Green Power Science has the most information on solar cooking with the high powered solar cookers such as parabolics, Fresnels, and Archimedes Mirrors.
The easiest way to make a parabolic cooker is to coat a Dish Network satellite dish with reflective material. The dish is easy to get for free since Dish Network does not want their dish back when you are no longer their customer.
These are so ubiquitous I saw yet another one listed as a curb alert freebie on our Inland Empire Craig’s list. I picked it up today! Generally, items on Craig’s List go within a day.
Here are instructions to make a parabolic cooker. Do not work in the sun. This is a dangerous DIY project. Make sure to watch the videos all the way through. Listen and take to heart the warnings given.
I have read several methods of making a parabolic. In one plan the fellow used Mylar snack bags for his reflective material. He had good results. I plan to use Mylar from large chips bags. My husband and son will not mind empty the bags in the name of science!
You will notice the worse parabolic, the one made with Mylar from chips bags, is still hot enough to set wood on fire. It doesn’t heat up as fast and may not heat up as high as a parabolic with a more mirror-like finish, but I don’t think I need more heat to cook. If it takes a little longer to cook, that will probably improve the flavor.
Solar Cooking With A Parabolic Mirror
The mirror in this video is 48″ diameter which is the best size for cooking with. From what I have read the Dish Network dish’s smaller diameter will result in less heat.
Here are a few recipes offered by Green Solar Science to show you how to use a parabolic cooker. Due to the high temperatures, the best foods to parabolic cook would be the same as those on a rocket stove. These folks have a great sense of humor. I appreciate their ability to have fun while creating cool stuff: