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Everything You Need to Know About Survival Cooking Gear

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You never know when you’re going to encounter a survival situation. Sometimes when the weather gets bad, the grid shuts down. Then you’re left without basic necessities such as electricity and become dependent on survival cooking gear.

For many, this means they don’t have a way to heat their home or prepare food. That’s why you need to be prepared in the event something happens. Preparation can make the difference between surviving and not.

You need to be able to depend on yourself if you’re faced with a short or long-term survival situation of any kind. Most people have a first aid kid at home, but one of the things you’re going to need to know is how to cook your food without electricity and what tools you’re going to use to do that with.

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Grills and Smokers For Survival Cooking

survival cooking gear

Not all grills and smokers are intended for use with survival purposes. You don’t want to find out that you have the wrong item during a time when you desperately need it. That’s why you need to educate yourself now on which survival cooking gear are the best to have stored away for emergency use.

Forget about buying one that has a lot of fancy add-ons. You need a grill that’s rated for safety and has a track record of durability. Plus, it should  fit any change in lifestyle that you may face in the event of a survival situation.

For example, when life is going along the way it should, you have access to things like charcoal. But when things go south, you may not have that luxury. So you need to have a survival cooking method that won’t rely on any extras that might be hard to find.

If you already have a supply of charcoal in storage, then a charcoal grill is fine. But you’re going to need to have an alternative for when that runs out. Plus, charcoal isn’t exactly cheap.

Some bags go for just under $20 a bag. If you want to stock up on charcoal for survival grilling, make sure you shop during sales. You can check out places like Lowes and Home Depot around Labor Day and other popular grilling holidays and get great deals.

Grills don’t have to use the convenience of charcoal, either. You can burn wood or other materials inside of a grill. That’s one reason why this durable cooking tool is a popular option for survival cooking gear.

Breathe Better With Propane Grills

Look for grills that use propane. One of the reasons you want to do this is because propane cooks evenly. Another is that it’s healthier to breathe around a propane grill, and you need to keep health in mind during a survival situation.

4-Burner Cart Style Liquid Propane Gas Grill
Click to buy on Amazon!

Plus, you can get a lot of cooking and heating uses in just one canister of propane. You can get a gas grill but you may not have any access to gas in a survival situation. Gas  stations may shut down and no deliveries may be possible.

Instead of grills, you can also use a smoker. If you’re not familiar with this type of cooking resource, you’ll find that they’re also commonly referred to as a “pellet grill.” That’s because they cook by using wood pellets.

Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker
Click to buy on Amazon!

It’s the heat generated by the pellets that will cook whatever food you’re having. You get better flavor as well as better temperature regulation over a charcoal grill with a smoker.

The downside is that a smoker isn’t cheap.

You can expect to lay out a pretty penny when you buy one. However, it’s a smart investment in survival cooking gear that will pay off in the event you lose your normal food cooking resource.

The upside is that a smoker can be used as a heat source and the pellets used in one don’t burn as fast as charcoal does.

Fire Pit and Cast Iron Cooking

When you’re in a survival situation and need an alternative cooking method, you can use a fire pit. But you’ll want to have some experience with this before you need it to help make a stressful situation easier on yourself.

Fire pits can vary in structure. You can create one from a hole that you’ve dug. Or you can buy a readymade fire pit and set it up in your backyard. The purpose of creating a fire pit is to be able to safely use fire.

BALI OUTDOORS Wood Burning Fire Pit Backyard with Cooking Grill
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Simple fire pits use wood to feed the fire, and this can be a relatively inexpensive way to cook your food. Even in a survival situation, there will always be trees around. If you want to build a fire pit, you’ll need to dig a hole and surround that hole with something like bricks or stone to help keep the fire contained.

To cook on top of the fire, you just need a grate. Other fire pits aren’t as simple, but they can be more convenient to use. Propane fire pits can be taken with you if you have to bug out.

You just need to buy one that’s portable. These types of fire pits come in a variety of sizes and the cost will vary, too. There are also gel fire pits in various sizes. These cook with a simple mixture of fuel and are designed to be used whether you’re in or outdoors.

Unlike other types of fire pits, you don’t get the thick smoke from burning fuel, which is one of the reasons this type is so popular. You can buy the fuel cannisters in bulk so you can be prepared well in advance.

Is cast iron good for cooking?

Cast iron cooking is a skill that you may need in a survival situation. Plus, cast iron is extremely durable and can withstand higher temperatures than most of the pots and frying pans available that aren’t made of that material.

You’ll want to have some basic cast iron dishes that can help you be able to cook during a survival situation. The first one is a skillet. There’s a lot of different types of foods you can cook with this.

