[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen the power goes out, whether short-term or for an indefinite amount of time, one of the first things you’ll need to figure out is how to cook without using your stove. If you have a charcoal grill or the ability to build a fire and get it going, there are many different types of food you can cook in aluminum foil on coals.
If you have a BBQ grill, life is a bit easier, just spread the aluminum foil over the grate and poke a few random holes throughout to help the heat come through. If you don’t have a grill or a grate to cook on though, don’t worry. You can also use aluminum foil to make a packet and cook right on the hot coals of your campfire.
How to Make a Foil Packet
- Lay a large sheet of heavy duty foil or double layer of regular foil on a flat surface
- If possible, grease the foil first with butter, lard, or shortening to prevent sticking
- Put ingredients in the center
- Bring short ends of foil together and fold twice to seal
- Fold in the sides to seal–leave room for steam to escape (not tight)
Okay so you’ve got your aluminum foil packet, or a grate covered with aluminum foil and you’re good to go. We’ve separated them into sections for your convenience. Some of these foods may not be practical depending on the situation, the urgency, or your location, but below is our list of things you can cook in aluminum foil:
Cooking meat on aluminum foil on coals is possible although it’s easier to do on a grill or grate. No matter how you cook your meat on the fire, make sure that you cook it thoroughly to avoid any digestive issues. If in doubt about how long to cook your meat, use a meat thermometer to check the temperature internally before eating.
- Chicken Wings
- Pork Ribs
- Beef Ribs
- Small game
There’s nothing better than roasted vegetables and they’re pretty easy to do in aluminum foil on coals or just on a barbecue grill if you have one. If you have access to a garden following a disaster, consider these vegetables:
- Jalapeno Peppers
- Pattypan Squash–looks like a flying saucer with a lacey edge
- Scallions (grow wild)
- Diced or chopped potatoes with Bacon
- Baked Potatoes
- Sweet Corn on the Cob
- Green Beans
Whether you stockpile your freezer, use smoking or salting techniques for longer term storage, or can fresh catch in your area, fish and seafood can supplement your diet when the grid goes down. Here’s just a few types of fish and seafood you can cook in aluminum foil on coals:
- Salmon (add slices of lemon and asparagus spears if accessible)
- Shrimp (add lime and cilantro if available)
- Clams (if available)
One things that’s pretty important in an extended grid down situation or following a SHTF event is keeping morale up. Having a variety of food, you can cook and even occasionally cooking something to satisfy that sweet tooth can go a long way towards keeping everyone in good spirits. If you stockpiled canned fruit or have fruit trees on your property or even if you can find some fruit trees nearby that are accessible, you can serve up one or more of these sweet treats:
- Apples (scoop a hole in the top and fill with granola and dried fruit if available)
- Pears (add butter and cinnamon sugar if available)
- Peaches (add pecans, butter and brown sugar to the packet if you have them)
- Pineapple (fresh or from a can)
- Bananas and Chocolate (Peel back skin just enough to scoop a trench and fill with chocolate chips)
Other Items You Can Cook in Aluminum Foil on Coals:
If you’re really feeling creative or adventurous, here are some additional things you can cook in aluminum foil on coals:
- Roasted Garlic
- Quesadillas (tortilla shells have a decent shelf life, just add cheese and heat)
- Paella (Spanish chicken and rice dish)
- Toad In a Hole (Texas Toast hole in toast put egg in middle with bacon)
- Nuts (roasted almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, etc.)
- Eggs with Extras (scramble eggs with milk or even water in a container or Ziploc bag, add strips of potatoes, pieces of ham, or veggies if available)
Consider putting several different kinds of vegetables together in a foil packet to fuse flavors together. Some of your choices for cooking will depend on the amount of time you have to cook. Most meats will need to cook longer than vegetables so if you’re racing against daylight or need to cook something quickly, go for a mix of vegetables. Remember that food coming out of foil packets will be extremely hot. Be cautious of escaping steam when packet is first opened and let meals cool before serving.
Of course many of the items on the list above may not be available in your stockpile or may be tough to find if you didn’t start and maintain a garden or root cellar prior to a grid down situation. But if you have some of the above foods in cans, you can drain them and still cook in aluminum foil on coals.
Get creative and use what you have available or start learning ways to preserve food for long term storage now. When planning your stockpile, make sure you include heat resistant utensils and heavy duty aluminum foil. Always use protection for your hands when removing packets from the coals to avoid getting burned.
With a little advanced planning and a bit of extra effort, your dinner menu can be flavorful and nutritious, even in a grid down situation. Can you think of other food you can cook in aluminum foil on coals? Share your ideas with others in the comments below.