How to Build a Cajun Microwave
Cajun cooking is some of the best in the world. The original Cajuns were French-born immigrants who migrated south from Acadia, Canada. They were originally French speakers, and their language became a patois consisting of French and English.
Most settled in Louisiana, where they represent a large portion of Louisiana’s population. They brought with them their own unique style of cooking, which uses peppers, onions and other vegetables added to meats, fish and panned breads. They also brought their own style of cooking implements such as the wooden and metal cooker referred to as a Cajun microwave.
Things You Will Need
- Cypress wood
- No. 4 grain sandpaper
- Weatherproof stain
- Aluminum liner
- Steel coal box
Draw a diagram of how big you want the cooker to be. It will consist of an outer rectangular box made of cypress, a cover for the box, an inner box made of 14-gauge aluminum and a coal box made of 1/8-inch steel about 4 inches deep that will hold coals and attach to the cover.
Buy the wood at your local lumber yard, and have employees cut the pieces for the box to your specifications. You will need four sides, a bottom and a lid.
Use a No. 4 grain sandpaper, and sand the wood so there are no rough edges. Stain it with a weatherproof stain on the outside only. Nail all the pieces together, but leave the lid unattached.
Go to an ironmonger and show him the diagram for the microwave or better still, bring the box. Ask him to make you the aluminum insert for the box and the steel box for the coals.
Buy two slide sets of the type you would use for a drawer. Attach ½ of each set to the inside of the cover and ½ to the coal box. The coal box should just slide into the lid.
Place the aluminum liner inside the box. Place the whole thing on a stand made of cinder blocks, and fill the coal box with charcoal. Light the charcoal and cook.
Get the best meats to place in the cooker. Even though most meat cooks slowly, Cajun microwaves work best with higher-quality meat.
Never leave the cooker unattended when there is a fire in it. Do not burn charcoal indoors.
Based in Santa Rosa, Calif., Bill Dale has been writing travel- and lifestyle-related articles since 1988. His articles have appeared in “The Northern California Bohemian” newspaper and “Wine Business Monthly” magazine. Dale received the Fairbanks Public Service Award in 2005. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Columbia University.