Swedish Fire Log
A Swedish Fire Log also referred to as a Swedish Torch or Canadian Candle – is a highly efficient campfire for cooking. First developed by the Swedish army during the Thirty Years War, this type of campfire requires just a single log and can be made even when the ground is wet or covered in snow. It is also a quick and easy way to cook food while camping, especially if you have limited wood to burn. All you need is one log and an axe or a saw.
Find a log about big enough to hold a pan. Make sure that at least one end of the log is cut level so it will stand up straight on it’s end. Take your saw and make three crisscrossing cuts about ¾ of the way through if the ground is wet (prevents vaporized water moisture from putting the fire out). You can also go all the way through if splitting the log with an axe and use a wire to hold all the pieces together later as we did (it’s way faster than the saw).
Rough up the interior edges of the wood with a hatchet. These rough edges will catch embers as they fall down inside the log and help it start faster. You don’t have to do the entire log, just the leading edge that faces the middle.
Make some kindling and push the smaller pieces in the log and leave the rest on top, we also pored some olive oil drops in the kindling to make it more flammable! Once you have this you are ready to go, start the fire and wait a little bit as it will take a while until it gets going. Eventually the coals and kindling will start to descend into the log. You may need to use a spare stick to shove it down into the center as it burns.
The beauty of the Swedish torch is that once you light it, you can basically forget it. The log will slowly burn from the inside out. The cuts through the log provide natural air flow that will keep your fire ventilated. It also doubles as a cooking surface and is perfect for holding cast iron pans.
The fact that the flame burns from the inside out (a directional flame), makes the Swedish Fire Log super efficient as it uses the least amount of wood in the longest period of time by giving to highest focal temperature.
Placing the end of the log face down gives you a flat surface on the top for cooking. Depending on the size of your log, this surface can easily accommodate a water kettle, dutch oven, or cast iron skillet.
Unlike most campfires that need occasional tending, the Swedish Fire Log is completely self-sufficient once properly lit. As embers burn at the top, they fall down into the log, burning it from the top down. Air is continually drawn in through the slits on the side.
We tried it and despite we made some mistakes the log still performed as expected if not better. We made a super easy and quick brunch to test it and it tasted like heaven! The dog also took part in the feast but he didn’t wait to have it cooked.