Seth McGinn introduced his CanCooker, indoor/outdoor steam cooker in 2009. The story goes that as a boy, McGinn helped brand cattle at his Grandparent's East Nebraska ranch. Before work began it was customary to fill a cream can with meats, vegies and spices, then set it on a fire to steam cook while the branding and vaccinating commenced. When lunchtime rolled around, they cracked open the can and enjoyed a hot, hearty homemade meal, cooked to perfection while they worked.
Cream Can cooking has been around for many years and it is not specific to Nebraska. But McGinn added a few useful features to improve performance over a stock cream can, such as an insulation strip around the lid rim, clamps on the can to hold the lid tight, and an optional stainless steel rack that lifts foods off the bottom to prevent burning and make cleaning easier. McGinn and team have also expanded their product line to include:
The Plank, a fold out cutting board. (left)
And The Multi-Fuel Cooktop (right), a portable gas burner with adjustable heat settings and electric ignition that runs off 8 oz. Butane or 16.4 oz. propane canisters.
CanCooker holds US and Canadian patents. It is readily available for purchase online and at many retailers catering to outdoor lifestyle enthusiasts. Consumers seem to be attracted to the straightforward simplicity of CanCooker's aesthetically appealing, utilitarian design.
This upgraded riff on the old practice of slow cooking meat and veggies in a cream can over an open fire employs a high-temperature silicone gasket around the lid which seals tight with clamps while excess steam is released via a small hole in the lid. Built out of food grade anodized aluminum, the CanCooker Original has a four gallon capacity and is said to feed up to 20.
It can be used on any heat source both in or outdoors: kitchen stoves, camp stoves, grills, turkey fryers, camp fires and CanCooker's Muilti-Fuel Portable Cooktop. There is an optional stainless steel grate that holds food off the bottom of the can to prevent burning. When cooking over a wood fire, it's a good idea to set the can on a rack or circle of rocks rather than directly on the red hot embers.
Just spray the interior with oil, put in veggies, then meat or fish, then liquid and seasoning according to your recipe. Set CanCooker on your heat source. When steam starts shooting out of the lid vent, reduce heat and let it cook. The can gets mighty hot so be sure to have mitts handy. When done remove from heat and let sit five minutes before opening. Be mindful of the hot steam.
Simple, easy to understand, effective and affordable, CanCooker is gaining popularity among hunters, tailgaters and other outdoor enthusiasts. It's offered with a few cosmetic variations, such as hunter Michael Waddels's Bone Collector series, but the can is the same regardless of the graphics. A half size, two gallon CanCooker Junior is also available, pictured above left.
Includes a protective storage bag.
Looked Closely At It
We have seen this product up close and we have also gathered info from the manufacturer, owners, and other reliable sources.