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Unique Cooking Methods? How to Cook in a Cream Can?

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I just heard about cooking over a campfire or on a burner using a cream can. Has anyone done this? Or does anyone have any other unique cooking methods?


These are the instructions I've heard.

Place 2 qt. water or tomato juice in the cream can.

Stand unhusked sweet corn on end in the bottom.

Place carrots, cabbage, potatoes, & other vegetabels in mesh bags on top of the corn.

Place the meat on the top (Polish sausage, chicken pieces, etc.)


What I don't know are the cooking instructions. When to close the lid, how long to cook, any other tips.


Has anyone done this?



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This recipe was used at the Cheyenne Cowboy Symposium last year. It may be a little large for your needs. I would try using a meat thermometer put in the top. Be sure the steam can vent or you will have hot food flying everywhere.


Milk Can Supper

25 ears sweet corn, shucked (reserve a few husks for lining can)

25 medium red potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled

3 pounds carrots, peeled and halved

6 medium onions, peeled and quartered (optional)

4 heads green cabbage, cored and quartered (optional)

50 Polish or for a spicier taste include some chorizo sausages

To prepare the fire, dig a shallow pit 8 inches deep by 20 inches wide. Place two cement blocks, which will support the milk can, on either side of the pit. Build the fire using about 10 to 15 pieces of hardwood (about 1-1/2 inches in diameter and 15 inches long).

When the embers are white hot, the fire is ready. (Continue to add wood little by little to maintain a slow, even temperature while cooking.) Place a thin layer of corn husks on the bottom of a clean, unrusted 8- or 10-gallon milk can to insulate the food from the fire. Place the potatoes in the can, then add layers of carrots, onions, corn, cabbage, and sausages.

If necessary, stuff the sausages into the can. Pour 6 cups of water into the can. If your can has a lid, place it on gently to allow some steam to escape. (This is very important as a lid that is jammed on may cause steam to build up and blow both the lid and the contents of the can out the top.)

If you do not have a lid, improvise one by placing a doubled sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil over the top of the can and crimping the edges. Set the filled milk can on the cement blocks above the fire and cook gently for 1 to 1-1/4 hours. Add more wood to the fire as needed.

If the liquid in the can seems to be boiling away, add 2 cups of water. Empty the can into serving containers.


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Boy, there are so many different cooking methods, it would be hard to list them all. I did a demo for our scouts this week on the sidewalk of our church charter. I used a metal pan used for changing the oil in your car as a fire pan to hold my charcoal. I placed and old grate from a BBQ grill over it. We made a pizza in a stainless steel camp dish and placed it on the grate. I then covered it with a stainless steel mixing bowl that was larger than the dish. It recieved heat from below as well as reflecting off the top of the bowl back down on the pizza. Probably not as good as using a dutch oven, but a decent quick replacement. I was trying to show them that you can take items you normally wouldn't think of and improvise a way to cook almost anything at camp. We have a young troop and they are pretty one dimensional when it comes to cooking and want to cut corners and leave items out of their menu. I want them to realize that camp cooking can be inventive and fun and not just a chore. Next week, we will probably bake a cake in a cardboard box. I've tried this at home with good results.

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Wyomingi, for a moment I thought clams & lobsters were headed into that mlk can... sounds a lot like a few clambakes I've attended. What's the largest body of water in your neck of the woods?


Korea, any polynesian specialities?



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Your right. A milk can dinner is the western equivalent of a clam bake. We dont have large bodies of water, lobsters, or clams, but we do have Rocky Mountain Oysters. Theyre great breaded and fried.


Has anyone tried cooking in a pie iron?


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Our troop has had 3 or 4 haning in the supply closet forever. This Fall the adult leaders took them on a campout and made single serving fruit pies w/ just bread and canned pie fillings. Yes, we did share! The boys have asked if they can use the irons on the next regular campout.


Ours lock together, they are approx. 4" x 4" with 2' long handles. I think that we made most of the pies w/ crispy crusts but if memory serves we did grease at least one of the irons.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Pie Iron Chili-Cheese Cornbread

Cornbread Mix

1/2 Cup Cheddar Cheese, Grated

1 Can Chopped Chilis

Pour mixture into a well greased pie iron to about 1/3 full. Bake over low heat.


Perfect Pie Iron Pizza

1 can Pillsbury Croissant Dough

Pizza Sauce

Mozzarella Cheese

Pepperoni, Mushrooms, Onions, etc.

Non-Stick Cooking Spray

Spray 1/2 of pie iron. Cover bottom of pie iron with dough. Add Sauce, Cheese, & Toppings. Lay pie iron on hot coals "open faced" for about 5 minutes. Dough will rise and cheese will melt making a perfect pizza.

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  • 2 years later...

4JAM, a pie iron is a square "box", hinged, and usually with two handles that lift the top when opened and when squeezed together will hold the "box" shut. Like tongs. Someone else above mentioned they are about 4" X 4" square, and maybe 1 and a half to 2 inches deep. You can do lots with them, breakfast sandwiches, pizza, desserts, anything and be creative! Good luck and welcome to the forums. Come back soon so we can get to know ya!

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We have used these pie irons for a couple of years. We even have a select club called the A-pie-chees. With an Apiechee Chief and all.

Anyone who slaps apple pie filling or anything else on two slices of bread and cooks and eats it forever becomes an Apiechee. So much for hazing.


We cook a milk can type dinner in a dutch oven. The idea came from a forest rangers cook book that cites the milk can method


We get an oven and pack it as follows






We would do the corn if the oven was deep enough. Sometimes we do corn on the fire.


Other times we cook down the potatoes, onions and cabage and add the corn and kielbasa later.


A "trainwreck" is any jumbled mess with veggies potatoes and meat.

A "Polish Trainwreck" has keilbasa.


I don't think it's very unique but we make full blown apple pies in a

9" pie tin in a 12 oven. Just like mom makes. The Crust is store bought.



The boys really like popcorn in a dutch oven. With all the micro wave stuff some kids don't know what real popcorn is.


Cover the oven bottom in oil one kernel deep. place two kernel in oven place in fire with lid ajar. When the kernels pop the oil is hot enough. Add a man sized handfull of corn and pop away.

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The book 'roughing it easy' had a lot of different recipies for unusual cooking methods, as did earlier scouting books.


Some ones I recall from my scouting youth:


* eggs cooked in a hollowed out onion

* ground beef cooked in hollowed out onion

* eggs cooked in a hollowed out orange

* cake cooked in a hollowed out orange

* breakfast cooked in a paper sack (used a small paper 'lunch sack'. Strips of bacon on the bottom, egg cracked on top)


#10 can over coals as a skillet, cook pancakes, eggs, etc.


* tin foil cooking




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