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Lump Charcoal Heater and Coal Shovel - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Lump Charcoal Heater and Coal Shovel

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  • Lump Charcoal Heater and Coal Shovel

    Over the years I have mentioned several times about using lump charcoal and saving the char from my oven. I keep finding uses for this fuel all the time. Char or lump charcoal (not charcoal briquettes) is wood that has been reduced to pure carbon. All the resins, creosotes and other nasties have been burned off. That leaves a clean and hot burning fuel source that can be used in the oven for several purposes.

    I transfer the char from the oven to the entry for grilling caveman steaks, or using the Tuscan grill. I also transfer coals to other grills and/or save it to an air tight metal container where it will snuff out for laterr use. For most of that I use a home fabricated coal shovel. It separates the char from the ash. The shovel is easy to make and it is well worth the time and material to build.

    That brings me to another use. Adding more heat to a clean oven without sooting it up again. Timing a cook in an oven on the decline can be fun when you get it right. But, I don't always get it right. Sometimes the next morning, I will find my oven a few degrees under what I need. I recently had a cook for baking a lot of cakes. I was at 330 F that morning. My wife was adamant that her recipe was for 350 for a pound cakes. My oven was cleared and clean from a previous firing. I new that I would overshoot the temp and soot up the oven with a short firing with wood. So, I pulled out trick from my bag that I had used before. I call it a lump charcoal heater. It is a compact charcoal chimney made by a well known company. It is shorter that most charcoal chimney starters but wider and holds the same amount of fuel. It fits easily through my oven opening without having to tip it over. It has been burned out well previously before introducing it into the oven. I removed the handle, which is plastic and place it on a dollar store 12" pizza pan to catch the very little ash that the lump charcoal produces. i just stat it outside the oven with a natural starter. I don't use paper or starter fluid . I let it get to burning hot with no smoke, and then set it in the oven for about an hour with the insulated door cracked open just a little. An hour later, I pulled it out of the oven, replaced the door and waited 20 minutes to let it equalize. I was right where I needed to be .
    joe watson

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

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  • #2
    Thanks for these helpful tricks and techniques, Joe. I really like the idea of using the charcoal chimney as source of additional heat. I donít have the short one, Iíll have to see if the one I have will fit through the opening.
    Last edited by WarEagle90; 05-24-2018, 09:18 AM. Reason: EDIT: Because I cant spell
    Dan

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    • #3
      After reading your reply, I went back to check. The tall one fits easily inside with out having to tilt it. I guess that I got that in my mind way back yonder when I first started lighting lump charcoal in my entry to preheat the chimney. After it was going real good I would pour it out on top the wood in the oven to get a fast hot fire and a coal bed started early. The shorter one was easier to dump while reaching through the entry.
      joe watson

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

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      • #4
        Yep, the one I have fits in easily, but I can see where it would be cumbersome to dump. Is that coal shovel made from expanded metal?
        Dan

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        • #5
          Yes, it's the thin stuff right off the shelf from one of the big box stores. It bends easy on a metal break. That's how I made mine. It would probably shape fairly well when heated in the oven if a break wasn't available.
          joe watson

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

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          • #6
            I got a new toy! I have been playing with it for a few months. It is a plus size stainless steel charcoal starter chimney. 10" in dameter and 5" deep. I was at 260 F last night and wanted to bake some drunken catfish. That's too low for fish but, the heater got me out of a bind. The oven was at 290F this morning. I wanted 350F for baked pork chops. The heater again came to the rescue .

            joe watson

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

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            • #7
              Thanks Joe! We'll have to give that a try. I have had pretty good luck bumping the temperature with a small fire but having more options is always a good thing
              My build thread
              http://www.fornobravo.com/community/...h-corner-build

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              • #8
                Your welcome JR,

                I also like rechargingi with wood. I have found that sometimes a large (short lasting) fire works great for that. I use a lot of dry windfall limbs to initially heat the oven. The smaller ones (bundled together) make a fast and very hot fire. They burn away to nothing in just a very short time. It's all an educated guess on what we need to do to get what temps we want for of our ovens in the shortest amount of times. It sure is fun to experiment with different methods . The lump burns clean. It just allows me to get a hundred degree bump without all the mess.
                joe watson

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

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                • #9
                  Hey Joe,

                  Another experiment and toy. You will have to make the drunken catfish for us next time we are in your neck of the woods.
                  Russell
                  Google Photo Album [https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...JneXVXc3hVNHd3/]

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                  • #10
                    Hi Russell,
                    You will have to make the drunken catfish for us next time we are in your neck of the woods.
                    Will do. The Drunken catfish are a spinoff of the drunken spatchcocked chicken using the same type of broiler pan and a salt baked bass. Jenny has never liked game fish, but she absolutely loved the bass that me and the grand kids did in the oven. We stuffed onion and lemon in the mouth and stomach cavity. It was as moist of fish that I have ever ate.

                    All that and the Oysters "Redneckefeller" are dishes that were done with you in mind . The pic of the 4+ lb. bass is on an 18" X 26" pan.

                    PS: Plan for cool weather. Tthat is when it is nice down here. You already know what summer is like .

                    joe watson

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

                    My Build
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