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Thursday, November 11, 2010

cooking over coals - beef and gravy

This recipe introduced a new challenge for me: bringing liquid to a boil, over coals.

According to the coal chart, a 12 inch camp oven uses 24 coals: 16 on top, and 8 on bottom.

This assumes that you are cooking at 350; you need more coals for higher heat.

I assumed that 24 coals would be enough for boiling, but it was not.

You need 32 coals to bring to a boil, in a 12 inch camp oven, evenly distributed on top and bottom.

Because these coals will be bunched closer together, they lose heat much faster.

So as soon as you set up coals for boiling, you need to start a 2nd batch of coals for simmering.

This recipe is from "Let's cook dutch", and it's basic beef and gravy.

Use any cut of roast, cut in serving sized slices.

Put the meat in the pot and add beef stock. Cover and bring to a boil, with 32 coals.

While doing this, prepare a 2nd batch of coals; The 1st batch will not stay hot enough to finish the dish.

After it's boiling, reduce heat by arranging the coals so there are 8 on bottom and 16 on top.

When the second batch of coals is ready, replace the first ones, one by one.

Leave it to simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Every 15 minutes rotate the pot 1/4 turn clockwise, and the lid 1/4 turn counterclockwise.

Uncover, and temporarily remove pot from heat*. Add Wondra flour to the liquid to thicken into gravy.

*You don't necessarily have to remove it, but the gravy will be lumpy if you don't.

Return pot to heat, cover, and let simmer another 30 mins to 1 hour.

Since this was the first time I wasn't using self lighting charcoal*, I tackled another challenge.

*Self lighting charcoal is not recommended for camp oven cooking because it cools off faster.

Before you light regular charcoal, you have to soak for 5 minutes in lighter fluid, or it won't stay lit.

Serve the beef and gravy over rice.

No, I didn't cook the rice in a camp oven. Maybe someday.

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