Since I purchased the Sterno Portable Folding Stove a week or so ago, I have been wondering if I could cook a piece of meat on it indoors via candle cooking. I know it can be done outdoors with a few pieces of kindling, coals or perhaps a charcoal briquette. Of course, when outside, the Sterno fuel canisters could be used.
So why would someone want to cook inside on a portable folding stove? Well, what if you lose electricity, don’t have a secondary heat source and don’t have an outdoor cooking grill or propane camping stove? What if you live in an apartment in the city? You can’t just step outside and start a small fire. This is just another option that you have. This isn’t really a practical cooking set up, but in any survival situation, an impractical solution could keep you alive.
I decided to do some candle cooking with a cheap beef shoulder steak that weighed approximately 1/4 lb. I set up the Sterno Outdoor Folding Stove and placed five tea light candles under it. If I had stocked some 2 inch tall candles, the cooking time could probably have been cut in half. With the tea lights, the flames were approximately five inches away from the bottom side of the steak. Despite that, with the way that the portable stove is made, the heat has nowhere to go but straight up into the steak.
In around an hour, the steak was cooked well enough that I would have eaten it in a survival situation. I chose not to eat the steak this time because I didn’t have a meat thermometer handy. Cooking food at low temperatures (below 165 degrees Fahrenheit) can breed bacteria. If you decide to try it, use larger candles and keep a meat thermometer handy. At the hour point, I would have considered this medium well; if you pressed down on the steak, the juices were clear and there wasn’t any blood showing.
Have you ever used candles for cooking?