An overlooked piece of kit - the Sterno Inferno

Started by TACAIR, June 25, 2021, 12:01:46 PM

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TACAIR

People might turn their nose up at anything marked as "Sterno'.

This is a shame, as this little cooker, with a minor modification is quite the piece of (car) kit.

First, the video that caught my attention

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RutNj_DUm5k

Mr. Cook has a massive number of alcohol related cook system tests, it makes for a fun channel to binge watch on a rainy day...  Boiling water in just a tad over 4 minutes is Jetnoil territory and a fraction of the cost. 

My own testing mirrors Mr. Cook's results.  So for summer, it keep the SI, Trangia burner and a bottle of HEET (yellow bottle) in a bag, in the back of Das Auto.  Just the thing for a fast brew when traffic is stalled and there is no real place to turn around///

Like this


after a bad accident, the traffic can be tied up for one to several hours.  Always my plan to pull off to the side and have a cuppa and a biscuit.  Helps pass the time...

In winter, the Svea 123 is sitting in the back.  Fuel sits in a small MSR bottle.




I'd much rather be a disappointed pessimist than a horrified optimist....

My fiction work is found here:
https://www.amazon.com/D-K-Richardson/e/B005JT4QP2/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Blast

Whoa, I've never seen the Sterno Inferno! *gets glares from pile of other camp cookware*
-Blast
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sheddi

#2
I agree with Blast, I've never seen one of those before, thank you!

I see they're $32 on amazon.com which seems a pretty good price. Unfortunately they're £46 (about $64) on amazon.co.uk which is well into Jetboil-clone territory. (I've got a Fire Maple FMS-X1, I'll put a post on here about it eventually.)

Sorry for getting off the topic of the Sterno Inferno! Maybe we need a thread for Jetboils and copies?

Nyte

Quote from: sheddi on June 27, 2021, 04:32:33 PM

Also, sorry for getting off the topic of the Sterno Inferno! Maybe we need a thread for Jetboils and copies?

Sounds like a great idea.

boskone

Quote from: Nyte on June 27, 2021, 05:27:21 PM
Quote from: sheddi on June 27, 2021, 04:32:33 PM

Also, sorry for getting off the topic of the Sterno Inferno! Maybe we need a thread for Jetboils and copies?

Sounds like a great idea.
Done.

Ever (Zombiepreparation)

  :tickedoff: They are out of stock right now, which I learned trying to purchase one a couple of days ago at their site or through Amazon.


Ever (Zombiepreparation)

Quote from: sheddi on June 27, 2021, 11:39:58 AM

I see they're $32 on amazon.com which seems a pretty good price. Unfortunately they're £46 (about $64) on amazon.co.uk

Think I finally snagged one. Should arrive tomorrow. Will believe it when I see it though because it's been an illusive little purchase.
Sterno Inferno site: $29.99 Out of stock
Amazon here: $32.94 Out of stock
ebay: $80something Not interested

Kept cruising for sight of one since this thread dropped June 25th. Friday I went through the rounds again and found just 1 in stock Amazon. $39.94.  Ordered without confidence of getting it.

Kept watching tracking. No movement until an hour ago. Now 'says' it's shipped and I get it tomorrow.

Here's the interesting thing though, also as of an hour ago, Amazon is listing the Inferno as if it has a good supply of them, and they're now $46.94.


Ever (Zombiepreparation)

#7
It arrived today.  :smiley_clap:

It didn't come with sterno. The instructions said (just like this->) ONLY (<-) use with 7oz can of sterno. The box it came in says "Use sterno 7 ounce cooking fuel for best results". I called my walking distance Ace Hardware to see if they had 7 ounce cans. Nope.

I have 5.99 ounce can so googled if that size was okay or just a recommendation. No joy finding anything definitive. I did find one non-youtube reviewer who used the 5.99 size.

Cleaned the pot, filled it with water to the 8oz mark, covered it with foil instead of the plastic lid, dropped in my 5.99 oz sterno, and lit the fire. Water boiled at 7.57 mins.

Poured water out, cooled the pot, filled to 16oz mark, foil covering, and started again. Water boiled at 14.12 mins.

Can I presume that in the cold it would take longer?

Then poured out 8oz of the boiling water and put it back on to boil. It's a given it will cook ramen so instead I added half a cup of shell pasta. Cooked just fine, so I added defrosted scrambled eggs. (I keep a stock of them frozen) Then I added some canned green beans and dehydrated onions.

Then various spices.

When everything was have-to-blow-on-to-eat hot I snuffed the sterno, removed the pot, (handle stays cool) added olive oil... and fell in love with this little cooker.

Then I made rice. I boil rice anyway and pour off excess water when done. (normally 10-12 minutes) So I gave that a try using 1/3 cup rice in 12 ozs of water. 21.25 mins for a big helping of rice. (if I have the fuel to spare of course) I added Braggs Liquid Aminos seasoning, jalapeno hot sauce, and cashews.

