How To Be Prepared To Cook Emergency Meals
Today’s post is to help people be prepared to cook emergency meals outside. If and when we have a power outage, and we will, we need to be able to cook emergency meals. Some of you may have purchased packages of food where you just add tepid or boiling water. Well, you will need a way to boil that water. I’m going to give you the choices I recommend because I have used all of these and have them stored ready to cook food for my family. Here’s the deal, you need fuel as well, so I will suggest some fuel options for you to use with your cooking devices.
I have taught classes for several years on how to use the following cooking devices. I will say this, I have cooked inside buildings (for classes) and my own home with a butane stove. I recently saw a box at a store containing a butane stove that stated: “designed to cook outside.” So, I will leave the decision to you whether you feel safe using one inside your home. I gave all four daughters a butane stove with butane canisters. Here’s the deal, you would never cook for several hours on a butane stove, it’s designed to boil water, make coffee, heat up a meal, make some hot chocolate or warm up a can of beans in a pan. Here’s my homemade hot chocolate post: Linda’s Hot Chocolate
Cook Emergency Meals
Pro: Inexpensive, uses very little fuel to boil water and you can cook emergency meals
Con: It can only hold a small pan or pot
Fuel: Uses butane fuel, once the fuel is gone it cannot be used with any other fuel Butane Canisters
Here is my post on how to use a Kelly Kettle
Pro: Uses pine cones, leaves or dry twigs, basically free fuel
Con: You may say it’s a little pricey, but you can gather free fuel, in most cases, so for me, it is not pricey
Fuel: Pine cones, leaves or dry twigs
I prefer a 6-quart cast iron Dutch oven or smaller because of weight. I can’t handle the 8-quart size, but I know they are popular. I also like to buy the Dutch ovens with the lids with a lip like this one: Dutch Oven because you can stack them when cooking meals.
Pro: They will last forever if treated and stored properly, fairly inexpensive, you can cook emergency meals in these
Con: They will rust if not properly stored and cleaned (but you should be able to salvage any cast iron pot, within reason)
Fuel: Fire pit, wood stove if it has a cooking shelf, directly on charcoal briquettes, or lump charcoal or wood
Lodge Cast Iron gave me permission to print this cooking sheet for Dutch Ovens: Dutch Oven Chart
Here’s a post on how to use Volcano Stove: Volcano Stove Pictures by Linda
Pro: You can boil water, cook on a griddle, you can also cook emergency meals in one of these with a tent, if desired, you can use a medium size cast iron pot on this stove
Con: Fairly expensive but it uses three different fuels, wood, charcoal briquettes, propane (make sure you have the right adaptor for the small tanks of propane and/or the larger propane tanks
Camp Chef Stove/Oven Combo
This is a great one because I can bake a casserole or bread in the oven, if I remove one shelf for the bread, anyway. Camp Chef
Pro: You can bake, fry, boil, and make just about any meal on the top of the stove or inside the oven
Con: Uses propane, once the propane is gone you cannot use this stove with other fuels
Fuel: Propane only, make sure you have both adaptors for the large propane tanks or the small canisters
Camp Chef Two-Burner Stove
I love this one because you can cook with fairly large pans. I picture boiling water for spaghetti with this baby when we have a grid down in our neighborhood. Camp Chef two-burner stove
Pro: Extremely sturdy, and somewhat expensive but uses fairly large pans to cook emergency meals
Con: When you run out of propane this unit will not work, fairly expensive
Fuel: Propane only
I really don’t want to talk about the gas barbecues since they will waste so much fuel just to boil water. But it is an option.
Pro: Just about everyone has a gas barbecue
Con: Once you run out of fuel, the barbecue is less attractive for use, although briquettes can be used, just not as efficient for general use
Fuel: Propane and briquettes, unless you have a pellet one, but once the fuel is gone you’re out of luck
I bought two different fire pits, one from Amazon and one from Lehman’s. Lehman’s had a great sale one and I had to wait to have it crafted and shipped, but it is so worth the wait.
Pro: You can buy different sizes in so many different materials, I opted for a copper one and a steel one. You can build one fairly inexpensive with bricks and adding gravel inside the pit
Con: Expensive if you buy one premade
Fuel: Depending on the material, you can use wood, charcoal briquettes, and lump charcoal
I actually have two Sun Ovens, I was given one for a review and then I purchased a second one because I love them so much. I live in Southern Utah so sunshine is pretty consistent in our area. Sun Oven
Pro: Sunshine, if available, is free to cook emergency meals
Con: Fairly expensive and I do not recommend these if you have very little sunshine in your area
I hope this post today gets you excited to be prepared to cook emergency meals when you need to after a disaster. Please practice now with any cooking device you may have purchased. Please get them out of the box and learn how to use them if you haven’t already. Practice cooking with them today before an unforeseen emergency hits your neighborhood. May God bless you for being prepared.
My Book: “Prepare Your Family for Survival” by Linda Loosli
Firepit: AdobeStock_11610595 by Acik
Dutch Oven: AdobeStock_57870160 by svetlankahappy
14 thoughts on “How To Be Prepared To Cook Emergency Meals”
Great article, as all your articles. We cooked on our back porch during hurricane Irma and three days after due to power outages in the neighborhood. We had two 25 pound propane tanks full of fuel and three heavy duty burners. We store canned, frozen and dehydrated foods all year so we had ample to choose from. It wasn’t fun cooking on the porch but we didn’t miss a meal. Thankful we plan ahead for the worst and hope for the best.
