A culinary experiment at the Lair…

…which just happens to fall on Christmas.

I have long rebuffed the idea of any sort of slow cooker at the Lair for the obvious reason that things that make heat with electricity are notorious power hogs. Granted that I know two sets of neighbors who think nothing of using Crockpots, they have much bigger power systems than I do and also think nothing of using their big backup generators.

I maintain that the decision was prudent – but that doesn’t mean it was tested. And when Landlady brought a small Crockpot to Ian’s place and gave me express permission to use it, I didn’t argue. In fact it would be an interesting test of Ian’s large but more than 10-year-old battery bank.


It mostly sits there, running nothing but a refrigerator, topped off with power every morning and with water on the first of every month – and it has shown no deterioration at all because it’s made of top-of-the-line batteries and it’s never stressed. Time to see what happens when I stress it, just a bit…


Christmas supper will be elaborate by my standards – two chunks of frozen pork and a couple cans of veggies, washed down with box wine that was a neighborly gift. I ran the pot on high yesterday afternoon just to see if/how it worked – it works fine – and then on low overnight. This practice would basically be against my religion if I started having a religion. Thou Shalt Not Run Appliances At Night.

And the batteries noticed…


…but took it in stride without apparent distress.

Today we eat!

Enjoy your holiday.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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24 Responses to A culinary experiment at the Lair…

  1. Charlotte Boord says:

    Merry Christmas Joel! 🥰

  2. coloradohermit says:

    Merry Christmas Joel!

    Funny you mention a crock pot. For our 20 years off grid, I never did have one, fearing it would pull the batteries down too much. Now that I’m in town on grid electric, I bought myself one. Slow cooked pot roast here I come.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Merry Christmas

  4. Michael says:

    Merry Christmas Joel, may your pork be tender

  5. SLee says:

    Merry Christmas Joel! Enjoy your holiday dinner!

  6. DAN says:

    you can bet the pork will be tender, gotta love them crockpots. they do make small one people pots that shouldn’t draw too much power. MERRY CHRISTMAS JOEL from the frozen great white north.

  7. Mark Matis says:

    Merry Christmas from East Central Florida!

  8. Off topic question – you mentioned that the water you get out of the ground where you are is less-than-ideal for things like drinking…it leaves a lot of scale and mineral residue in your cooking pots. What do your neighbors do for potable water? Do they all truck it in or are hey on some sort of communal water source that has some sort of treatment to remove the dissolved minerals?

  9. Joel says:

    We truck it all in from filtering stations in town. $0.25/gallon or five gallons for a buck. If you want a water heater you need a pressure pump and water softener or the heater won’t last longer than a season.

  10. TS says:

    Merry Christmas Mr. Joel. : )
    Brisket in the crockpot is pretty tasty too.

  11. Judy says:

    Yeah, a successful edible experiment. Merry Christmas, Joel! And Merry Christmas to everyone reading.

  12. Robert says:

    Enjoy, Joel! Looks yummy.

    Purely out of self-interest: “top-of-the-line batteries” might be what brand, sir?

    I know I’m a nag, but, think of a sun oven as a crock pot that uses no battery power and just a wee bit of attention periodically with the proper weather. Full disclosure: today’s post-workday experimental chili is heated by Big Conglomerate Electric. Please don’t judge me; the forecast high is friggin’ 9. 🙂

  13. Joel says:

    Purely out of self-interest: “top-of-the-line batteries” might be what brand, sir?

    Rolls Surrette, which may no longer be the best deep cycle lead/acid batteries generally available anymore for all I know, but which were considered the gold standard back 10-12 years ago.

  14. Paul B says:

    Merry Christmas. I would think the gold standard in batteries should hold for 10-12 years. Battery technology is pretty much the same. Although they are saying the perfect one is just on the horizon. Not that it gets any closer.

  15. godhelpus says:

    Dutch oven. Some coals. Adjustable slow cooker. No power needed.

  16. Kentucky says:

    Season’s Greetings and all the best for the New Year!

  17. Al says:

    Merry Christmas Joel!

  18. Malatrope says:

    Those Rolls-Surrette batteries look identical to mine. If that 24V bank has been operating as you describe, they are very much being babied and a 10-year lifetime isn’t to be unexpected. I beat mine up pretty badly, discharging to 40%-50% every day and my last batch lasted for about 8 years.

    I did however manage to forget to water my current batch for too long and managed to expose some plates to air. This took a huge chunk out of the capacity which I have been unable to get back. That said, I have nothing but respect for that brand and as far as I know they are still the best flooded lead acid batteries available.

  19. Ben says:

    Happy Boxing Day!

  20. Merry Day Late Christmas!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Hi Joel. I too live on batteries. I find that by starting the slow cooker when the sun first hits the panels and finishing the cooking around sundown means that there is very little impact on the batteries. The slow cooker will continue to cook for a while after it is turned off if it is left covered and in the heater unit. Advice from a former chef turned Ausralian boondocker.

  22. Craig W Fager says:

    Joel, there is a company called Wonderbag that makes highly insulated bags for pots and slow cookers. The idea is that you heat your pot/slow cooker up to max cooking temperatures; then slip it into this bag, which will keep it at safe cooking temperatures for up to 8 hours without further heat. They have been marketing this technology and donating to third world countries. I purchased one and have used it with my 7 quart slow cooker with nice results. Nice End Of The World gear to have.

  23. Zendo Deb says:

    None of these are what I would call cheap, though you can do some of them DIY…

    If you have enough solar power in the winter… I don’t have any relation to any of these companies, though I did meet the guys who started GoSun once…

    https://gosun.co/collections/solar-ovens Evacuated tube for extreme heat retention

    https://www.sunoven.com/

    There are more choices of course, search around for options

  24. Zendo Deb says:

    Also, I’ve recently become very fond of the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. The propaganda says it uses a bit less than 20% of the energy other choices do – I think that is mostly compared to stove-top (for stews, etc) or oven (for other stuff).

    You can achieve the same result with a decent pressure cooker over a propane flame, but it requires more watching, adjusting the temp.

To the stake with the heretic!