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What is the most UNUSUAL method of cooking you have ever seen or heard of?

I just looking for some new and fun ideas. It can be meat, veg etc. What made you go wow?

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  1. I've never done it but I've heard of cooking in compost heaps. I had one going one time that was 5' diameter and 5' tall, plenty of horse manure in it. I had a buggy axle stuck through it to use as a thermometer and you couldn't hold the end sticking out of the pile.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kengk

      Mens university volley ball team on the road. Staying in motels rooms with hot water radiators in the rooms. Buy a few packs of veal cutlets. Leave them in the foam trays with the 'peach paper' unwrapped. Place on hot radiator for at least a few minutes. Remove wrapper. Save mess by eating them raw from the foam trays 'Dinner is served'.

    2. A raw chicken wrapped in foil and put in the corner of an asphalt spreader at 5 in the morning was nicely cooked by lunch time.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Veggo

        This has to be the winning answer!

        1. re: Veggo


          I've seen workers warm up their sandwiches in asphalt spreaders, but not cooking chicken!!!


          1. re: Maximilien

            In the old days when I had a big CRT monitor I would toss my sandwich or pasta salad on it to bring to room temperature after getting it out of the fridge for lunch. Not exactly cooking a chicken!

          2. re: Veggo

            Yeah. Along with your feet. I learned pretty quickly not to wear steel-toed shoes. Worst job I ever had.

            1. re: flavrmeistr

              We had to. OSHA requirement. Tough summers.

          3. I was always fascinated with the idea of cooking on your engine while driving. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engine_C...

            3 Replies
            1. re: Chris VR

              It's an old snowmobiler trick!! Hot soup cooked in the can on the exhaust manifold.

              1. re: Motosport

                Yup, we did that this winter, only we did sausages. SO's dad has containers specifically made to clip onto the manifold.

              2. re: Chris VR

                I have done fish on a car engine and hot dogs and buns on my riding mower.

              3. Steaming fish in your dishwasher?

                1 Reply
                1. re: pj26

                  Ya, I was going for dishwasher salmon.

                2. Just recently I watched a Ming Tsai TV program where where a complete dinner - meat and vegetables - were cooked in a lidded, fabric wrapped, and tied pot in a deep hole dug into a side of a volcano. The steam cooked the food. This was somewhere in the Azores. From the reaction of Chef Tsai I'd say the meal was delicious.


                  ETA: Ming's approximation of the recipe:

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Gio

                    Lol. If you don't have a handy volcano, just use a slow cooker. This makes me happy. :)

                    1. re: Gio

                      I've eaten this!! It was completely delicious, although they put a LOT of cabbage in with the rest so by the time it had been stewing for about four hours, the whole dish smelled intensely of feet...

                      1. re: Elster

                        Well... That certainly would have put me off even though you said it was delicious... LOL

                    2. Whole potatoes "baked" in boiling resin (old Joy of cooking)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: absurdnerdbird

                        Uncle Phaedrus some months ago let someone post that they had one of the pots for this, with plenty of resin still inside (I think they sold pots pre-filled, back when), for sale. I was so tempted to buy it, but it was too expensive (can't remember exactly;I think with shipping it would've been $90.)

                      2. I think making a consomme is unusual. How you can add raw meat and egg whites to a broth, let it crust over and then siphon off what looks like liquid gold is pure magic to me. I can watch Jacques Pepin do this over and over and still find it fascinating. It starts at the 19-minute mark in this video.


                        1. i think there's a salmon in the dishwasher method but i've never tried it. i studied abroad for a year and over the course of those 12 months i learned to make most everything and anything in a sandwich maker.

                          1. When I worked in a packing house many moons ago, We cooked meats by hanging them over the steam pipes.

                            1. I am roasting a cow whole and some other animals for an event.

                              I will be cooking several hundred maybe a 1000 mussels in a Mouclade (cooked under fire).

                              I will be doing a a few "beggars chickens" hens wrapped in clay. I am looking for ideas that I can play with and demonstrate for a crowd. Maybe even get some audience participation.

                              I may cook some hot dogs in milk cartons for the kids.

                              One person sent me an idea of whole fish wrapped in newspaper then dipped in water over an open fire. That will be a fun one to show.

                              Please keep them coming as I am learning a lot and have fun with these ideas.

                              The horse manure thing does scare me a bit.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: JB BANNISTER

                                Are you going to boil the hotdogs in the milk cartons over a fire? That is cool to see how the paper will only burn down to the waterline. The kids will like that.

                                1. re: kengk

                                  You wrap the hot dog and bun in foil then place it in the carton and light it on fire. Youtube should have several videos on it. I did it as a boyscout.

