How to Build Your Own Outdoor Rocket Oven


A rocket oven is a low-tech, easy-to-make solution to cooking outdoors without expensive fuels such as charcoal or logs of wood. A simple brick cylinder encases a stove pipe. Light twigs and small sticks in the bottom and keep them coming as they turn to ash, and heat will rocket up the pipe to cook your food.

Things You'll Need

  • 2-by-4 lumber, 5 pieces 18 inches long
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • 36 bricks
  • 4-inch aluminum stove pipe elbow
  • 4-inch stove pipe
  • Ash from grill or fireplace
  • 1 tin can
  • Tin snips
  • 50 pound bag of premixed concrete for the base
  • Mortar mix
  • Grill from an inexpensive or scavenged barbecue
  • Use hammer and nails to fashion the four pieces of lumber into a square. Set where you would like to build your oven. Fill the space inside the square with premixed cement. Level off with the fifth piece of lumber. Allow it to dry. This is the base of your oven.

  • Use the bricks, premixed cement and the mortar to build a cylinder around the base of your oven. The cylinder should be six bricks high and two bricks deep. Leave a hole in the front of the cylinder, in the second and third layers of brick, to accommodate the end of the stove pipe. Allow to dry.

  • Fit the pipe and the pipe elbow into the brick cylinder. The end of the elbow should just come to the outside of the opening you left in the cylinder. The top of the pipe will reach toward the top of the cylinder.

  • Fill the space between the pipe and the cylinder with ash. The ash is non-combustible, which is important because the pipe will get very hot. It will insulate the pipe and allow it to hold a very high heat. Sand or soil will not have the same effect. Place the grill over the top opening.

  • Remove both ends from the tin can, and then open it along one side with the tin snips. Flatten. Cut to a size that will fit securely into the pipe elbow. Insert this tin piece into the elbow, cutting the elbow opening in half horizontally. To use the stove, put kindling on this shelf. Light with newspaper. As the kindling turns to ash, push forward so that it falls under the shelf with new sticks.

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  • Photo Credit bricks. image by Saskia Massink from
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