Sunday, September 26, 2010

StoveTec

We bought a StoveTec stove last year when we heard about a group order through a local homeschool group. We thought they were such a great idea to have in an emergency that we bought four. One for us, and three to give as gifts to our married daughters and a close friend.

Our church is doing a group buy and will be showing them to members so they can see what they look like. Since I had never opened my box, I decided to open ours and give it a try by making dinner.

I thought that blogging about it might be helpful for them, and for other friends that are thinking about getting a StoveTec Rocket Stove for emergencies.

It was surprisingly easy to use! Here's what I did for dinner.

Here is the stove set up on our metal patio table. If you look closely you can see one sheet of newspaper crumpled up inside. 
View from the top, down. One sheet of newspaper and a few twigs on top.
The pot to the side has an aluminum skirt around it. That comes with the stove so that the heat from the stove is funneled up around the outside of the pot. More heat goes into cooking and less heat is wasted. The two larger sticks on the table are all it took to cook our dinner.

Vet2Be gets to light the fire, of course! Every Boy Scout I know loves lighting a fire!

We found that we had to blow on the fire to get it going. Both doors (the larger door with the burned paper and the smaller door beneath) are both open to provide better airflow. If you have ever used a 'burn barrel' you understand that this stove is really just a little chimney. 
Five minutes after putting the paper and twigs into the stove, the larger sticks are burning. (We checked the times on the photo to see how long everything took).

What's for dinner? Sausage and potato skillet dinner. An easy one dish meal that was perfect for our first time. The yellow, curved thing to the right of the pot is one of the bricks from the stove. It fits behind the larger door when you are burning charcoal instead of wood.
Seven minutes after putting the newspaper and twigs in, the fire is ready to cook on. Notice how much wood is sticking out of the stove at the bottom. Watch in the next few pictures to see how it burns. This is the last of the smoke we saw from the fire. The fire was hot enough and the fuel burned efficiently enough that there wasn't any more smoke.
At this point (about 11 minutes into starting the project) the outside of the stove is still cool to the touch. It does get warm by the time we are done cooking, but it didn't get hot enough to blister skin while we used it. Of course, we would always keep kids away from it, and I wouldn't encourage anyone to put their hand on the side of the stove unless it was me--just to check.

I put the lid on to keep more of the heat in the pot. I used a cast iron dutch oven without legs. I knew that there would be carbon from the fire on the outside of the pot and I didn't want to try to get that off my nicer pots later.
Twenty minutes after putting the newspaper into the stove the sausage is cooked and the potatoes, onions, and peppers are ready to add. So far it has only taken about five minutes longer than doing it on the stove. That's because we had to light the fire and wait for it to get hot enough to cook. 
Fifty minutes from the time we put the newspaper and kindling in, dinner was ready. In the pot is 2 pounds of sausage, 5 medium potatoes, 1/2 large onion, 1 green pepper, 1 red pepper, and 1 cup of water. It was a good size meal for the three of us and there were two servings left for the freezer.

I moved the fuel holder (the wire rack) away from the stove and slid the extra brick in place. I closed the bottom door completely and left the dinner on top. Dinner stayed hot for an hour. The stove was still warm 3 hours later.
Both doors closed. The pot skirt is still on the pot and dinner is still sitting on top of the stove. I should have taken a photo of how much fuel was left. Not much, but I cooked for an hour with just the two sticks you saw in the other photos. There is a little left in the stove and it would probably be enough to help start another fire.
This little stove is fairly heavy for its size, but it does a great job of 'one pot' cooking. It would probably do very well with a fry pan, too. I imagine that if you were camping it would be a great camp stove especially if you are in an area with fuel. I like the handles on the side that make it easy to transport and pack away. I wouldn't want to carry this on a backpacking trip or for a long distance.

If there is an emergency that includes a lack of fuel, this is a great little stove to have.

We will probably store ours in the camper. It there is an emergency, our plan is to hook up the camper and get out fast. The camper is a good shelter and has enough in it to help us make it through a disaster for a few weeks, even in the winter.

4 comments:

~Tonia said...

Those are so cool! It would be good for summer time. We have a woodstove to cook on if needed in the winter as we did in the ice storm we have 4 years ago. But it woudl be way to hot to get it going in the summer if needed..

Linda said...

Wow, those are pretty cool! You said "Every Boy Scout I know loves lighting a fire!" NOT just Boyscouts - Girlscouts enjoy it as well!!! LOL

Speaking of stoves - we are going to use wood to heat with this winter. As soon as Jim feels up to it (see my blog about tumors) Jim, AJ, and myself will be going out to 'harvest' some wood! I am sooo looking forward to it (honest)!

TJ said...

I was really surprised at how easy it was to use, how well it worked, and how little fuel it used.

We love our woodstove, but you are right--much too hot to cook on in the summer!

Yes, yes to Girl Scouts liking to light fires, too! Maybe it's every kid likes to light fires and hopefully they've been well trained by parents and leaders.

S. said...

I love mine. :) My kids have quit asking WHAT is for dinner. The real question is HOW am I gong to cook it whatever it may be. LOL There are so many fun alternative cooking options.