Outdoor Stoves and Ovens - Cooking with Wood March 18 2014

During a recent trip out to visit a customer, we were witness to an outdoor kitchen that relies on wood fuel for the ages If you head out in any given direction from the city center of our hometown of Portland, OR you will quickly find heavily wooded areas with tall firs looming over head. On recent rainy day we headed out west to the town of Forest Grove to explore a property out in the country set within the very forest of its namesake town. When we arrived we were greeted by one of our EcoZoom Plancha customers to give us a tour of their property where they tried to live off the resources of their land as much as possible. The property included multiple gardens where they were growing wheat and beans in alternating years, an open area where ducks and chickens roamed, a solid wood bench where beekeeping units were going to be setup later in the year, a covered area where starter seeds were growing, a few buckets of marinating olives, and a yurt that was used as a retreat space. There was plenty more going on at the property but what captured our attention most was the outdoor wood-fueled kitchen. We've all seen different setups for outdoor cooking, most of which involve a barbeque and maybe a few tables for eating. This kitchen was truly unique. It included a homemade charcoal barbeque that was constructed out of a barrel split in half with steel grates installed on the bottom half. There were multiple buckets that had been designed to make their own biochar for their gardens or to make charcoal for cooking. Making us proud, we were happy to see both an EcoZoom Dura rocket stove as well as an EcoZoom Plancha stove. Lastly, the eye catcher of the entire kitchen was a beautiful earth oven that had a dome shaped like a seashell. What all these cooking devices have in common is that they are all fueled by wood and use fuel efficiently.

Earth_Oven_1

The amazing property and outdoor kitchen including marinating olives, garden starters, and the outdoor kitchen

This particular day was a typical soggy spring day in western Oregon, but the entire area was covered so that it could still be used any time of year. The owners of the property spoke of gathering sticks and wood from their property to fuel all of their cooking needs. We knew that the EcoZoom Plancha and EcoZoom Dura use very little wood to cook a lot of food but what was most interesting to us was learning more about the wood-fired earth oven. After a few uses they quickly learned how much wood was needed for baking different recipes and how they could then use the residual heat in the oven for other uses. Just like an EcoZoom rocket stove, the earth oven is an incredibly versatile outdoor cooking machine. Once a nice fire is built within the earth oven and brought to temperature, any sort of baking can take place: bread, pizzas, or pies. Due to the sturdy cob construction the earth oven retains heat very well and can emit residual heat for a day later. With proper planning, what starts with cooking a pizza, can then lead to baking bread, warming a casserole, and heating up soup - all using heat from the same fire. Even a day or so later the residual heat can be used as a way to dry out vegetables or anything else. The overall efficiency of the earth oven rivals that of our EcoZoom stove and makes for a great centerpiece of any outdoor kitchen...of course with an EcoZoom rocket stove sitting right next to it.