As the head cook at our house I should teach my children to cook without a stove in case of an emergency. Everyone should at least know how to boil water without modern technology, in case there is no other way to purify it. I used to be clueless about starting fires, let alone cooking over them. It is a basic life skill everyone used to have because there weren’t other options, and in many countries this is still the case.
I’ve learned it works best to start a fire early so there are hot coals available when I am ready to cook. It doesn’t work to simply set a pot on top of a fire. The pot will scorch and get ruined. Rather, a hanging pot just out of reach of low flames and hot coals gets the quickest and easiest results.
You can purchase fancy tripods for this purpose, or make your own. On our recent family wilderness adventure we used what was available: large palm branches. In northern climates three small sturdy saplings cut to the same length would work great, but in Florida those are hard to find. The photos demonstrate how my hubby made our tripod, strong enough to hold a large heavy pot full of water or food.
Another method that is a little trickier is with hot coals moved to the side of the burning fire. The coals must have ventilation to keep them hot. Dig a trench for the coals and use the sides of the trench to hold up the pot. Or use a three legged dutch oven to allow air to flow under the pot. Or find a few small hot logs in the fire to place around the hot coals to set the pot on. Using only hot coals often takes longer and is more work. It helps to keep them as close to the fire as possible without scorching your pot, and to keep stoking the coals and adding new ones.
Give it a try now when it can be fun (not an emergency) and let me know how you do!