Athletics and Recreation

Off Grid Outdoor Kitchen at the Log Cabin, Why Build It?

Off Grid Outdoor Kitchen at the Log Cabin, Why Build It?


(birds chirping) – Hi everybody, Shawn James
here from My Self Reliance. Over the last year, I built this cabin that I’m sitting in front of right here for my wife and I and our dog. So, you might be wondering why I’m building this outdoor
kitchen and why it’s so big? So, the main reason is I don’t have air conditioning in the cabin, obviously, so the trees are basically
my air conditioning. The issue is that this is a small cabin and if I was to fire up that wood stove like I did all winter and spring, it would be unbearably hot inside. So, this is the temperature
inside right now and this is the temperature outside. So, as you can imagine, I don’t
want to cook inside the cabin. So, this outdoor cooking pavilion, this “forest kitchen”
is my answer to that. It’s 10-by-10, square roughly, I have an irregular roof line, and over the next few weeks
I’ll be building a grill, a stone barbecue, a rocket stove to act sort of like a side burner for cooking vegetables and boiling water, boiling kettles for tea
and coffee and so on. And then, along the backside, I’ll be making a pizza oven
or a bread oven out of clay, so an earthen oven. So, I’m really looking forward to getting these things done so that I can get outside
and do all my cooking. Right now, I am boiling water and cooking my meals on the open campfire, as you’ve probably seen on
the grill and on the tripod, where I’ll suspend a
crock pot or something. So, that’s great, but it’s
a little bit too rustic. First of all, it uses up a lot of firewood and it’s uncomfortable bending over and not having a proper table to sit at, so this outdoor kitchen
is the answer to that. So, I mentioned one of
the things I will be doing is making a bunch of charcoal here. Probably wait until the
kitchen is just about done and I’ll make a whole load of charcoal that I can store inside the
outdoor kitchen somewhere or in a separate coal bin. But the reason for that is
this is an all-wood structure. It’s going to have
likely, I haven’t decided, ’cause I really build organically, depending on what materials I have, so I plan on making a bunch of
cedar shakes and roofing it. So, what I’m going to end up with is a complete wood structure that, when dry, it can be very
susceptible to fire. So that’s why the roof line is so high, but also why I’ll mainly
use charcoal for cooking because I don’t want sparks going up and catching that structure on fire. And I do have fire extinguishers, I do have the stream behind me here that I can continue to bring water up and I’ll always have
water there in the kitchen in case of a fire, but also
for cooking and cleaning. If you’ve been following my channel, and I hope you have been, if not, then make sure you check out the playlists on building this cabin, you’ll find out that I
build very organically, depending on what
materials I have on hand. I’m trying to do as much
as I can from the land. I have to bring some wood in, I have to bring some other
outside building materials in, and what I end up with is
sort of organic structures that are not very compliant to code or they just don’t follow
what a lot of people would consider proper building practices. So, the structure of this outdoor kitchen, you wouldn’t call it timber frame, you wouldn’t call it log home building. I’m not sure what it is. I’m just using some techniques that I’m figuring out as I go. And it’s going to evolve
over the next several weeks as I finish the pavilion,
the structure itself, and then I move down into the bottom where I’m going to make
that grill out of stone. I might do some cordwood
base for the countertops. And, of course, why I’m building
it is to get outside more, spend more time cooking outdoors, which I really love to do,
to get out of the cabin. The cabin is a fantastic winter structure and it’s a great place to sleep and relax and get out of the rain and so on, but it’s too warm for the most part to be inside during the summer,
and I just love it outdoors. I just want to spend as much
time outside as possible, sitting on the porch, sitting
under the outdoor kitchen, exploring the surrounding
forest and waterways, getting out fishing and hunting and foraging and just enjoying nature. And Cali loves it here
too. My wife loves it. (birds chirping) So, another thing I should of mentioned is that the logs, all the
logs that you see here I cut down either on a friend’s property or my sister’s property, in addition to the stuff
that I cut down here. I don’t have that many pine,
cedar, or fir on the property, so I wasn’t able to take
everything I needed for the cabin, the outdoor kitchen, and the workshop, and then any accessory building. So, I really have to thank
my sister and my two friends, they know who they are, for letting me harvest
trees on their property and put them to good use. So, their forest actually needed thinning. In fact, they still need thinning. The trees are growing way too closely. They were planted years
ago, a lot of them, and then the natural groves
of cedar are so dense that you can’t even walk through them and there’s no undergrowth at all, so it was beneficial to
