Cooking with no electricity has never really been anything I’ve worried about too much. I know that with my own skills, there’s very little stopping me from whipping up a hearty stew for an evening meal. Campfires have been something I grew up with, building my first around the same time I learned to walk.
For others, cooking without power may prove more of a challenge, particularly those left to fend for themselves in high-rise apartments.
Not everyone has access to a backyard where they live, which is why I put together this substantial list to help a larger number of people unsure. There are of course many options to choose from and some may seem more suitable than others.
One thing I always point out is to consider your options. While a BBQ might seem a perfect choice now, how would it fare in the event of a disaster that also cuts fuel supplies?
Many BBQ’s rely on regular gas supply. Whilst your bottle might be full now, how long would it really last if you had to use the BBQ full-time?
If you only have an open pit to use, how much timber do you have? While a few pieces might be enough to boil some water, how much would you need if cooking was required for 2 meals a day, every day for week or month?
Without a forest behind your house to plunder, the timber supply might run out a lot quicker than you anticipate. That’s why I always say consider your options for cooking with no electricity. Maybe choose 2 or 3 methods, keeping a couple in reserve just in case.
Options for Cooking with No Electricity when Grid Goes Down
Option #1: The Fire Pit
Fire pits are amazing when relaxing out on your patio, watching the flames crackling around a couple of pieces of wood. They also make great grills and all you need is a simple grill plate. If you don’t have one, you could always use a grill plate from your oven.
The thing to remember with fire pits is that you’ll want the fire to reduce right down to hot coals. That way the flames won’t burn the food, which doesn’t take much to turn into charcoal.
Option #2: BBQ
The BBQ is today’s version of the campfire our ancestors used. There are several BBQ varieties, but the 3 most common are
- Hot Plate
- Mixed Plates
The hotplates generally use propane gas to heat them. The grills use both gas and also coals, depending on your model. The mixed plates use both gas and coal or wood.
Option #3: Fireplace
It’s hard to believe, but it wasn’t that long ago that the home’s fireplace was also essentially the stove. People used their fireplace for not only warmth but also to cook all their meals.
Saucepans were either suspended above the flames by a tripod or sat directly onto the hot coals. And rotisseries were used to grill large chunks of meat or whole birds. No reason why you can’t do the same today.
Option #4: Wood-Burning Stove
Many homes use wood-burning stoves as back-up heating, particularly if no fireplace exists. But many of them have flat tops, meaning they make perfect cooking surfaces. Whilst they rely on timber to use, they do make great stoves for when little else works.
Option #5: Wood-Burning Camp Stoves
As the name already implies, these stoves operate without electricity. Granted, these wood burning options are nothing more than a simple box that holds your burning coals, but they do hold your saucepans.
Option #6: Propane-Fuel Camp Stove
Another camp stove option, except these, use little propane gas bottles. The biggest issue with these is that it won’t take long for the fuel to run out. Once it does, there’s no option to replace the fuel with wood.
Option #7: Reflective Solar Box
Cooking with solar energy is a great way to fry up that stew. All it takes is a box with all surfaces covered in reflective material. Created very simply, they work by focusing the sun’s energy onto a single spot.
Option #8: Fresnel Lens Solar Energy
Much more powerful than the sample above. Source your own Fresnel lens from an old television set and get ready to create wonders. The perfect point to place your pot is around 2 feet behind the lens.
Option #9: Dutch Oven
For me, there’s no better option than the one right here. Regardless of what other choices I take away from this list, a Dutch oven will always be in my kit. They come in very handy when used in any situation above, especially camp Dutch ovens.
While no one wants to be caught in a situation where they can’t provide for their families, the options above go a long way to helping you overcome them. They definitely come in handy and I believe 2 or 3 should be on everybody’s list for options for cooking without no electricity.
So, why not start experimenting with different cooking methods while also trying out some of our many recipes? You can find them here: Pantry Raid Recipe Ideas.