The Swedes! Inventors of the pacemaker, the modern zipper, the three-point seatbelt and perfectors of assemble-it-yourself furniture. They have also put their great engineering to use for crafting the perfect outdoor campfire: the Swedish torch.
A simple marvel, the Swedish torch provides a well-contained campfire and cooking surface that requires less wood and less maintenance that an open pit fire. However, just like everything but the meatballs at Ikea, the Swedish torch does require some basic assembly before enjoying it.
Find or fashion a sturdy stump. We recommend a log with 18" diameter (or something wide enough to hold your cast iron pan), and at least a foot tall.
Stand your log upright on some dirt, gravel or a metal plate, and use a saw to cut two or three diagonal slots, of at least an inch wide and six inches deep each into the surface. Your lines should intersect at the middle, essentially making a star or an asterisk. Optional: if you've gone close to the bottom with your slots, unwrap an old coathanger and twist it around the circumference of the stump to help keep things in place.
Gather some dry kindling (leaves, grass, paper) and place it into the slots you've made.
Step 4: Atop that, add some twigs and small branches that will catch after your kindle lights.
Light your kindling from below. The flame will catch the kindling, and draw down into the cracks of the stump. The log will insulate the flame, while allowing the smoke to ventilate. Your fire should go for 2-3 hours at least, with no maintenance required.
Step 6: Grab that cast iron pan and get cooking. The top of the stump will serve as a stovetop, providing even heat from the top, while letting the smoke billow from the sides.
Remember to FULLY extinguish your torch with water after you're done! There should be NO smoke left coming from the stump before you walk away.
Here's a great video overview of how to build it:
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