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Sep 5, 2010 10:32 PM

dried animal dung as fuel for the grill

Rather than derail another thread, I thought it wiser to start a new one. I do know that cow, buffalo, camel and others are a common fuel in many parts of the world and I assume only the VERY dried sort is used, but are there any other health concerns one needs to be aware of? length of smolder time, etc.? apparently some swear by the flavor imparted (I know, let that gorge settle)

- suburban boy living in the sticks for a while with some really noisy cows.

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  1. The host of TV's "Survivorman", Les Stroud, has made use of the foul fuel on a number of occasions. He's never made a comment about odour or health, so I suspect there aren't any concerns in those areas.

    2 Replies
    1. re: FrankD

      @ FrankD or it was "assumed" Editing is a powerful tool.

      To hill food : Yah know, you never know. If you are looking at this as a cost cutting measure, are you sure you wanna risk your life like that?

      1. re: Quine

        Considering he makes it a point to identify every potential danger, from contaminated drinking water, to poisonous plants, to not building fires next to a cliff face (lest the change in temp trigger a rock fall), I think if there were hazardous issues, he would have mentioned it. Have you ever watched the show?

    2. I saw/smelt it being used by Fijians of Indian decent a long time ago and I had forgotton all about it until your post. Don't do it unless you ABSOLUTELY have to. The stench inparts into everything.

      1. As Homer would say, "Mmm, dried animal dung"...

        1 Reply
        1. re: MacTAC

          HA! to all responses. it's not a budget move I'm just sort of stuck out here doing odds and ends on a small-time cow operation and while replacing some siding noticed all the patties accumulating and just sort of got wondering. maybe I'll torch a couple without food over it and see what the result is. I'm guessing it's not a health thing (the cleansing fire and all) as much as it is an aesthetic one.

        2. Dung stoves produce a large amount of soot which is not only an inhalable irritant, but is also thought to be strongly correlated with global climate change. The particulate lingers in the air, so without proper ventilation, one faces an elevated risk of acute respiratory, eye and ear infection in addition to chest discomfort.

          1. Ugh, don't do it...! Compost them insead and build a vegetable garden in the spring. Although it's best to cure them for a couple of years.

            12 Replies
            1. re: Gio

              Gio: dry aged s#!t ("mine is 7 year") I love it.

              JungMann, interesting, more than wood smoke? re climate and health issues.

              1. re: hill food

                Seven year old itshay? Perfect. Where's the shovel? Where's the garden gonna be?

                1. re: Gio

                  maybe I'll start moonshining (I guess I can't call it Scotch), and use that in lieu of old peat. Plotch?

                  1. re: Gio

                    Gio, the 100 year old stockyards in OKC, abandoned as a feedlot in the 1970's, are still being mined on a smaller commercial level for it's hoof packed deposits, used mostly by lawn landscapers.

                    Since it is salty, due to the immobility of penned cows, it's a tough go in the garden, and is best used as a deep sublayer in conjunction with powdered gypsum. I applied it as a base when I first established the garden and broke the backyard sod and dug out to 18" deep into the clay layer. It's saltiness causes problems when used as a topdressing.

                    More thoughts of dried dung as a cooking fuel are found here on a recent thread. I prefer buffalo over cow.


                    1. re: FoodFuser

                      I think that's the thread I was trying to not derail, but thanks for the cross reference.

                      and hey to you punning knuckleheads downstream, I like where you're going, I just hope this all flies (now I'm doing it) under the moderators radar.

                      FoodFuser why buffalo? the diet's not much different is it processed differently? I guess it stands to reason as buffalo cheese tastes so different from cow.

                      1. re: hill food

                        Hill food, the advantage of buffalo (Bison, not yak) comes in its easily separated chips=wafers/discs. This allows more focus of the flame at those required hot spots, (boiling rice, or legumes) and reduces the waste of heating the entire hearth surface area. For a simulation, try a focused twig fire for boiling water, versus the wider used hardwood fires with larger diameter..

                        Chips, with well focused flame, maximize the winter's inventory of BTU value within the dried dung.

                        Your secondary question may well pertain to the BTU value of bison vis a vis cow. If someone wants to track down that data, it could be certainly be incorporated into a decision. I keep it simple on Bison shit, and visit the wildlife refuge once a year and collect a bagful, which is later fully dried in my suburban sun. They are used mostly for the day-long slow simmer of deeply spiced and smoked "Ranch style" pinto beans. When the beans are done and the kids and parents show up for the feast, the above mentioned history lesson of prairie tradition kicks in.

                        Simple answer: chips provide focused expenditure of valuable BTU inventory in cooking..

                          1. re: hill food

                            The discussion is about a dried product. So, time is no Master. Refrigerated items and perishables would be a different matter, but we're talking the advantages of fully dried poop.

                            1. re: FoodFuser

                              so maybe for the best result in regards to your and JungMann's comment below, I should improvise a sort of cold frame for them to fully dry (I still can't really believe I'm discussing this) and then employ. hmm (please note the h at the start of that sequence of m's).

                              1. re: hill food

                                I respect that you are dealing now with place...locution.., but you gotta get them turds out there and talk is no solution

                                Be they Rembrant's , or dilution,
                                Here's the kitchen execution
                                That will get them to the stove... as patties.... burning bright..

                                Take the fork... thank the sunshine
                                For the heat that is so Dee-vine
                                And just dry patties out there in the air;.

                                If meshed frame is provided, I'd hope that it's decided
                                That quarter-inch mesh that is what rules.
                                The half-inch will getcha
                                It's messy, I'll betcha
                                But quarter inch dries well with Bison stools.

                                If we focus on BTU put-though,
                                It's right there up with other dried doo-doo
                                Its surge ain't the best
                                on quick "temp up" requests
                                But it's downright good fuel, for a poo-poo.

                  2. re: hill food

                    Biofuels release black carbon generally. It is more difficult to sufficiently dry cow fuels which contain residual moisture and plant matter, so they tend to produce a dirtier flame.

                    1. re: JungMann

                      so would I get a different result if I baked it first, sort of whatcharcoal is to hardwood? (although one of you is going to have to explain to my mother why her oven is full of $&it at 180 for 6 hours)