Cooking on the go…literally

As you pack up after a great weekend of fishing, you ogle your freshly caught booty and instantly your belly growls as you think of the meal that awaits you. But it’s two hours before you get home and then there’s the cleaning and cooking the meal. But do not give in to a fast food alternative, as there is a way to have your meal cooked for you on your way home.
When he was 15, Chris Simpson learned an interesting trick from his father on how to have a hot, “homemade” meal ready after a road trip: Cook the meal on the vehicle’s motor.

“We were headed to Alpena from Flint to go hunting and got  a late start so he threw together a couple meals for us that was ready when we got there,” said Simpson, of Belding, who said he grew up practically in his father’s garage in Flint. “We planned ahead and brought steak knives and forks but it all could be finger food just as well.”
Simpson said he and his father have done this unique type of cooking with fish, steak and potatoes and ham and cheese (for sandwiches).

How to cook a meal on your motor
(serves two people)

• Fish
• Thick, aluminum foil
• Half of a lemon
• Dozen sprigs of cilantro
• Butter


Clean the fish as you normally would. Stuff lemon, cilantro and butter into the cavity of the fish. Wrap the fish fairly loosely in foil, making a sort of tent-like shape, but be sure all seams are tightly folded and sealed. Keep the sealed creased side face-up.

Place the foiled meal onto your engine compartment on top of the motor but as close to the block as you can. Do not place it on or too close to any exhaust manifolds as the heat will be too extreme and you would end up with charred fish. Placing it on the intake is the best place but some vehicles have shrouds that just won’t allow that.

Simpson normally places it just under the carburetor or throttle body, directly on the intake manifold. Usually, he said, it only takes about two hours before the meal is fully cooked, however, he advised, take in account the weather. “Even though the engine will run at a consistent temperature, the airflow could keep the food too cool,” he said. “This is why you have to place the foiled meal strategically. A vehicle’s motor runs around 190 degrees internally so this is a slow cook method. If you stop at a rest stop, be sure to check on it, too.”

Be sure the foiled package is secured and sealed well when placing it onto your engine compartment on top of the motor.

Upon your arrival to your destination, carefully remove the foil pack and unfold. It will be steamy hot but, Simpson said, “the meat will fall right off the bone.” Discard the cilantro, squeeze some of the lemon over the fish and enjoy your “on the road-cooked” meal.


• The shorter the trip, the thinner you want to cut your meat. Using precooked food before heading out would work during short trips.

• Make sure the meal is not piled high or too thick. Spread it out widely, allowing it to cook thoroughly.

• If by chance any juices were to seep out (owing to poorly wrapped meals) they would smoke and cause discoloration. This why you need to keep it away from the exhaust manifold, Simpson said, because it is the hottest part of the engine.

CAUTION: The consumption of raw or undercooked eggs, meat, poultry, seafood or shellfish may increase your risk of food borne illness.

Revved Up is a featured section of The Daily News and Carson City Gazette, focusing on anything with gears and tires.

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