Cooking using a CAT stove

coutufr

Feeling the Heat
Sep 16, 2017
253
Montréal
What are your tricks in order to use your CAT stove for cooking and is there a way to prevent scratching the wood stove surface paint?
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
80,791
South Puget Sound, WA
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Samsquanch

New Member
Mar 2, 2019
17
Alberta
What are your tricks in order to use your CAT stove for cooking and is there a way to prevent scratching the wood stove surface paint?
When we still had our dutchwest 2461 cat stove, we cooked on it a fair bit and I used it to make coffee/tea pretty regularly. I think the best bet to avoid wrecking the paint surface is to use pots with a really smooth bottom and just take extreme care not to splash or drip anything on the paint. Enameled cast iron dutch ovens work great on the stove and they don’t scratch or drip. I think the tricky part with cat stoves can be getting heat where you need it - the cat may or may not be right under the top plate, so depending on the stove design, you may not have enough heat to do real serious cooking beyond warming/slow cooking. Our dutchwest had the cat right under the top center and would make plenty of heat to boil water, but some models have an air gap between the firebox top and the visible top which make this a challenge. Having a cast iron trivet or ceramic tile to keep a pot up off of the surface is a nice touch too if things are getting too hot.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
3,454
Downeast Maine
I've read that some folks wrap food like potatoes and corn in aluminum foil and put it directly into the firebox full of coals.
 
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Rickb

Minister of Fire
Oct 24, 2012
1,025
St.Louis
I've read that some folks wrap food like potatoes and corn in aluminum foil and put it directly into the firebox full of coals.

We used to do this camping all the time. You can also do meats this way. Just cube them up add what ever spices you want then wrap in foil. If I didnt have a convection deck on mine im sure it gets hot enough to cook on but with the deck I wouldnt think it would do much more then warm things.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
3,454
Downeast Maine
We used to do this camping all the time. You can also do meats this way. Just cube them up add what ever spices you want then wrap in foil. If I didnt have a convection deck on mine im sure it gets hot enough to cook on but with the deck I wouldnt think it would do much more then warm things.
I guess you could also use a Dutch oven and just put that directly in the box full of coals as well. I've never tried the foil because aluminum can leech into your food if you cook with it.
 
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coutufr

Feeling the Heat
Sep 16, 2017
253
Montréal
My BK Ashford has the air gap between the top and firebox. I guess I would have to remove the top cast iron plate in order to cook on it just above where the CAT is located. It would make the wood stove really ugly if I do that...
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
80,791
South Puget Sound, WA
As noted in the linked thread, some of us cook on stoves for fun occasionally but most wood stoves are not ideal for regular cooking. I heat up water for coffee and tea on the woodstove pretty regularly and my wife likes the swing-out trivets for raising dough. Other than that it is just an occasional stew, etc. that gets made on the stove. Highbeam is right, unless you own a wood cookstove, there are better places and devices for cooking in the kitchen.
 
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branchburner

Minister of Fire
Sep 27, 2008
2,755
southern NH
I cook regularly on my Ideal Steel, though it is not as "ideal" as my prior cast-iron non-cats. I not only cook ON it, but I cook regularly IN it, grilling steaks (chicken, sausage, etc.) when the coals are right and the cat is not engaged. My single tip, absent a specific problem or question, is: go for it. It's a hell of a lot more satisfying and enjoyable than finding alternatives to your toilet.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,305
Philadelphia
I have two cat stoves, but since I also have a kitchen range and Webber grill, I’ve never even thought about cooking on them. Why would you want to cook on your space heater???
 
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MTY

Member
Jan 9, 2019
249
Idaho
I have two cat stoves, but since I also have a kitchen range and Webber grill, I’ve never even thought about cooking on them. Why would you want to cook on your space heater???
About day 6 without power the space heater looks awful tempting. I have cooked on and in mine. But then I have spent weeks at a time in a wall tent where a large portion of the cooking took place on or in the wood stove.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
3,454
Downeast Maine
About day 6 without power the space heater looks awful tempting. I have cooked on and in mine. But then I have spent weeks at a time in a wall tent where a large portion of the cooking took place on or in the wood stove.
Folks like to talk about using their grill in a power outage. Chances are if the power is out, the weather isn't going to be pleasant for cooking outside. The wood stove looks much better for cooking when it's - 10f with 30+ MPH wind.
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
16,724
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Folks like to talk about using their grill in a power outage. Chances are if the power is out, the weather isn't going to be pleasant for cooking outside. The wood stove looks much better for cooking when it's - 10f with 30+ MPH wind.
It’s one thing to warm a can of beans or keep a kettle of water hot. If you’re trying to fry an egg or bacon, after day 6 of -10f, why not go get the Coleman stove and set it up on the range top in the kitchen? You need to go out and feed the animals anyway.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
3,454
Downeast Maine
It’s one thing to warm a can of beans or keep a kettle of water hot. If you’re trying to fry an egg or bacon, after day 6 of -10f, why not go get the Coleman stove and set it up on the range top in the kitchen? You need to go out and feed the animals anyway.
Honestly, you make a good point. It's not going to be windy and -10f for days on end anywhere in the lower 48. Those are just the conditions that seem to knock out the power here. Nobody is going to be doing anything in that kind of weather and we will just eat ramen and go to bed with that kind of nonsense. If there's a week long blizzard there's probably more to worry about than power outages. Perhaps there's a romantic idea about cooking on the wood stove, left over from pioneer days and early American life. It could just be a novelty as well.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
3,454
Downeast Maine
Also, I'd hate to run an unvented propane appliance indoors. I did it for years in my RV and supposedly it is safe, but I don't trust it. There was always a fine dust in the propane oven.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
80,791
South Puget Sound, WA
I replaced the electric stove with a propane cooktop + electric wall oven 25 yrs ago. No regrets at all. Several times it's made outage cooking easy without changing daily routine except needing a match to light it. Personally, I don't mind putting a slow cooking stew on the stove and have dabbled baking potatoes and pizza in the stove, but I'm glad we don't depend on it. What I don't like cooking on the woodstove is anything that spatters or drips. Even though the T6 stovetop is normally hidden by the swing-away trivets, I like to keep it clean and good looking.
 
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