Rock Cooking


(Adapted from Roughing It Easy by Dian Thomas.)

Excitement and delicious food await you when you learn to cook using one of the first cooking methods in the world. Pots and pans will not be necessary. Legends of old recount stories of rocks being heated and placed in cow stomachs with water, vegetables, and meat. Hot rocks caused the water to boil and delicious soup was soon served.

Today food can be placed on hot rocks to fry or around hot rocks to bake. Rocks that have recently been in water or have retained moisture, such as shell, sandstone, or limestone, should be avoided because the heat will cause moisture to expand and the rock will explode.

For frying food such as hamburger, eggs and bacon, pancakes, or French toast, find a flat, smooth rock ranging from one to six inches thick. Clean the rock off. Heat will sterilize the rock, so you need to be concerned only with getting the dust and dirt off the surface you will cook on. Place the rock in coals to heat. If one side heats too fast and expands more quickly than the other side, the rock may break, so rotate the rock while it is heating.

When the rock is hot, roll it over, brush the ashes off, and use it as a grill. Rocks one to two inches thick can be placed on coals for continuous cooking. Larger rocks will need to be turned onto the coals periodically to reheat.

It is hard to believe that you can bake chicken or meatloaf using only rocks for heat. For chicken use three rocks, one large enough to fill the cavity of the chicken and two flat rocks about 3-by-4-by-1 inch to go under each wing. Heat the rocks (30 to 45 minutes) and use heavy gloves to wrap the rocks with foil. Place the chicken on the shiny side of the foil and season, using butter, salt, or barbecue sauce. (The foil will need to be about 18-by-20-by-24 inches or long enough to bring the edges together at the top and roll down five to eight folds. Heavy foil works best.) Place the large rock in the breast of the chicken and a flat rock under each wing. Bring foil together at the top and roll down using small folds. Flatten out the sides and roll them in so the chicken is completely sealed. Wrap the foil package in several open sections of newspaper for insulation. The newspaper should be about 3 inches thick. Place it in a sack or a box and leave for three to five hours to cook.

You can also prepare such foods as meatloaf, meat, or vegetables by placing the food around a large rock.

[photo] For frying, use a flat, smooth rock ranging from one to six inches thick. The heat of the coals will sterilize the rock, so you need only brush the dirt off the cooking surface before using it

[photo] Place the rocks in coals to heat them. Large rocks will need to be turned periodically to avoid being broken by uneven heating. When handling the rocks, either use fire tongs or else use a stick to get the rock out of the coals and then asbestos gloves well insulated with newspaper or rags

[photo] For chicken, use three rocks, one large enough to fill the cavity of the chicken, and two flat rocks to go under the wings. Heat the rocks 30 to 45 minutes and then wrap them in foil for cleanliness before using. Place the chicken on the shiny side of the foil, season, and wrap in the foil

[photo] Wrap the foil package in several open sections of newspaper. It is better to use too much newspaper than too little because this is the insulation that will keep heat from escaping

[photo] Determine when the chicken is done by checking the tenderness of the meat rather than judging by the color, because the chicken does not brown very much. It will have somewhat the color of boiled chicken when done