I’m a minimalist when it comes to… well everything I think. But I’m going to write about how I cook in the bush. I don’t use a gas stove. Yeah, they are safer in bushfire season but they take up heaps of room and you need to make sure that you have gas for it. You have to make sure that you don’t run out of gas. If you do run out of gas then you can’t cook unless you want to risk ruining your pots and pans. It’s all such a hassle and is unnecessary.
The first thing you need to do is make sure you have the right equipment. I use a billy and a cast iron frying pan. Know that anything you put on the fire will come out black and sticky.
The second thing you need to know; you want a small fire. Lots of people build up a big fire first because they believe that they need a good base of coals. Most of the time, that’s not really true. If you’re trying to make something in a ground oven, sure, but if you want to boil some water to make a cup of tea, you’re just over doing it and you’ll have to wait for it to burn down before you can put anything on it.
This is what I mean by a small fire.
So make a fire where the largest branches are about as thick as your thumb or a little thicker. Once you’ve got that going, then lay down some thicker branches about half as thick as your wrist. You will use that for your flat surface where you can place your billy or frying pan.
If you find your fire is too small to fit all your pots and pans, you can make it bigger by using small twigs to spread the fire across wider.
Sometimes you may find that the fire can’t burn because it’s smothered by the base of your frying pan. If that happens you can run some more branches in the opposite direction to make a new surface a little bit higher.
The branches that you use as your surface will burn a little, but they are not there to provide fuel to your fire. Most of the heat should be coming from the coal left from the smaller burnt branches and the new thumb-sized branches that you add to keep the fire cooking.
That’s all there is to it, really. It’s almost as fast as a gas stove, far more satisfying and way simpler and cheaper.