Cooking Meat in a Wonder Oven: a Better Container

2 Jun

A couple of weeks ago I was asked by a couple of you whether there was another way to cook meat in a wonder oven other than the plastic bag method I originally posted here.

I’m SO glad for the question because it caused me to look at things in a different way which now has gotten me thinking about other directions this style of cooking can be taken!  Plus, going forward it’s going to save me supplies and money since the improved container (at least the one I’m going to be using from now on) negates the need for me to buy bags anymore.  (Yay!!)  More on that in a minute.

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First though — talking about some others who love their wonder ovens– I wanted to be sure you knew that Paula Herron, our “Biggest Prepper” food storage contest winner, was recently interviewed over on Angela Paskett’s segment on Survival Mom Radio!  You won’t want to miss hearing her talk about how she accomplished all you saw her do in the three months and how, even with very little in the way of food storage to begin with, she still ended up making what turned out to be a grand total of 134 recipes from 100% food storage ingredients.   Best of all — to me — is that you’ll hear her explain how today, beyond the challenge, she’s adopted many of the cooking skills, recipes and tools she used (including her wonder oven!) into her everyday life.  What a great interview!  I hope you’ll find a chance to listen in.

Alright, back to our here and now, it’s time to hit the kitchen.  My goal was to find another way to cook meat (or vegetables/whatever) with something other than plastic steamer bags. Not that we don’t love Ziploc for other things, but now that I’ve had time to think about it I agree with the readers, cooking is safest without contact with plastic.

Using the same style of pot as I’ve used for bread, my solution is to use a smaller sized Bain Marie pot.  I’ve tested it and it works great!   The one I used here (with 3 large chicken breasts) was a 1.5 quart Bain Marie pot which I purchased at a restaurant supply store in my area, along with it’s lid (or, as it’s called in the world of Bain Marie pots:  it’s “cover”).  I’m sure you can find these to buy online, however with a quick search I’ve found the more popular sizes (here’s an example) seem to skip over the 1.5 size, offering instead the 1-1/4 or the 2 quart.  No matter, as you’ll see, you can use just about any size you want, the important thing is that you fill the container nearly completely with the food to be cooked (in this case, meat), so there isn’t much air space remaining to kill your temperature.

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Instructions:

Start a pot of water to boil on the stove with it’s lid on.  In a skillet, brown seasoned meat.  Transfer browned meat to a greased 1.5 quart (or other sized) Bain Marie pot.  Cover the Bain Marie pot with it’s lid and place within the boiling pot of water.  Cover the larger pot with it’s lid and allow all to boil for 10 minutes.  Once the boiling time is finished, place the entire pot into the Wonder Oven, cover with top pillow and container lid and cook a minimum of 30 minutes to 1 hour for small amounts of meat.  Lengthening the cooking time to 4-6 hours will result in more tenderly cooked meat, the same as using a crock pot.

Cooking Meat Using a Bain Marie Pot

Season and brown the meat.

 

Transfer into a greased Bain Marie Pot.  The goal is to fill the container as closely as possible since empty air space reduces cooking temperatures.

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My 1.5 quart size was perfect for cooking 3 large chicken breasts.

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Place the covered pot and all into the boiling pot of water and boil together (with the lid on) for 10 minutes.

Next, transfer to the Wonder Oven and cook for 1 -6 hours.  Extended cooking will slow cook the meat, making it tender.  The longer you cook it the more tender it’ll be.

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Meat is cooked and ready to serve!

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16 Responses to “Cooking Meat in a Wonder Oven: a Better Container”

  1. preparetodaynewsletter June 3, 2014 at 12:32 am #

    Great idea!! This same idea is what the Saratoga Jacks cooker does. I know it has a higher price point but it uses a pan almost just like that. Some of your readers may want to try it. I’ve really liked how easy it is to use and how little space it takes up. It does limit the size pan that can be used but I have the larger unit and it makes plenty for my family of 7.

    • Megan June 3, 2014 at 7:08 am #

      Interesting! So I guess (by accident) this is the DIY version of that! Barbara here in the cooking contest actually won one but I’ve never actually gotten to see one myself. I’d like to, so I could see better how it works! Did it come with any type of recipe book by chance?? I’d love to see if they’ve come up with any additional ideas for using it.

