Cooking on a stove

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New Member
Dec 27, 2021
Please help a rookie newbie. I am new to wood stoves, doing research to make my first purchase. No bias to any brand or construction, but want something that we can cook on, whether emergency or just everyday. This would be a new installation, so flue can be whatever it needs to be. Our home is just under 2000 SF with electric primary heating, so also hoping to supplement that.

The Vermont Castings brand has caught our attention because of the "cooktop" included, and apparently I can get quick shipment. Lots of folks seem down on VC for backdraft smoke and for some parts having lack of longevity. Does no one like VC? Is that still true for 2020 versions?
Also have studied the Pacific Energy T5 or T6, which look nice and would do the trick for cooking, but I was quoted 16 weeks backlog, and would rather slip this in during this winter.
Jotul looks like it might have a cook surface, but that dealer told me 8-10 weeks for delivery.
Out nearest dealer in north Georgia has Buck stoves in stock, but we are hesitant that it may not get hot enough, quick enough. I understand that water will boil and meat will cook (eventually), but frying an egg would interest me a lot. Is top surface temp information available anywhere?
I've studied Heartstone and the concept of storing heat and long retention sounds good, but does not seem to coexist well with a hot cooking surface on top.


Minister of Fire
Sep 18, 2019
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
Does your supplier have access to all the necessary chimney components or is there a lead time? Do they have time to install a stove in the coming months?

Both are valid questions to ask and could influence your stove choice, there are shortages, or at least a high demand on chimney components as well, if you have to wait 4 months for those then you can pick any stove you want as they will both arrive at the same time.

As for VC, from my reading it seems the jury is still out. Locally it's one of the most expensive stoves I could buy, personally I would pass on a stove that asks top dollar when longevity has yet to be proven.

Pacific Energy builds a solid stove, the basic design has been the same for 20+ years, with periodic updates to improve emissions. I don't find it surprising they have a long lead time, they are a sought after stove and many people are willing to wait 4 months for them.

You can cook on a normal flat top plate stove, most will reach 700f on the stove top when operated correctly. In reality the T5/T6 use just this to cook on, when the trivet swings away it reveals the plate top of the stove in which to cook on.

Another item to consider is the biomass tax credit available in the US, unfortunately the PE stoves don't qualify as they don't meet the 75% efficient threshold.


Oct 27, 2021
New Mexico
There are several stoves that are designed with cooking as a feature. Its worth taking enough time in your research to find what will work well for you. You'll be living with your choice.

Given the choice between Vermont Castings & Pacific Energy, I'd wait the 4 months for the PE. Or get a Woodstock. Or maybe a Jotul F45/F55.


Minister of Fire
I'm biased toward the T5, but if that wasn't available, VC would not get my money. There are some happy VC owners out there, and lots of unhappy ones. As mentioned above, any stove top can be cooked on.

While deciding, get your wood supp,y together. Often firewood suppliers dont have seasoned wood. Many new Woodburner issues can be traced to wet firewood. You're going to want 2 years worth of wood put up to ensure dryness and sometimes that won't be enough.


New Member
Dec 5, 2021
Rocky Mountains
Have done a fair amount of cooking on my T6. Everything from heating leftovers, cooking stews to baking jalapeñ cornbread to go with the chili I cooked. Stove does a great job of keeping the log ranch house warm as well.

Initially was going to get a VC but luckily our local dealer steered me away from VC to what he considered a superior product, PE T6


Burning Hunk
Jun 25, 2019
NE Oklahoma
I cook on my Lopi Endeavor regularly during the winter. It’s designed for cooking with two different plates that are usually about 200f different in temp. Using trivets I can do anything from a quick fry to a slow long cook with soup or beans.


Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
Woolwich nj
There are many here with VC stoves that are happy. If your set up is good you should have no issues. If your going VC just know that down the line your stove will need some maintenance. The newer stoves have had less issues and well as are more durable then when VC was having problems. My stove is our primary heat source and burns like a champ, again its a down draft stove so you need to make sure the draft is good. I cook and reheat food on mine.. I know a number of people in my area with VC stoves and there not having issues neither..


Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
SE North Carolina
You can always cook inside the stove too. My vote is Pacific Energy.

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Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
SE North Carolina
How is your pizza pan supported?
It’s the old damper with the ends cut off and used as legs. I tried welding the cast ends back on for legs and ran out of wire and used a brick on the other end. It’s crap to weld but I got one to stick.


Minister of Fire
I really like that idea. I'm going to have to think about how to do this with the scrap on hand, lol.


Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
SE North Carolina
I really like that idea. I'm going to have to think about how to do this with the scrap on hand, lol.
Make the stand as big as your pizza. Direct flame just burns it all too fast.


Minister of Fire
Oct 18, 2011
Western PA
I cook most of the meals in the winter on my PE Summit. It has a great surface area and the natural path of the exhaust make for hotter and cooler parts on the stove top, depending on what I need. An old cast iron trivet helps too. As others have pointed out, inside the stove is also an option. I bought an old tin oven that sits on the top of the stove and we've baked pies and cookies. I looked at the T6 when I was in the market, but wanted a stove that I could do a whole meal on with regularity. I can fit two big pans and a small pot or two. Basically I wanted a big steel plate that would heat up quickly. I can be frying eggs in about 15-20 min after I strike the match.

Max W

Feb 4, 2021
If I were to switch from our cookstove for something with more btu’s and a longer burn time I would be looking at the PE t5. I like the swiveling trivets. After taking a pot pie from our old Waterford Stanley oven last night thoughts of another stove drifted away. I really enjoy cooking and the combination of the cookstove and a mini split do work pretty well for us.

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