Oven temps with charcoal briquets

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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
OTBS Member
Apr 23, 2007
Just south of Hotlanta
I thought that this may come in handy to some. It is from the book "Cooking the Dutch Oven Way" by Woody Woodruff.

I new the author years ago when I was in Scouting as a youth.

The key is temperature control, use good quality hardwood charcoal, reduce the number of briquets by one or two between ovens if you stack them. You can add the charcoal unlit to the ovens as you cook letting the existing charcoals light the new ones or you can keep a supply burning near the fire to replenish as needed.

Other than using your dutch oven on the stove, charcoal briquets are about the easiest and most consistant way there is to maintain temperature control.
ZAPPER,I followed a similar chart from the Boy Scouts website,which is very a very good source for tips and recipes.I had to increase the number of briquetts by about 20% to brown my crust but other than that it worked out great.
Ahh, and remember that there is a difference between heat and temperature. Temperature is the level of hotness and heat is the amount of that hotness. Confused? OK Look at it like this, let's say that one candle is 300 degrees. That is hotter than what is needed to boil water right? Well how much water? One candle may in fact boil one drop of water away but it won't boil a one gallon pot (At least not in the regular way) but if you took say 50 candles each burning at that same 300 degrees as measured with a thermometer and put them tightly under that one gallon pot of water, then, you may stand a chance of getting that water to boil.

My point?

Do I have to have one?

Oh yeah.

It could be the same with charcoal, or any fuel really, the amount and density of the food being cooked could and will affect the amount of fuel ( temperature and heat) needed. Baking verses boiling, (bad example really, boiling is much more efficeint with flames instead of coals) But the point is that the batter or dough with air or gases entrained in them do not have the mass of say a stew or a roast. Sooooo. Baking does not really need the same heat as say a roast, even if you are going to cook them at the same temperature and time. (I think)

Now that I mentioned boiling water, flame verses charcoal. There is a way to boil water with charcoal and a very fast way too! When I was in Scouts we started our charcoal with an Auto Fire Charcoal chimminey type starter. I am not 100% sure about the brand, but it came with a peice of flat metal strap cut and bent kind of in a horseshoe shape so as to be used as a bail type handle when dumping the rig or it could be used as a sort of grill/bucket stabilizer if it was put over the top of the chiminey. Basically set a bucket of water with a little air space over a charcoal starter chiminey and stand back! The blast furnace effect will boil that water faster than just about anything I can think of!
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