Heating Camp Ovens

Submitted: Sunday, Jun 15, 2003 at 21:53
ThreadID: 5468 Views:2264 Replies:9 FollowUps:1
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How does every body heatup their camp ovens? I use Heat beads as they tend to last longer 4-6 beads on the bottom and rest on the top. Fire caols seem to go out.Around Oz 06/2004
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Reply By: Derek - Sunday, Jun 15, 2003 at 22:37

Sunday, Jun 15, 2003 at 22:37
Rox. I've always used a couple of shovel fulls of embers from a good sized fire and have had no problems. I like the idea of your method though and will give it a go when I go camping in 2 weeks.
AnswerID: 22604

Reply By: Slammin - Sunday, Jun 15, 2003 at 22:42

Sunday, Jun 15, 2003 at 22:42
I've always done as Rox says but we try to have the fire in a hole, bit bigger than camp oven take a scoop of coals out put campy in and coals on top. We mainly cook stews or meat so maybe diff. for damper.
AnswerID: 22606

Reply By: Hilly - Sunday, Jun 15, 2003 at 23:21

Sunday, Jun 15, 2003 at 23:21
I was browsing in a nearby ORE store on Friday and the store manager warned me away from one corner of the workshop. He had set up a camp oven on the concrete floor with about a dozen heat beads on the lid and was cooking a roast with veges. Now you've gotta love that.

AnswerID: 22615

Reply By: Member - Chris (W.A.) - Monday, Jun 16, 2003 at 03:51

Monday, Jun 16, 2003 at 03:51
Only tonight I started practising the ol' oven skills and thought I'd try to use the campfire coals only - no good unless you've got the patience to build a big fire and keep shovelling the coals on every twenty minutes.
I actually used your method to exact precision for the last couple of years but tonite kept camp oven on level ground and placed coals on top only. This included anywhere from 6 - 10 heatbeads (good quality ones - not black & gold) and about half a shovel of fire cinders every half hour- for our roast beef and vegies anyway. Worked good. I figured that a bag of quality heat beads is $7 -$10 and since we're doing the Kimberley for six weeks (14 solid days of oven use) it'll cost a fortune to burn a bag a night for meals hence mixing beads and your fire coals - let alone storage if your out in the middle of nowhere for a week or more. I've based what I've said on the hill billy camp oven (not cast iron but steel/ same stuff they use for gun barrels) Lighter to carry which is an added bonus for the large size camper ovens, heat transfers through quicker. The top is designed to hold the coals but doubles as a BBQ plate and jacking plate if need be.
RegardsGibb River in July.
AnswerID: 22618

Reply By: Yo Sam - Monday, Jun 16, 2003 at 11:52

Monday, Jun 16, 2003 at 11:52
I have found that the best way is to dig a hole next to the fire which is bigger than your camp oven. Put in a couple of shovel fulls of hot coals, then sprinkle with dirt (just a light covering don't fill the hole). Then put the pot in, more coals around the outside and to top it off another shovel on the lid. Once you have done this, again sprinkle dirt over the top, this keeps the coals from getting blown out/going cold from the wind. The reason for putting dirt on the bottom is to get a nice even heat from all around, not just buring hot on the bottom and top. This is the way I cook all my roasts/dampers/stews. I generally prepare the meal, dig the hole, add the coals/dirt and leave for 1hr30mins.. This seams to work every time, I do not need to top up the coals, turn the meat, just sit back and enjoy another few beers.
Hope this helps
Yo Sam
AnswerID: 22645

Reply By: Member - Melissa - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 11:56

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 11:56

I like your heat bead idea. Often I cook a one pot meal in my camp oven on the gas stove (usually when fire restrictions are in place) and have looked at all sorts of ways to brown the top of the dish, without spending >$120. Never thought of heat beads but so obvious now that you mention it.

As for using coals, this is my prefered method. Depending on the ground surface, what I'm cooking and the quality of coals, I may or may not dig a hole. For instance, when heated sand becomes very hot and retains the heat for hours, so digging a hole and placing a few coals in the bottom and on top creates a natural oven that will stay hot for hours. You shouldn't need to be adding more coals or fiddling with it.

Quality of coals is the BIG issue. If you've got decent coals from say mallee roots or blackbutt they'll glow for hours and you only need a very small fire. Jarrah on the other hand puts out plenty of heat but burns away to nothing, leaving no coals. Gidgee bush is the same, you need a tonne of it to keep a fire going for an hour. Burns hot and very fast, no coals.

Now, I'm off to the hardware to get some heatbeads...

:o) MelissaPetrol 4.5L GU Patrol &
Camprite TL8 offroad camper
AnswerID: 22776

Reply By: Ian - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 21:03

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 21:03
I have had a few problems with camp ovens. I solved a lot of the problems by converting an old 9 kg gas bottle to a chip heater. Take off the valve (never easy) and fill with water (stops it going bang with residual gas) I then cut out a door using an angle grinder. I then cut slots for air and smoke release. I cut the top out to fit my camp oven. You will have to tune the air in and smoke out but the result is a very good slow combustion stove/heater. I use heat beads and store then in the heater.
i also had a bit of a problem with burnt bottoms (roasts) so I found a 'Willow' 9inch pie plate in woolies that has been perferated to make a crispy pastry. This has allowed me constant heat without the bottom getting to hot. Great for bread and damper andf the roasts are never greasy. You can aslo add some water to steam meats etc if required.
AnswerID: 22823

Follow Up By: Member- Rox - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 22:52

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 22:52
sounds interesting , do you leave the handle on the top of the cyclinder? Any picks???? :-))))Around Oz 06/2004
FollowupID: 15066

Reply By: joc45 - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 23:20

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 23:20
I must be a loner here -
I don't place the oven in the fire, I hang it from one of those vertical spears with an arm hanging out the side. This way, I can get the thing on the fire shortly after lighting, and adjust the height to control the heat. Later, when the cooking is well and truly under way, I have good hot coals underneath, and shovel some onto the lid. Works a treat. I don't take any heat beads, just use what wood's available on location.
With bread, I wait till it's fully risen and almost cooked before putting the coals on the lid, just to brown the top. Similarly with puddings. And with roasts, I wait a while before putting the coals on top.
As mentioned on an earlier posting, I often put a layer of coarse river sand in the bottom to moderate the heat. I also use a trivet to space the inner baking dish from the body of the oven. In most cases, I use some form of baking dish or bread tin within the oven, but when using the oven as the actual cooking pot, again, I adjust the height above the fire to control the heat. It's just too easy!!

I've used this spear for about 15 years now and swear by it. Also have other accessories for the spear, such as a hotplate and wire grill which attach to one of the arms.
AnswerID: 22844

Reply By: Member - Melissa - Wednesday, Jun 18, 2003 at 12:32

Wednesday, Jun 18, 2003 at 12:32
Hi All,

Just thought to add my something to my earlier post. Unless I'm cooking a stew or roast, I always use a trivet. Onto the trivet goes a spring base pie/cake pan...the kind where the base can be separated from the sides (fellas, just ask your better half...she'll know what I mean). In this I bake bread, dampers, cakes, pudding etc. If I'm making pizza, scones or similar I just separate the base and place them on this on the trivet. Never had a problem with burning since adopting this method.

:o) MelissaPetrol 4.5L GU Patrol &
Camprite TL8 offroad camper
AnswerID: 22877

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