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Cooking on a Wood Stove Top and Steam Vessels

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by becasunshine, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. becasunshine

    becasunshine Minister of Fire

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    Hello, Wise Ones!

    We have our first wood stove on order, a Blaze King Princess. The Woodstock Ideal Steel was in close competition for purchase, in large part due to that awesome stove top.

    The Blaze King won out with us for a couple of reasons, the primary reason being that we don't have a chimney, so we need an extensive install, and our home owner's insurance company is demanding a certificate from a professional installer.

    Anyway, we will have the Princess. I am interested in doing some basic Dutch oven type cooking on the stove top. I'm thinking stews, roasts, baked chicken and vegetables, cobblers, pineapple upside down cake, that type of stuff.

    Toward that end I'm thinking of asking for Lodge cast iron cookware for birthday, Christmas, etc.

    Do you have any recommendations for stove top cooking and the appropriate cookware?

    Also, what is your favorite hot water/steam vessel for the top of your stove?
    DevilsBrew likes this.

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  2. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

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    We already owned a complete set of Le Creuset, so we just use those.. a trivet is a good idea also, not only to protect the stove finish from the pot but also to help regulate heat.. it's almost impossible to "simmer" on the surface of our stove most of the time. I don't use it inside the stove, for that I use a lodge grill pan. We have some old cast iron dutch ovens that came from our great grandparents, and I have been meaning to do some baking in them, inside also.. friend has a GREAT bread recipe she does in hers.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2014
  3. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

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    becasunshine likes this.
  4. becasunshine

    becasunshine Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, I read that! I need to go read it again. Right now I am so preoccupied with learning how to burn WOOD properly in the wood stove... the idea of simultaneously cooking INSIDE of it at the same time makes my brain go TILT. But I have not discarded that idea! We had some not so pleasant experiences with cooking over campfires while camping- one must be *very* careful of fire wood supplied by parks or one's dinner ends up tasting like pine oil. Ask us how we know. (It was dark. It was wood. There was fire. And dinner tasted like pine oil)

    But yes, a trivet. Dutch ovens. We have a perfectly fine gas range, love it, but it is fueled by propane. If the wood stove is already hot and all I want to do is cook a stew or spaghetti sauce or a chicken in a Dutch oven, why burn the propane in the range?

    I will re-read the cooking *inside* the wood stove thread again. :)
  5. Warm_in_NH

    Warm_in_NH Minister of Fire

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    I have the Lodge 6 qt ceramic coated dutch oven. I've been really happy with it, no noticeable difference in performance compared to my gf's Le Creuset.

    It's a good size cooking for two, if anything, go bigger. Although i cook big meals as I'm lazy and its less work than several smaller meals. Agree on the trivet as well, gives you an option on temp.

    Don't get ceramic if you want to be able to use it in the stove as well. Use bare cast iron for that.
    becasunshine likes this.
  6. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I may be off, but aren't BK stoves jacketed for convection heating? i.e. how hot will the top surface even get to allow cooking?

    In any case, want to share my thoughts (opinions, heh) on steamers. I have tried many methods from a boiling pot to actual "dragon steamer". While they all evaporate water (at various rates) none really made a material change in the relative humidity in the house. The interior humidity changed more with the weather (outside air temp/RH) than I could detect when boiling water or not on the stove. Obviously your mileage may vary.

    What I have found useful and did all last year was to keep a large (7qt) kettle on the stove. It did nothing for humidity as far as I can tell, but it was very nice having hot water 'at the ready' when making tea, hot chocolate, oatmeal, etc. Being large capacity it keeps hot well and allows for the whole family to benefit from it in the morning as well as reduce risk of boiling dry.

    I've made stews/soups and pancakes on top of the stove. Keep meaning to try dutch oven cooking but have to get one first and that just hasn't happened yet...

    As to cooking inside the stove - we roasted chestnuts in our stove last Christmas. Was nice - fire was down to a large bed of coals so no smoke issues, an other than being a bit too hot (had to pull the cast iron pan out and put on hearth with lid periodically to coast/cool) it worked out well. Very high maintenance cooking though. I do wonder about finding a way to put a pizza stone in there (small personal size pizzas of course) but I wonder about the affect of food smoke on the cat (cat bypassed during my experiment with chestnuts, but if something fell in the fire...?)

