Outdoor Cooking For Survival

Outdoor Cooking For Survival

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Today I’m sharing ideas about outdoor cooking for survival without power. If we lose power for a day or two we can eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or chicken salad on crackers for that matter. We can eat some freeze-dried veggies out of our #10 cans or open a can of green beans and eat them.

Here’s how I see what will happen after a week of zero power or utility breakdown. Yes, we have flashlights and batteries to get us through the evenings of darkness. Maybe you have a lantern or two.

A few years ago, I finished reading Ted Koppel’s book, “Lights Out.” Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath We as prepared people already knew we will have a power outage at some time or another. We continue to be prepared for the unexpected.

Power grid down or not, our country is extremely unprepared for a grid down (power outage across the country) and we as individuals need to do all we can to prepare ourselves and our families near us for the loss of power due to any cause.

Related: 9 Prepping Tips for Outdoor Survival

First Day Without Power

You may have heard this statement from me before, the first day without power we will check with our neighbors to see if they have lost power too. Hopefully, we all have a way to charge our cell phones or laptops if the power outage is only in our neighborhood.

If it’s only our neighborhood we can use our cell phones to see what’s going on in the world. If the cell phones don’t work then possibly it’s a total grid down.

Second Day Without Power

On the second day without power, we can still play cards, and board games and visit with neighbors to see what plan B is if this power outage is longer than two days. Now, during this power outage, the supermarkets will probably be without power, and therefore, they will be closed once the generator runs out of fuel.

Third Day Without Power

On the third day, and every day thereafter, some people may become agitated. The gas stations will be shut down because of zero power. Uncertainty brings fear and emotions may run high. If you are prepared you will not be afraid.

I strongly suggest you buy the paperback copy of my book now before you need it. If you have zero power you can flip through the pages to learn how to be ready for what may be coming. Please study it and read it as a family.

When I wrote the book I told my publisher I did not want to write about weapons in my book. I wanted my book to be family-friendly so that a child old enough to read could study it and learn from it. It’s available in many stores and online.

I feel blessed to have been asked to write my book to teach the world in paper form to be prepared for the unexpected. Prepare Your Family for Survival: How to Be Ready for Any Emergency or Disaster Situation

We all know we need water to survive, so I highly recommend storing water first, then food. Now let’s get into cooking without power. We can eat cold meals out of cans or food from our gardens for a week if we had to. But if we are out of power for much longer than that we need to know how to cook outside. These are the ones I highly recommend and use all the time.

Cook For Survival

Keep in mind you need to store some matches, a butane lighter or a fire starter tool for some of the cooking stoves below. I also recommend this tool: Lodge A5-1 Charcoal Chimney Starter

1. Dutch Ovens

If you can find one at a thrift store that would be awesome, although they are getting harder to find now. This is the one I recommend because it has a lid with a “lip” so you can not only place charcoal underneath the oven itself but also on the lid.

Another bonus is you can stack this style of Dutch oven. Lodge Camp Dutch Oven, 6 Qt. I prefer the six-quart over the eight-quart version due to the weight of the Dutch oven when empty or filled. If you find some rusty cast iron oven at a thrift store or garage sale, no worries, you can clean and re-season the unit and make it ready for future use.

Read More of My Articles  Open Fire Cooking 101

Repairing Rusty Cast Iron

I have repaired/cleaned some Lodge cast iron ovens very easily this way: First, get some fine steel wool and remove all the rust. Next, wash the cast iron skillet or Dutch oven with mild soap and warm water.

Quickly dry and oil it by rubbing the surface inside and outside and cook in a heated 350-degree stove/oven for about an hour turned upside down. I always put a sheet of aluminum foil on the rack right below the pans to collect drips.

After one hour turn off the oven and let the unit cool overnight. They are then ready to store with a paper towel between the lid and the Dutch oven. I store most of my Dutch ovens in bags in the garage. The ones I use all the time I do not store in bags.

Be aware, if the piece is really rusted you may have to take it to a machine shop to have it sandblasted and restored to raw cast iron. Then you would follow the steps of using oil and placing them in the oven as directed.

Most people never let their cast iron near water, I do and then I dry it in the oven after I spray a little vegetable oil on it if needed.

Dutch Oven Fuel:

I am only talking about cooking outside today, so let’s talk about the fuel we can use outside with cast iron skillets, griddles, or Dutch ovens.

I have actually put charcoal on the ground and baked bread, casseroles, biscuits, or whatever just on rocks with charcoal. I store my charcoal without the starter chemicals (plain charcoal will store indefinitely if kept airtight and dry) in 5-gallon buckets with Gamma Lids.

