Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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david_perry@btconnect.com 12-10-2006 10:03 AM

New oven
 
Hi everyone, I am new here. be gentle!

I am in the wet lands of England but I still love a good barbequeue (no, not the usual Trd. Brit. pile of burnt offering jammed between a bun and covered in ketchup) and I think it's time to move up to a pukker oven. Furthermore, I have no oven at the moment due to building works and it's two weeks to Christmas!

Would I get a brick oven up and running in time do you think?? I have nothing much else to do all day (yeah, as if).

David

maver 12-10-2006 11:31 AM

good things come...
 
Consider you need a week (usually) to cure the oven properly. If you are an accomplished mason with several helpers, there is precedent for building an oven in 2 days (there are several masonry "workshops" that have done this with photoalbums of their progress on the web). For most of us it takes a few weeks just to acquire materials, individualize our use of the plans and excavate. Good luck!

david_perry@btconnect.com 12-11-2006 04:59 AM

maver, thanks for that. It'll be a decent project for the post-Christmas blues period!

david

jengineer 12-11-2006 01:13 PM

David welcome aboard.

Please change your "handle" otherwise you will gets buckets of mail from spammers. If may need todrop yourself out of the forum and re-up or see if the moderator can help you out. You will definately want something else up there. Chip heads routinely get into forums and have written programs that look for users IDS in the text sectrions. You have just broadcasted your info to everyone.

One place to look for quick build Ovens of unusual design is at MHA. Once a year these folks have a meeting and they build and fire up a pizza oven in about 3 days. It later gets torn down and the materials are recycled for another project. This year they did a few unique things. They used soapstone for the floor rather than fire brick and the used an egg shaped floorplan rather than circular. One of these years I will be tempted to go to their annual meeting just to watch them build the oven. There seems to be a lot of hands on building and certificate testing too.

http://mha-net.org/docs/v8n2/wildac06.htm

http://mha-net.org/docs/v8n2/wildac06b.htm

cupofteaandasliceofcake 12-13-2006 08:31 AM

good luck with your new oven
 
I'm also uk based (hertfordshire) and intend to roast a leg of lamb outdoors this christmas eve/ day and as yet have made no preparation apart from to accrue a load of bricks from freecycle (some aren't even clean) . I'm pretty sure that what I eventually make will bear no resemblence to the polished versions described here, but unfortunately my partner has told a whole host of people that I'm going to do this so I'm committed (should be committed?)...I'd be interested to hear how your getting along.
It must be possible to build something in a short time period (famous last words)...I just guess it wont be too efficient on wood and might not last a long time, but surely if someone offered you a million quid to do it- you'd do it:eek: .

All the best..pete

james 12-13-2006 09:19 AM

Pete,
Were I in your position (thankfully I'm not) :) -- I would do something I could take apart later and, either re-do, or re-use the materials.

For example, you could pour one 4" thick concrete pad (with some chicken wire) and a one 2" pad in forms and let them dry. Then raise the 4" one up to about 40" using dry stacked concrete blocks (I forget what they are called in English), to be your hearth. Lay a course of clay bricks on their sides for the cooking floor. Then, you could build square oven walls by mortaring standard clay bricks up about 20" -- leaving a door opening. Lay the second concrete pad on top. If you really were going for it, you could create a stone or concrete lintel to frame to top of the door open, so it would be shorter than the top of the oven.

Fire the oven, and your are off and running. The brick will absorb enough heat to cook, and while the design is imperfect, it would go up quickly. You would only have to make it large enough to hold the fire and the roast. Perhaps 24" square.

Take care, the outside of the bricks would get really hot. Hmmm.

OK everybody, would it work? Would you do it?
James

CanuckJim 12-13-2006 10:01 AM

Working?
 
James,

I wouldn't do it this way unless I absolutely had to. Would it work? Yes, for a while, but it would eat loads of wood. Then again, cuppa is definitely under the social and marital gun, so he's got no choice. Your quickie instructions are right on the money, James, and I don't think Herts. has much of a problem with frost this time of year. Just keep the tipsy guests away from the brick walls once the oven has been heated.

Jim

cupofteaandasliceofcake 12-13-2006 10:04 AM

thank you for your advice...and dont laugh I'm serious!
 
...Hmmm...I hope I haven't come over as overly cocky with that last posting as I do respect experience! .Truth is, I hope to get this leg of lamb cooked and whilst I was surfing the web, I came across various methods of cooking. The simplest was the pit method...lighting a big fire over stones, clearing the ashes etc etc...then an adobe oven...and finally magnificent edifices worthy of wren and pompeii. Given my limited experience I thought of basically creating a small dome on a brick base...then smearing the whole lot with eg clayish soil from the garden...then lighting a fire, downing a bottle of wine for internal marination purposes and staying clear of the house on christmas morning whilst my 3 children trash the house and wait eagerly for their burnt/ raw leg of lamb. If all else fails I can always revert to the magnetron although I guess this will be difficult to integrate into my solution as I'll have to roll out a 200 foot extension lead and try to keep it clear of mud ;)

It is actually my intention to build something non-permanent and I would rather avoid concrete in the first instance as it adds complexity to my simple mind and will be a pig to dispose of. Longer term...I was thinking of incorporating a spit in front of the open firemouth, to give the meat that lovely caramelised surface...and then to cook for longer at a lower temperature inside the oven. I have already had a couple of successful lamb leg spit roasts and thought this might be fun.

there you go...the worst that can happen is that we have a vegetarian christmas

james 12-13-2006 11:47 AM

Minimal risk?
 
Someone once taught me that minimizing the maximum downside risk was the right way to consider difficult decisions (MinMax). I have to say that a brick dome has considerable downside -- veggie Christmas.

If you are feeling brave, and want to make something wonderful (maximum upside) that might completely fall apart (maximum downside), it is definitely possible that you could build a brick dome using clay to hold it together. It is equally conceivable that it would fall down. The dome itself is the trouble spot. While self-standing, domes can be challenging.

If you are ready to start building, we are ready to help. We will wait to hear more.....

One more thing -- is that a bottle of Italian, Spanish or Australian? Chianti, Rioja, or Shiraz ? That could swing the decision.
James

dmun 12-13-2006 02:06 PM

When I was a kid, for the summer picnic, neighbors would dig a hole, line it with rock, build a fire all night, then shovel out the coals and roast a suckling pig in the prepared hole. As I recall, the hole was covered with just a piece of sheet metal roofing, so it could be lifted to check progress. You might do this with your freecycle brick, and have your footings partly dug for your oven project next summer.

Roast animals have been cooked this way since the dawn of human history.


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