Solar box oven - it finally works!

Well, I’ve been boring those in chat for weeks with my solar oven trials and I have to announce that after much tinkering and redesign I finally cooked my first meal of chicken and rice!

For those of you saying “WTF is a solar box oven?!?!” you can find plans for one and info at

In a nutshell, it’s an oven constucted of two boxes, tinfoil and a piece of clear plastic that heats up in the sun. (Think inside of a car on a hot day)

First attempt was just foil-lined, with newspaper insulation. Used an old piece of lexan (?) from a poster frame for the “window” and foil for the reflector. Oven only got up to about 150-170 degrees, not hot enough to kill bacteria, much less cook. Cardboard and foil reflector kept blowing down in the wind, lol.

Decided I needed more insulation and more reflection. Took oven apart and used polystyrene pellets and that expanding foam for insulation. (I was going to use old magazines but found it made it too heavy to lift, lol.) Switched the lexan for a thick piece of plexiglass (about a quarter inch) and made a tighter fitting lid. Lined the inside with AOL CDROMs in addition to the foil. (Am I a genius or what?) Went to the thrift store and found a huge makeup mirror on a swivel base (heavy lucite) to use for the reflector for only $3.

Put oven back outside and achieved temp of 250 degrees! (180 is necessary for cooking, 200 is about what a crockpot does on low.) Tossed rice and chicken in roaster, added some wine and broth. Plunked it in, and adjusted the mirror every so often. Took the lid off about 3 hours later and cut into the most tender chicken I’ve ever seen!

Next project will be pinto bean cowboy stew, yee-hah! :wink:

Vix, you have way too much time on your hands!


Time…and delicious chicken. ::slurp slurp smack::

I’ll be damned, those AOL cd-roms are good for something.

well, cool. I hope I’m at your house (or nearby) when some freakish electromagnetic pulse knocks out all power and gas service is disrupted.

VV, that is one of the coolest things I’ve read in a while. Thank you for telling us about it!

(has new respect for VV…)

Way to go, VV!

That is extremely cool. I’m going to pass those plans along to a friend of mine’s kid. He would love to build one of those!


Plutino: “Hey Mom, what’s for dinner tonight?”

Mrs. Pluto: “We’re having VogueVixen’s famous chicken and rice, dear. I’ve put everything in the solar box oven and it should be done, um, oh, let me check…”

Mrs. Pluto consults almanac.

Mrs. Pluto: “Here it is! The sun will come out for an hour or so next Tuesday and then again on Friday. So let’s say Friday about four o’clock, shall we?”

Plutino: “Mom, if I save my allowance, can we buy our microwave back?”

Mrs. Pluto: “Don’t get smart with me young man! If you don’t behave you can’t have any solar-powered ice cream two weeks from Wednesday!”

Plutino: “Well, can’t we just have “Car-be-que” chicken instead?”

Mrs. Pluto: “Oh, I suppose so. Pluto! PLUTO! PLUTO! PLUTO, YOU IDIOT, WHERE ARE YOU? Oh. There you are. Stop watching “Baywatch” on the solar-powered television and put this chicken in the “Car-be-que” and drive to Tacoma and back. And don’t stop at the library to log on with your idiot Straight Dope friends and leave the car running like you did last time. I’m checking the mileage!”

Pluto: “Yes, dear.”

Mrs. Pluto: “So it’s “Car-be-que” chicken after all tonight, kids!”

Plutinos (All): “Yea!!”

Mrs. Pluto: “Here, Pluto, take this potato, too, and cram it up your tailpipe.”

Pluto: “Yes, dear.”

ROFL Pluto! I was thinking of making “car-b-que” on our next roadtrip to Vegas! (If you take the Northern route through Yosimite, you’ll find yourself in the middle of ground zero just past the CA border with nary a restaurant in sight for HOURS.)

I just had a vision. Imagine if MrCynical and OldScratch were ever at the same Doper gathering…if they both brought their boxes, and everyone had an AOL disk…naaaaaaah! Or maybe those of you going to the WorldWide Dope meeting in LV next month could try it. (“Just set it on the patio!” FOOOOMP! ::box bursts into flame::slight_smile:

VV, at first glance I thought you were talking about solar boxer shorts. Yow!!