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theksmith

Tips for cooking with 12v ovens

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Let's share cooking tips, recipes, etc. for the popular 12v oven/lunchbox cookers!

 

I'll get us started with a few tips...

 

 

Which one & where to get it

 

Both the RoadPro and Koolatron get good reviews. I went with the RoadPro simply because it has an integrated cord storage area. You can find them at Amazon (RoadPro or Koolatron), or many truck stops.

 

UPDATE: i tried a Koolatron later on and found it heats up much slower and does not get quite as hot as the RoadPro.

 

The RoadPro Slow Cooker and the Max Burton Digital 12v Stove also get good reviews, but I think their odd shapes would make them more difficult to use (since you can't use a loaf pans).

 

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Pans & such

 

Standard 2 lb (8.5" x 4.5" x 2.5") disposable loaf pans work perfect in these stoves with quite a bit of room left over so you can even heap in a tall portion. Note that the larger 9" x 5" pans will NOT fit.

 

You can simply cover the pan with aluminum foil and pinch down the edges so things don't slosh out.

 

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What to cook & for how long?

 

I'd really like to hear more on this topic from our members... so far everything I've cooked needed about 45 to 90 mins depending on the portion size. With my old engine (manifold) warmer, I would just leave a meal in it for the entire morning and it would be good for lunch - these little 12v ovens get much warmer!

 

They are rated for 300* F, mine will get just shy of that at 293*. I've only reheated stuff so far - I don't trust it to actually handle raw meat. Usually frozen pre-made meals at the grocery store will say somewhere "fully cooked" if they are, or of course homemade casseroles are a great option. What have you cooked?

 

IMG_6972.JPG

 

 

Use a spacer to prevent scorching

 

Sometimes the food in the bottom of the pan would get burnt by the time the rest was completely warm. I first tried a silicone trivet rated at 400* to allow some air between the foil pan and the bottom of the oven - that took forever to cook though.

 

What did work was taking a loaf pan and folding it loosely into a flat shape to use as a spacer. This still conducts some heat directly into the pan holding the food, but also allows a bit of air underneath - same theory as a hollow cookie sheet. This might add 10 or 15 minutes to your cook time, but your food will be more evenly heated. I have to credit this tip to Offroad Passport member @defectivemonk - he had suggested using crumpled up aluminum foil.

 

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Power concerns

 

The RoadPro version specifies a current usage of 12 amps... Keep in mind that is continuous usage the entire time it's plugged in. One of these stoves could kill an already weak battery if used with the vehicle not running.

 

If you're battery is in good shape then it may be fine to cook a meal with the rig off - however, I wouldn't try to cook multiple times without starting it up for a bit to recharge.

 

Cigarette lighter style plugs don't make the best connectors in the world, so you might consider wiring in something like a Hella socket or the small (30 amp) Anderson PowerPole connectors. If you've already run a large gauge wire from the battery for a fridge, then just tap into that for your new connector.

 

IMG_9421.JPG

 

 

Bonus tip for JK Unlimited owners!

 

These stoves wedge perfectly under the middle of the rear seat so that they don't go bouncing around if you're cooking on the trail!

 

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So, what's your experience with these handy little stoves?

 

...

Edited by theksmith

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I learned the hard way ... used the cooker without the engine running ... forgot that

I have an Engel MT-43 that needed power too .... time for a jump start .....

 

So I do not cook without the motor running ...

 

In my opinion, the 12v cooker is better than the manifold heating which I have

used on past runs.

 

Best regards,

 

Mike

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I burned out a cigarette lighter plug using one of these so be careful.

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I wired mine up to my secondary battery so I don't have to worry about draining the starter battery. I've only used it to re-heat food. A frozen burrito takes forever.

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Great post guys!

I have to admit that I haven't used mine for much more than heating my manifold burrito on a cool day...!

smiles, ladybug

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Well, with all the recent hype with these little buggers, I ended up picking one up too!

 

I look forward to seeing how much "cooking" I can pull off with it... you know... for Science!

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Posted (edited)

wanted to bring this thread back to life as i was recently discussing the 12v ovens and engine manifold cookers with @4x4tographer in regards to good recipes for them...

 

any type of casserole works well, or saucy pastas with meat. Sarah of the @Bradywgn71 clan often brings an egg/sausage/cheese breakfast casserole to heat in their oven. typically the saucier/wetter meals heat more evenly, however @defectivemonk has been known to successfully cook frozen corn dogs in a 12v RoadPro!

 

below is an example of a more complete meal idea. that's pulled pork and scalloped potatoes in the tin, then i made a foil packet of asparagus with butter to sit on top. if i remember correctly, i had to move the foil packet underneath the tin for maybe 10 minutes at the end (to get the veggies to the softness a southerner like me prefers!). ;)

 

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pro-tip: i now buy the loaf pans that come with cardboard/foil lids. it's worth the extra few bucks for convenience and less spillage than just wrapping them in foil yourself. here's a couple links for those.

 

 

i still typically bag each tin within a 1 gallon Ziploc bag to keep the 12v fridge from acquiring a ton of different smells.

 

Edited by theksmith
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I took mine apart and stuffed it with insulation - I had some ceramic “wool” leftover from another project  https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01E0TGQT0

The interior consistently gets to 300F and the exterior stays cool.  And definitely check the owner’s manual for your year model - on mine the 12v socket on the dash can’t handle the current draw, but the one inside the center console can.  

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Thanks for reviving this thread @theksmith, was browsing the forum at work and found it.  Will be adding power to the back of my JK for my fridge and this triggered something I forgot about!

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