                                  1. re: JB BANNISTER

                                    I recall, from my scouting days, boiling water in a paper cup set in the fire (the cup would not burn below the level of the water), and also halving an orange, removing the fruit from the rind, then cracking an egg into the empty rind and cooking it in the fire. Not particularly "off the wall", but you reminded me of it with your scouting comment.

                                2. re: JB BANNISTER

                                  Might I hazard a guess that you the poster who was looking for tips on cooking a whole llama or kangaroo or emu or something equally outrageous?! Bad. Ass.

                                  1. re: ohmyyum

                                    I'm just a simple cook. And the llama was delicious.

                                    1. re: JB BANNISTER

                                      Bahahahha so yes, that WAS you. So that's what a spatchcocked/spread-eagled llama looks like, eh?

                                3. I tried the salmon in the dishwasher method once for curiosity’s sake. I didn't expect much, and I got what I expected -- nothing special. Still, it was fun to try.

                                  Apparently you can portion out cookie dough on a cookie sheet and set it on the dashboard on a hot day. I think I will let my kids try that this summer.

                                  Every summer, I am more and more tempted to get a solar cooker. I'd love to hear anyone's experience with solar cooking.

                                  5 Replies
                                    1. re: JB BANNISTER

                                      If I remember correctly, it was one regular dishwashing cycle.

                                  1. A dorm staple: grilled cheese using an iron (wrap the sandwich with foil first)

                                    1. I've done eggs in natural hot springs.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                        Very common in Japan. So common that there's a name for it. Onsen tamago.

                                      2. On a recent trip to the Baliem Valley in east Papua we had roasted pig. It was first killed and gutted then wrapped in layers of wet banana leaves and put in a pit lined with hot rocks and covered with more hot rocks and wet leaves.. Three hours it was done!

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: subal

                                          A very common cooking method utilised by Australian Aboriginals and Maoris.

                                          1. re: TheHuntress

                                            The Maori word for this is a hangi: food cooked in a hole dug in the ground over hot coals.

                                          2. re: subal

                                            No mention of the Hawaiian Kālua? Been to a Luau?

                                            1. re: subal

                                              I have read of this same method being used to make Roast Missionary.

                                            2. It's not unusual in hot glass shops to heat up a hotdog or roast a marshmallow at a party.


                                              These folks bring it to a whole new level:



                                              1 Reply
                                              1. My mom cooks cakes in a card board box lined with foil using only the heat of a candle - pretty cool


                                                Although this one uses Charcoal Briquttees.

                                                Also, Lomo Al Trapo - Basically rolling up a Beef Tenderloin in a cloth covered with half inch of salt - It does DIRECTLY in the fire. I did this succesfully using a pork loin... it's a good show.


                                                1. Trash Can or Garbage Can Turkey. I have a very good friend who is a Boy Scout Leader and goes camping at least once a month. After I told him about this, his troop was the hit of the encampment.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: PattiCakes

                                                    We have 6 Orion Cookers. Very close and we love them. We cook all kinds of things for the crowd.

                                                    1. re: PattiCakes

                                                      the song parody is hilarious, PattiC.

                                                      Kiln cookery: I've popped corn in my studio kiln, roasted just about every bird I can get my hands on, baked bread and made incredible s'mores at some interesting temps. One example for turkey: http://www.nmclay.com/Customer_servic...

                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                        In know people that do pizza's in kilns.... But turkeys?!

                                                    2. Maybe not esoteric enough, but in college, we regularly cooked our lunch over the bunsen burners.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: pine time

                                                        I was going to say we made pancakes in a skillet on the hot plates in the chemistry lab (all sorts of OSHA violations there) but decided that was decidedly not cool enough to stack up to grilling a whole llama. :)

                                                      2. Grilling meat over camel dung.


                                                        1. Didn't Alton Brown cook something in a cardboard box? Maybe he smoked a fish? Something like that.


                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                            I have done that twice it is really great.

                                                            1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                              Yes he did a smoked salmon. I watched that episode the other night on Cooking Channel.

                                                            2. This idea isn't a particularly unusual method but the recipe is novel and could be a crowd pleaser:

                                                              "This fifteenth century English recipe makes an unusual roasted spice cake"


                                                              I've been semi-obsessed with the idea since reading about it a number of years ago.

