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Old 06-27-2011, 07:55 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Tallahassee, FL
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Default An awesome cook with no food

First, if this post needs to be moved then please move it. However, what I cooked last night was a big load of lump charcoal. Also, excuse the narrative form here. It was an adventure and I don't want to short change it!

I have a Forno Bravo supplied shipping pallet in my garage that has been there for 2 years. I hated to throw it away, but wouldn't dare use it for cooking because it's fir. It's dry fir, but it's still fir, and softwoods smoke like crazy while they burn off their resin.

It's high grilling season here in Florida (but it always is!), and I've been playing with lump and briquettes. I've reused coals from the WFO in my grill before, and they work great. But yesterday I looked at that pallet and had an idea. Charcoal is just wood that's burned in the absence of oxygen. All wood smokes like crazy while it's being converted into charcoal, but the process burns off the volatile chemicals and leaves a hunk of pure carbon. I busted up the pallet and waited for the cover of darkness.

I started a heating fire in the WFO with dry sticks and branches...no big pieces of hardwood. I then stuffed it to the gills with dry pieces of the fir that I cut up and waited for the fire to push from front to back. Once it did (and IT DID BIIIIGGGG), I clamped on the door and plugged the air gap except for a venting hole. Lots of white smoke (cover of night!) and then thin blue smoke.

Here's the best part. I came back this morning, 10 hours later. As I approached the door I felt a lot of heat and thought, well crap, it had burned all night long and I would have an oven full of ash. I opened the door and there was a giant pile of smoldering lump charcoal. The air made it glow back into a flame, so I moved it to my kettle grill to smother it. I checked the temp inside the oven. It was 750 degrees, 10 hours later. I now have a full day of cooking in a hot oven and enough lump to fire my grill at least 3 times from a softwood that I normally couldn't burn.

Stan
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Old 06-27-2011, 09:02 AM
Faith In Virginia's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Virginia
Posts: 720
Default Re: An awesome cook with no food

Stan, I use soft wood all the time to heat the oven. I'm in the country so smoke is not an issue but once the oven clears it's hot and ready to go. I do keep a separate pile of wood for when I cook with coals in such as fruit and nut trees for pizza and other things. But to get the oven to temp anything goes. I don't use wood that has been painted or glued and sappy pine. But a 2x4 that has been deemed "too short to use" goes in to make my oven happy.
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Old 06-29-2011, 03:11 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: brisbane australia
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Default Re: An awesome cook with no food

Gi'day all

Yep Faith in Virginia I agree and burn anything to get the oven to saturation point. I live in Sub Tropical Queensland and everyone has a palm tree of some description in there Garden. They drop there fronds and are a real pain to get rid off. I get my oven up to hot !1/2 hour of heating then feed it with palm fronds for the next hour. There all full of oil so they burn like a bomb even a half dried one will burn in a hot oven. I'm a big hit with the neighbours as as sone as I flash the WFO there's a stream of palm fronds on offer....tell ya it saves on wood. Makes heaps of ash though but pull out 1/2 into a steel bucket burn some more hardwood and ... pizza time. The ovens fully saturated ..so next day 200c will keep you cooking what you want.


Regards Cobblerdave
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Old 07-01-2011, 03:19 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Tallahassee, FL
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Default Re: An awesome cook with no food

Dave,

I usually do the same thing with oak sticks in my neighborhood. The live oaks are constantly dropping sticks and limbs, and I drag them off for oven fodder.

On a completely different note, my fir charcoal burns GREAT. Clean startup, hot heat, low ash.

Stan
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Old 07-01-2011, 04:02 AM
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Default Re: An awesome cook with no food

Be careful when you pull the door off your "retort". A big flash is possible when the oxygen hits the smoldering fire.
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Old 07-01-2011, 09:15 AM
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Default Re: An awesome cook with no food

AWESOME ! that's great . thanks for share this.
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