Now, you can cook with cast iron on your gas barbecue or over a fire pit with a tripod like this one: Lodge 3TP2 Camp Dutch Oven Tripod Here is another thing I use: Lodge A5DLL Deluxe Lid Lifter

Charcoal, lump charcoal, and wood will work great in a fire pit or on gravel.

Dutch Oven Stand Without Legs Attached

My awesome brother-in-law, Duane made for Mark and me this portable Dutch Oven stand so we can take the 24-inch legs out and travel in a car or truck easily with this little barbecue.

It’s really easy to store in the garage because it comes apart. It is extremely sturdy. Duane took a tire rim that is approximately 15 inches wide in diameter. He welded 3 short legs, about 6 inches tall and about 1-3/8 inches in diameter, inside the rim.

The other legs are 24 inches long and 1-1/4 inches in diameter and fit inside the welded ones attached to the tire rim. He cut a metal grate and welded it so it is stationary inside the tire rim to hold briquettes or firewood.

If you had another grate/grill for the top you could barbecue on it. We use this mainly for the Dutch Oven, or sometimes we roast marshmallows or hot dogs with a skewer over the flames.

What I really like about this unit is that you can use it with or without the 24-inch extended legs. Of course, you would need to know someone who knows how to weld and has welding tools.

Thank you to my brilliant brother-in-law for coming up with this great idea! The extended legs are about 24 inches long by 1-1/4 inches in diameter. This makes me want to cook something this weekend in my Dutch Oven!

How To Make A Dutch Oven Stand | via www.foodstoragemoms.com

2. Butane Stoves

I actually used one of these butane stoves for three months last year when I was waiting to have a gas line installed in my kitchen  Camp Chef Butane 1 Burner Stove with Camping Case and the fuel 12 Butane Fuel GasOne Canisters for Portable Camping Stoves.

I used one canister of fuel for 6 weeks so it will go pretty far unless you are boiling a large pot of soup every day. I prefer having several types of cooking stoves because they all use different types of fuel.

Butane Fuel:

What’s the deal with butane canisters? You will read that you can only use these butane stoves outside, but I have used them in stores that provided them for me to show how to cook inside their facilities. When I use them in my home I crack a window open. These are great to cook outside, but they are small and will work great for a few weeks.

3. Kelly Kettle

I love the Kelly Kettle because it’s fairly inexpensive and uses very little fuel. You can boil water to make soup in minutes. If you want to see how a Kelly Kettle works on a step-by-step basis here is a post where I show how to use it: Kelly Kettle by Food Storage Moms.

Read More of My Articles  Disasters-How To Cook After One

I wanted one for several years and I was so grateful my friend Glen from Kelly Kettle asked me to show the world how to use one! These are great for camping and emergencies because they use very little fuel. Literally.

This is the one I have: Kelly Kettle Ultimate Stainless Steel Small Trekker Camp Stove Kit. New Spot Welded Model. The Perfect Camp Stove for Cooking, Hiking, Camping, Kayaking, Fishing, and Hunting. Boil Water, Cook Fast, Survive.

Kelly Kettle Fuel:

Dry leaves or twigs, that’s it! I have used pine cones as well. I call this my FREE fuel stove because you can gather the dry leaves, pine cones, or twigs around your yard, add a match and you have water boiling in no time at all.

4. Volcano Stove

Volcano stoves are awesome because you can use three types of fuel with them. The Volcano Stove collapses to about 5 inches and fits well in a car or on a shelf in your garage.

It comes complete with a zippered bag.  Volcano 3 Collapsible Cook Stove You can bake, boil water, or barbecue on them right on the table, outside of course. I have seen posts stating you can “can” foods on one of these.

I strongly disagree with this idea as you cannot control the temperature of the flame/heat. National Center For Home Food Preservation  I quote ” At least one pressure canner manufacturer advises not to can on any outdoor heat source.

Your pressure canner can be damaged if the gas burner puts out too much heat. Higher BTU burners could also produce so much heat that the recommended come-up time for canning could be altered, potentially producing an unsafe final product.”

Volcano Stove Fuel:

Wood, charcoal, lump charcoal, and propane canisters, large and small are all great options. Please note not all Volcano stoves come with BOTH adapters for the small propane canisters AND large propane tanks. This is why it’s critical to practice and use our emergency or camping outdoor stoves BEFORE a disaster or unforeseen emergency.

5. Camp Chef-Stove/Oven Combo

I love this one because you can bake bread or casseroles in it, AND it has two burners on top. If you watch at your local Costco or Sam’s Club they usually have these for a good price right before Memorial Day or Father’s Day. Here’s the one I have: Camp Chef Camping Outdoor Oven with 2 Burner Camping Stove I did buy the griddle that goes with it so I can make pancakes, grilled cheese sandwiches, or whatever on top.