                                                              1. Rotisserie. Many a whole pig. One local a whole cow - saw done
                                                                Manifold box under a Ford pickup hood - saw done; ate pizza
                                                                Steak directly on wood coals - have done, brushed ash off
                                                                Solar oven - made by friend in Arizona
                                                                Cook meat on a hot clean rock - have done
                                                                Heat soup with a hot clean rock - have done
                                                                Cook meat in boiling water or broth - have done
                                                                Cook at the table on a small BBQ - have done
                                                                Burger, fish, or corn in tinfoil on a fire - have done
                                                                Corn in a wet husk on a fire - have done
                                                                Cook food in its open can - have done
                                                                Use hospital sterilizer to hard boil eggs - nurse grandmother
                                                                Wood stove - great grandmother put logs in burners
                                                                Salmon cooked with just salt - a favorite made with dill
                                                                Fish cooked in only lime juice - have done

                                                                I cook on a wood stove a few times a month in the winter.

                                                                1. Southwest China, a common protein meal in the villages is the bamboorat, baked over charcoal braziers in bamboo. The Bamboo "sleeve" is at least 6" in diameter and a good 2' long, so it's a fat rat. Stuff bamboo leaves in the ends. I ~think~ that the bamboo is soaked in water first.

                                                                  There's a UK piece here about the gourmet version: http://bit.ly/115KCmB

                                                                  So, I think of it as variation on a clay cooker, which also has to be soaked.

                                                                  And I guess those gourmet coffee beans that are, um, animal preprocessed -- that doesn't count as a cooking method?

                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                    Personally I love that but Greenville SC is not ready for me to do that yet.

                                                                      1. re: JB BANNISTER

                                                                        Come on, JB-- the River Falls folk I know wouldn't be too squeamish about anything if well prepared. Or the Gap Creek Gourmands, either.

                                                                        {I grew up in TR before the Swamp Rabbit Revival}

                                                                      2. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                        Nutria is a river rat in Louisiana that was being promoted as an edible delicacy.Are those chubby rats similar? That woman is a demon holding them up by their tails and smiling:( Can't the old bag sell them to us gullible Americans as pets?

                                                                        1. re: Lillipop

                                                                          I have found that Bamboo Rat has a bit more "white meat," than does a Nutria. However, and depending on the prep, they are not THAT far apart. More fat on a Nutria, but if that is rendered, then they are closer together.

                                                                          Now, eating Smoked Norwegian Wharf Rat is something different. It tastes like pigeon, but without wings. Not to my taste.


                                                                      3. Cooking a whole goat in an underground pit. A whole huge several hundred pounds hog on a spit on a huge smoker rotisserie device. Smoked meats. I saw Chef Marcel prepare boneless pork rib steaks @ the table on super heated rocks..looked sooooo delicious (On Quantum Kitchen) Any home canned fish fruits or produce. I am obsessed with the *Cowboy Cooking* where they cook on hot wood coals with cast iron cookware (zero temperature control( Solar cooking.Fermenting vegetables which I am planning on doing soon. My late brother and I used to try frying eggs on the sidewalk when it was like 100+ California degrees outside when we were kids:)

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Lillipop


                                                                          By cowboy cooking do you mean like when you are camping? Wilderness camping? If so, I share your love. Some of the best meals have been cooked outside in the mountains surrounded by lines and trout steams where your breakfast is caught just after sunrise. Nothing unusual about that, I know, just really good.

                                                                          1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                            I saw a show on the Food network and it was some wagon train competition where you made fire pits from burning wood.....prepared your foods in cast iron dutch ovens and such then nestle the oven into the wood coals and cover with coals.They had to cook a full menu....right down to desserts.It looked so fun and delicious.They were all sweating up a storm though:)

                                                                          2. re: Lillipop

                                                                            We are going to do a goat in a La Caja China. The result is very similar.
                                                                            I am a big fan of the whole cowboy cooking.

                                                                            1. re: JB BANNISTER

                                                                              JB You should have your own television show. Make a DVD and start marketing yourself. The cooking of the whole animal is pretty cool.

                                                                          3. I advise caution if you make your own solar cooker. Polished up a 5 foot reflector from a WW2 searchlight and proceeded to boil up a quart of soup on a clear day.

                                                                            In about 5 minutes, it had melted the aluminum pot. I can't remember how large we figured it needed to be to melt iron.

                                                                            1. I saw this dish made in a cooking class in Southern India in February. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puttu
                                                                              It was steamed in a small vessel on top of a larger pot of boiling water that turned the whole thing into a pressure cooker and formed the puttu in a traditional shape when it was unmolded.

                                                                              It was interesting to watch, I had never seen this type of pressure cooker thing and it did the job well. The resulting dish was very bland and needed lots of chutney/sauce to spice it up to my taste.

                                                                              I was much fonder of idli http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idli
                                                                              I seriously considered buying an idli maker, kind of a multi layered steamer, before I came to my senses!

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Hecetamom

                                                                                I bought a little idli steamer when visiting India. I use it about once a month for the Mr.'s breakfast of idli and sambar. I eat cereal those mornings!

