DIY Friday: Solar Satellite Dish Cooker

Here’s a true story. A few weeks ago, my gas grill was stolen from my backyard. I went outside one Friday afternoon with a spatula and some burgers and — there was nothing there.

I can’t say I was disappointed that the grill was gone. There was a certain satisfaction knowing that whoever had taken the thing had some arduous scrubbing ahead of them if they wanted to remove several years’ worth of crispy cheese and hamburger fragments that had ossified onto the grill. Losing the grill to theft, I reasoned,  had at least spared me from that long-avoided chore.

But replacing the grill did present me with another problem — that ancient dilemma that has plagued mankind for, oh, three generations now:

Gas, or charcoal? 

But now I learn that there is a new, third option for outdoor cooking: solar. A group of smart cookies from the Durango Renewable Energy Group have crafted a solar cooker made from a recycled satellite dish.

Reports have it that this fine addition to any suburban patio will bake cookies in under 15 minutes. Instructions on how you can create your own solar oven using mirrors (or a "cheaper" and lower-powered version using aluminum foil) can be found here.

My decision on how best to replace my grill has been further complicated by a neighbor who swears that the fourth option for grilling is pretty much the greatest invention in human history. I’m dubious about his assertion, and the clouds today raise my doubts about crafting my own solar cooker.

Which leaves me, metaphorically at least, still holding that spatula and a plate of uncooked burgers and wondering: gas, charcoal, solar, or George?