How to make a brick rocket stove and potjiekos for emergency cooking

January 24, 2020

A brick rocket stove is a very quick, easy and cost-effective solution for outdoor cooking, and can come in handy when going on camping trips, during power outages and during emergency situations. It burns super efficiently without the need for firewood - just twigs, straw and pine cones!

Follow this step-by-step guide on how to make your very own DIY brick rocket stove for outdoor and emergency cooking, and how to make a delicious South African vegetable potjiekos! Click here to see Recommended Outdoor Cooking Products.Plus, an easy to follow video at the end of the article.

Even though the design of the brick rocket stove keeps the flame protected and dies out after a few minutes, keep in mind to NOT make your fire when it is very hot, dry and especially windy, as open fires are a common cause of uncontrolled fires. Be sure to only use designated fire areas, wear oven mitts, never leave your fire unattended, and keep a bucket of water or sand nearby. Now lets get started!

You will need

Brick rocket stove:

  • 33 bricks
  • 3 cinder blocks
  • Twigs, small sticks, pine cones, straw
  • Paper/ newspaper
  • Fire lighter
  • Potjie pot
    Vegetable potjiekos:
    • Oil or butter
    • Baby marrow or zucchini
    • Green beans
    • Tomatoes
    • Carrots
    • Potatoes
    • Onions
    • Garlic
    • Basil leaves
    • Salt & pepper
    • Spices of your choice
    • Stock
    • Water

    How do you make a brick rocket stove?

    Step 1: Location

    Determine where you want to assemble your DIY brick stove and place three cinder blocks on the ground. For the base of the stove, a flat surface is ideal.

    Step 2: First layer

    For the first layer of the brick stove, lay out 5 bricks ontop of the base, starting in one of the corners.

    Step 3: Second layer

    For the second layer, place 4 bricks ontop.

    Step 4: Third layer

    Then place another 4 bricks ontop. After the third layer, you should have three gaps - one in the middle for the fire chamber; one at the bottom for the air flow and one on the side for the sticks to enter.

    Step 5: Complete the layers

    Continue to lay out the bricks in the same order until you have reached a minimum of 6 to 7 layers.

    Step 6: Add additional bricks

    Add two bricks to support the twigs and place a grid from a stove ontop for the pot to sit on, or use two bricks.

    Step 7: Start the fire

    Once your brick stove is assembled, place crumpled paper inside the fire chamber, put twigs in and light.

    Step 8: Keep adding twigs

    Keep placing twigs, straw, small sticks and pine cones to get the fire going.

    Step 9: Get started

    Place your potjie pot on the grid after about ten minutes.

    Step 10: Simmer

    To simmer, cover the air flow a bit using another brick.

    NB* You will need to keep feeding the fire with twigs and sticks/ straw every 5 minutes or so, not like a regular campfire.


    Step 1: Oil

    Add oil or butter to the pot and sauté the onions.

    Step 2: Add veggies

    Add the potatoes and carrots.

    Step 3: Basil

    Add basil leaves and spices of your choice.

    Step 4: Allow to cook

    Place the lid on the pot and allow to cook. Keep feeding the fire.

    Step 5: Stock & water

    After 40-45 minutes (once the potatoes have softened), add vegetable stock and boiling water. Stir well.

    Step 6: Add more veggies

    Add the baby marrow, tomatoes and green beans and allow to cook and simmer for another 15-20 minutes.

    Step 7: Bon appétit

    Enjoy your vegetable potjiekos!

    The fire will die out after a few minutes, if it has not, put water inside the fire chamber.

    WATCH: A step-by-step tutorial on how to make a brick rocket stove and potjie for emergency cooking

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