start thinning them out. So, since I cut them down last spring and the previous winter, they’ve aged, probably not quite enough fully to use for this kinda construction, but better than anything I cut down here or cut down in the future. So, that’s why you see me
using whatever I have on hand and whatever I can lift
for the higher beams for the work that I’m doing
instead of just saying, “Well, I just need a
different type of wood; “I’ll go pick that up.” I can’t do that. So, that’s why the construction methods and the choice of materials are so odd. So, I filmed that first
part a couple weeks ago before I released episode two, and I just didn’t get a chance to edit it and upload it until now. So, one of the questions
I’m getting, of course, and I expected, and rightfully
so, is why is it so wonky and sort of organic
shape rather than linear? The cabin, I always
envisioned it being more of a, like a trapper’s cabin, more natural, more moss-covered, and just more organic. So, because that cabin
kinda of just came together based on the materials that I had and the site and everything else and time, it was taking me longer
than I thought it would for one man using mostly hand tools, I thought I could knock it off quicker, but anyway, I’m still happy with it, but I do wish that it was
a little bit more organic. So, I thought, in the
next cabin, I’ll do that. I’ll get a little bit more
creative with the lines. This forest kitchen, since it’s evolved beyond what I originally planned, which was just sort of
a barbecue in the open, and then the pizza oven, because
I’m making it out of clay, it won’t harden, so it has to be covered, protected from the rain. So I thought, “Well,
I’ll put a little roof “over top of that,” and
that led to this big roof. So, I like this idea better anyway, so it’s a full cooking pavilion that is protected from the weather and also I can store wood and
stuff like that under here, but it’s also somewhere I can eat because I’m getting tired
of just sitting on benches and rocks and stuff and eating off my lap. So, I’m excited about this. So, the organic nature of the
structure is for that reason. And now, as I’m sitting here building and putting this thing together with all just random logs and stuff that I have lying around, I’m kinda liking that it’s
starting to look like a tree, so now I’m just running with that idea. I’ve got all kinds of cross braces. Instead of just doing the
typical regular cross braces in the corners, I’m
making it like branches and I’m having them all over the place. In fact, once I finish
doing the interior work, like the stone work and everything, I think I’ll get back up there and add sorta like spiderweb
sticks and stuff like that, kinda making it really, really organic. And then the roof, being cedar shakes, I’ll probably spread some
moss spores on there. And since the structure’s mostly in shade because of these big maple trees, I think the moss will start to grow, especially here on the north side. Now, the wood, you’re wondering, I’m sure, you just keep seeing me
disappear down the driveway or down the path and
coming back with wood, the 12-inch boards, I had
to go back to that same mill that I bought the roof boards
and the floor boards at. Really, really cheap, and I’m looking at my
dwindling pile of logs and I know that if I cut
all of that into planks, I’m going to run out of wood before I get my workshop
in the next cabin done. So, I thought, “I hate to do it again, “I hate to buy in wood, “especially now that I’m using
a chainsaw, first of all, “and I have an Alaskan chainsaw mill, “hate to also buy wood, but
I have to buy logs anyway “or I have to go through the forest “and start selectively cutting wood, “but it won’t be ready to use
for at least a year or two.” So, if I have to do it anyway, I’d rather go to this country
mill that I get my wood at. So cheap, it’s all rough
lumber, it’s unseasoned, but it’s better than what I would cut, and they have lots of it. It’s coming from managed forests as well, so basically all of the
material used for this cabin is coming from very well-managed forests. None of it’s been from clear cuts. It’s either plantations
from years and years ago or thick, thick cedar woods that you saw me cutting stuff down. So, if you want to watch this or you wanna watch some
of the other projects that I’m working on,
then please subscribe. And if you wanna make sure
that you don’t miss anything, click on that notification bell so that when I upload a
video you’ll be notified. Every single Friday, I will
be uploading these videos, and I have been doing that
for the last six months and I’ll continue to do that, but I do post random videos like this one in the middle of the week, and often it’s about something related, but a little bit more of an update or more information
about me or my philosophy or whatever else is going
on in my life at the time. So, like I said, please subscribe. Let me know what you think and
what you’d like to see here. If there’s any parts of
my life that are missing that you’d like to know more about, just ask me below and
try to get back to you. Anyway, I gotta go, I gotta
get back to work here. Really appreciate you watching and I look forward to seeing
you at the cabin next time. Take care. (birds chirping)


