But the stove here at Star & Bullock Hardware $399
The devil is in the details. That is how I would describe survival cooking, especially when it comes to easily storable and inexpensive food. The cheapest food you can store in calories per dollar is Walmart flour, at almost 5,000 cpd. (As of today it is still $3.00 for a ten pound bag. ) But you do have to figure out how you are going to cook it. Over an open fire, or a rocket stove of some kind, you can use a frypan to make flour and water tortillas, or even thicker pancakes. They are even better if you managed to store some dried eggs and milk. But otherwise, it really helps to have an oven.
This wood fired oven is the least expensive of its type I have ever seen. It comes out of Eastern Europe, and this is an actual product that is used in the villages there. I didn’t need to test it to know that it worked well, because I have spoken to people who cook on it every day. Those people are going to do ok when this whole thing comes down, because they rely on local food and local fuel sources to cook it. The closer we can all get to being able to live like they live, the more likely it will be to survive it.
I have to warn you right off that Star & Bullock Hardware brought these stoves into the country so that I could cover the product knowing that some would be available, they only had room to store three pallets of them. After letting some friends at them first, there are less than 20 available. I was hoping they could take pre-orders for more, but shipping rates from Eastern Europe have now tripled, and even if they could guarantee getting them, the cost would be much more. If you hit the page and they are sold out, you could email their customer support and let them know that you want one. Perhaps they can put together a pre-order for them in the future. There was no sense holding access to the few that are available because more may never be forthcoming.
As I explain in the video, the dimensions on the stove are smaller than the more expensive off-grid stoves that you’ll see at Lehman’s. It is about 35″ wide by 18″ deep by 17″ high. The firebox is 14″ deep and about 6.5″ wide. So if you already run a woodstove, most likely your logs are too long for this guy. The oven is about 14x14x4.5″, which as you can see, fits a regular 13×9″ pan perfectly.
It has three air controls. The front of the firebox has slots that slide open and closed. There is a draft control on the bottom, and the flue control is fully adjustable. I was able to stop the stove down to a slow smoulder, even with the draft control 1/3rd open and the flue all the way open. There is no stovepipe included, but it is a standard 5″ pipe, which I was able to get on Walmart.com.
The first question people usually have is “can you run this indoors?” My answer is probably yes. I was able to adjust the stove so that no real smoke was coming out at all. But this is not advice, just my experience, and you should experiment and figure it out for yourself. Running a woodstove indoors can be very dangerous because the pipes and chimney have to be cleaned regularly of creosote. Otherwise it poses a real fire hazard. I am going to try this stove with anthracite coal next. That would be much more practical to run indoors, but that stuff is finicky and likes to go out, so I have a lot of experimenting to do. And if we can’t get anymore, there would be no point regardless.
That small firebox produces a great deal of heat. I was able to bring a canning pot up to 15 pounds quickly, while baking bread, and then I kept the pressure up even on the second burner, which is right over the fire. Just beware that the bottom of your pots will be coated with black nasty creosote, so don’t use your wife’s favorite teapot to test it like I did.
The biggest downfall of the stove is the height of the oven. As you can see, I burned my first batch of bread, which was an evenly split bread machine recipe, which I used to mix the dough for me. In the second batch I used three pans, and those came out perfect.
This is not something that you want to leave in the box until the power goes out. Take the time to get to know it, how much to fill the firebox for different tasks, how much air to give it, where the flue should be so that the fuel lasts without puffing you out with smoke, and just how much wood you need to cook a meal or three.
I did try this stove with regular grilling charcoal, 20 bricks, and it did not budge the oven above 150 degrees or so. If/when it is practical to return to this product, I will experiment with it more, but I don’t think purchased charcoal will be practical long term.
Be sure that you are subscribed to GunsAmerica Digest, and to this new Grid Down Youtube channel. There are going to be other products that are only available in small quantity, and we will be posting a lot of detailed instructions that would not work on the main GunsAmerica channels.