Thursday, September 6, 2018

Rocket Stove Fuel Alternative

A rocket stove can burn just about anything, including your furniture if need be!

Like any cooking appliance, it needs fuel of some sort. The Rocket Stove is no exception. For me, when a hurricane brushes by my coast and dumps 4-10 inches of rain, there are no dry branches or twigs to gather, light and cook dinner with! I found it difficult to long-term store dry twigs and small branches for its’ fuel, until this week. I found that the Preppers favorite long-term storage container, the 5-gallon bucket, works perfectly!

Wood Fuel for the Rocket Stove:
Here are two buckets, one has split wood in it (about ½ to ¾ inch square by 12-13 inches long) ready to use. The other bucket has scrap 2x4’s and 2x6’s in it, I had this wood on my fireplace wood pile and because of rains, it is too wet to easily split with a hand ax so I’ll get to it in a couple weeks. The nice thing about using 5-gallon bucket for the wood storage is just snap a lid on it and it is neat, dry, bug-free, and clean in your closet or pantry storage.

If you live in an apartment or condo and have a patio or balcony it is easy to store a couple buckets of Rocket Stove wood for disaster event cooking.

BBQ Charcoal Briquets as a Rocket Stove Fuel:
This week I thought I’d try using BBQ charcoal and see how well it does in my stove. As with any fuel for the rocket stove it needs to be kept dry and easy to store. What I found is BBQ charcoal is a very good fuel for the rocket stove, however, the stove needs a slight modification, see below.

A typical 16 lb. bag of BBQ charcoal.

A 16-lb bag of charcoal fits nicely into a 5-gallon bucket. Dump the charcoal into a bucket, snap the lid on and you’re all set for a future grid-down event.
Here’s a 5-Gallon bucket with 16lbs of charcoal in it. Snap on the lid and it will stay dry forever, and ready to use for emergency cooking or baking.

I purchased a standard Weber BBQ Kettle charcoal grate, about 13 inches in diameter. The modifications I found needed to make to my Rocket Stove to burn charcoal (hot) was to fabricate a charcoal grate similar to the Weber grates. The reason is I needed to get more fresh air under the charcoal to burn hot and get the charcoal heat closer to the cooking pots for more heat.

I cut the Weber grate to fit inside my Rocket Stone feed throat. The bolt and fender washer is used to secure the grate to the top of the stove’s wood feed throat.

Looking down into the stove you can see the new charcoal grate in its’ permanent position.

The bolt used to hold the grate to the top of the stoves wood feed port. The grate and bolt are not in the way where it restricts feeding wood into the stove. In other words, I can use either wood or charcoal without having to change anything.

Here’s 16 Briquets on the new grate in the Rocket Stove. The top of the 16 Briquets is now 2 inches from the top cooking grate.

A perfect charcoal fire uses 16 Briquets and weighs almost 15 ounces, I figure one pound of charcoal per fire or 16 fires per bag.


  • This is an excellent cooking alternative especially when you run out of propane for cooking.
  • Charcoal will last forever if kept dry such as in the buckets.
  • Clean almost smoke-free heat so when baking bread the bread won’t have the smoky taste as with wood twigs etc.
  • What’s interesting is that 3-buckets of briquettes will make over 48, 2 hour long cooking fires!
  • The excess charcoal burn time after meal preparations can be used to boil water for drinking or keeping your coffee hot!
Where to buy this Rocket Stove?
Deadwood Stove Company link

Blog Links to using the Rocket Stove:


  1. I noticed at Walmart they sell, bags of pellets. I guess I should have read the bag in more detail what its contents. Not sure if its wood, or corn cob . I think that would be good to use. could burn fast like pine.

  2. Sometimes I am amazed at how dumb I am! We have a rocket mass heater with stove pipe running under the concrete floor of our grain bin house, so we burn lots of small diameter wood pieces and sticks. I never thought to store it in buckets with lids! Instead have kept it on back porch in a large metal basket. Not this year, buckets with lids here I come.

    1. Sometimes simple ideas are right in front of us and are the biggest head slappers! :-)

  3. Very interesting post, Mike. I like the looks of your stove. I bought a small rocket stove awhile back but have never tried it! I really like that yours has an oven. For the coffee, I also recently got a good quality thermos. So I can have hot coffee in the morning without having to wait on getting some water boiling!

    1. The stove is very heavy duty, built well and should last a lifetime. As for the oven that's my Coleman Camp Stove Oven, the same one I use on the propane camp stove It works well on the rocket stove so baking bread or what ever I will never be without bread and you know how I feel about people being able to bake bread now with or without propane.
      I guess coffee is always on at your house! :-)