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  • #21387
    Profile photo of sledjockey
    sledjockey
    Bushcrafter
    member8

    I did a post about how I practice my woodman cooking skills at home without upsetting my neighbors or getting the fire department called on me. Because I can never get the pictures to link correctly, I have just copied/pasted/included the link if you are so inclined as to take a look. The important ideas and information are below and in the text so don’t think that you have to “click the link” for any reason….. It just gives you the pictures to help explain what I am talking about.

    AOD

    This is the post and information. Again, I am sorry that I am having so many problems with formatting. Probably too many years with the bb style forums and how they format things. The information on making bannock is also good to know, however. I will be doing some more stuff on using the bannock base for hard tack with bacon… Mmmmmm… Bacon….

    Many of my friends and family are amazed at how well I can coordinate an entire meal through the use of a campfire as my heat source. Until recently I just told them that I was so good at it because, “Generations of country run through these veins!” Either that or I would look at them and sing, “Red-red-red-red-red-red-neck!” Either way it was amusing for me. Not that either of these isn’t a true statement, but it also helps to practice up a lot when not out in the bush. Now I confess and let them know how to practice.

    A lot of you might not live in a place where having a full blown fire pit or campfire in your yard is an option. For those of you who want to practice up, but don’t have the facilities, can use one of these type fire pits.

    Inexpensive Fire Pit

    Inexpensive Fire Pit
    Even if you have to purchase wood from the local store, this is a great way to get the knack of cooking with actual fire. My first suggested dinners include those that are built in a Dutch oven and on aluminum foil. “Cowboy casseroles” and bannock are two great dinners to start with. For “Cowboy casserole” do the following:

    Cook some steak to medium rare or some brauts to a point right before they are truly cooked.
    Pour some drained, baked beans into your Dutch oven.
    Add some spicy BBQ sauce to the bean. Add enough to make them a little bit soupy.
    Cut up whatever meat you previously cooked. Make sure it is in small pieces. We are talking smaller than a bite. Add this to the beans.
    Toss in some cut up bacon.
    Cook to the point where the bacon starts turning color. Add some biscuit mix (mixed up of course) to the top. You can also mix flour, a table spoon of baking powder, salt, and enough water to make it into a batter, then pour it on top. Either way, it needs the biscuit type material on top.
    Cook it the rest of the way. If you added the biscuit type layer after the bacon had already started cooking, everything will get done at the same time.

    For bannock:

    Take flour, a table spoon of baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, and enough water to make it into a biscuit type mix.
    Cook it like you see in the picture below.

    Cooking bannock and Cowboy casserole

    Cooking bannock and Cowboy casserole
    As you can see, I took some foil and put it over some tree bark. You can put it right on the bark if you want, but expect a bit of dirt that way. I did the foil because my wife was eating with us and she complains about the dirt and grime in her food.

    If you are not sure how it should look when you are cooking your steaks, check out this picture.
    Cooking steak over a fire pit.

    Cooking steak over a fire pit.
    Almost done

    Almost done
    When you get a bit more experienced, you can even cook with a pot over the fire pit. Just take some metal rods to make yourself something like the following to put your pot over. I wasn’t cooking with the pot, but wanted to give you an idea of what it would look like with the fire pit.
    Cooking with a pot over a fire pit

    Cooking with a pot over a fire pit
    As you can see, the only limitations on how to cook with one of these fire pits is your imagination. We have had ours for several years and have put several cords of wood through it. During the summer we use it at least three times a week and cook with it about half the time. We use it during the winter as well, but only two to three times every couple weeks. Still, it is enough to get good at open flame cooking.

    In conclusion: You will never get good at something unless you practice. If you live in a city that frowns upon bonfires in your backyard, you have to get a bit creative. This simple fire pit not only gives you the opportunity to practice building fires any time you feel the need, but it also allows you to practice your bush cooking. For the $40-$50 we spent on this bad boy, we have been able to do the following:

    Teach my family how to cook over open flame.
    Teach all my family how to build a camp fire.
    Teach my son how to do flint and steel fires as well as friction fires.
    Spend countless hours of quality time with my family.

    To me, this money spent has been one of our family’s best investments. Take a look at one and get out there to have some fun……

    http://ageofdecadence.com

    #21394
    Profile photo of freedom
    freedom
    Survivalist
    rnews

    sledjockey, Like the sound of it, I been wanting to buy one for a long time so I will. I have cooked in the beach just making a fire pit in the sand. The thing is to keep the fire from getting out of hand so you can cook it slowly.

