Living in a van means putting a nice roast in the oven for a couple hours is a bit impractical. Most Van Dwellers do the majority of their cooking out doors. With a Coleman stove being the mainstay of their cooking appliances. Wouldn’t it be nice to sit down to a good old fashioned pot roast cooked to perfection so that the only cutlery you need is a fork. Meat so tender it pulls apart like slow cooked pork that’s been in the smoker for 12 hours or so.
Welcome to the world of the Pressure Cooker. Long before there was Microwaves that turn meat into rubbery gray matter unfit to eat, there were Pressure Cookers. A pot with a locking lid equipped with a steam relief valve that maintains a few pounds of pressure during the cooking process.
By maintaining steam pressure within the kettle the steam heat is forced into the meat cutting your cooking time by at least half. When the majority of the steam is contained the flavors don’t escape as well. In specialty seasoned meals such as Corned Beef and cabbage all the seasoning stays in the meat. Vegetables maintain their flavor and nutritional value better as they cook to perfection in just a matter of a few minutes.
With the heat source being a burner set on medium to low the oven which is nonexistent in most Van Dweller vehicles isn’t necessary. The standard propane portable stove will work every bit as well as your stove top at home. Simply load up the pot, add the required amount of water and any additional seasoning, lock the top and turn on the burner. Once the wobble valve on the cover starts spitting steam, cut back the heat until the valve is gently rocking back and forth. You want to maintain some relief valve movement but having excessive amounts of steam escaping means you may run out of water before the meat is properly cooked.
Leave the pot on the burner for the specified amount of time listed in your instruction manual or what ever recipe your using. A 3lb brisket will take about an hour to cook to perfection. Once your cooking time has passed, turn the burner off and let the pot cool until no steam pressure remains before attempting to open the lid. Newer pressure cookers are equipped with a locking device to prevent opening while dangerous steam and pressure are still locked inside.
With a little imagination Van Dwellers can maintain a pretty fancy diet using nothing more then a multi-purpose pressure cooker and their Coleman stove. It’s quick, simple and darn tasty.