How to Cook in a Steam Pit…Great Bushcraft/Survival Skill

We’ll tell you up front that cooking in a steam pit is a bushcraft, or survival skill that takes some work to get going. However it’s well worth your time. The steam pit cooking method requires a hole with hot rocks at the bottom of the hole.

The hole will be layered with dirt, vegetation, and of course food at the top. This method of cooking works due to the rocks creating steam from the layers of dirt, and vegetation.

Try this steam pit method of cooking and you’ll get great tasting food that will keep piping hot ready to eat whenever you’re ready. You’ll also like the fact that you don’t have to worry about over cooking your food.

Steam pit cooking will make indigestible foods, more digestible. All the step by steps directions are included in the video. Be sure to read the “Handy Tips For Working With A Steam Pit” that appears below the video. 

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Handy Tips For Working With Steam Pit Cooking

A “rock kettle” can make a good steam pit, but you’ll still have to dig up some dirt to cover it.

• Work quickly to get your vegetation and food in the pit so that your hot rocks don’t cool off too much before you seal the pit.

• A few cups of water poured over the top layer of green vegetation will generate more steam and conduct heat to your food more efficiently.

• Use enough dirt on top so that no steam is seen escaping.

• In freezing cold weather, you may need to build a fire on top of the pit.

• If the ground is cold and/or very wet, use a thin layer of small or thin rocks before putting in the bigger hot rocks. This will keep the soil from conducting away too much of the rock’s heat.

A wide variety of non-toxic vegetation can be used in Steam Pits. Here is a partial list of materials that are good — and some materials to avoid.

Good Steam Pit Vegetation:

  • Grasses, sedges, cordgrass, cattail leaves, reeds and rushes edible weeds like amaranth, lamb’s quarters
  • Leaves and leafy branches of mild smelling and tasting trees like maples and willows
  • Good tasting and smelling leaves of sassafras and spicebush
  • Seaweed (but watch out for sea lice and other little sea creatures)
  • White Pine needles (and most other pines, except for ponderosa and loblolly pines which may be toxic)

Toxic or Foul Tasting Vegetation:

  • Oak, walnut and tulip poplar leaves — Foul tasting

  • Buckeye and horse chestnut tree leaves — Toxic

  • Cherry tree leaves — Become deadly poison as they wilt

  • Pokeweed leaves and stalks — Toxic to poisonous

  • Rhododendron, laurel and most evergreen shrubs — Toxic to poisonous

  • Iris leaves and jimsonweed leaves — Toxic

  • Some ferns — Toxic

  • Any unknown herbs, weeds, wild flowers or shrubs — Potentially toxic

Tips Source: Outdoor


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