    #21396
    Profile photo of sledjockey
    sledjockey
    Bushcrafter
    member8

    The easiest way to control the heat is by spreading out the coals. Cover them if you have to. You can also heat up rocks to help distribute the cooking area, too.

    These are just some tricks that I learned through trial and error.

    http://ageofdecadence.com

    #21398
    Profile photo of freedom
    freedom
    Survivalist
    rnews

    Thanks sledjockey,will do.

    #21425
    Profile photo of Novus Ordo
    Novus Ordo
    Hunter
    rprepper

    Sledjockey – thanks for the post. I got one of those from a buddy who PCS’d to the east coast. Haven’t had anything but a normal fire in it, but you’ve given me some good ideas. I especially like the “Cowboy Casserole” in the Dutch Oven – will give that a try when it gets cooler.

    I checked out your AOD site – pretty cool, can’t say I didn’t see anything that I didn’t like/agree with. I was going to mention the rocket stove, but see that you’ve already experimented with that a bit. I just got a couple of those balloon helium tanks (one large, one small) and plan to make each one into a rocket stove with a little welding.

    Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property... mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.
    - Thomas Paine

    #21433
    Profile photo of MountainBiker
    MountainBiker
    Survivalist
    member10

    sledjockey, the first photo with the dutch oven with wood on top and the bark with the foil is very reminiscent of the hearth cooking I took classes on some years back. Colonial era homes in New England had huge fireplaces that you could practically walk into plus brick ovens built into those fireplaces for baking bread and such. Stews and similar kinds of meals would cook in dutch ovens that were placed directly on top of coals in the fireplace and then with additional coals put on top of the dutch oven, not unlike what you’re doing in the photo. The same could be done using stoneware pottery if you don’t have dutch ovens. Do not try using regular ceramics or earthenware however as they’ll crack with that kind of heat applied.

    What you are doing with the bark is reminiscent of baking boards that we used. I forget the actual type of wood we used but it was a durable local hardwood to which nails were added along two sides. We then placed fish on the board and used a kitchen cooking type string attached to one nail and then criss crossed back and forth to hold the fish down. The board is then propped up facing the fire to cook the fish. After a while you untie the fish, turn it over, tie it up again and finish your cooking. We also baked items like whole chickens by skewering them and then hanging them in a curved pieced of tin that faced the fire. The curve captured and radiated the heat to cook the chicken evenly throughout, our needing to periodically rotate the chicken of course.

    #21698
    Profile photo of sledjockey
    sledjockey
    Bushcrafter
    member8

    Was a busy weekend. We did an upgrade on our production servers at work and yesterday was one of those “go home, put on gym shorts, cook something quickly and pass out on the couch after only 1/2 a beer” type nights.

    Novus Ordo – Thanks for checking out my site. The whole thing was built as a way for me to put projects, trips, things I thought were interesting and the sort into an easy to reference location. So far it has worked out well for that purpose. It works VERY well with regard to my family….. “How did you do _________?” My response, “Take a look at this link I sent you……” Really cut down on all the time I spent on the phone with my mother and uncle. I highly recommend it for those of you who have family that ask a lot of questions.

    I have never tried cooking with stoneware pottery other than a pizza stone. I do use the pizza stone to cook pizzas on my grill so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work over open flame. Will have to keep my eyes open at garage sales to find myself some stoneware to try it out…..

    The fish board works very well. I don’t tie the fish on, though. I just cut a hole up near the tail and hook it over a finishing nail or piece of tie wire twisted into a hook. Using some cooking twine would allow me to pack the fish with all sorts of things for flavor (lemon/lime/orange slices, spices, etc.). Going to have to give that one a try.

    Out in the woods, I use heat reflectors a lot. They help keep my shelter warm, evenly cook my chow, and help to keep from burning down things I don’t want burned. Many times (when I am spending multiple days in a single location) I build a fire trough versus a round fire. I then put a heat refector all along the back side of the trough. I can then spread out the coals and build fire in specific areas as needed for heat. I can then cook in the center and build up some bedding coals on the edge. Once done cooking it is a simple matter of spreading the coals out and stoking it for the night. Just a trick I learned after reading Sears (Nessmuk) as a kid.

    http://ageofdecadence.com

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