Camp Chef Stove/Oven Fuel:

Propane canisters or tanks. You will need BOTH the small propane canisters and large propane tank adapters to use them. I only use the large adapter because I prefer to use my propane tanks. I do have both adapters, though. Please be aware they do not always provide both adapters when purchased.

6. Camp Chef Double Burner Stove

This is the one I use all the time. It’s very sturdy and I can cook with my cast iron pans and Dutch ovens on it. Camp Chef Explorer Series EX-60LW 2-Burner Modular Cooking System, Black.

I like this one because I have a griddle I use with it and I can cook for a lot of people very quickly when needed. I also purchased the bag to store it safely in my garage. The carry bag has wheels and it’s easy to transport.

Camp Chef Double Burner Fuel:


7. Sun Oven:

If you purchase a Sun Oven I only recommend this brand: All American Sun Oven Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package. I have two of these and I can bake pretty much anything in them, including my bread.

Whatever you can bake in your conventional oven in your home you can bake in one of these ovens. The pans must not be shiny because they will reflect the heat away from your food. If the pan fits you can bake almost anything in it.

Keep in mind you MUST have sun rays several days of the year or this will be used rarely where you live. Just giving you the heads up here.


Zero fuel, you only need the sunshine.

Here’s the deal, I recommend these only as a second choice for cooking. I have two of them and use them all the time. Where I live I get the best sunshine between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

I’m just giving you the heads up here, you can’t come home from work at 4:00 PM and still have enough sunshine to bake a meal or bread where I live. If we happen to be without the sunshine for two or three weeks we will need an alternative way to cook or bake our meals.

I must add something here that’s very important about the Sun Oven. We need ZERO fuel, that’s a big deal to me. I will prepare meals planned around the use of the sun rather than use up my wood, charcoal, lump charcoal, pine cones, butane or propane fuel.

Final Word

I hope that my post today gives you several ideas that may work for your family for cooking outside for survival. If you store fuel correctly you will be prepared for the unexpected. Please plan on more than one cooking device, just in case. May God bless this world. Linda

25 ways to save money by Linda

Copyright Images: AdobeStock_125601131 by Fiedels

Similar Posts


  1. For short term (a few days) power outages don’t forget the grill in your backyard. And those of us lucky enough to have smokers can use them to bake things as long as our fuel holds out.
    But yeah, the SunOven is my first method of grid-down cooking because the fuel is free and should be abundant even in most events. When the sun isn’t available I’ve got a few other methods of cooking, just in case. 😉

    1. Hi Dmwalsh, thanks for your great comment. I don’t have a smoker, that’s good to know you can bake in it as long as the fuel holds out. The SunOven will be my most used item in a grid down because like you said the fuel is FREE! Love it! Thank you, Linda

      1. The smoker I have only goes up to 350F but that’s hot enough to bake some recipes with. And as long as I don’t put wood chips in the bin, I don’t have to be smoking while it maintains the temperature. I got the Masterbuilt ThermoTemp XL Propane smoker because it has a set and forget temperature gauge and it didn’t require any electricity. Other smokers may have different max temperatures, so folks should check now in case of future need.

        1. Thanks, DMWalsh, I’m glad to hear it doesn’t use electricity. I saw a smoker at Costco that required electricity so I knew I didn’t want that one. Thanks for the tip on the one you purchased. Most everything we cook is at 350 degrees, that’s perfect. Great tip! Thank you, Linda

  2. rocket stoves are highly efficient and can be made from a variety of materials – they focus the BTUs where you want, on the food – and it will use just about any combustible fuel instead of having to buy fuel – controlling air flow makes the best of use of fuel in any outside cooking instead of just wasting it to the surrounding air

    free & efficient

  3. Linda, have you ever tried out or reviewed the Sunfocus Solar Oven Hybrid? Their website is sunbdcorp.com/sunfocus-hybrid-ovens/ and they are sold at various sites for way less than retail.

    1. Hi John, great tip on that unit. I had to remove the website link because the site is not secure and will compromise my secure website. It has only an http and it needs to be an https site for me to put it on my blog. I will check it out for sure. You know I love hearing about new products. I’m on it! Thank you so much! Linda

  4. Hi Linda, this is an area I need to work on. I’m wondering about the butane stove and fuel. How do you store the fuel, as in can it be stored in the house? Garage? Temp. limits? Thanks for any info. I always learn lots from your posts.