The options for hot water based disaster 'hot' meals using canned and dehydrated, some fresh, preps seem limited only by what I have, probable exceptions being dried beans, raw meat, stuff like that.

My questions are:
- Is it safe to use the 5.99oz sterno instead of the 7oz? The smaller one locks into place, no scooting of off center seating.

- Is it safe for the stove to cook these simple watery foods?

- Does the sterno can have to be cool before I fit the lid back on?

sheddi

Quote from: Ever (Zombiepreparation) on July 20, 2021, 12:16:40 AM
It arrived today.  :smiley_clap:

Yay!

QuoteCleaned the pot, filled it with water to the 8oz mark, covered it with foil instead of the plastic lid, dropped in my 5.99 oz sterno, and lit the fire. Water boiled at 7.57 mins.
Poured water out, cooled the pot, filled to 16oz mark, foil covering, and started again. Water boiled at 14.12 mins.
Can I presume that in the cold it would take longer?

Well it's no speedster but it gets there, that's the important thing. And it's faster than hexamine, and fast enough that you won't get too bored waiting.

Yes, it will be a bit slower if it's colder (not least because the water will be colder to begin with) but if you're using it in an apartment all the heat will help keep you warm.

It will also be slower outdoors and slower again if there's any breeze.

QuoteThen poured out 8oz of the boiling water and put it back on to boil. It's a given it will cook ramen so instead I added half a cup of shell pasta. Cooked just fine, so I added defrosted scrambled eggs. (I keep a stock of them frozen) Then I added some canned green beans and dehydrated onions. Then various spices.
When everything was have-to-blow-on-to-eat hot I snuffed the sterno, removed the pot, (handle stays cool) added olive oil... and fell in love with this little cooker.

Then I made rice. I boil rice anyway and pour off excess water when done. (normally 10-12 minutes) So I gave that a try using 1/3 cup rice in 12 ozs of water. 21.25 mins for a big helping of rice. (if I have the fuel to spare of course) I added Braggs Liquid Aminos seasoning, jalapeno hot sauce, and cashews.

The options for hot water based disaster 'hot' meals using canned and dehydrated, some fresh, preps seem limited only by what I have, probable exceptions being dried beans, raw meat, stuff like that.

Your recipes all sound delicious!

QuoteMy questions are:
- Is it safe to use the 5.99oz sterno instead of the 7oz? The smaller one locks into place, no scooting of off center seating.

- Is it safe for the stove to cook these simple watery foods?

- Does the sterno can have to be cool before I fit the lid back on?

If the 5.99oz can locks into place, and it isn't any taller than a 7oz one, I think you'll be fine.

I think it should be safe cooking wet foods.

I don't have a lot of experience with gelled alcohol (it's not that common over here, outside of food service) but generally there's no problerm with putting a hot lid on a can, just don't burn yourself.

Nyte

It looks like fuel can be had for about $3 a can for the ~6 oz can.  I wonder how many boils you can get out of one.  I say boils for ease of comparison to camp stove cannisters.

Ever (Zombiepreparation)

"Alice Cooksey was with her,
coaxing water to a boil on a Sterno kit."


Seriously, I have no knowledge on the history on Sterno. Never thought about it. Don't even remember why I had two cans of it.


The above quote is from the 1959 book Alas, Babylon written by American writer Pat Frank (the pen name of Harry Hart Frank).

And it is said to be one of the first apocalyptic novels of the nuclear age. 1959.

Plus it has remained popular more than half a century after it was first published, consistently ranking in Amazon top si-fi list.


My appreciation for sterno cooking just took a leap!

Brekar

Sterno stoves are great during a cold day when you need something hot to eat or drink, especially if its the only way to heat the aforementioned items. My first usage of a Sterno stove came about about many moons ago during a cold winter snow storm on a west bound locomotive. We were pushing our way through the snow towards Parsons, Kansas and it was the type of cold that made your teeth ache and your ribs hurt. I was a new guy and was bitching about how it must be nice for the Canadian train crews, since their locomotives come with built in coffee pots. Now the normal way something is heated in a locomotive is 1 of 2 ways. 99.99% of the time it is aluminum foil and the sidewall heaters, i.e. wrap your burrito/sandwich/etc in aluminum foil and set on the sidewall heater with the heat on full blast, periodically checking to ensure it's not burning. We'd even heat soup in the can that way, but you had to be careful, you had to crack the can open so it wouldn't explode while heating, but not crack it to much that you'd lose all of your soup if you hit a something, usually a weird dip in the rail, or the occasional cow. The lucky .1% will be lucky enough to have an old locomotive with a built in hot plate in the nose of it. Those were awesome, but so rare I've only seen 3 in my entire career...

