When we think about outdoor cooking, most of us think about a grill or a campfire. But did you know that you can cook in a pizza box oven?
All you need is a pizza box, a few basic supplies and the sun, and your Cub Scout can make some cool “solar” recipes, including English muffin pizzas and s’mores.
Because the only heat source is the sun, this is a great cooking activity for younger kids. You don't have to worry too much about them getting burned. However, I would still supervise them especially when they take the food out of the oven because it will be hot.
Want something to eat before dessert? Use this solar hot dog cooker to make your main dish first!
Cub Scout Adventures Involving Cooking Outdoors
Cooking outdoors satisfies requirements for three Cub Scout adventures.
Bear Elective Adventure Bear Picnic Basket Requirement 5: With the help of an adult, select a recipe to prepare in the outdoors for your family or den. Help to select the needed ingredients, perhaps from a garden, grocery store, or farmers’ market. Cook and serve your planned meal. Clean up after the preparation and cooking.
Webelos Required Adventure Cast Iron Chef Requirement 2: Prepare a balanced meal for your den or family. If possible, use one of these methods for preparation of part of the meal: camp stove, Dutch oven, box oven, solar oven, open campfire, or charcoal grill. Demonstrate an understanding of food safety practices while preparing the meal.
Supplies for a Pizza Box Oven
Here are the materials that you’ll need:
- Cardboard Pizza Box (some pizza restaurants will give or sell you one)
- Black construction paper (the larger size works better)
- Plastic wrap
- Aluminum foil
- Packing tape
- Stick (such as a long ruler or paint stirring stick)
Once you’ve got all of your materials together, it’s time to get started, so follow these simple steps.
Steps to Make Your Solar Oven
Step 1: Carefully use your knife to cut a square opening in the lid of the pizza box, staying within an inch or so of the border. Don’t cut the hinged side of the box—keep that side together, and fold back the flap.
Step 2: Cut the foil to the correct size so that it fits on the flap that you’ve folded back. Using the glue, attach the foil to the flap, keeping the shiny side out and making sure the foil is smooth.
Step 3: Put another piece of foil in the bottom of the pizza box, with the shiny side up. Cover the foil with the construction paper. This is the “heating element.”
Step 4: Next, take the plastic wrap and stretch it over the open area (where the flap you cut used to be). Tape it well around the edges so that the wrap is sealed.
Step 5: You’re almost ready to cook! Now you simply decide what you’d like to make—anything from English muffin pizzas to s’mores—and put it on a small foil tray, on top of the black paper. Close the plastic lid, being sure the seal is as tight as you can get it, with the box tabs tucked in.
Step 6: Use the stick (i.e., long ruler or paint stirrer) to prop open the flap of your oven. The sunlight will reflect on the foil, plastic, and your black paper, cooking your food.
Step 7: Check your food often by looking through the plastic wrap. Try not to open the lid too much because every time you do, heat escapes.
Step 8: When your food is done, open up the box and enjoy!
Tips for Making S'mores in Your Oven
- The chocolate melts much more quickly than the marshmallows! After having chocolate syrup on our first batch of s'mores, we decided to put the marshmallows in first then add the chocolate a bit later. 🙂
- The really big marshmallows take a long time to melt. Try to find these “stacker marshmallows” or cut the big ones in half.
What will you make in your pizza box oven?
Yours in Scouting,