First, there was light. Then there was chicken. And it was good.

No man hath chicken like sun-cooked, rotisserie chicken.  It has to be the best!

And Allah looked down with love and said, “Go forward and multiply the cookers and fill them with chickens and spread across the land the miracle of my bounty and ye shall have all the chickens for all the people for all the rest of time.  Just save me one now and then.” And it was so.  And it was good.  In fact, it was finger-lickin’ good.

Well, the truth is that it was not quite as miraculous as God thinks.  HE/SHE came late to dinner last night and didn’t really see all the previous goings-on that were needed to get there.  Bottom line: it was a bit of a schmozzle.

Y’all know about the challenge of getting the temperature high enough to feel sure about completely roasting the chicken beyond any doubt and, of course, Murphy did sneak in a few times to screw things up as I worked to get there.  I hit 275 degrees Fahrenheit fairly early on in the test days and, with the addition of the Fresnel lenses, eventually got ‘er up to 325.  I was chuffed!

So, I slipped a chicken on the rotisserie bar around 2:00 in the afternoon yesterday.  Put everything in place and turned it on.  The chicken turned around and around.  But, after a few minutes, the chicken lay on the bottom of the oven and the bar was no longer turning!  The problem was that the bar was aligned slightly downhill and, with the weight of the chicken on it, it slowly slipped out of the motor drive and all things greasy fell to the oven floor.

A quick ponder and I knew what I had to do: find a bushing-gasket for where the bar went through the oven wall and then use some kind of bar clamp so that the bar did not slip.  I walked into my shop with the chicken lying impatiently back at the oven and looked in one of my junk drawers.  And it was a miracle!  There was something that looked like it had been designed for the job.

And some people don’t believe in God!

I put the chicken, the oven, the bar and assembly all back together and turned it on again.  It was working.

Three hours later I was peeking at it and lamenting to Sal: :”There is clearly NO God!  The chicken is not cooked!  Not once did the oven go over 200 degrees….maybe 225.  I do not get it.  Why do bad things happen to good people?”

“Better get it out and we’ll pop it on the grill.  Might as well at least save dinner.”

So, I stopped the turning, opened the oven and it was really hot.  Even more surprising, the chicken was fall-off-the-bone cooked.  It was a miracle!

My faith, it seems, is a bit fickle.

Miracle?  Yes.  But it was a less than aesthetic one.  The chicken was clearly cooked but not all that brown.  Not Costco brown, anyway.  More like a tan.  Hmmm……so I fired up the grill and gave it a minute on high flames and voila!  It was brown and crispy.

Seems God works in wondrous ways.

In the end, I am left in a quandary.  The oven worked and worked well.  Sorta.  But engineered ovens are also designed around consumer habits and I was, sadly, more focused on eating chicken when I designed mine.  That left a few gaps in the prototype.  One gap is that getting a chicken in there is a bit awkward.  Lots of assembly of oven parts AFTER the chicken gets loaded and so, if you need to mess with the subject matter at all, you first have to then deconstruct the oven.  That’s not ‘modern convenience’.  That’s awkward.  Secondly, chickens cooking ooze grease and stuff and my oven, sadly, was not designed for easy clean-up.

And, even tho I got the chicken nicely cooked, the temp never registered beyond 225.  What the hell?  So that is the NOT-SO-HAPPY side.

The happy side is that the chicken was – honestly – the best chicken I have ever eaten.  Like the solar oven ads claim, cooking solar somehow makes the meal tastier.  It really did.

Conclusion, I give myself a B.  Not even a B+.  Straight B.  My dilemma now is, a B will cook a chicken.  Nicely.  Tasty.  Do I re-engineer a few things to get my grade to an A?  Or do I just say, “A delicious chicken is nothing to be sneezed at.  Love that chicken with all your heart.  And love that oven, too.  Or tolerate it, anyway.”

I may put the oven under the house while I think it over.  If there is an apocalypse, it will come out again for sure.  If there is no such shattering event, it may just have to live there for awhile…….

The second part: Let There Be Light, refers to the lovely new lights.  Those, too, messed with our heads for a few days as we screwed up the wiring but we eventually got that sorted and they look great!

And the damn carb?  Well, it remains the damn carb.  And I am wondering again if there is a God and, if there is, why has HE/SHE abandoned me again?




11 thoughts on “First, there was light. Then there was chicken. And it was good.

  1. Congratulations on your first roasted chicken!! I agree, it does not look crisp, but if it tastes as good as you say, why improve on the oven? I get water in my mouth just looking at it. You really should be proud of this achievement! And the lights look really nice and professional. So if I had to grade you, you’d get a B+ for the chicken and a straight A for the lights. I could give you some ideas how to improve the loading of the chicken, but if it works, it works 😉


    • Thanks, Wim. Nice to have that kind of support. Even nicer to have that kind of chicken! The world is going to hell and my response? Roast a chicken! Drink wine! I may not be the right person to encourage……


      • A person’s priorities are to foresee in his and his families basic needs, and chicken is definitely a basic need. So your first response might not be such a bad one. And not depleting the natural resources in roasting a chicken is a second big step. And kicking your readers an conscience (if we don’t have that already) is another huge merit on your part…so you are not doing a bad job in my opinion. If everyone in this world would be a little bit more like you, the world might be a different place…maybe a little grumpier and in shortage of Scotch


      • If everyone in the world was a bit more like me, I would have to go even further OTG! I’d hate ’em! And please do not let Sal catch the Grumpy virus. She is the sunshine that keeps me as civil as I am. Basically, I am a fine-enough fellow – I just have virtually no patience for stupid and the planet is getting stupider all the time. Worse, so am I! That does not bode well for either of us.


  2. A chicken in every solar oven, a ship’s light over every garage. Had Herbert Hoover pledged that in 1932, he would have been elected to a second term instead of being ousted by Roosevelt.


  3. Arrrrr.
    Nuthin like a solar microwaved chicken.
    Pasty on the outside. Dee-licious on the inside.
    Well done.

    I’d say the solar oven was a success with a quick charbroil on a camp fire to keep the carnivore in us satisfied.
    Either way. No expensive fuel expended.


  4. Your endeavors on the solar oven was nothing but the satiete of a curious mind, Hence my continued approval and appreciation of knowing you and yours.


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