Monday, February 27, 2012

Box oven

Today I'm going to show you how to make a box oven. Huh?? Yes, an actual "made out of a box" oven that you can use anytime anywhere! Why in the world would I even bother when we have our self cleaning, steam squirting, super duper high tech ovens right here in our very own kitchens? Emergency preparedness my little Possums, emergency preparedness!

My family and I have lived through a few hurricanes and during Ike we were out of power for 14.5 agonizing days. Don't get me wrong, I can live without the TV and the internet but not without food! Let me tell you, when you pull out freshly baked cookies in an emergency situation like that, it's very comforting and satisfying. Not only that but it's utterly cool! So whether you are a camping enthusiast, want to be prepared for emergencies or just intrigued, here is a way you can make one of these little fellas.

You will need:
A sturdy box (liquor boxes are wonderful for this)
Heavy duty aluminum foil
Aluminum foil tape like this one (heating and A/C area of Home Depot or Lowes)
6 wire hangers
Wire cutters
Duct tape

To use the oven you will need these extra items:
4 little rocks or a floor tile that fits on the bottom of the box
Aluminum pie tin

I'm showing how I folded the tape in 1/2 to attach to the seams.
It is sticky so I found this very helpful.
My oven lined. So far so good!
Step 1: Fist of all, my box was rectangular so I'll be referring to short sides and long sides to keep things straight. Line the sides and bottom of the box with the heavy duty foil, including the flaps. The edges should not overlap but should be custom made to not to come up the sides at all. Tape the sides with the foil tape. It doesn't have to be pretty, just make sure there is no cardboard showing at all because that would a fire hazard! PS. You do not have to line the outside of the box, just inside.

Step 2:  Now that the whole inside and all the flaps are covered with foil, measure a line going 3.5" in off the short side of the box. Draw a line from top to bottom.

Step 3: Measure how long your side is not including the flap and divide by 6 for the shelf inside. My box was
12.5" tall so I marked starting at 2", then 3.5", 5", 6.5", 8" and 9.5". You will do the same thing on the opposite side. NOTE: When you flip the box over, make sure your line gets drawn directly opposite from the other line; if not, your shelf will not be straight.

Step 4: Punch a starter hole at 2", 3.5" etc. going all the way up and repeat on the other side. (I used discarded parts of the wire hanger to do this)

Step 5: Cut the hanger part off of the wire hangers and straighten them out. It may not be a completely straight but try to get them as straight as possible.

You can see that I've inserted 3 hangers and have 3 empty holes to go.
They are not completely straight but are pretty close. The oven is actually
upside down in this picture: the bottom is on the top and the
top on the bottom! Yes, I was trying to confuse you ;o)
Step 6: Next insert the straight wire hanger through the 2" hole marking and out the other 2" marking. If you tear the aluminum foil, patch it with the foil tape.

Step 7: Cut the hanger so that about 2" show outside the box; bend the ends up and put foil tape over to secure. Continue inserting and bending until you are done with all 6 hangers.

Step 8: Use the foil tape to tape the bottom of the box coming up on the sides a bit. Check to make sure the inside of the oven are completely covered with foil.

You are done!

PLEASE NOTE: Some people prefer to buy a rack that goes inside the oven versus using the wire hangers to make the shelf. It works just as well as long as it fits in there properly.

To use the oven:

1 briquette equals 50 degrees F, so if you need to bake something at 350F, you will need 7-8 briquettes. It is recommended that you heat up slightly more than the required amount of briquettes in case one cools down too fast. You can then replace it quickly.

Put the briquettes in the pie pan and let heat up outside the oven for about 20 minutes. The pie pan cannot sit on the bottom of the oven directly so set it on top of the rocks or a floor tile. Use regular duct tape to tape the oven door shut while baking.

You can check on your goodies just like in a regular oven but the more you check the more heat escapes so try to minimize the checking.

I am planning to use my oven tonight so I'll talk about my experience next time.

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