When it comes to SHTF cooking needs for preppers there are quite a few options available. On the other side of that coin, there are many options that won’t be available to us in an off the grid situation, and many precautions we will need to take.
As preppers we need to not only think about how we are going to cook our food in a SHTF situation, but how we are going to do it without ringing the dinner bell for the entire neighborhood. We don’t give this much thought these days because when a neighbor smells us grilling outside, they don’t come running over.
In any sort of disaster situation that could be different. In a smaller situation like a power outage, it could be the inconvenience of having to turn people away. In a larger situation turning those people away will create resentment and enemies.
SPP186 SHTF Cooking Options for Preppers
This week in the show we talked about how to handle situations like these, and some cooking options we might have as preppers. We also talked about how our diet will change in an off the grid situation, and how what we do now will determine what we eat then.
Precautions & Dangers
If you look at what’s going on in Venezuela you see that when availability of food is limited, the people with it become powerful, and the people without food have no choice but to bend to their will. Criminals would be stealing food rather than televisions and cars, and drug dealers would be dealing food rather than cocaine and heroin.
Cooking Smells: I think of this like attracting the zombies. In the movies if you make any noise the zombies focus their attention on you. When you’re cooking in an off the grid situation, the real life zombies will be hungry (not just for brains) and follow that aroma back to you.
Smoke Signals: If you light a roaring camp fire, the odds are you will be giving off smoke signals to your neighbors and ringing the dinner bell. To avoid this use alternative cooking methods, or cook foods that won’t give off smoke.
Trash Removal: If you have a bunch of tin cans or long term food storage packaging laying around, not only is it unsanitary, people will know you have food long after you have been cooking. Burning your trash is probably not a good option, but burying it will keep it out of sight, and out of mind.
What You Cook: The different types of foods you cook, types of spices you use and how you cook it will all matter in an SHTF scenario. Boiling some Legacy food might not give off much of an aroma, but cooking it on a wood fire will. This is the main reason I love the Sun Oven so much.
The Changing Times
As we dig into our long-term food storage, our idea of what breakfast lunch and dinner are might (and probably will) change. If you look at what you have right now that doesn’t require refrigeration, and think about how you would cook it, you will see how your diet will change. The odds are you won’t be grilling a lot of meat, you won’t have milk or all the condiments in your refrigerator door.
When Good Food Goes Bad: I the show we talked about what you would need to do with food in your refrigerator. Most people will be having a “neighborhood BBQ” and we debated whether you should, or should not participate. You could also figure out a way to preserve that food as much as possible.
There could also be more cases of foodborne illness because people will be eating anything they can get their hands on. This may include preppers as well.
Neighborhood Cook Off: Participation in a neighborhood cook off would be a way of extending the olive branch to your neighbors. If you do this, make sure you are not giving out too much information. Make your neighbors think you are in the same boat as them.
Preserving Food: The first day or two after a disaster might be the safest time to get this done. Dehydrating, smoking or canning the meat in your freezer will extend their shelf lives… Just don’t let your neighbors see you doing it. Digging a hole and making a small root cellar could extend the shelf lives of some refrigerator foods as well.
Dinner Time? It might be a good idea to change when you cook. People are used to eating breakfast early in the morning, so think about cooking before they wake up. You could also wait until very late to cook dinner, although cooking at midnight could put you at a disadvantage because someone could sneak up to your house in the dark.
The “Inconvenient” Truth
There will be no more fast food, no more convenience stores or prepackaged frozen meals to cook. For most people this is going to be a huge adjustment, but as preppers we should be ready for this. Having food storage is one thing, knowing how to use it is another.
Below is a list of off the grid cooking options we might have available, but the most important part of this is knowing how to cook it. Knowing how to make bread, or knowing how to put together a soup is just as important as having these ingredients stored.
Off the Grid Cooking Options
Long Term Food (Dehydrated Food): The easiest solution (for several reasons) is long term food. While this isn’t a “cooking method” this can be cooked using any of the methods listed below. We sell the Legacy Food Storage products at the SHTFShop.com and they are great for cooking without alerting the neighborhood.
DIY Cooking Ideas: There are quite a few DIY cooking ideas like the Dakota Fire Pit, Yukon Stove, and the Rocket Stove. We also incorporate DIY food storage techniques, and you can probably find a hundred ideas on YouTube and even come up with a few on your own.
Sterno Fuel: There are very few indoor cooking options available when it comes to cooking off the grid. Sterno fuel won’t create enough heat to cook a steak, but you can heat up soups, long term food or a can of beans.
Camp Stoves: There are quite a few options when it comes to camp stoves. The first that probably comes to everyone mind is the Coleman stove. There are also folding camp stoves, and small butane hiking stoves.
(CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE) Blaze Charcoal: I recently teamed up with Expedition Research and started selling these Blaze Grills. These are a great off the grid option because they are smokeless and give off no smell. For more information on these watch this video.
Propane Grill: Most of us probably have a propane grill in the back yard or deck. These are great, but unless they are completely clean, they will give off that grilling smell. It’s also a good idea to get an extra tank (or 2) of propane for these.
All American Sun Oven: This is by far my favorite off the grid cooking option. The only fuel you need is the sun, you can cook just about anything in a Sun Oven, and they don’t give off a cooking smell. You can even boil water in a Sun Oven. You can use this link to get $70 off.
Hot Plates: These are another indoor cooking option, although not a very efficient one. Hot plates are high energy and would require a good solar setup, or the use of a generator. If you are trying to be “incognito” cranking on the generator is never a good idea, and I would save my solar energy for other uses.
Wood Stoves: If you happen to have a wood burning stove, or have the money to get one, they are fantastic. They can be used to heat your home and cook dinner at the same time. Keep in mind that a wood burning stove will give off a large amount of smoke.
Thermal Cookers: From what I’ve read these seem to be a great option for cooking indoors, saving energy and even just keeping food warm. All you need to do is bring your food to a boil, and then place it in the thermal cooker to finish cooking it. I just purchased one and will be reviewing it in the near future.
Candles: Regular candles and even tea blight candles can be used to heat food up, but are not very hot or efficient. It would probably take quite a while to heat a can of soup with a tealight candle, but it’s better than nothing.
Lantern Cooker: Another indoor cooking option is a lantern cooker. This is basically an oil lantern that has a little cooking pot attached to the top. This is a great multipurpose item that will light a room while heating up some soup.
Keep the Zombies Away
There are quite a few options available for cooking off the grid, and there are quite a few precautions we need to consider as well. Understanding when we can safely cook, and how we can safely cook in a SHTF situation is critical to keeping our family safe, and keeping the zombies away.