For those of you who have not tried solar cooking, you are missing out on a lot of fun! This low tech method of cooking has been around for a very long time, and works very well. I made my first solar oven in 1975 from and old electric "built in wall oven" that I bought at an auction for 50 cents. I cut the top off with a cold chisel and installed glass on the top and put 4 adjustable angle mirrors around the top and added a swivel base on plywood to it would turn to face the sun. The big door in the back was a plus, but the shape was too deep to get as hot as I wanted it too, but it still cooked my meals just fine. A few years after that Ed Eaton contacted me while working at the University of Arizona's Environmental Research Lab and was looking for information on possible plastics that could hold up to the 200 to 400F degree temperatures that a solar oven can reach. After sharing ideas about solar cooking, he started the Tucson Solar Potluck in 1982. The event is still going and is the longest continuously running solar potluck in the world. We gather every spring at Catalina State Park just north of Tucson AZ. At that time almost all solar ovens were home made, but worked just fine. Lower temperature ovens/cookers work like a crock pot: with lower temperatures, and longer cooking times. These can easily obtain temperatures of 200 to 300F degrees. Higher quality ovens can easily reach temperatures of 350F. Parabolic cookers can start wood on fire instantly, and melt pennies, or pop popcorn! The high tech newer evacuated glass tube solar cookers work very well and can cook about as fast as stove top cooking. Parabolic cookers can also cook as fast as gas or electric cooking. Don't forget that meat is considered done when it reaches about 165 to 170 degrees F. So a 200F degree low tech home-made solar oven works just fine. Many grade school science teachers have guided students to make solar oven from cardboard and aluminum foil, and they work pretty good if done right. It doesn't take rocket science to melt some cheese on nacho's, or cook a hot dog, and is a good lesson. Survival enthusiasts love solar cooking (As well as Solar Cooling). As we say, "Take the heat out of the kitchen, and solar cook in your yard"
If you don't have the time or skills to build a solar oven, consider getting one of ours. Your backyard BBQ's will never be the same!