      The cool thing with these Bain Marie pots — I think — is that they demonstrate that you can cook pretty much anything “crock pot style” so long as you have the right sized container for the amount of food being cooked. I could probably even use my larger sized one — the 3.5 quart that I use for making bread — and so long as I had enough food to fill it with I’d have the same result. (Ha! Exciting! I’m going to try that out to see if it works!)

      • preparetodaynewsletter June 3, 2014 at 9:32 am #

        For a long time the owners have said they were working on a cookbook but one hasn’t come out yet. I use regular slow cooker recipes. I’ve even used the chicken in a bag idea of yours, and it makes tender fall of the bone meat. There are also bread/cake pans but I live in a very high altitude and haven’t quite figured our the water ratio yet. I use the cooker a lot for eating on the go with my kids. It seals right and doesn’t spill. I have quite a few recipes that I’ve used on my blog, preparetodaywardnewsletter.blogspot.com and search Saratoga Jacks Cooker. At one point the owners of the s.j. cooker had me test the temps of a cooker versus a wonder oven, to see which sustained steady heat the longest. I found the s.j.cooker to keep a safe temp up to 12 hours. I love the s.j. cooker!

      • Megan June 3, 2014 at 9:44 am #

        Thanks for getting right back! That’s great! You’ve got a lot of great ideas right there on your site! Now, one thing I didn’t see (I just quickly browsed your archive titles) when you tested the SJ versus the wonder oven how did the wonder oven do? I’ve tested boiling water alone in a wonder oven and it’s sustained it’s heat up to 15 hours– that’s without hardly any air space and undisturbed. I’d be interested to hear your experiment between the two. Thanks!

      • preparetodaynewsletter June 3, 2014 at 9:55 am #

        I’ll be totally honest. They wanted me to find a big difference between the two cookers, but the only major difference was in portability. The s.j.cooker is much easier to tote around. I think in a disaster type situation the s.j.cooker would stand up over time, but a wonder oven works essentially the same way. The wonder oven I used did keep heat for a long time. I can’t remember the exact length of time, this was two years ago and they never published my blog post I wrote for them. I remember the temps being very close. I’ve moved since then and I don’t know if I still have all my notes from testing the two. It was an interesting comparison.

      • Megan June 3, 2014 at 11:12 am #

        Thank you! I think everyone appreciates you for that! I honestly don’t care where people find the tools they need as long as they have them. The barrier for most however is price — so $20 for a DIY wonder oven is a very low barrier option that works.

  2. Debbie Kent June 3, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    Thanks Megan for doing the experimenting for us!

    • Megan June 3, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

      Sure, you’re welcome! And Debbie, I’m a big fan of your site. You didn’t link to it here so I’m going to do it ;) Readers should check it out! http://peaceofpreparedness.com/

      • pam June 3, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

        yep, Debbie Kent is amazing!

  3. pam June 3, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

    just be careful that the 1-6 hours doesn’t allow the meat to cool below 165 degrees. :)

    • preparetodaynewsletter June 3, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

      I’m pretty sure the temps will stay safe for up to 12 hours. As long as the boiling point was reached and boiled for the correct time before being put into the wonder oven.

      • pam June 3, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

        Sounds good!

  4. Andigrif June 3, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

    Thanks for all the info. I was surprised to see how inexpensive that Bain pot was.
    Also interesting on the Saratoga Jack cooker, interesting option.

    • Megan June 3, 2014 at 10:30 pm #

      The pots are pretty inexpensive, although in the link I shared above the price isn’t quite as straight forward as it appears. Once you get ready to check out they really hike the shipping price.

      At my local restaurant supply I can expect to pay right around $15-$20 for a pot + lid, friends in other areas have told me they’ve found them for 1/2 that price. You might also check Amazon, just be sure you’re able to buy both the lid and the pot from the same seller so they work together when you get them.

  5. Barbara Cortopassi June 11, 2014 at 5:53 am #

    Megan, I should be getting my cooker at the end of the month I believe. I will let you know how it works!

    • Megan June 11, 2014 at 10:04 am #

      Oh perfect! I’d love to hear what you think between the two.

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