Oh, Roland, I love your comment. I love having my readers realize what happens when others have a power outage. You’re a good example to others to prepare for the worst before it hits. Good job! Great comment! Linda
Actually there are so many ways to cook outside and I have used the innertube or truck tire with a piece of mirror and a piece of glass with a black painted pot, cooks great in the heat of the sun, especially in the desert, taught a lot of folks in Baja to cook this way.. I used the innertube as it was easier to transport.. and a window pane of glass and a black painted piece of plywood instead of the mirror. blown up tube, on top of the black plywood, with black pot and lid or glass lid, window glass over the top so as to keep the heat in…YOUR food can not over cook, just stay about 300 or more degrees with the sun hitting it, best starting on a rocket stove to bring to a boil first to shorten time.. I am making a rocket stove to blend into my garden using one of the chiminea about 3 foot tall, using stove pipe inside of it, a short foot long and a2 foot one with one elbow all in about 5 inch thin pipe, this is the kind that comes flat and you bend and snap together.. pack around the bottom part of the pipe with sand to insulate and put an old grate off of a gas stove on top.. start small pieces of paper, cardboard, my candlewax and wood shavings or what ever available and use small branches or kindling and start cooking I have cooked with just my tuna cans of wax and sawdust or small shavings, no wick needed as the bits of wood stand up out of the wax and light quickly, nothing like a frying pan of fresh caught fish tacos over a tin can stove…again, use a grate to let the heat come up to the pan….and exhaust out under the pan or the stove will suffocate. so just think of what you have and work from there, I do have a 5th wheel with a few tanks, must check them out but when in need, use what you can find..even a cardboard box with a few of the aluminum cookie trays from a dollar store can make a sun oven, let the kids try this one.. also saw where some make a HOT cooker from a satellite dish, the small ones that they put on roofs//just cover with aluminum foil or paint… but beware, it gets too hot to touch…
Hi, Jeanne, where there’s a will there is a way to cook! Great comment with fabulous tips for all to try and be ready when we need them. I love it! Linda
Great recap of items to be used to prepare MEALS. Some other items I have on hand for “inside table – top prep” is several sized Fondue Pots for heating water or the packaged food stuffs or canned products. Banquet canned heat supply or tea light candles are easy access. Yes limited fuel can be exhausted but quick and efficient for a cup of coco as you mentioned. I Also have a Quick Cook Pot that uses chemical pads activated by water for the same reason. I have some “heater meals” in stored supplies for same quick prep in a pinch. Having a fire pit, cast iron Dutch Oven, charcoal BBQ implements even a fireplace hearth can be considered.
Hi, Peggy, great comment! I love new ideas! Thank you, Linda
If you’re stuck indoors and can’t cook outside, another safe alternative are the Sterno camping stoves. Can’t quite boil water, but can get it more than hot enough to rehydrate FD meals or cook any canned food. I haven’t tried frying on it, as I suspect it’s not hot enough, but in a pinch this can get you some hot food and beverages while hunkering down inside. Obviously once you run out of Sterno cans, then this is fairly pointless, but I have some in case we’re stuck in the basement for 2 weeks, so we’re not stuck eating cold food until we can go back outside.
Hi DmWalsh, I love tips from readers that share ideas! It gives us one more idea to be prepared to cook a meal, thank you! Linda
Since I live in a rural area I am able to ask a farmer close by to give me a tractor tire rim. I have used
it many time and you can use all types of “fuel” to use in it. Also with it if you are careful and have
the right size you can use a BBQ grill to put over the flames to use it to cook on. Another thing you can
use is your rack out of your oven. Lay it across the top of the rim and you can set your pans on it. Also
with this like the portable fire pits you can move from place to place to use.
Hi June, I would have never thought to take the rack out of my oven, duh!! What a great idea. I love when we learn tips from each other! Great tip!! Linda
I live in the country and I am the last one on my electric line in a rural electric co-op. We depend on electricity to pump our septic line and our water pump, as well as just about everything else. I purposely chose a (propane) gas stove last time I had to change appliances just so we could cook in the event of a power shortage. Good thing, too – we lost power for six days after Hurricane Irma. I was able to make coffee (using a French press, pre-ground coffee beans, and stored water) and cook anything on the stove. We used paper products on which to eat and drink. Once we got our portable generator going, we were able to run the water pump. We have an outside shower with a propane on-demand heater so that is where we took care of personal hygeine. Since we knew it was coming, all the clothes had been washed ahead of time.We decided to treat the whole thing as one of our primitive camping trips. Instead of a frustrating week, we were simply mildly inconvenienced. We were glad that we were prepared!
Oh, Patti, your comment is for sure the best news to my ears in a very long time! I love hearing you and your family are so prepared, what a blessing. I really wish I had neighbors just like you! Mark and I can survive for a very long time as well. Now, if I can get my neighborhood onboard I would do cartwheels (not really I would crash) but if I could I would do a cartwheel! Keep up the good work, you rock, Linda
Thank you, Linda! I love reading your blog and I have recommended it to several people and also online. You are doing a great job educating people about self-sufficiency. I am always looking for ways to improve my own self-sufficiency. Who knows what the future holds? We have to be prepared to take care of ourselves and our families now and in the future. Thank you again. Patti
Hi Patti, thank you so much for recommending my blog to others, that means so much to me. Yes, we do need to take care of ourselves and our families. Thanks again, and keep on preparing for what may come our way! Linda