Muff pot. Hot dogger. Hot pot. Hot muff—wait, that’s something different—whatever, you get the gist. Each brand has a different name, but they are all essentially the same thing—a small, removable stainless steel or aluminum oven that attaches to your sled’s exhaust pipe, allowing you to cook up a hot meal in the backcountry. Whoever came up with this idea probably keeps company with the likes of brain surgeons and NASA types. It’s plain genius! And so are these 5 muffpot cookbook tips.
5 Muffpot Cookbook Tips
Now, you may own such a device or be considering buying one. Good news! You don’t need to be a Red Seal Chef—or even a line cook at the local Humpty’s—to make great hot grub out sledding. What you will require however, is a little know-how, a dash of preparation, and just a pinch of imagination. Sure, you could stuff a couple of Hot Pockets into your muffpot and call it good, but you’re better than that (presumably). Read ahead, and in no time you too will be razzle-dazzling your sledding pals with some culinary pizzaz. Here’s what you need to know.
Tip #1 – 425° F ± 200°
First up is the placement of the muffpot holder. The closer it is to the engine, the hotter it will cook. Near the Y-pipe is an acceptable spot for installation, which results in a very hot cooker. It can also be installed over the clamshell (the insulated part of the exhaust pipe), producing much cooler temperatures—more of a “warmer” than a “cooker”. Or perhaps most common, and best suited, is placement adjacent to an aftermarket silencer. Some aftermarket companies even produce a silencers can specially designed to accommodate a muffpot right in it!
Tip #2 – What’s for lunch?
Some food choices work better than others. Obviously, soup is a bad idea. So is using a thick cut of raw meat, because it probably won’t reach a safe internal temperature before burning on the outside. The easiest choices are pre-cooked items from the frozen foods aisle of your local grocery store. But you can get as gourmet as you want really. Maybe don’t try flambé though.
Tip #3 – Preparation
Try to use ingredients that will cook at the same rate. That might mean chopping slower cooking items a little more finely than others. Also, mostly pre-cooking meats will reduce the amount of messy grease the food produces in your muffpot. You can use frozen or thawed foods, just take into account how much time will be required to cook each, and whether or not your oven is hot enough to cook from frozen.
Tip #4 – Wrap it up
Unless you like your food to be coated in a grey metallic paste from sliding around inside your oven all morning, you’ll want to wrap it. This will also aid in the regular cleanup of your muffpot, which is highly recommended, although not strictly necessary. Some live by the school of thought that whatever leftover scraps in there will burn up nicely with a good strong pull up the closest available mountainside, which is probably true, albeit kinda gross. Aluminum foil seems the obvious choice for wrapping your food, but experience shows that this results in blackened food more often than not. Wax paper is also not ideal, on account of the wax melting into your food and possibly even igniting.
The best choice for wrapping your food is to use either parchment paper or oven bags, which neither burn nor melt. For extra measure, these can afterwards be wrapped in aluminum foil to tidily hold the whole package together.
Tip #5 – When to put it in
Just like your oven at home, each muffpot will cook at different temperatures and speeds. This depends on a number of factors, including the placement of your muffpot, snow conditions, and whether or not you drive your sled like it’s stolen. Too early, and your lunch will be burned. Or catch on fire. Too late, and it’ll be cold. Likewise if you get stuck for 30 minutes while trying to heat up your lunch, you’ll need to start over.
Put your food in sometime during the day, not at the trailhead. Then check your food often, until you get the timing of your oven dialed. For example, you might eventually figure out that all it takes is one pull of the Monster Chute to ring the dinner bell. Easy peasy.
And don’t forget to use gloves when you remove your oven from the sled, as it will be hot! Duh!
One last word of advice: If you have the foresight to prepare something that smells really good while cooking, say garlic prawns in butter, you might find that you have an easily bribed entourage following you around all day, which can be quite handy when you get stuck.
The Best Meal You’ll Never Have
1. Go into the woods and kill an animal. Rare meat tastes the best; so try to shoot a threatened species, like Mountain Caribou or Grizzly Bear. Yum.
2. If you don’t own a gun (what’s wrong with you?), cruise the highway looking for roadkill, which as a bonus comes pre-tenderized.
3. Otherwise, you can tenderize your fresh meat by hanging it from some rafters and pummeling it with your fists until it’s soft and your rage has subsided.
4. Chop the meat up into muffpot sized bits. A butcher’s knife is adequate for this task, but a chainsaw is more fun.
5. Finely mince some chives, then promptly throw them away in disgust. We’re making sledding grub here, not hippy tree-hugger salad! Sheesh…
6. In a medium bowl, mix one heaping tbsp of crushed-up horse tranquilizer with one part 18 year-old scotch, one part energy drink, and one part black coffee.
7. Place your meat in a baking pan and coat with the mixture. Sprinkle Montreal Steak Spice over it until you can no longer see the meat.
8. Turn on the Spike channel and allow your meat to marinate overnight in front of the TV. With luck your meat will get to watch an old-school Chuck Norris movie, which will vastly improve its flavour.
9. In the morning, wrap the meat in a minimum of 6 layers of different types of cheese, alternating with layers of bacon and prosciutto between each.
10. Cover, and let your meat slow-cook for 8 hours on the dash of your diesel truck (running, of course) with defrost on low.
11. Transfer to your choice of parchment paper or oven bag, then wrap again lightly in aluminum foil. Put the package into a ziplock bag, and place in your riding backpack.
12. Prior to lunch, remove the package from the ziplock bag and place it into your muffpot.
13. Tell everyone to “Watch this”, then make at least 2 separate first ascents of previously untried chutes, stopping at the top of each to yell “I AM GOD!” and make obscene gestures in the air.
14. Open your oven and enjoy the Best Meal You’ll Never Have, without offering to share any with your friends. Watch them get all pissed off, because they’re jealous of how awesome you are.