Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cook On Wood Stoves

Maintaining a constant supply of firewood to the woodstove is integral to successful cooking.

Wood stoves originated in the 17th century, when they primarily served to heat homes. The first dual-purpose wood stoves, known as Step-top cook stoves, were produced in the 1820s, and proliferated as a cooking device in the second half of the 19th century. Wood stoves operate on simple principles, but cooking with them requires successful management of the flue, the oven damper and firebox vents. Add this to my Recipe Box.


1. Ensure that there is a free passage of air from the firebox to the chimney. Open the slide under the firebox and the oven damper on the direct draft shaft to the chimney. Add kindling to the firebox and ignite it with kitchen matches. Add firewood to the firebox. After establishing the fire, close the oven damper.

2. Cultivate a flow of oxygen to the fire by maintaining a draft through the stove to the chimney. Keep the air flowing by partially closing the stovepipe's damper, opening the slide in the broiler drawer or adjusting the position of the lids over the fire.

3. Heat the oven for baking by closing the oven damper. Several variables affect the temperature of wood stoves and the preparation times of the foods cooked in them. In a wood-burning stove the area over the firebox receives the most direct heat, the center receives the most indirect heat and the side opposite the firebox receives the least heat. Because of the nature of airflow, wood stoves have areas within the oven that receive more heat than others, commonly referred to as hot spots. Only repeated use will determine these areas. However, certain foods, such as meats, should cook to a safe minimum internal temperature. Allow whole beef products, such as roasts, to reach a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Pork items should have an internal temperature of 160 degrees F and poultry must reach 165 degrees F for safe consumption. When baking, turn the item 180 degrees halfway through to facilitate uniform cooking.

4. Monitor the food as it cooks on the stove top. Adjust the placement of pans as necessary; for instance, place foods that require low heat and long cooking times, such as roux-based sauces and soups, on the side of the stove opposite the firebox. Place items that require high heat in short durations, such as saut ed vegetables, directly over the firebox.

Tags: oven damper, internal temperature, firebox receives, internal temperature degrees, minimum internal, minimum internal temperature, opposite firebox