Miserable failure of coals...

Discussion in 'Dutch Oven Cooking' started by dbhost, Jul 28, 2019.

  1. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    I was getting in some practice with my do yesterday and had something odd happen.

    Doing the -3, +3 method on a batch of biscuits, my top coals burned out super fast and of course I didn't have more started...

    Note for reference, get more coals going when you put the food in...
     
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  2. Dusty road

    Dusty road Active Member

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    Sounds like it was a little windy. The wind break on my Camp Chef table is lower than the top of the DO lid, so I wired old license plates together standing on end and that helps a lot.
     
  3. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    Yes it was actually a bit windy. I think I know what I did wrong. I'm using a weber kettle and a pizza pan as an improvised DO table. I usually use it on the coal grate, this time I was on the cooking grate exposing the DO to the ambient winds....
     
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  4. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    What's really strange about this whole thing and it's probably just where food has been in contact with the Dutch oven but the seasoning on the lower half is pitch black and slicker then Teflon. The upper half not so much it's getting there but there is a distinct 2 tone effect going on inside the Dutch oven.
     
  5. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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  6. neighbormike

    neighbormike Well-Known Member

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    I have the Dutch Oven Helper app on my phone - pretty nifty coal calculator!
     
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  7. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    I haven't even considered an app.

    It seems that there are a number of apps and several fairly reputable websites that are recommending a 3:1ratio so for example for 350゚ in my 12" oven they want 18 coals on top and 8 on the bottom. Which I get that's a 3 to 1 + 2 which means basically the additional 2 are supposed to push it to 350゚ instead of 325.

    I can't find the Dutch Oven Helper in the Google play store so I'm assuming it's probably something for IOS which I don't have. However there's a large selection of the chevon calculators for android
     
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  8. neighbormike

    neighbormike Well-Known Member

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    I tried to send a link to the app but not sure how.
    IMG_1158.PNG
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
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  9. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    How very strange...
     
  10. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Wow, thats almost too much adding for me! Thats why i dont bake, too much dependent on exact temps.
     
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  11. neighbormike

    neighbormike Well-Known Member

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    Hence the "app" [:D] I don't do a lot of DO cooking, but it's a handy little tool when I do!
     
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  12. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    So I did some digging around, and that Dutch Oven Helper is an app for Apple, no Android version exists. However there are Dutch Oven temp apps out there...

    I am seeing in the charts a LOT of variation between methods for temp control, I have in the past used the +/-3 method with some success, but this weekend was the first time I did it not in a fire pit with a tall fire ring, OR in one of those tall campground grills where the grate swings away and makes a 3 sided wind break / fire table...

    I am also seeing the 3 to 1 method which is what Easy Dutch Oven Calculator. I have not tried that one, but with the +/- 3 method sometimes, more often than I care for, the top is undercooked... I might just have to try the 3 to 1 method and see how it works out.
     
  13. shelmily

    shelmily Well-Known Member

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    Easy way to remember. Take the diameter of your oven and double it. That's how many coals it takes to get your oven to 325 degrees. Every two more coals raises the temp about 25 degrees. If you are baking, 2 thirds go on top, 1 third underneath. So if you have a 12" oven, you need 24 coals, 16 on top, 8 underneath. If you need higher temp, add the extra coals to the top. Very easy!
     
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  14. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    If you don't mind math, DO diameter times 2 = number of coals for 325f, supposedly 1/3 on bottom 2/3 on top for baking, 1/2 on bottom 1/2 on top for roasting, all on bottom for boiling or frying but I use 1/3-2/3 when roasting also, I usually add 4 coals to the top to get about 400. If you add coals to increase temp always add to the top. If the biscuits aren't done in 20 minutes I move the bottom coals to the top and give it another 5.
     
  15. neighbormike

    neighbormike Well-Known Member

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    Glad I have the app... by the time I am thinking about dinner at the campsite, my mathing ability is more than likely going to be, well, impaired :grin:
     
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  16. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    He's the expert!
     
  17. billbillbillbill

    billbillbillbill Active Member

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    I had never thought about using an app. Thanks for sharing.

    To never be out of coals, I usually light a few extra in the chimney and then when I have my initial coals on the ovens, throw a few new briquettes in to be lit from the extras. Throwing the 2nd batch in the chimney is really easy with lit ones at the bottom. If I don't end up needing to replace them, I can use the newer ones for heating the oven up for cleaning and oiling.
     
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