    Oh - and I was able to get my install (chimney and all) done by a 'certified installer' by finding a qualified chimney sweep to do the job - just had to get stove to the house and he did the rest. He pulled permits, we had it inspected by town, lots of forms and paperwork collected, insurance company satisfied.. I don't think that really should be a major issue unless you don't have qualified sweeps in your area who do installs.
  7. becasunshine

    becasunshine Minister of Fire

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    "I may be off, but aren't BK stoves jacketed for convection heating? i.e. how hot will the top surface even get to allow cooking."

    Huh. Must research this. If the top gets hot enough to bring a Dutch oven up to slow cooker temps and hold it there, we'll be OK. I don't intend to try to fry bacon on the stove top, for instance. Too messy. I guess we'll have to see what we get when we get it!

    As far as house humidity, we already have one of those RF digital weather stations installed, and it monitors indoor and outdoor humidity along with all of the other stuff. We can see how a tea kettle or other pot of water impacts indoor humidity.

    Finding a chimney sweep in that area has been challenging. We have discussed this with our installer, and we are going into this adventure with the intention of cleaning the chimney ourselves- which reminds me, I need to order that stuff. Any thoughts about DIY chimney sweeping equipment and sources for same?
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014
  8. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    Soot eater has gotten quite a good reputation here - I have one and have no complaints.
    becasunshine likes this.
  9. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    It won't. Indoor humidifiers are rated in pints/hour. Stovetop will take all day to vaporize a quart or two...
    becasunshine likes this.
  10. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

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    While I am sure they only do so much.. ours holds a little less than a gallon, and we fill it morning and evening, and it is usually very close to empty. I do belive our reef tank puts more moisture in the air in the winter. It's "top off tank" holds 20 gallons of RO/DI water, and the system runs through that in the winter at about 6 days. Summer it takes two weeks.

    And honestly anything that helps.. well.. helps. No way a stove top steamer can hurt anything..

    I know my dog appreciates not getting zapped with every pet during the winter.. as do I.
    Warm_in_NH and becasunshine like this.
  11. becasunshine

    becasunshine Minister of Fire

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    Thank you! Will look into that today. We snapped up another Powersmith Ash Vacuum for use with the wood stove at that location- we are so impressed and happy with the Powersmith that we use with the pellet stove. We have Super Cedars on the way. We already had an ash bucket/lid (and accessory shovel) that we used for pellets. We're going to repurpose that for the wood stove, as we really don't need it for the pellet stove. (I don't mind sitting a partial bag of pellets on the floor for a few hours.) Got split oak cross stacked and drying... and a wood rack with a cover for the porch.

    Hopefully we are buying most of this stuff ONCE, now, and we'll be set for a while. :) Thank you all for your help!
  12. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Blaze King Princess is a steel box. The top should be plenty hot enough to cook. I don't have much space on the top of mine because of the convection deck, so I can't help with any experiences there.

    It might actaully work pretty well, as the hottest spot on the stove top will be right over the cat. You should be able to move the pot around to find the right temperature.
  13. becasunshine

    becasunshine Minister of Fire

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    OK, here is where I admit to a bit of fuzziness:

    We are not getting the room blower/fan option. Our stove shop owner/ installer doesn't think we'll need it in our application, and we specifically want the stove installed such that it can be used during power outages. Ergo we are paying for the rear heat shield option but we don't want the clearances dependent on using a blower/convection fan, so the stove and stove pipe are configured and to be installed with that in mind.

    If we don't have the convection fan/room blower fan, then we won't have the convection deck, right? (I should have asked the stove shop owner this question but it didn't even occur to me.)

    We should have a flat, smooth stove top to the back of the stove- right? There are side rails and a rear lip. What do the side rails do, if anything? What about that rear lip? What is that? (Please keep in mind, I've not seen a Princess in person.)
  14. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    The blower doesn't change clearance requirements in any way, except the same rear clearance reduction that the heat shield provides. The convection deck is optional on the Princess Ultra only. The side rails are decorative. Not sure about the rear lip, as the only stoves I have seen have blowers attached.

    The blowers make a huge difference in the heating capability of these stoves, but it is your choice. Even if they are installed, you don't necessarily have to turn them on, and the stove will still make heat with no power. And they can always be added later, if you choose.
  15. becasunshine

    becasunshine Minister of Fire

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    That's where we are with the process at the moment. According to the stove shop owner/installer, the Princess is a little large for our application. We will be heating 2000 sq. ft., about half of it in open floor plan. The other half is bedrooms/bathrooms accessed by the typical rancher hallway on that side of the house. The Princess will sit almost exactly in the middle of the house, directly adjacent to that hallway but in the open floor plan area.

