Introduction: Car-b-que


Area maker has successfully navigated a long road trip with a meal ready to eat upon arriving at his destination by combining cooking with driving, making a delicious delicacy after disembarking at the destination. "Ater drving all day, it was nice to pull over and enjoy a hot meal" one passenger said, later dubbing the salivating-educing sensation as the car-b-que.

Chez Nissan Maxima is the exclusive restaurant serving the finest mobile morsels. Troublemaker wilgubeast was seen at the local restaurant where chef mikeasaurus prepared a food and beverage pairing that included an appetizer of continental fromage and pain de mie with a select bottles of America's Best Beer c.1893, followed by grilled Montreal-inspired tenderloin over steamed seasonal greens.

These sit-down delicacies were prepared beforehand and cooked enroute to a road trip destination 2.5 hours out of town (480km/300 mi) using nothing but the heat output of a standard sedan.  Follow along and make your own fast food version of this classic countercluture cuisine.

Enough talk, let's make some fast food!

Step 1: Tools + Materials

This one is easy:
  • car
  • zip-ties
  • food
  • foil

Step 2: Prepare Food + Wrap

The time to cook your food will vary greatly depending on the type of car you have, the aggressiveness of your driving habits and the length of your trip.

I sliced my steak and veggies thin, then seasoned and double wrapped in aluminum foil. For larger/denser foods (like Brussels sprouts/potatoes/and carrots make sure they are sliced into appropriate portions).

I even managed to stuff some cheese between bread slices and double wrap them for grilled cheese sandwiches.

Step 3: Know Your Engine Space

Each car is a little different under the hood. The best areas to cook food are places that get very hot, like the engine manifold and the muffler. When locating your food wraps, make sure that they won't interfere with the operation of the engine and are not located in a place where they may damage your car if they come loose.

For this Nissan model several wrapped packages could easily be placed around the engine in secure locations (indicated by the white arrows), there was a prime spot located to the side of the engine, but was not suitable because of a belt placement (indicated my the arrow with a red 'x' in it).

Examine your engine compartment carefully before placing any foil-wrapped food. It might be a good idea to turn your engine on and see the moving parts prior to placement, just to be sure. As always, be safe when operating engine with the hood open and never place your hands or fingers inside the engine compartment while the car engine is running.

Step 4: Place Packages Around Engine, Secure

When you've satisfied yourself that you've found a suitable place in the engine compartment place your foil wrapped food and secure with zip-ties. The method of securing them to the heat source is up to you and may not be required. The location I used got hot enough to cook my food, but not enough to melt the zip-ties.

The zip-ties secured my foil packages in place and were tightened only to hold firmly in place, not squish the food. If installed correctly your zip-ties should prevent your food from dislodging from engine vibrations during your trip.

Step 5: Alternate Locations

Of course, the engine isn't the only place that gets hot when your car is in operation. We found that another great grilling location is the muffler! 

I placed a few foil-wrapped cheese sandwiches on top and secured them with more zip-ties. The ones I attached on the underside of the muffler were lost in transit, I don;t recommend placing your food wraps anywhere but on top.

Step 6: Drive, Then Dine!

With your food secured it's time to drive!

Drive as normal, check on your food after about 30 minutes of driving to ensure they are still secure. Check again after an hour to check how well cooked the food is. My thinly sliced steak took over 2 hours to cook through, the veggies slightly longer (since they weren't cut thin enough).

When your food is all done, cut from the zip-ties and unwrap contents. Careful, they're going to be hot!
Pour contents onto your plate and dine, roadside!

Enjoy your motorized meal!

Have you used your vehicle to cook some tasty food? Share a picture of your results in the comments below and earn yourself a digital patch and a 3-month Pro Membership to



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    I made a cookbook and got price for it :-)

    Heavy equipment operators do this all the time. Even the common labor guys put their meals on the engines. There is plenty of room for a small feast on those large engines :)

    This is great! If only I had known about this when I had my always-just-about-ready-to-explode Honda!!

    I am working in Midland Texas in the oilfields.
    Mainly my job is to drive around all day and check on people and equipment. I hate that i stop almost everyday at mcdonalds or subway to eat dinner. I had thought about cooking on my engine for a while just had no ideas until now.
    Great 'Ible! please make some more I need ideas!

    I've done beef with veggies and on long (2 hour)trips and grilled cheese (about 40 minutes) on shorter trip. Pastries can be done in about 20-30 minutes.

    Do you have your own version that you've tried? I want to see your results and how you cooked it!

    WOW! I would never have thought up something like this...someday, I don't know why or where - maybe I will do this ;)

    Very clever! I used to throw danishes on the dash board when on long trips. They were usually nicely warmed up by the time I was ready for a snack.

    How long did your grilled cheese sandwiches take?

    this is really cool but I dont wanna jack up my Camaro

    I'm gonna have to do some searching for hot spots on the Prius, or start driving the truck xD Although both vehicles are dark grey, which would probably help with the hot spots... got me thinking now lol