You can make things like casseroles or use it to fry freshly caught fish. Get a cast iron griddle, too. This can be used to cook things like eggs and sausage or bacon. You can also make grilled cheese or fry up some burgers.

12 Inch Square Cast Iron Griddle
Click to buy on Amazon!

This is perfect if the electricity goes out and you want to cook up the food in your fridge that will spoil soon. A cast iron Dutch oven is a must have for surviving because you can make a lot of food at once.

Ceramic Non-Stick Heavy-Duty Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Click to buy on Amazon!

For example, you can use it to cook beef stew or make a soup. These cast iron pots can go into an oven, too. The handy thing about cast iron cooking is that you can use them to cook using a grill but you don’t necessarily have to have that.

You can put cast iron right over a fire. These dishes are made to cook food evenly and if they’re properly cared for, can last for generations. When cooking with cast iron pots or skillets, make sure that you maintain a steady temperature. When you have fast temperature changes with cast iron, it can cause it to crack due to thermal shock.

Solar Cookers – Essential Survival Cooking Gear 

All Season Solar Cooker
Click to buy on Amazon

Each survival situation is different. You might have one where the electricity goes out and you don’t have a way to cook something hot for 24 hours. But sometimes, there are long lasting threats to your normal life.

You can have a grid go down on a major scale. Or a hurricane or tornado could upend your city and life just won’t get back to normal for months. That’s tough but not being able to have cooked food can make a hard situation even more difficult.

Having the right survival cooking gear – such as with a gas grill – can ensure that you have a way to eat warm food.  But, the problem is that you can’t always have access to fuel. You don’t necessarily have to have fuel in order to cook.

You can use a solar cooker instead.

What is a solar cooker and how does it work?

A solar cooker uses the sun’s energy to cook food. It doesn’t take a lot to make that happen, either. All you need is a sunny day. By using a solar cooker, you can make a wide range of dishes.

Plus, you can keep water hot so that your family can wash up. When you use a solar cooker, you won’t have to worry if there is a shortage of cooking fuel. You’ll still be able to get a meal.

Plus, these solar survival cooking gear are cheaper in the long run because you’re not having to buy extras like the fuel. You also won’t have to find a safe way to store fuel since these cookers don’t use any.

It’s difficult to overcook food using a solar oven so you can get great tasting meals consistently. You can make a solar cooker yourself. Creating one as a DIY can be easy or difficult depending on how handy you are.

You can also just buy this top ranked solar cooker. It comes with a dutch oven in the kit and works great for solar cooking. It’s ideal for an emergency situation where power goes out.

Solar Cooker and Dutch Oven Kit
Click to buy on Amazon!

The solar survival cooking gear that you can buy are usually made with better construction and can cook foods faster. Plus, some of them also have built in ways to read the temperature so you’ll know what your food is cooking at.

If your solar cooker does not have a thermometer, then you’ll need to buy one. Otherwise, you’re guessing the internal temp of your foods and that’s just not safe with certain dishes.

Why are black pots used on solar cookers?

There are some other things you’ll need to remember when cooking with a solar cooker. You’ll need to be sure that any of the pots or pans you use are dark. That’s because light colored dishes don’t get as hot as dark ones do.

Use lids to help keep the solar heat trapped. You’ll also want to be sure that you use metal when you’re baking something. These will have a more even cooking rate from end to end.

Plus, they also hold in heat. If your first few attempts at cooking with solar power doesn’t work out the way you’d hoped, don’t give up. It may take a few tries – but it’ll be worth it in the end. 

In addition to solar cookers, there are four (4) other fundamental solar products you’ll want to have on hand.  Read my blog post about essential solar powered survival gear.

Outdoor Survival Cooking Stove and Ovens

Propane Double Burner Two Burner Camp Stove
Click to buy on Amazon!

If you have time, you can build an outdoor oven yourself. But this is an option for people who prepare in advance. Sometimes though, in a sticky situation, you may not have had that option or that foresight.

You can still have a way to cook your food by buying an outdoor stove or oven. These can range from the super simple options, such as a small holder for pots that screws onto a propane tank to one with an elaborate setup.

You can find one or two burner gas stoves. These usually have foldable legs and are portable. The larger the cook space, the more people you can cook for in a shorter amount of time.

Camp Chef Explorer, Two Burner Stove, Two  cast-aluminum burners
Click to buy on Amazon!

So keep that in mind when you’re choosing the size. If you’re the only one to cook for, then you’re better off with a single burner propane stove. These are high heat stoves and can be used with a variety of different cooking gear – including a wok.

A fire starter is another essential piece of survival cooking equipment. You can get one at a very affordable price, so you may want to get two. They are small enough to fit in your survival kit so you know where they are when you need them.

