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Box Oven Operation Recipe

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This recipe for Box Oven Operation, by , is from Troop 1887 Cookbook - from Chuck Box to Backpacking, one of the cookbooks created at FamilyCookbookProject.com. We help families or individuals create heirloom cookbook treasures.

Cliti Shafer
Added: Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Once you've built a box oven, you're ready to use it.

Here's how:

Gather the following items.

1. four empty soda cans
2. stainless steel cookie sheet (can use Teflon or non-stick)
3. charcoal (get a good brand as it burns better)
4. brick or foil wrapped block of wood about the same size as a brick
5. tongs to lift and place coals
6. hot pad mittens to lift box
7. ingredients and utensils to make the recipe to be baked.

Now get cooking!

1. Determine how many coals are going to be needed. The average rule of thumb is that each coal will give off about 15 degrees F of heat. To bake at 350 degrees F, divide 350 by 15. The answer is about 24. This is the number of coals that will be needed. On really hot days and cooking in the sunlight, use one or two less -- and -- on cold days, use one or two more. It also makes sense that the larger the box, the more coals are needed. Another handy items is one of those sit in the oven temperature gages and put it in the oven to check the temperature. This gives a good idea on number of coals needed.

2. Get the coals going. Use a charcoal chimney to avoid having to handle liquid charcoal starter. Count out the number of coals needed and add a few extra. Coals need to be completely covered in ash for proper cooking. This will take about 20 minutes to happen using a charcoal chimney. While coals are starting, fill the four empty soda cans ¾ full with water, sand or pebbles. These will be used as legs for the cookie sheet.

3. Before the coals are ready, prepare whatever it is that will be baked. So get busy!

4. In the fire ring, place the four filled soda cans so that they fully support the cookie sheet at the four corners. If desired, add two cans on each side in the middle for more support. (NOTE: If baking in a casserole dish, place the casserole dish on the cans. Coals can be spread out. Coals do not have to be under the dish for the oven to bake properly).

5. Once coals are ready, place coals, using tongs, in the middle of the cans. Spread the coals out so they are just touching each other.

6. Place cookie sheet with whatever on top of cans. Place box oven over cookie sheet. Place brick (or foil covered block) under the front lip of the box oven. This allows air to get to the coals.


1. When lifting the box to check to see how things are baking, use heavy duty welder's type gloves, hot pads or oven mittens. The box will be hot and will burn if it touches your skin.

2. Don’t lift the box too often. This allows the heat to escape and will lengthen the cooking time.

3. If cooking over an extended period of time, there may be the need to add extra coals as the old ones are consumed. Coals are usually good for about 1 to 1½ hours of cooking depending on the quality of the charcoal. If the dish will take longer or several dishes need to be baked, start another set of coals prior to running out so they will be ready about 45 minutes into the baking cycle. Add new coals as required.

NOTE: This is a trial and error process so the more experience with the box oven method, the better results in judgment.

4. If it is windy, be careful when installing and removing your box oven. Ashes may fly when hit by high winds, which can be a fire and safety hazard. The ashes may also get on your food. Try to set up your cooking area in a non windy place or try to set up a wind block so the wind does not hit the coals.

5. When selecting a cookie sheet to use, make sure that there is at least 2” between each side of the cookie sheet and the box. This will allow for proper air flow.

Remember, anything that can be baked in an oven, can be prepared in the box oven. For this reason, there are not many recipes specifically designed for a box oven.

Good ideas for box oven cooking include brownies, cookies, cakes, cornbread, and casseroles.




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