                                                                              2. Worked with a guy who used to heat up his can of ravioli or beef stew every day (the menu never varied) by placing the unopened can under a steam condensate pipe. Occasionally, it would explode or dissolve before he got back to it, only to find the bottom lid and nothing else. This was at a nuclear power plant in Florida.

                                                                                We would occasionally find a large lobster or two clinging to the cooling water intake screen. We would hustle them over to the welding shop and steam them on a rod can over a rosebud burner. Or, sometimes we'd gaff a large snook and roast it in the rod oven wrapped in foil with a little butter. They were invariably delicious.

                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                  About cooking in an un-open can and having them explode. A friend worked at a refinary. Would heat cans of chili, soup, & stew in unopened cans in his 'office' next to very hot pipes (above boiling). Got distracted. When went back to eat just as he was about to grab a can of soup it exploded all over him (and the office). Burned him when it splattered on his hands, arm, and face.

                                                                                  1. re: smaki

                                                                                    I forgot to mention the guy was an idiot. We warned him, but he eventually got caught by a plant operator and run off.

                                                                                    1. re: smaki

                                                                                      Sort of like putting a can of Chili on the exhaust manifold, while driving up to the campground. So long as things were timed perfectly, then all was good. If not, then one had Chili all over the engine, and the underside of the hood - where all that absorbent insulation is. You will never get Chili out of that.


                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                        I remember a recipie in Boys Life years ago that called for a pound of hamburger and some potatoes, peas and carrots wrapped in foil and placed on the manifold. Keep driving until it smells like dinner. You can do the same thing on a steam radiator. I guess that was before the crock pot.

                                                                                    2. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                      what a hoot! I think this is the best post!

                                                                                      1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                        Never overlook a gift from the lobster gods! Serendipity.

                                                                                      2. In Iceland, I had bread that was cooked in a metal Dutch oven type dish with a lid that clipped shut. It was buried about a foot underground for 24 hours at the Fontana Hot Springs just a few feet from the lake. After 24 hours, it was done. The bread was pretty tasty- it was a brown bread with an oddly (but not unpleasant) spongy texture.

                                                                                        1. Intake manifold hot dogs and chili, on a camping trip in my younger days. Best meal of my life.

                                                                                          Boston brown bread - made in a coffee can and steamed on the stove top! Well, that, to me, was kind of exciting.

                                                                                          1. hugh fearnley whittingstall's hob on the back of his bicycle.

                                                                                            1. When we were traveling by bus to compete some of us on the team would buy packages of raw veal cutlets and heat them up on the hot water radiators in our hotel rooms. When they were as warm as they were going to get we'd eat the cutlets with our fingers making sure not to eat the 'peach-paper. Yummy when you're seventeen.

                                                                                              1. Well, I do not consider "fire" all that unusual, BUT we just did an event at Blackberry Farm, and the guest chef was Chef Francis Mallman. He did five different dishes, each with a different fire, that he built on the back lawn of The Main House at Blackberry Farm. Very, very interesting.

                                                                                                Now, I can imagine that they would have to work hard, to fix that back lawn, when Chef Mallman left.

                                                                                                I had no idea that fire could be so interesting.


                                                                                                1. Back in the day of heating the house with a big coal furnace my mother used to lay big potatoes on a ledge just inside the furnace door and they would bake wonderfully.

                                                                                                  1. Leavening with wood ash.

                                                                                                    1. entire meals cooked in a hot spring. i've eaten there, its delicious

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. Not an unusual method, but pretty dramatic execution: one of my earliest memories is of watching my father grilling meat on a mill-sized circular-saw blade at some hippie festival.

                                                                                                        1. Lomo Al Trapo...set out a clean white tea towel or cloth napkin - put down half inch of salt and spices wrap tie the cloth and throw directly into the fire.

                                                                                                          It's a great show for sure. One thing - wrap the beef or pork just before you throw in the fire otherwise it will absorb too much salt.


                                                                                                          I did this with a pork loin (in central america they use a beef tenderlong).

                                                                                                          1. On that show Dual Survival Cody Lundin showed how to boil water by superheating stones and dropping them into a bowl of water. You would use this technique if you don't have a pot.

                                                                                                            They made a tea using pine needles. Pine needle tea is high in Vitamin C.

                                                                                                            This is how tea was invented... when water didn't taste good they added stuff to the boiling water.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                              Native Americans around the mouth of the Columbia River and elsewhere cooked food in boiling water with hot stones in baskets they weave tight enough not to leak.

                                                                                                            2. In Guyana some years ago - we ate curried Agouti, prepared on a stove fashioned from Cow dung. ( it may have been Cow dung and cement, these stoves didn't last forever and were replaced every so often, as they actually got used up. ) It was quite tasty as I remembered.