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Heat retention and cooking times - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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  • Heat retention and cooking times

    i am going to chose my questions carefully only because there are too many variables to have a definite answer.
    My back ground for wood fired oven: I built a wood fired oven 36 in diameter, insulated, underneath and on top. This design was from an experience member from this website, and we have had nothing but the best tasting pizzas... just fantastic. I now am expanding my ability to other things like bread making, deserts, small, quick cooking items.

    i would now like to test to bigger things.... 40 pound pig.

    i would like to ask anyone with any experience what they have encountered, their opinion of what they have seen with their ovens, so I may get a general idea on mine. There are too many variables to have a definite answer, but someone may have seen or did something similar.

    1. When cooking a larger food item for a longer duration, have you seen the temperature of the oven dip down quite a bit, and not sustain to the original temp where it was before? If so, what did you do to compensate to bring the temp back up?

    2. When I bring my oven up to a temperature of 1200 degrees, it will stay warm, for at least 4 days, unless I open it often, then maybe 3 days. When you need the temperature lower, what did you do to bring the temperature down to a level, so you can start cooking? Do you always bring the temperature to itís maximum and then cool, or bring it to the temperature you need to start cooking?

    3. I always use hard wood to bring the temperature up and then use apple wood for the smoke flavor. Does it matter if the wood is soaked with water to bring out more of the smoke flavor? I have heard of both sides of using soaked wood and not to... Advice?

    Thank you all that reply, eager to read your responses.

    Ray.

  • #2
    On a 10 hour cook, I expect the oven to fall in temp. For low and slow, (say 225F) I will put he meat in at 250 to 260F. It may be 200F when I pull the meat out, but the majority of the cook was in range. I haven't cooked a whole hog, but I have done 40+ lbs of boston butts in one cook.

    I don't like smoking in the oven. I can't control the smoke like I can on my other grills. My advice is to smoke and sear on an open pit or a traditional grill. Then place the meat in the oven for the long term. That will give you a better control of the smoke and bring the meat up in temp before placing it in the oven. 40 lbs of cold meat would be a shock to just about any retained heat oven imo.

    I don't soak any wood that I want to smoke with. I actually burn it to the point that it is only giving off very little visible smoke before it is introduced to the smoker. More smoke flavor is not necessarily a good thing. Thick black, gray, or white smoke has the cresotes and other nasties in it. What I look for is an almost invisible "sweet blue" smoke.
    joe watson

    "A year from now, you will wish that you had started today "

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    • #3
      Gulf gave good answers to #s 1 and 3, so I'll take a crack at #2.
      For retained heat cooking, you really need your thermal mass (dome, floor) to be heat saturated. If you had thermocouples between your insulation and your dome bricks you could see when the bricks had heated all the way through, but in the absence of knowing that you just have to get the oven hot and let it cool. If the bricks aren't saturated with heat, the dome will cool very fast and you will be disappointed with the results. I have done this when in a hurry to cook some chickens, and although the dome registered around 500F with my IR thermometer when I put the birds in, the temp dropped very fast and I had to cook them for several hours. By the time I pulled them out I was in the low 300s to high 200's, and a few times they were pink near the bone. What we do now is two days before we want to slow cook I'll do a few pizzas, then burn a few more logs before closing the oven for the night. In the morning the oven is close to 500 and we'll cook a few chickens (perfectly brown and cooked all the way through in just under an hour). Late that evening or early the next morning the oven is just below 300 and ready to slow cook.
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