Check out my very efficient hobo stove made from a Wal-Mart coffee can and a junk pile 8" x 8" piece of expanded metal. I estimate the cost of electricity used by my Dremel® tool at 2¢ for the maybe one minute it took me to cut the expanded metal. Thus the entire stove cost me 2¢.
On the left of the photo see an empty coffee can and the original large piece of expanded metal. On the right of the photo see the hobo stove filled with sticks I gathered from my front yard. In the full size photo note a turned under web point on all four sides of the grill. They keep the grill from sliding off the top of the can.
Also in the full size photo note one of the four holes punched in the bottom side of the stove can by an old style beer opener, a "church key" we called them. Four holes allow the proper air intake for simmer-cooking. You can punch more holes and get more heat, but your wood will burn much faster.
Here's the stove in the process of frying sausage for my breakfast. If you need a hot fire for frying, fill the stove with sticks as you see in the top photo, and when they burn down add more. But for just simmering or for grilling a steak, etc., one can full of sticks is plenty. This 2¢ stove is perfect for one person.
The evening before I took these photos, I simmered on the hobo stove what I call "Hobo Beans":
With the tablespoon of oil in a sauce pan (or in another coffee can) on the hobo stove, fry the 2 slices of bacon almost done, then add the 12 or so thin slices of link sausage. Fry until the bacon is crisp and the sausage slices are brown. (I fried the bacon earlier.) Crumble the bacon. Add the canned beans and simmer a while. Then taste and add pepper and salt if needed. Simmer for at least 30 minutes total, then eat.
You'll be surprised how good this simple recipe tastes. And the energy to cook it cost the price of one squirt of charcoal starter and one match. Save even more money and skip the charcoal starter.
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