How big should your fire be?
i'm using almond. it does take a while to burn off the soot (i think it may have something to do with the fact that my dome is a couple inches higher than recommended). *i've started making bigger fires. (the best fires are those that are made by the kids... they have no fear !!!).*
i know the oven is hot even before the soot burns off just by comparing the way the heat feels compared to the heat of a 425 degree oven for instance. i am going to get a thermometer for xmas however but more for curiousity's sake than anything else. it seems that unless you are cooking bread you can pretty much "eyeball" the oven and figure out how long something is going to take to cook (although i'm still surprised by the fact that something so, so, so hot can still keep food so, so so moist...)
How long does it take for the soot to burn off? How many pieces of Almond (great wood) are you burning to get the dome hot?
I am thinking that 8 pieces of 2"-3"x4"x20"-24" splits should do it in about an hour. You should have a great fire going where the flames just lap at the opening of the oven and wrap all around the dome.
that must be it. my fires aren't manly enough. i'll*try to*boost*my testosterone levels prior to the next fire !!! ;>)
Careful though. Make sure it's burning well before you load it up.
Otherwise it will starve for air and smolder.
Exactly. Try building a 2-4 piece fire (plus kindling to really get
it going), then when it is burning well, add the next 3 or so pieces,
building the fire toward the outside and back. You are trying to
"fill" the whole dome with retained heat, so it works better having
fire at the edges of the oven as well as the middle.
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