On a clear, sunny day a whole frozen chicken can go straight from the freezer to the Sun Oven and, if the oven is refocused often, be fully cooked in 4 to 5 hours.

It’s not something I do often. I try to buy chicken, or any other kind of meat, the day before I plan on cooking it. If my plans change, I usually cut a whole bird up into pieces before freezing it. Having said that, just before the holiday rush I found myself with one that wasn’t going to make it to the dinner table anytime soon. I didn’t even have time to cut it up. I just trimmed off the excess fat, washed it, wrapped it up well and stuck it in the freezer.

The plan was to wait until the days were a little longer and the sun was a little higher in the sky before cooking it in the Sun Oven. (Remembering to take it out to defrost was something I knew would probably never happen.) But the darn thing took up too much room and was constantly getting in the way. Then it slipped out and hit me on the head. That was the last straw. I couldn’t wait any longer. Today would have to be the day.

The morning sky looked promising. Plenty of sun and not a cloud in sight. Unfortunately, by early afternoon the marine layer was starting to move in. By mid-afternoon it was obvious that the clouds were going to win the race. The probe thermometer had reached 170F, close but not quite done. So into the conventional oven it went to finish up, and not to mention, brown nicely.

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