Reader Comments

  1. Thanks for watching again. I am sitting inside on this beautiful day editing another video for release on Wednesday, appropriately about how I'm dealing with the bugs. Up until now, they haven't been an issue really in the immediate area around the cabin, but for the past few days, I'm getting extra annoyed by mosquitoes, blackflies and deer flies – triple threat! My solution – get out on the lake and go fishing as much as possible!

  2. I'm Liking it all and the spider web look extra smaller log/sticks up near the roof around the sides front and back Yeh i thought that as you were doing it, great look .. :))) creative and different . thanks for uploading, editing another beaut Vid .

  3. Hey Shawn… Long time viewer with a couple of questions.
    Have you had any injuries or near misses during construction?? AND, do you still sell your Stickers and Patches with your My Self Reliance logo???

    Cheers Ryan, London Ont

  4. An electric fridge in the kitchen would be convenient. I know it doesn’t seem organic outdoors, but great for cold beers, beef franks, and rolls.

  5. Hey Shawn. Thanks for the project overview. You mentioned an intent to use primarily charcoal. I’m curious if you’re planning on making the charcoal yourself with wood from the property? Could certainly be an interesting video if you did!

  6. Just wanted to tell ya, if you don’t like the bitterness of a red, green or yellow pepper when you cut it you want to go at an angle and try your best to avoid the bright whitish color on the inner of the pepper, just wanted to help you enjoy your food more, cheers

  7. I think you're done an excellent job keep up the good work I'm enjoying coming along on the journey with you

  8. I think you may have mentioned it in your video, but if not a table for 4 might be a nice touch under that kitchen shelter. For when the grandkids, or other guests stop by to enjoy the outdoors and your company. Oh yes, almost forgot CONGRATS on the 400K mark. Been watching your videos for some time, starting back with the foundation of your cabin. Love what your are doing and how you do it. Hard to beat your location or filming style as well. Keep up the awesome and inspiring work you are doing. Just make sure you take the time to enjoy it (and your surroundings) as well, because your passion and drive clearly show in your videos.

  9. Hey Shawn,

    I completely understand the concern you have for the outdoor kitchen catching fire. I also love the organic tree them the pavilion has. However don't you think adding tinder to give the idea of branches is also a fire hazard? Possibly thick rope could be used in the same way and you could hang things (pots, pans, clothes, skins etc) off the rope to give it a functional purpose as well. I believe the desired tree theme wouldnt be lost with this change. I do understand that rope is also flammable but I know it os less likely to ignite the same way dry branches would. I believe there is something you could work into the rope to make it fire retardant. If it does get too hot please use a tent.

  10. Been a while since I've commented..Been busy being more self reliant and getting outdoors again. I owe a lot of that to your inspiration Shawn. Thank you for being you and thanks for the great videos. The kitchen is looking amazing!!

  11. Are you going to be getting solar in the future? Great for running some fans in the cabin. A fantastic type two way fan that runs on 12v would be a great wall or roof vent to control the temp indoors.
    Looking forward to the bug video. Must be brutal at times.

  12. I get so tired watching one work. One is good working with wood. The out door kitchen area can be used to put up Hammocks to sleep in too. Just saying. I wanted to help one build the cabin, one really worked hard.

  13. ดูทุกคลิปเลยคะสนุกมาก คุณใช้น้ำที่ไหนคะขุดบ่อ หรือมีปะปา

  14. Wonderful job. (New sub)
    Are you going to have a rain catch system in the new kitchen.? I have one at my cabin. Saves on lugging water. I think I'd rather do firewood than carry water to fill a 55gal plastic drum. LoL.
    I have another one for outdoor shower.
    Cheers.

