The Smokeless & Easy-To-Build Off-Grid Cooking Stove

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The Smokeless & Easy-To-Build Off-Grid Cooking Stove

Outdoor cooking is a major part of my off-grid experience, and so a reliable outdoor stove was a must-have. And with many options of wood-burning stoves out there, fuel-efficiency and minimal smoke were at the top of my list.

After much research, the rocket stove because our outdoor stove of choice. In this article, I will share with you the concept of the rocket stove, how we built two of them, and its advantages and disadvantages.

oven-1A wood-burning smokeless stove sounds impossible, right? Let me explain it this way. Smoke is un-burned fuel. The rocket stove makes use of all the fuel. Everything gets burned in the combustion chamber before leaving the chimney. This concept is also seen in the Dakota fire pit.

The rocket stove, when fired up, sounds similar to that of a rocket taking off – hence, its name.

Here’s how we built our concrete rocket stove:

  1. My husband made a wooden mold for shaping the inner cavity — a 6-inch-by-6-inch hollow plywood “L”. He added 2 parallel sticks, ½ inch by ½ inch, on the lower front of the “L,” 1 inch from the floor, to create a groove for the shelf.
  2. Then he built a 10-inch-by-10-inch hollow “L” around the first one, creating a 2-inch cavity for pouring the concrete.
  3. The steel was then put in place. We left 1 inch of steel exposed at the top to be used as the pot support.
  4. He poured the concrete in the 2-inch gap, making the walls of the rocket stove 2 inches thick.

Our rocket stove has a footprint of 10 inches by 15 inches. From the floor to the top of the chimney is 22 inches. From the floor to the top of the fuel chamber is 10 inches. The combustion chamber or chimney is 6 inches by 6 inches.

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We allowed it to cure for four weeks indoors, wetting every day during the first week to prevent the concrete from drying too quickly and cracking. We fired up the rocket stove to burn out the mold.

oven-2In our family, clay is play. So when it came to making the clay rocket stove measurements, looks took a backseat. Our material list was simple:

  • Two metal plates. One about 10 inches by 10 inches for the shelf, and the second 19 inches by 12 inches for the top of the fuel chamber.
  • Two round pipes 10 inches long and about 1 inches thick
  • Five big stones
  • Clay

Advantages of a Rocket Stove

  • It is easy to maintain. Push the wood inside, add more when it’s done, and pull the shelf out to remove the ash build-up after you’re done.
  • It is well-insulated. The fire is contained, making it safe to work around. I can touch the rocket stove while it’s fired up.
  • It is smokeless. This was the main advantage for me because I can do all of my prep work right next to it and not be chased away by smoke.
  • It cooks food quickly. The rocket stove can reach very high temperatures. We use dry coconut shells to increase the temperature. To lower the temperature, we pull out some of wood.
  • It is efficient. The rocket stove uses less fuel than every open flame outdoor cooking fires. It is great for getting rid of scrap wood and sticks around your homestead.

oven-3Disadvantages of a Rocket Stove

  • It makes pans black. This is usually the case with outdoor cooking, so we have separate pans for our indoor and outdoor cooking.
  • It needs monitored. The L-shape rocket stove design means that wood can burn out and fall off the fuel chamber. This can be a hazard. The J-shaped design solves this, as the wood slides into the fuel chamber on its own.
  • It might have smoke at first. I recommend starting the fire on the shelf outside the rocket stove, and then sliding the tray in when you have a flame.

Of the many outdoor cooking options we’ve explored — we’ve gone through a lot — the rocket stove meets and surpasses our off-grid cooking needs. From cooking to grilling to roasting, the rocket stove does it all.

What advice would you add on building and using a rocket stove? Share your tips in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

Cooking pizza in your outdoor pizza oven

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Pizza OvenThere are many people who would want to reconnect with their traditional roots by preparing food the same way that their ancestors used to. This especially applies to people who come from families that have a long history of cooking pizzas in outdoor pizza ovens. These outdoor pizza ovens are markedly different from the modern oven machines that we get to see every day in restaurants and in superbly furnished kitchens. While it is not wrong to own a modern oven machine, it just does not compare with the taste and superior quality that an outdoor pizza oven is capable of giving you.

The first thing you should know about using an outdoor pizza oven is the fact that the oven will give your pizza a superior taste and crunchy feel that is difficult to replicate with any other kind of oven. It will give the pizza the same quality that die hard food enthusiasts have been looking for all their lives. It will give the pizza the same authentic feel that traditional pizzas cooked in native Italy have.

The outdoor pizza oven also boasts of having higher temperatures than the modern cooking ovens that are very popular in urban areas and in the suburbs. The higher temperatures translate to faster cooking times for those who have many pizzas to prepare within a short amount of time. This can lead to better economical savings and save a lot of time which can be used to perform other more important tasks. As such, if you are in a hurry and time is of the essence, you would be better served to have an outdoor pizza oven instead of any other kind of oven.

It is also important to note that the outdoor pizza oven gives you the chance to interact with your guests if you are having a get together in your home. If it is only you and your loved ones together with a few friends, then you will also get the chance to mingle and talk as you prepare. This is quite different from having to stay in the kitchen throughout as you watch the pizzas while everyone else is out in the garden having a good time. With an outdoor oven, you do not have to miss out on anything.

There are two ways of owning an outdoor pizza oven. You could buy one from a reputable seller, or you could make it on your own. The choice that you make will depend on your budget and your preferences. There are people who would like to build the oven from scratch, so as to ensure that everything, from the oven to the pizza, is homegrown. There are other people who simply do not have the time or the skill to build the oven from scratch. For these people, buying a new outdoor oven is the best option available.

Either way, owning an outdoor pizza oven for cooking pizza will do you a lot of good and lead to the creation of many beautiful memories with your friends and family.


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Survival Basics: How to Build a Fire in a Rocket Stove

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Rocket Stove with Pot of Food

By Gaye Levy – Backdoor Survival

There comes a time when every prepper will say enough with all of the food and enough with all of the gear. Preparing a survival pantry, first aid kit and bug-out-bag are all important tasks but at some point we need to take a break from gathering stuff and move on to some of the basic skills needed to to insure our comfort in an emergency situation.

One of those skills is the ability to cook food outdoors.  Sure, we all know how to fire up the barbie and grill burgers.  But what if the backyard barbeque was not available?

Continue reading at Backdoor Survival: Survival Basics: How to Build a Fire in a Rocket Stove

About the author:

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on

Filed under: Emergency Survival Tips, Prepping

My Two Favorite Powerless Cooking Tools

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Chances are you cook something most every day in your family, am I right?  And if I had to guess, I’d say it is pretty likely that you use electricity to do so. * Some links in this post are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commissionContinue Reading …

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Keep your power out supplies together: A 10 min prep project

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Here is a little fictional story that may seem familiar to some of you… You come home after dark (around 5:30 pm in the winter) to find the power is out. Darn!  WHERE did you put those flashlights? No problem, you’ll just use the light on your phone to look for them. Oh, these candleContinue Reading …

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