The once familiar wood-burning cook stove – with lift-out lids and warming ovens – has largely disappeared from modern kitchens. But a kettle of water can still be brought to a boil on the top of almost any wood stove fireplace, and if your stove has a cooking lid, you can lift it out and cook directly over the fire. By adding a stovepipe oven, you can even bake with heat from the flue.
A stovepipe oven is installed as a heat extractor is, but it must be at least 24 inches above the stove top. Flue gases go through its hollow walls, heating the cylindrical baking chamber to as high as 400º. Short of regulating the intensity of the blaze inside the fireplace, there is no way to control the baking temperature, although the thermometer on the face of the oven door will help you to estimate the baking time.
Successful stove-top cooking with a wood fire is a matter of knowing your stove or fireplace. All stove tops and fireplaces have hot and cool areas, but they differ with the design of the stove. Generally, the hottest section of the stove top is over the back of the firebox. If you want to cook faster, remove a lift-out lid. If you need a lower temperature, move the pan toward the front of the stove or raise it with a cast-iron trivet.
Any cooking vessel that is suitable for use over a gas or electric stove burner can be used on top of a wood-burning stove and fireplaces. Cast iron, because it retains heat well and distributes evenly, is the traditional material for pans and griddles. Soapstone also has long been used for griddles. Soapstone requires no grease or cooking oils and is prized for its ability to diffuse heat uniformly.
How to Wire a Stack Thermometer to the Flue
Wiring the thermometer on. Twist steel wire through the eye on one side of the thermometer. Place the thermometer against the stovepipe about 12 inches above the heat extractor. Draw the wire around the pipe and through the other eye. Pull the wire snug, but do not restrict the movement of the coils on the thermometer back. Wrap the wire around itself several turns.