Survival Cooking using no Bushcraft Equipment

Preppers survival cooking
Using no bushcraft Equipment

bushcraft equipment showing meat cooking on a leaf

In a survival situation that has suddenly happened or in an unforeseen circumstance, you will probably not have any Bushcraft or Survival Equipment with you so you will have to improvise, and use what you find around you and in your immediate environment.

Survival cooking, or, as some might even call it call it “primitive cooking” dates back to the beginning of man, because after all, your ancestors in many cases would have used the very methods that will be described here.

As preppers it would be nice to think that we could never find ourselves in this type of situation, but it is a possibility, and as I always say - knowledge weighs nothing, and knowing these skills means you have yet another back up plan should the SHTF.....

First, keep this in mind that all wild game, fish and insects should be cooked thoroughly before eating, so having a method of cooking your food is imperative.

Food must always be heated to an adequate internal temperature to destroy any parasites and bacteria that can cause illness or worse.

Never cook any game or fish with the entrails still in the body, all internal organs must be removed first and then thoroughly washed out, cleaned and checked before any cooking can start.

If either of the above cannot be achieved you are risking problems such as sickness and diarrhoea at a minimum and possibly worse.

Bad field craft, bad preparation and under cooking your food can leave you worse off than just being hungry. Dehydration, diarrhoea and sickness can all be caused by directly by not paying attention to your prep and cooking procedures when out in the wild.

Improvised plates

Burdock leaves make excellent wraps for your food and the roots are considered a delicacy in many cultures.

Do not wash or clean the roots until ready to prepare for eating.

You cannot use poisonous plant leaves for cooking wraps and obviously, you cannot eat them.

Make sure you have an up to date botany guide on edible plants as part of your Bushcraft Equipment or in your bug out bag. But also make very sure you have read the book before hand.

bushcraft equipment burdock leaves

click any book image above for more information, pricing and reviews

Fire Pits

survival fire pit

A fire pit is the most field expedite way to cook because the fire is enclosed and the heat is concentrated upward.

You can lay green saplings over the top of the pit to use as cooking racks and the high moisture content in the saplings can help cook the foods, this is similar to plank cooking. 

The method involves digging a small depression in the ground using whatever Bushcraft Equipment you may have – if you have none, then this can still be done with your bear hands or a good stick.

Then lay flat rocks in the hole and build your fire on top. Let the fire burn down to coals and then scrap away the coals and lay your food that has been wrapped in leaves on top of the hot rocks.

Layer grasses on top of the wrapped food and allow the heat to create steam from the grasses and leaves and you can essentially poach your food.

If you have the tools, you can split cedar or oak saplings and lay the pieces cut side up over the pit to use the planks as a cooking surface.

This will also infuse the moisture and flavour in the wood into the food.

Food wraps

burdock leaf wrap

Wrapping foods in burdock leaves or cattail fronds also helps contain the heat and will tenderize the fish or game you are cooking and the leaves can be eaten along with the game or fish.

Cattail fronds can be also used for wraps and the roots and lower stems near the water make excellent eating

To make your fire pit more efficient you can build what is called a Dakota fire Hole – this requires no Bushcraft Equipment at all – just your hands and a good digging stick broken from a tree.

The illustration shows an air chamber, which provides oxygen to the fire pit making it extremely efficient and reduces the amount of fuel needed.

Once the pit is constructed, you can use a spit method for cooking or lay flat rocks slightly over the edge to heat and use as a cooking surface or use green saplings or planks as a cooking surface.

dakota fire pit

To add flavour you can wrap your food with dandelion leaves and buds and the unopened buds from burdock and add day-lilies roots or the roots of an arrowroot plant and steam to tenderness along with your game or fish.

You may find your Bushcraft Equipment merely consists of a plastic jug, a wooden bowl or possibly nothing more than a piece of plastic or canvas.

You can use anyone of these to boil water in to cook your food.

If using a plastic jug cut the top off so you have the room to drop hot rocks through the opening to heat the water.
Build a fire and choose your rocks carefully because rocks with high moisture content will fragment under heat and they can splinter and fly out of the fire.
Use granite or quartz and again make sure the rocks will fit into the container.

cooking with hot rocks

If all you have is canvas or plastic sheets dig a shallow depression and line with the canvas or plastic, fill with water and place the hot rocks in the water.

Heat the rocks for at least an hour in the fire and then carefully place the hot rocks in the container of water along with whatever food you have.
The water will boil enabling you to cook your food, or you can just leave the hot rocks to boil the water and then pour out over a cloth (to remove larger sediment) into a container and allow to cool for drinking water.

Ideally, you may be fortunate to have some tools with you.
These will help make your survival so much easier and help with moving the hot rocks, as well as digging and finding fire making materials.

Tools such as a machete or small camp axe like Draper Hand Axe shown here, are perfect to slide the rocks on to so they can be moved works well.

[easyazon_image align=”none” height=”73″ identifier=”B009VYBF82″ locale=”UK” src=”” tag=”ukpreppersguide-21″ width=”160″]
[easyazon_link identifier=”B009VYBF82″ locale=”UK” tag=”ukpreppersguide-21″]Draper 28756 560g 1.25lb Hand Axe with Steel Shaft[/easyazon_link]

Start with several rocks to first to get an idea of how many you will need to heat the water enough to cook your foods.

Have rocks as backup that can replace the ones you remove.

Essentially you can survive without any bushcraft equipment, exactly as our ancestors did,  it just takes a bit longer and is much more harder work.

These are essential survival skills we need to know.

As preppers we always have a backup plan for most things, so having one for the time when you have no equipment is just one more skill we have to have under our belt.

If there were to come a time when the only way out is surviving in the wild, there's very few who actually can - so don't be one of them..!

Happy Prepping Folks.


Steve Hart UK Preppers Guide