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42" Pompeii in Eastern NC

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  • #76
    Well, we've finally gotten to a point in the build that it feels finished. We haven't yet finished the concrete countertops (need an edge bevel and final polishing on the tops) but that may be a project for Fall. The weather in eastern NC has gotten too pretty to worry about grinding concrete on the weekends.

    This oven has become an amazing addition to our house. I'm thrilled that we added it, and that we did it ourselves. It has definite flaws, but I prefer to call those 'character' We have cooked everything from breads and pizzas and pita bread, to turkeys, roasts, and baked beans. Our favorite so far probably is the 'caveman' steaks directly on the coals. We also roast a ton of vegetables - asparagus, carrots, onions, mushrooms, etc. I haven't dried things out - like jerky or herbs - but that may happen this summer.

    We finished the dome by painting on a weather barrier/water vapor barrier made by Parex, letting that dry, adding an initial coat of stucco product, letting it cure, and then putting on a final colored coat of Parex's acrylic-latex stucco in reddish-orange color. The color was a fairly bold move for us, but I'm so glad we went for it. Our countertops are a dark teal/blue-green color, and the wooden surround on the counters is a black-stained wood. If we hadn't gone with a pop of color, I think it would be too boring. Besides, we put a ton of work into this thing - it may as well be eye-catching!!

    Thanks to everyone for the advice and encouragement - you gave me the confidence to tackle this crazy project.


    • #77
      You've done a fantastic job on the oven Caliea. I think it looks fabulous! I'm really glad that you have embraced "the addition to the house" and been enjoying the oven as much as you have. I think that "how much we'd actually use/enjoy" our oven was a surprise for us (and our neighbors) as well. Also as you said, it's interesting to note all the little flaws in our build that "we" pick out as time goes by--but that become the oven's character (and things you'd do to improve your next oven or to share with others building their own oven).

      We have yet to try the caveman steaks...I'm going to try to convince some friends to let us try it with their oven this spring. (Not that I don't want to try it in our oven...we just tend more toward chicken & pork roasts rather than steaks...and they do the opposite.) Do you do anything other than just season the steaks, level the coal bed, & plop 'em on? I'm assuming the oven has been brought up to temp...cleared first?
      Mike Stansbury - The Traveling Loafer
      Roseburg, Oregon

      FB Forum: The Dragonfly Den build thread
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      • #78
        Hi Sable,
        Thanks for the encouragement

        For the steaks, we don't always have the oven up to full temp. I let the steaks come to room temp as much as possible, and season them heavily with salt. I've heard other seasonings will burn (garlic, pepper, etc). so we stick with kosher salt. If we're just doing a few steaks, we'll just get a good bed of coals, make sure the hearth is hot right up near the front where we're working, and then flatten out a nice bed of hot glowing coals. Then the slap the steaks directly onto the hot bed of coals and let them sit for about 5-6 minutes. Then we flip the steaks and give them another few minutes. Don't worry if some of the coals initially stick to the steaks - they'll flick right off as the steak cools a bit and the juices return to the outside.

        We've done it with up to 8 large steaks. I'd advise getting a pretty large bed of coals, and get that oven hot if you're doing that many, as the cool meat sucks the heat right out of the coals pretty quickly. For just a steak for my husband and me, we do a fairly quick and easy firing, and don't worry about completely clearing the oven.

        Just as a warning to others who may be beginning a build... My wine consumption may have risen in direct proportion to how often we fire up the oven and just enjoy it while it's warming up. You may need to figure that cost into your calculations if you're into good wine (or Scotch/beer/pick your poison)