Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Smoking Food in a Brick Oven
The brick oven's versatility extends to smoking food.
After returning from the California project, I fired up my portable oven on a balmy (40 degree) winter evening in New Hampshire to roast and smoke a chunk of lamb. Friends arrived with a surprise pot of uncooked mussels and par-roasted vegetables.
The method of roasting and smoking in a brick oven is simple.
The oven is 'spiked' (see previous post). This brings the apparent surface temperature of the interior brick to about 700 degrees. The door is shut for an hour. The oven brick, having absorbed the heat, is now an even 450 degrees.
I place an applewood log in the oven, push it against the coals towards the back of the oven, and slide the pan with the lamb roast (or other roast, ribs, turkey, pork, ostrich, etc) in front of the log and shut the door.
On this night, we let the roast cook for 40 minutes and then added the mussels and vegetables alongside the roast.
Whenever the door was opened it was apparent that the applewood log was smoldering, filling the oven chamber with delicious smoke.
The food came out with a rich smoke flavor.
The whole process required about five pieces of hardwood and the one chunk of applewood. Stoking time up front was about 15 minutes divided into five-minute visits every half-hour (very little labor).
Other methods of smoking food include setting a grill up on bricks in the mouth and adding green twigs of rosemary or apple on the coals. Slow roasting a day or more after firing the oven allows for an even greater range of cooking.
Enjoyment time was the whole evening.
Postscript: a week later we made soup with the leftover lamb and the smoke flavor infused the broth.