Cooking with a Swedish Torch
Here’s a fun alternative to the traditional barbecue – the Swedish torch. Also known as a Canadian candle, the Swedish torch is a great way to enjoy the last of the warm weather and cook something up on an open fire. It’s a simple design and can be made using just a few things that you probably already have.
What you’ll need:
1 log (flat on both ends)
Tinder (birch bark is ideal)
A cooking pan
First, you’ll need to find a log between 1 and 2 feet tall (0.3-0.6 meters) that should be flat on both ends so it can stand and has a sturdy surface to cook on.
Next you’ll need a saw, a chainsaw would be great for this however not everyone has one at their disposal. Alternatively, a hand saw takes longer, but achieves similar results. Using your saw, cut grooves downwards into your log. These grooves should stop about 5 inches (13cm) before the bottom of the log, being deeper at the edges of the log and shallower in the centre for improved ventilation. These grooves should intersect in the centre, making the log look like a pie that’s been cut into slices.
The next step is to get some tinder – you can use old newspaper, pre-treated firelighters, or go completely survivalist and peel the bark off a birch tree. These thin peels are perfect for starting a fire, provided they’re fairly dry. Now stuff this tinder into the cuts of your log. This will help to get the fire going as it can be easily lit, unlike the log itself. The fire will then spread from the tinder to the log. You’re almost ready to light the torch, but first you should clear the area around the log of flammable items, as charred wood can fall from the log after a couple of hours. To make the log more stable, dig it into the ground a couple of inches.
Now light your log, use a match (or other fire starting tool) to strike a flame and light the tinder at the top of the log. If all goes correctly then you should see a small flame on the top, this will then disappear and the log should start smoking, this is because the torch burns from the inside. The Swedish torch is now ready for cooking, place a pan or pot on top and use it to cook a meal. The log should burn for around 2-3 hours.
Remember to always be careful with fire, and have fun with your cooking! Bear Grylls – eat your heart out!