    I *thought* that I read somewhere that having and using the convection blower could reduce rear clearances, but that if the rear clearance was calculated based on having a convection blower, then the blower had to be used at all times when the stove was fired (obviously.) I could be totally wrong about what I read- either literally, I read it wrong, or I misunderstood it.

    At any rate, right or wrong, we didn't want to be tied to using a convection blower to meet clearance/safety requirements.

    We will have the rear heat shield as well as double wall stove pipe. (And that leads me to yet another unresolved question- stack thermometer on a double wall stove pipe- I understand that it has to be a probe type of thermometer. Do you drill a hole in the stove pipe and insert the thermometer like you would insert a meat thermometer? How does this work?) (I can't keep my thought process linear and down a single thread to save me. Sorry, Mods!)

    Back to the above thought- what does the optional convection deck do, and why is it an option?

    And yes, that is the plan about the convection fan- if we find it necessary, we'll order it and install it ourselves. The stove shop owner says it's a pretty easy DIY install.

    We have ordered the Princess Parlor.

    Edit: just looked up the convection deck. As far as cooking on the stove top, the blurb I found says that the convection deck provides a two level warming surface- so evidently, the convection deck can act as a trivet of sorts.

    If we order the convection fans, we may consider the convection deck as well. We'll see. After living with the pellet stove fan for half the year (albeit the pellet stove is located one room off of the rooms in which we typically sit and watch t.v.) I am looking forward to enjoying the silent heat of a wood stove. :)
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014
  16. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    I just looked at the brochure, and apparently the convection deck is optional on all Princess models. I have never burned without it, in fact mine is welded on, so I can't comment on its effectiveness. I do know it collects a lot of dust :mad: And it would take up cooking space. I suppose it directs airflow over more of the stove top, for more heat dispersal.

    The rear heat shield and blowers provide the same clearance reduction, regardless of whether or not the blowers are running. It would be hard to require an electrical appliance to be used to further reduce clearance when operating, for the one pretty simple reason.

    Your dealer must not have much experience with Blaze Kings. The Princess will definitely not be too much stove for you.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014
  17. becasunshine

    becasunshine Minister of Fire

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    This stove shop has started carrying Blaze Kings relatively recently. Not long after we contacted this shop about a Blaze King and subsequently obligated to our order, the owners of the shop attended a trade show. This owner sent us a very nice follow up email stating that the owners had spent quite a bit of time with the Blaze King reps, learning even more about these stoves. He said that they were both very impressed and that we'd be happy with deciding to go with Blaze King.

    I don't think the Princess will be too much stove either- we have some challenging winter weather and winds at that location. The house is relatively new construction (2007) with good windows, up to date insulation, and, I am pretty sure, 6" exterior walls. (I asked the builder about it but he couldn't remember off hand; he was pretty sure, though, that the exterior walls are 6" and judging from the depth of the window and door wells, they probably are.)

    All that being said, I do think that the King would have been overkill for us, and that was the only place left to go after the Princess. And, as you and as the shop owner said, if we need it, we can install the fans. I was adamant about not going smaller than the Princess; our experience in town with our Napoleon NPS40 pellet stove taught me all about advertised heating capacities. The Napoleon pellet stove is rated to heat 2000 sq. ft.- and I'm sure it will, if the house has modern levels of insulation, windows, and is relatively air tight. It took some work to this drafty 1950's brick and block bungalow before the pellet stove could carry the house (1410-ish sq. ft.) comfortably in the coldest weather. We got there in the nick of time, right before this winter set in early.

    When we went shopping for a wood stove I wanted a bit more capacity than we'd need, rather than playing catch up later.

    We won't be welding the convection deck onto the top of the Princess. We'll leave well enough alone with that one. :) :)
  18. Gareth96

    Gareth96 Member

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    Did you weld it, or did it come that way? I'm still in the process of getting my Princess installed & I bought the convection deck separately. I wonder if it's because the convection deck rattles when the fan is on?
  19. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    It came tack welded at the corners. Some are, some aren't. It is standard on my stove, but optional on the Princess. I think most just set on the Princess. IIRC, the blowers are still attached to the rail on the stove top, so it shouldn't rattle anyway.

    My stove was built in '06, so they probably do it diffferently now.
    Gareth96 likes this.

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