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Sunday, October 2, 2011

camp oven cooking using propane-- don't do it

I originally got the volcano stove, intending to use it for camp oven cooking, using propane.

I don't know if it's recommended for that use or not, but, no one has said you couldn't.

So I tried it for the first time tonight.

In a previous post, I pointed out that you need the center plate, in order to support the camp oven over the propane burner.

I was concerned that it would make the temperature too low, since the center plate reduces heat.

I very quickly realized, that wasn't the issue at all-- it got plenty hot enough.

In fact, I was unable to bring the temperature down!

I constantly monitored with my infrared thermometer and it got progressively hotter.

I tried closing the vents (right is open, left is closed-- the opposite of righty tighty lefty loosy).

I tried turning the needle valve down on the regulator.

Both steps helped temporarily, but the temperature climbed back up again.

Another thing I noticed was that there was significantly more heat on the bottom, than on the top.

For camp oven cooking, you normally use more heat on top to create the "oven" effect.

I finally had to turn it off because it was starting to burn on the bottom.

The meat was undercooked, which since it was beef, was OK because I like medium rare.

If it were chicken or pork, it would not have been edible.

I conclude that, with the propane burner, you cannot get the temperature low enough to do the "slow cooking" that camp oven recipes require.

It works fine as a propane stove, and would be fine for stir frying using propane.

But camp oven cooking over propane, I absolutely do not recommend.

The recipe I used was a souped up version (literally-- no pun intended) of flank steak and onion sauce.

I melted butter in the camp oven, browned pieces of chuck roast* in the butter.

*chuck roast is cheaper than flank steak, so I used that.

Then added canned potatoes, chopped onions, minced garlic, cream of onion soup diluted in milk.

This time I added Lipton onion soup mix. Hence, literally a "souped up" version.

You can use the volcano for camp oven cooking using coals.

You just need different amounts of coals than you normally would, if you weren't using the volcano.

And, if you have the time and patience to teach yourself this whole new system, more power to you.

I'm still learning the traditional method of coal cooking, myself, and I think I'll stick to that.

I will still use the volcano as a propane stove.

It's a very useful propane stove, even though I already had one. So, now I have two.

And I will still use it as a portable charcoal grill, even though I have a Lodge charcoal grill.

So, now I have two charcoal grills.

And I will still use it to stir fry outdoors, when and if I decide to stir fry outdoors again.

Although that wasn't what I originally got it for.

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