made a very crude firepit tonight. Two chicken thighs with salt, pepper and two chunks of unsalted fat back - wrapped in three layers of banana leaves and then over wrapped in aluminum foil. Put them in the middle of the hot ashes and left them for 2 1/2 hours.
Turned out pretty good if I do say so myself. Next time I will leave them overnight - cause all my birds are backyard birds and do best with low and slow - but it was still a great experiment.
Also made a batch of cornbread, put it in a hot cast iron skillet with some hot fatback. It also turned out pretty good. All with no electricity!
I'd love to hear other cooking techniques and recipes that people are using when cooking 'off the grid'.
Try the same technique but eliminate the foil wrap and instead cover the banana leaves in an inch of clay all around. The clay gives off moisture and adds to the thermal mass for longer carry through on the heat. Cracks off nice and clean. Gives future anthropologists artifacts to ponder.
Old cookware can be used as a slow cooker. A Dutch oven can be filled in the same manner that works for a crock pot. The trick is to avoid getting ash into the crack where pot meets lid. Another larger pot or frying pan is placed over the dutch oven like an umbrella and the embers are carefully drawn over top. Good tongs or oven mitts are needed since flammable handle materials must be removed. Lids need to have a steel bolt installed, so there is something to grab onto. Two bolts protruding from the upper side of the pot can allow safe transport to the eating area by attaching a thick wire hoop handle as are used to suspend a pot above a fire. No need to lift the pot more than a foot off the ground during transport. A well balanced pot can be nearly full when moved like this. If a spill ever did occur, only the feet and ankles are at risk.
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
posted 7 years ago
Thanks for the tips Dale. It was kind of fun and I think I'll be trying again.
Most hardware stores have cast iron or steel cooking grates. These are sold as replacements for gas grills. They serve well over open fire, can be supported with bricks or rocks. Grilling the food on the grates saves you the aluminum foil.
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