If you have a wood-burning stove in your home you may have wondered, “Can I cook using a wood stove?” You may be surprised to learn that Energy Center-Manhattan Pool says that the answer is, “Yes.” Our pioneer ancestors certainly used their wood stoves for cooking as well as heating their homes, and we can as well.
Now before you start picturing yourself standing over a smoky stove in a sunbonnet or a Daniel Boone-style coonskin hat, we want to tell you that wood stoves have come a long way since pioneer days, with much more efficient airflow for regulating heat. Your wood stove will certainly come in handy should you undergo a power outage of many hours or even days. And even if you have the option of using your gas or electric stove, it is cozy and fun to use your wood stove for occasional cooking.
What Do You Need to Cook Using a Wood Stove?
You will want to start with some cookware that is ideal for use on a wood stove. We think cast iron is the optimal material for a skillet or Dutch oven, as it distributes heat evenly. A cover for the Dutch oven is helpful for keeping the heat in. Many people also like to use a cast iron trivet to raise the cooking vessel up off the surface of the stove if things get really hot and they need to reduce the heat directly under the pot.
You will also want to use well-seasoned, dry firewood for the best and longest-burning fire. Be sure to get the fire started well before starting to cook.
The top of your wood stove and the pots on it will get super hot, so be sure to have some good pot holders to prevent burns.
Additional Tips For Cooking on a Wood Stove
The top of your wood stove will have “hot spots” or areas where the heat seems to be hottest. Typically, these hot spots will be located in the middle of the top of the stove, with cooler areas on the outer edges of the stovetop. Being aware of your hot spots is another way to regulate cooking temperature. If something doesn’t need to be at the highest temperature, you can relocate the pot to an area that is somewhat lower in temperature. There are various thermometers you can use to determine the exact temperature, but most people just go by trial and error.
The air vents on your wood stove are what you can use to regulate the cooking temperature. For a hotter fire, open the vents to let more air in. To reduce the heat, adjust the vents accordingly. You will want to be present while cooking on your wood stove to monitor the heat and make necessary adjustments.
Keep in mind that when you cook using a wood stove, it is not a fast process. Plan ahead and allow sufficient time for your stove to heat up and for the food to cook. For example, expect a soup or stew to take three or more hours.
With a bit of forethought and planning, plus paying attention to the temperature of the stove while cooking, you can cook using a wood stove. Try it the next time you experience a power outage, or just for the fun of it when the spirit moves you.
Energy Center-Manhattan Pool offers a wide variety of beautiful and efficient wood stoves to enhance your gathering place. Buy now and take advantage of the Pellet and Wood Stove Tax Credit. You can get a tax credit up to 30% of the full purchase and installation amount of your new stove. Our fireplace and hearth experts will be happy to answer any of your questions and help you select the tax credit qualifying model to suit your needs best.