    1. Hi Rita, I have my daughters store the butane stove AND fuel in their hall closet. It takes up very little space and is ready when they need it. I would not store it in a hot garage. Thank you for your kind words. Keep prepping! Linda

  5. Hi Linda!
    Yes, anyone who doesn’t already have Linda’s book you will probably want two copies. I’ve kinda smashed & crunched my first copy so a second one is clearly in order. I’ve also got all the printouts from the blog that aren’t covered in Linda’s book in a 2″ notebook (in the same spiffy yellow color as Linda’s book), filed by category, and in page protectors.
    (Gee, if we could only get Linda’s book in hardcover -publishers? are you listening? – I wouldn’t have to have two copies, one of which is shabby and the other is just getting started!)
    I think we’ll have to try seasoning “my” cast iron. I’ve got my grandmother’s Dutch oven, and her two frying pans. Your way of cleaning & seasoning them sounds quite doable to me.

    1. Hi Cheryl, I’m glad my publisher used glossy pages instead of recycled paper or it would shred even more! LOL! I love hearing how you have printed out my printables and put them in a yellow notebook!! You are rocking with preparedness! I lOVE it! Cast iron is really easy to restore unless it’s cracked of course. Linda

  6. Linda ~
    I will always remember the camping trip I made and was camped next to a local Dutch Oven Society member! I had a DO but only used it for soups and stews over the fire as I didn’t know how to bake in it. Well, I tell you that that camping trip was an EYE OPENER! I not only learned how to bake in the DO but also make crepes (on the lid), pizza (on the lid) and many other ways of using it. What I gained has been invaluable and I have even won a few DO cooking contests!

    So, I have skills in using my DO, campfire cooking, and I have a butane stove. I don’t have the funds to purchase any other methods of off grid cooking. So, while I still enjoy reading about the Sun Oven, Rocket stove, etc., they are not in my budget nor skill set to make (rocket stove).

    1. Like you, funds too low to buy a solar oven. But I came across a webpage that taught me to make my own. Very simple and almost free. I’m going to add in Linda’s comment section how to make one. And yes, I did try it out last summer and was able to cook soup, veggies and meat in it. Hope you see my instructions in the comments section.

    2. HI Leanne, you don’t need anything else. If you have a DO and some briquettes in airtight containers you are set. If you have other fuel that’s a bonus. The butane stove is perfect. The DO can be used with pine cones, scraps of wood as well. You are good, girlfriend! Linda

  7. I found an interesting how-to to make a solar oven, then I adapted it to meet my needs. On my deck, I brought three old tires, with one being still on the rim. I laid down a piece of black cloth ground cover, about 3’x3′. Put the tire with the rim on that, then stacked the 2nd tire. I found a scrap piece of fairly heavy sheet metal, cut it round, slightly bigger than the tire. Then painted it black with stove paint. Put it on top of second tire. Stacked third tire on this. I got a round piece of glass (from a chintzy round end table I got at thrift store: $2), which I then put on top of third tire. Walla! A solar oven! Cooking pot sits on the metal thingee between 2nd and top tire. Most of my cast iron skillets and stainless steel pots fit good in this contraption. I prefer to use clear glass lids (with steel handle on top) so I can just look down and see cooking. I happen to have one glass lid with a vent hole, one without. It is amazing how fast tires heat up in the sun, trap that heat. It’s not a fast way of cooking versus fuel cookers, but it’s pretty efficient and cheap to make. Does require direct sunlight, but doesn’t have to be a really warm day. Using tires made sense to me as I use old tires to fast grow potato buds. When I tried this initially, it was middle of May, daytime temp max of 60. By noon, the inside of this contraption was over 120. By 3, it was 325. By 5, my first pork roast was done! (I’d put that in the cooker at about 11a.m., and just left it, only looking at it thru the top glass and the glass lid). It takes a bit of practice to get cooking different things right, like macaroni based hotdishes. But since old tires are basically free anytime a person replaces theirs, it’s a cheap way to cook. Lol, I haven’t tried it in my very cold winter yet. Just another option once spring comes…

    1. Hi Wendy, wow!! Thanks for the directions on how to make a basically FREE Sun oven with upcycled items. I know a lot of people will love this! Thank you so much!!! Linda

  8. I always have a fire pit. I welded up a tripod with chain hangers for a pot.
    I only have one Dutch oven and eventually hope for more.
    I do have several hundred gallons of propane that can run the camper stove, smoker, grill, camp stove that I also have a small oven attachment for. Tanks at garage sales generally run about $5 and refill for $16-19.
    I have the hoses that convert the larger tanks to stoves and lanterns.
    As you can tell I like to eat lol

    1. Hi Matt, I love hearing you found some propane tanks at garage sales. That’s a deal! I love the fact that you have so many gallons of propane stored! You rock! You are the kind of neighbor I dream to have, one that is prepared for the unexpected. It could be a fantastic meal or extreme grid down. Great comment!!! Linda

  9. My husband made us a stand for our Dutch oven and it is very heavy. He is going to make a smaller version to take to a class on cooking without power. Yes, it is very nice to have more than one way to cook when the power goes out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *