What to check when purchasing an outdoor oven / fire
A roaring fire is a massive attraction for most people, whether it is to warm their body with the heat or their soul with its ambiance. You want your fire to exceed expectations, heat for everyone.
Most Kiwis have been brought up outdoor cooking whether it is on BBQs, spits and hāngī. The taste is difficult to describe but the word delicious is often mentioned.
You are here because you are looking for "more than a BBQ" or "more than a fire" - you want to build the ultimate outdoor area, - you know - the one that brings food and fire, family and friends to your home.
Here are a few things to consider before purchasing.
What provides the greatest heat?
Check the composition of the fire / oven to determine how the heat will radiate.
For a fire to radiate heat it should be lined with refractory bricks. Refractory brick is used for its insulating capabilities, it has the ability to stop heat and prevent it from penetrating to the other side.
What direction will the heat take?
New Zealand traditionally has cooler nights so to keep guests warm you want to understand where the majority of the heat will go.
All heat will head upwards. Is there anything in place that will stop a decent proportion of the heat from going straight up?
Heat will radiate out from a fire in straight lines. By looking at the fire box think about the straight lines that will radiate out. This will tell you how much space in front of the fire will receive heat.
Do you want to be able to cook?
Can you cook? How do you cook? Will you need to buy accessories?
What type of cooking will you want to do and think about how you are going to cook with friends.
Wood fired cooking does involve smoke and it does involve soot, if you are all dressed up with guests, are you going to be comfortable?
To cook a variety of food, heat control is important, how you are going to control the heat?
Can you use it all year round?
Outdoor fires are normally a decent investment for most families and you want to be able to use that investment as much as possible.
Open fires can not be used in a fire ban without some sort of protection. If you live in an area that has a fire ban for 6 months per year (Oct - Mar) you may not be able to use your outdoor fire.
What fire safety features does the fire have? Bonus features are enclosed fire box, fire screens and spark arrestors. Cooking facilities can help with compliance but be sensible, NZ environment is special, is it really safe to use during a hot dry summer?
New Zealand has a westerly prevailing wind, although in individual months easterlies may predominate, and north of Taranaki the general flow is southwesterly (MetService).
Wind can be a pain, it can make your fires smoke, move embers out into the environment (not ideal) and interrupt the heat flow. Everyone can agree that wind can be a party pooper so it is advisable to take the time and make sure the spot that you want your fire to go is going to be the best spot.
Details on how The Kiwi Outdoor Oven works