The old hoghead I was working with told me to stop bitching, to keep an eye on the rails and to use the horn on all crossings, he'd be right back. He then went down into the nose of the locomotive and came back with an old, beat up Sterno stove. He lit it up, put on an old beat-up pot, put some water in it, and about 10 minutes later proceeded to make the best damn hot tea I've had to date. It was some kind of loose black tea that he put into small reusable cheesecloth type bags to steep, and sweetened it with a bit of honey. It hit the spot and made our long ass night a lot better. Up until he retire about 5 years later, every time it was cold out and I pulled him as a hoghead I'd call him up and make sure he was bring it with him. To this day I think about getting myself a set up similar, but since I'm now taking the local only jobs, and not having to leave town for several days at a time, I've yet to drop the hammer on one...


Ever (Zombiepreparation)


https://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php/31930-Cooking-with-sterno
(cut and spliced to give the gist of post)
"I have been using this as my primary [camp cooking] method since the early 70s.  I saute, sear, pan fry, heat, boil, simmer. Saute green onions and shallot. Brown ground Italian sausage. Boil water for pasta."

That post was in 2008 and using to sterno 'folding stoves' but I can easily adapt this to the Inferno.

A YouTuber mentioned cooking cut potatoes so I figure fresh root veggies work well. Also all squashes. Maybe all veggies and some fruits. I cooked white rice. Also quinoa. Because of faster cooking times lentils & split peas. Scrambled eggs with spinach & tomatoes. Boiled eggs too. Ground raw meats. Fresh fish too? Toast bits.

Okay, now I want two more Infernos so I can have a power outage one person helpings size three burner stove inside the apartment. 😱 Especially in a winter outage.

TACAIR

The Sterno Inferno will work with the Sterno canned fuel..

It will work **better/faster**  with a Trangia burner running alcohol.    Any number of made burners will work as well.

Sterno does say to only use their canned heat product.  If you go 'off label' you do run a risk of damage to the little pot.  I haven't yet, owing to some care to ensure the pot has water....

You can take the Sterno heat product can and fill with a nonflammable filler (Fiberglas insulation, etc) and run yellow bottle HEET, if you don't already have one (or more) Trangia burners.  A .mil Trangia burner will fit as well.
I'd much rather be a disappointed pessimist than a horrified optimist....

My fiction work is found here:
https://www.amazon.com/D-K-Richardson/e/B005JT4QP2/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Ever (Zombiepreparation)

I pulled out my stereo camp stove again just to give it some air and a whirl.

My camping days are behind me so weight means nothing to me anymore, but come an electrical outage during the winter? I'm ready freddy!

I just love this thing. They are $53 now. But for home emergencies, vehicle, or driving to a fishing/camping spot? Perfect!

Oh yeah, I did have to use it... just cause it's so easy/fun. And one cup cleanup.  I made quinoa with mushrooms, curry, and brocolly. With just a palm full of instant potatoes to thicken the liquid a bit.

Yummmm

NapalmMan67

So is this Inferno Kit still available?  I think I looked last time when this was first posted and could not find it anywhere, but my interweb search fu is not that strong.

I'd probably be more inclined to possibly carry a Jetboil or MSR stove though.    :-\
.
Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc-  Not just pretty words.

Ever (Zombiepreparation)

Amazon says

"Currently unavailable
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock."

😒

Ever (Zombiepreparation)

My making of bread like substances has followed it's typical What if...? curiosity to making it in the cup that is part of the Inferno.

Another win! It was just flour, a bit of water and the juice from that 12 year old can of peaches.

Oiled inside the cup up more than half way, aluminum foil for the lid, lighted the sterno, let it heat until a drop of batter sizzled. When it began to smell like cooking bread I removed the cup and shook it upside down to see if batter would separate from cup. It did. Then I popped it back in the cup upside down, reseated the cup, and let it cook until it began to smell like cooking bread again.

A little later shook it out to check. Nope. Popped it back in awhile longer.

Took maybe 30 minutes± for a Cup O Bread.

Anianna

Boiling water with Sterno can be done in a pot or kettle with any portable camp stove, including the cheapy collapsible ones that work well in a go bag or for hiking gear where space is a premium.  An alcohol stove or other alternatives will just boil water faster. 

Be careful cooking with Sterno, though.  It is designed for keeping cooked foods warm like for catering and cafeterias rather than actually cooking food.  It takes longer to heat things up and may not reach a temperature that is safe for cooking a wide range of foods. 

The best way to cook with Sterno-type fuel cans is to first get water to a boil and either make soup or put your food in a bag to sous vide it in the water without it touching the water.  Sous vide takes longer to cook (like a crock pot), but putting the food in the boiling water ensures that it is at an appropriate temperature to be safe while it cooks.  You can cook or reheat pretty much anything via sous vide and then use the cook water to make a warm beverage to go along with your meal.  If you have Sterno in your preps, I suggest also having bags that you can use for sous vide that won't melt in your boiling water.  I believe you can also use a canning jar for sous vide, but I've never tried it personally. 
Feed science, not zombies!

Failure is the path of least persistence.

∩(=^_^=)

superduder

Hey, Someone finally posted the video where Hiram mentions me! :smiley_clap:
Seems like a decent enough cooker, definitely better than that old "sad iron heater" I used to have.
J
"I get it, I get it... But it's Still a pain in the ass."
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