A folding stove that burns solid fuel is lightweight and portable, but still strong enough to be able to hold something like a cast iron pot or skillet. Lightweight survival cooking gear is important in the event that you have to bug out of your current situation or you’re planning on moving areas frequently.

You’ll want to consider buying an outdoor oven so that you’re prepared when there’s a situation where you don’t have your normal cooking methods available. Some people hesitate because they think that outdoor ovens are expensive.

Camp Chef Deluxe Outdoor Camp Oven - Stainless Steel
Click to buy on Amazon!

Are outdoor ovens expensive?

They’re not. Others hesitate because they think that these ovens are heavy but they’re not that either. You can find them for less than 40 pounds. These types of ovens can use a propane tank and you can bake things in them just like you would the oven in your home.

A few of the outdoor ovens don’t have the top burners. That can save you a little on the cost. Still, you’re really better off buying the models that also have the top burners. Why? Because this way you get both stove top cooking as well as in the oven cooking.

This will make it easier to be able to cook the same way you did with your usual cooking methods. You can find these ovens with one rack or with two. For a decent one, you can expect to pay between $200 to $300.

But there are ones that are a lot more expensive. While those might be great for outdoor entertaining, when there’s an emergency situation you don’t need something that costs a lot.

Keep in mind that some of the outdoor ovens are labeled as pizza ovens. This makes some people hesitant to buy them because they think the use is limited. But whatever you would normally cook in a regular oven, you can also cook in an outdoor pizza oven.

ALFA One Pizza Oven
Click to buy on Amazon!

Safety Tips and Accessories to Consider

In your normal day-to-day routine when everything is as it should be, you know all about staying safe and keeping your family safe. You know the accessories that you need. But all that changes when your circumstances change.

When you’re living in a survival situation, the rules can be very different. That means you need to update safety precautions for your children. Because the cooking methods may have changed, you’ll need to teach them about the new cooking safety precautions.

They need to be warned about being too close to a fire if you’re using flames to cook with. It’s basically just updating your children’s knowledge when your living circumstances change.

If you’re cooking with cast iron dishes, there’s one thing you need to be aware of. Unlike plastic or coated handles, the handles of cast iron dishes get hot – hot enough to cause a blister burn.

7 Piece Heavy Duty Cast Iron Dutch Oven Camping Cooking Set
Click to buy on Amazon!

So when you’re removing cast iron off a fire, be careful. Protect your hands with oven mitts that are rated for higher temperature levels. You can also buy a silicone handle for a cast iron skillet.

This slides right over the handle and is made to withstand nearly around 475 degrees in temperature. For your survival situation, you’re going to want to stock up on supplies like lighter fluid and gel heat sources if that’s what you’re using.

If you do plan on using wood or charcoal, stock up now. You can buy packs of starter fuel for camp stoves that will last a couple of hours per container. So you need to buy according to how many hours of cooking you think you’ll be doing or until you think your situation may end and life returns to normal.

Can you use pots and pans on a grill?

You can also invest in specific cookware that can be used for cooking outdoor on grills and ovens.  Look for a mess kit or camping cookware that is made from stainless steel. Fortunately, you can find those as complete sets and some of those have heat resistant handles which make them better suited for cooking in nontraditional ways.

Cook Set for 4 | 21 Pcs Nesting Cookware Made from Stainless Steel
Click to buy on Amazon!

Also, you might want to invest in a cheap meat thermometer so that you’ll be aware if any meat is undercooked. You don’t want anyone getting sick due to a mistake on the part of whomever is doing the cooking.

If you’re going to be catching your food in a water source, you’ll want to get a grilling basket for fish and other things. This can be placed over an open flame or grill and it will cook the enclosed fish to perfection for you without it falling apart.

Grilling Basket, Designed Grill Vegetables, Seafood, Poultry and Meats
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Another good thing to own in case your outdoor lights aren’t working is a set of barbeque grill lights. These can attach onto your grill and shine a light on the food using bright LEDs.                     

Last, but not least, make sure you get the proper cleaning tools so that you can consistently cook on your survival cooking gear of choice without facing the possibility of anyone getting sick or attracting bugs and critters to your cooking area.

Make A Plan to Invest in Survival Cookware

Even though you can buy survival food, you’ll still need survival cooking gear.

Start making plans now to buy essential survival cooking gear. You will need fire starting equipment, knives, and cookware. You don’t have to buy every thing at once.

Make a list of what you need and buy a few items every month as your budget allows. Before you know it, you will have complete survival cooking kit that is just right for you and your family to survive when faced with a survival situation.

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