Last weekend (11/12-11/13)... after covering the oven with aluminum foil and chicken wire, and surrounding it with a masonite form, we poured between 4-6 inches of perlite concrete (we experimented with between 8:1 and 12:1 ratios) over the dome of the oven.
After some trepidation (it seemed AWEFULLY loose) it seems to have cured fairly well, although there's still a lot of moisture in the perlite layer and holy COW, what a difference the insulation makes in terms of retaining heat inside the oven. The oven bricks were still quite hot 24 hours later (no thermocouples, so I can't tell you how hot), so that we couldn't keep our hands on the bricks for more than a few long seconds. :eek:
Last weekend, right before pouring the perlite, we made pizza and roasted a chicken in the oven. This weekend, when the oven was pizza ready, I put a cast iron skillet into the coals and we made a 2 inch thick Tuscan steak.
I'm still learning how to manage the heat, because I didn't get quite the crust I wanted on the steak, but it was rare, and it was heavenly!
Tuscan steak is a thick porterhouse cut (think T-bone with the filet in) seasoned with salt and pepper, seared on the outside and rare on the inside. When you take it off the grill, you place it on a platter covered with fresh garlic, sage leaves, and rosemary, and pour high quality olive oil over it. Cover with foil and let sit for several minutes before carving and serving.. and don't forget to use the mixed juices and olive oil for an au jus sauce! :)
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