On the road in a truck, space is a premium, so when you want to stock it with some culinary gear, you really want to find devices and gear that are compact, space saving, easy to operate, easy to clean and maintain.
I used to have a Keurig coffee maker in the truck. I bought it because I thought it would be easier to deal with only having the little K-Cups. I was wrong. The Keurig device couldn’t fill my mug in one go, so it took three K-Cups to get my morning brew. The cleaning of the device itself was time consuming, the system was prone to mold, and the K-Cups cost me a lot more money. I went to an electric percolator instead. Much cheaper to operate, easy to clean, didn’t have to run it multiple times and coffee stayed hot all day. Not to mention I saved over a hundred dollars a month not buying K-Cups, and I didn’t waste time refilling the reusable K-Cups.
What type of cooking tools you carry can vary on a number of factors, such as:
- What kind of food do you cook?
- Do you have an inverter, and if so what is the wattage and amps. Does the inverter plug into the 9 volt adapter or is it wired to the battery?
- Do you have refrigeration of some sort?
- Are you solo or team driving?
- What is your downtime like?
What kind of food you like to eat can also have an impact on what equipment you purchase. If you are the type that likes to keep things simple and that makes you happy, then you may be happy with a simple camp stove or electric skillet to make bacon and eggs, steak or sausage. If you get bored easily, then you may want to look into devices that allow a wider variety of cooking methods.
Devices such as a George Foreman Evolve grill that has options for interchangeable plates, Instant Pots or similar devices that allow you to slow cook, sauté, steam, pressure cook and more, or toaster ovens and air fryers can be used to cook a variety of foods. Some toaster ovens have a rotisserie option you can use to roast meat with.
If you do not have an inverter, camping and backpacking gear is great. You can get a good camp stove very inexpensively and use it to make a wide variety of meals. A company called Sea to Summit makes pots and kettles that have metal bases and collapsible silicon sides that are great space savers and work great on your camp stove.
Several companies such as Roadpro, Max Burton and Hot Logic make cooking tools that plug directly in your 9 volt outlets. I have to say though, most of this is junk. I tried several 9 volt drip coffee makers, and it would take hours for the things to brew one tiny cup of coffee. I tried several 9 volt electric skillets that took forever to heat up, and still did not get very hot. There are some useful devices though.
Most companies produce workable lunchbox ovens that can be used to produce tasty individual meals, the water kettles are generally pretty good, and the little crockpots are great for slowly reheating soups or stews, or even making homemade stuff in small amounts.
When I first started driving, I used my Roadpro lunchbox oven to make single person casseroles, roasts and meatloaf. You can make several days of pre-prepped food in the disposable aluminum trays, store them in your fridge or cooler, then just pop them in the oven when you’re ready.
With a small inexpensive 300 watt inverter that plugs into your 9 volt outlets, you can be easily run a full sized Crockpot on low to make some easily prepared meals such as soups, stews, chili, slow cooked meats and many other things. A skillet of some sort makes a great companion that will allow you to sauté or brown foods before slow cooking. You can also run a coffee maker, stick blender or small low wattage blender system, or a family size Hot Logic.
Cleaning your cooking gear on a truck can be difficult sometimes as you may not have adequate access to water, the sinks you have access to may be too small, or they have those valves that shut off. I often bring dirty dishes into the shower rooms at truck stops to use the sink in there to do dishes, so that can help.
If you buy cookware that has ceramic coating, cleanup can be much easier. Hardly anything sticks to the ceramic, (which also makes them great for making cheese crisps or tortillas). They can be easily cleaned by using a little water with some baking soda, vinegar and a paper towel.