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Ellie 08-13-2012 11:49 AM

Door closed or open?
I need a little help with my oven. I've cooked chicken before, and roasts. Here is the thing: When I close the oven door to hold in the heat, the fire goes out.

Is there supposed to be a fire going while you roast, say a whole chicken or roast or whatever?

Should the door be closed or open? does your fire go out when you close the door?

Thanks, I built my oven with help from here a few years ago and just retired last month, so NOW I have the time to play with it. :D


david s 08-13-2012 01:53 PM

Re: Door closed or open?
I always close the door fully when roasting or baking and yes, the fire goes out. Try throwing some smoking chips on the coals just before you place the roast. With no flame because the door is shut, they smoke beautifully. You need less than you'd think.

moderator 08-13-2012 02:34 PM

Re: Door closed or open?
Hi Ellie,

Thank you for your post. Yes, when you place the door in the oven the fire does go out. The oven is designed to retain the heat of the fire when the fire goes out, therefore baking or roasting your food perfectly.


SableSprings 08-13-2012 02:55 PM

Re: Door closed or open?
I've done chicken, ribs, and roast with both fire and no fire methods and I think each method is spectacular in its own unique way. However, I only close the door fully when I've pulled out the majority (or all) of my fire/coals...I don't use the door to snuff my fire anymore. I closed the door fully on a fire once and opened it up later to be greeted by a back draft fire...just a little too up close & personal when a fire comes out at you with a big whomp! I was really glad that I 1) have a heavy fire door, 2) only opened it up a little, and 3) that I didn't look in immediately. I don't want to ever repeat that experience! If I want some smoke or a little fire during a roasting session, I find that I can leave the door open about an inch or two and I get just what I want.

I appreciate that others have success with closing the door to kill the fire and get some extra smoke on the food...I just am a little leary about using that method after my little "flash-bang" experience. I talked to a fire fighter friend and he said most people know that an active fire needs much more air than just active coals. But, he continued, what most people don't know is how little oxygen it takes to keep a coal "alive" and how long it can remain alive with minimal resources. He thought it was much safer to pull the majority of fire/coals out before closing the bake door since very few fire doors are completely air tight when closed. Too much combustible material with heat/coals in a hot, oxygen starved system is the formula for a back draft fire. So again, I've found that by keeping my door open just enough to keep a low flame going, I get plenty of smoke on my food and that is now my personal choice for this type of cooking in the WFO environment.

Also remember that you've got a lot of heat coming at the food from all angles when the oven is fully heat loaded and even if you remove the fire & coals, you aren't going to experience that much temp drop by having the door open an inch or two (depending on your oven) during a normal 1-2 hr bake. Frankly, I usually fire the oven until it's fully heat loaded, clean it out & equalize temps, bake 15-20 loaves of bread (in 3-4 batches) and then roast my chickens, bake my potatoes, or cook my pork roast. I figure it's the best use of my one firing when I can use the slowly declining temps to cook several items in sequence.

Ellie 08-13-2012 03:17 PM

Re: Door closed or open?
Thanks so much for the great advice. It looks like I can close the door, though not all the way, which is probably the best of all worlds. I really do thank you and hope to be more involved as I start cooking more.

Though, today I could probably toss the bird out on the sidewalk, it is 110 degrees outside :eek:


mrchipster 08-13-2012 03:39 PM

Re: Door closed or open?
Oh come now... Closing the door with fire still going is very safe if you have a door that seals well. You or an experience operator should be the only ones near the oven and if you are aware that there may be a backdraft it is very easy to keep out of the way. The backdraft will only happen within a very few minutes of the door being closed anyway.

Besides it is really cool to hear the Woof... And see the flames leap from the mouth of the oven and flue.

As is probably clear here I enjoy the fire.


david s 08-13-2012 06:18 PM

Re: Door closed or open?
When doing a roast I usually only fire for one hour. The oven is nowhere near saturated with heat, but it's plenty for a roast. There are not many coals left as not much wood has gone in. I let the flame die, push the coals aside, place the roast and fit the door tight. This method saves both time and fuel.

GianniFocaccia 08-13-2012 06:49 PM

Re: Door closed or open?
When cooking a roast, wouldn't a blast door operate much like the vents on a smoker or barbecue? That way one could keep a low fire going for an extended period of time while anointing the food with precious smoke flavor.

Tscarborough 08-13-2012 07:38 PM

Re: Door closed or open?
To me, the basic utility of a WFO for cooking roasts and what not is that there is no fire or direct heat involved. When cooking anything other than pizza, I fire the oven and remove all coals and ash, and door it to equalize the oven.

mrchipster 08-13-2012 08:34 PM

Re: Door closed or open?

Originally Posted by GianniFocaccia (Post 136649)
When cooking a roast, wouldn't a blast door operate much like the vents on a smoker or barbecue? That way one could keep a low fire going for an extended period of time while anointing the food with precious smoke flavor.

When there are coals in the oven they seem to be getting oxygen from somewhere, possible small leaks via the door or within the hairline cracks that have appeared. My oven does not sit on my floor so there is a possible way for air to get in under the floor via the insulation board also. If I leave coals of any size they can remain hot for days with the door closed. Just a little paper and my blow pipe can generate a flame in less than a minute after 2 days with the door closed.

I think a blast door would loose to much heat because they are typically uninsulated.


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