Solar cooking was put on the back burner, so to speak, while Albuquerque experienced several wonderful days of afternoon and evening rains at the beginning of our 2012 monsoon season. I am very grateful for the rains!!!
I was anxious to try the solar oven for a third time, however, and the forecast for today was for a lessened chance of rain. The morning was actually supposed to be pretty sunny. I had purchased some chicken tenders on sale, and planned to cook different things in each of the two pots. I thought I would cook some plain, to use to make chicken salad tomorrow. I thought I would try a recipe for bbq chicken in the other pot.
I had the oven out and preheating starting at 8:30 am, a little earlier than the two previous times I have tried solar cooking. By 9:30 am the temperature in the oven was 230 F, which was great. There were a few clouds in the sky, but nothing that looked like rain (or even close!). It is pretty clear to me that I am going to be learning things about solar cooking for a long time to come!
At 9:50 am, I put the two separate pots of chicken in.
The temperature almost immediately fell to 150 F, which is what has happened before, so I did not think much about it. At 10:30, however, when I went out to see if the temperature had begun to rise, I was a little horrified to find the temperature back to what the thermometer registers at room temperature. That I was not comfortable with! As long as the food stays above 140 F, I’m pretty comfortable, but food should not be below that temperature for prolonged periods. So, I brought the two pots of chicken in and finished the cooking in the electric oven. I thought that perhaps the temperature variation from previous attempts was due to the scattered clouds.