no way to finish the lasagne with the sun oven. So I started a fire in the Rocket Stoven. It heated up quickly and I was able to put the lasagne in the oven and have dinner ready on time, even in cloudy weather.
We placed the Rocket Stoven Combo right outside the door of our tent on a metal cooking table. I would not want to cook in my tent in hot weather. It was easy to heat water on top for washing dishes, while baking in the oven.
Let me just say that I LOVE MY ROCKET STOVEN. So now I am ready to successfully cook for my family regardless of the weather while using very little fuel.