  15. Can’t wait to see it when your done. 🙂 I am on vacation I’ve had to catch up on a few vids..congrats on 400k..👍🏻👏🏻 love watching Cali catch the dirt lol😁

  16. Hi Rebecca Brandon from Australia here……just love your outdoor kitchen fantastic idea. Originally kitchens were always a separate room down here,a logical move I say! fabulous viewing cheers

  17. First time subscriber to your channel. Been watching from the beginning on YouTube. Question. Out door kitchen. Why so high? Have thoughts I’d like to share with you.

  18. Completely blow off naysayers that appraise your creativity as wonky, Shawn. If LeCorbusier  had listened to detractors, the world wouldn't have had Chapel de Ronchamp and Frank's Falling Water would have never inspired the next creative wave. BUILD ON!

  19. I like how your getting creative with this project instead of building the expected. What difference does it make whether or not the lines are level or symmetrical – if it functions, provides purpose, and makes you happy, you are way beyond the initial concept anyway.

  20. Can you go into more detail about how you treated the bottom part of the logs you put below grade? I noticed in a video you were using the fire, but is there something else you put on them? Thanks man. Keep the great videos coming.

  21. A double barrel outdoor stove and a spark arrestor during fire season. All fire use copper hot water heater. Timber stand improvement. TSI build jinn pole for log lifting. 3/8" cable compound hand winch

  22. using wet sand for the earthen oven is a must anybody when know what it is should know what I'm saying.

  23. I binge watched a bunch of your episodes yesterday. Thank you for all your post!! What camera and do you shoot on?

  24. lol I would officially classify you as a "functionalist"…hehehehe It may not be up to code…it may not follow any established traditional method of construction…but it's functional. And isn't that really all that matters in the end? lol Love your stuff Shawn! You've got something special going on here….Keep it up!!! 🙂

  25. Shawn, I am ultra excited for this pizza oven haha I have been dying to make one. My grandfather told me how he used to build them by making a pile of wet sand and building the bricks over it then digging out the sand. Cheers!

  26. Only suggestion is lots of screening around kitchen & between house and kitchen. Not permanent could be raised as needed. Black flies and mosquitos as reason. In my youth I spent my summers at a place with such a kitchen. And it is.usable 3 of 4 seasons in Northern Wisconsin.

  27. Not sure if you mentioned this before, but how far is this cabin located from the nearest town/city and road? Also how far is it from your normal house? Thanks for the all nice video's!

  28. Was there a reason for the irregular roof? Just curious I remember watching it and I kept thinking to myself that thing is crooked….no its not then again yeah it is. Finally caught up on your videos n I see it is indeed irregular. Only thing missing is a trench for running water? Ha love the videos keep em coming maybe in a year or so Ill be able to do something similar been a dream of mine to build my own cabin someday

  29. Your comment about creating moss , I found by accident , putting sawdust on interlocking bricks I get lots of moss. Great video Shawn

  30. Hi Shawn,
    Here in BC we have campfire bans regularly in the summer. In fact last summer was a terrible year and the lower mainland (where I live) had smog for almost all of August due to fires in the interior. Is this an issue at your cabin? Will fire bans affect your ability to cook your food in your outdoor kitchen?
    Love the videos. Your cabin and outlook on life are an inspiration.
    -Al

  31. Hey Shawn, I have a few questions; Do you own the land you build on? If so, how do you go about purchasing this kind of land? Also, why can't you use logs that you cut down until 1 year later, why do you have to let them age?

    I'm loving the content btw!

  32. Hello, I am a new subscriber. Can't get enough of your videos. Seems like I have hoped around instead of watching in order. I want to see the one when you built the outhouse. I love outhouses. Lol

  33. Just letting you know I’m still watching all your videos. Thank for sharing your adventures. Tight lines and God bless. O and happy Fathers Day

  34. Great all around… just transition it to OUR self reliance , if you both should care to do so… teamwork and mutual support.. as well different opinions on options that you both face… will enhance this channel beyond belief.

