I thought that this week I would write about one of my failures. Me, Jacques, Julia, Anthony, even the bug eating guy, everyone has at one time or another turned out something that was terrible. That’s what it is all about, experimentation and failure leads to success
I’m always thinking about the next book. What it will be about and how I will accomplish it. One of my ideas was to write a book about barbecue cooking. Not one of the usual black grilled steak, pork chops, fish etc. I was thinking more along the lines of using the barbecue as an oven. I can remember when I was a boy scout we had a folding box that you could place over camp coals and bake (burn) things in. I thought that if one could control the temperature and close the lid, you would have an oven. Not with charcoal obviously but with propane. Such an oven would be perfect for tent camping and RVing. We don’t like heating up and smelling up the trailer with the built in oven so we usually cook outside. An external barbecue/oven on the picnic table outside would be perfect.
So I took our propane barbecue which is one of those stainless steel jobs with a flip down cover and drilled a hole in the front. Then I purchased one of those barbecue thermometers for five bucks and screwed it into the hole. Wha la! Temperature control. I thought if I put the propane on low I should get 350 and on high up to maybe 450 or so. My first choice would be blueberry muffins for breakfast at Ft. DeSoto. I bought a package of blueberry jiffy muffin mix ( no use wasting homemade on a trial ) and some cheap aluminum muffin cups.
The next week we went off camping at Ft. DeSoto. The second day in I decided to try the muffins. I fired up the barbecue, set the control to medium and watched as the temperature ran up to 500 in a flash. Then I set the control to low and after some time and a little ventilation it dropped to the required 400 . I put the muffins in the now oven and baked until they had reached a lovely golden brown on top, just like on the package label. When I flipped them out of the cups I discovered that they were brown on top and a lovely charcoal black on the bottoms and sides. Although I had good temperature control on top, the bottoms were still too hot. Needless to say we had muffin tops for breakfast that day.
I haven’t given up. I think if I could cut up a pizza stone to fit the rack. In the barbecue that it might spread the heat better and allow baked goods not to burn on the bottom. Some day I’m going to try it again and who knows maybe after muffins, rolls, cakes, small loaves of bread. The list is endless. Stay tuned for more adventures in cooking and burning!