  35. You need to number your videos so a person can follow your progress. For instance in this video the cabin has furniture, table and chairs, etc. when did that happen?

  36. Want this so bad for myself but at this point I have no means to do this. It's just a dream. I'm only 35 so it can still be achieved but the question now is when.. love these videos gives me a break from all the non sense I see on YouTube

  37. Yeah, outdoor kitchen makes all the sense in the World during the warmer months. Look forward to the final product!

  38. Building code is just the man tryna stop you from being able to build your own house without em knowin. I'm kinda being sarcastic there, but there's some truth to it

  39. hi shawn i have a question. how far away do you live from the cabin when your not there?
    and how far away do you live from joe,doug and scambled o?
    I also purchased my cabin life t shirt today. when it arrives in australia ill let you know. love the kitchen so far mate.

  40. 🔥Hello Shawn I just stumbled across your site yesterday and watched the episode where you discussed having to make compromise and meet in the middle ground. You’re were building the bench seat for the dog a yourself. First I wanted to suggest watching Homesteading with DOUG and Stacy, They do not have solar use a small ringer washer off a generator and use many things from a time way back. They are lucky since they are close to the Amish. They went from a very large home to 800 sq ft built an awesome outside kitchen and just completed a very nifty shower set up from rain water. They don’t mind questions. You mentioned needing satellite for some type of computer connection. Since you’re in CA I don’t know what services are available so I will just explain what I have. Through ATT I have a usb connection it’s about the size of a lighter it can go anywhere I live in the desert did not have cable, dish or landline 📞 I have no limit on the amount I use. I also have Verizon for cell and no limits so if I chose to I could ditch ATT and use the hotspot for the computer. Just a couple of ideas for you and how to get inspiration from others. Also have you considered selling shirts or hats with the logo on your door and or Patreon? When you have a moment to answer this you made a lunch out of apple 🍎 a 🍐 and blueberry I think you put cinnamon in it but couldn’t determine what the clusters were in ball jar and if you used butter or some other medium to cook with. You’re really doing a great job and Cali seems to enjoy it to. Thank you for your time🍑

  41. Your drone was mpney well spent, you get some amazing footage from it that really transcends well though video how amazing the area and outdoors life is.

  42. Shawn..bud, there's no substitute for room especially if your battling cabin fever..glad you went large.. I have a tendency to cook outside myself.. might think of creating a seasoning oven for the cast you continue to cook with.. keeps the patina fresh and the tastes original..keep up the good work

  43. Please don't become a slave to the death culture man, you're free you don't need them,they need you. I love your videos and the cassy, I wish you well

  44. Just started watching! This is great channel.. I am really inspired by what you have achieved, congrats! You may have already answered this question but what do you do for bug control so you do not get eaten alive? Thank you for your time and keep on keeping on!

  45. Personally I wouldn't worry about how people think about how you build. Do you and they can do themselves and be happy

  46. nice to that side of you Shawn, what happens at the cabin is your life and im privileged that you share what you do…pete.

  47. Hiya Shawn. Ok so I asked about the irregular kitchen roofline and you referred me to this video. I wondered if there was a functional reason for that like melting snow to funnel it over a specific area (that was my only functionality guess *grins*) but it seems that design was meant for an artistic/organic reason as opposed to anything you had in mind for functionality… as I understand it? Plz, correct me if I'm wrong. Ok, then a personal touch like Shawn James signature. I can live with that. *Grins* THX.

  48. I'd been wondering about the wonky roof line but since I like it and it was clearly a design element, never asked. Now I know and thank you for that. It's pretty amazing really and part of it's value is how well it works regardless of the season. I also didn't understand the jet stove until someone's bushcraft video enlightened me. Now it makes sense and that's cool. It clearly works very rapidly and uses so little fuel that it is a definite winner! You built loads of counterspace at a great height for both you and your wife. Your forest kitchen should provide many years of comfortable use for you and your family.

  49. Спасибо за прекрасное видио, красивые уголки, нашей прекрасной планеты, за военные фильмы, удачи вам, в вашей прекрасной работе !

  50. Aha, you just answered a question I asked earlier today, on another video, re the shape of the forest kitchen roof🤗

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