NOW TO CHECK THE TEMPERATURE OF YOUR OVEN
Put a teaspoon of flour into a pan; place the pan inside the Dutch oven and cover. Cook 5 minutes.
Light brown flower = 350 degrees F
Dark brown flower = 400 to 450 degrees F
Note: If the flour turns dark brown in under 3 minutes, the oven is too hot for proper cooking.
It is important to remember that these hints are only a guide to help you get started. You will need to adjust briquettes according to your recipe. Keep in mind that the weather, temperature and ground sort can effect cooking temperature as will the brand of charcoal you use. Remember to be patient, do not try to cook to fast.
A strong wind or breeze will raise the temperature.
Direct sunlight will raise the temperature.
Higher air temperature will likely raise the temperature.
High humidity in the air will lower the temperature.
Shade will lower the temperature.
A high altitude will lower the temperature.
Besides getting the correct temperature, many of your recipes require that you have correct heat placement. For example;
Stews, soups, chili, and other liquid dishes require more heat on the bottom that the top.
Meat, poultry, potatoes, beans, vegetables, and cobblers require even heat distribution of heat on the top and bottom.
Cakes, breads, biscuits, and cookies require most of the heat on top and little heat on the bottom.
Some sauces require heat only on the bottom.
Stacking of Dutch ovens is a convenient way of saving space and sharing heat. This is best used for dishes that require even heating.
The greatest sin in Dutch oven cooking is to run out of heat. If cooking is going to take more than hour, it is advisable to start a new batch of charcoal about 30 minutes after your original charcoal was started. This will result in fresh coals most of an hour after the original ones started, so if you need more heat to finish the dish you will have it.
It can take twice a much charcoal to cook a dish if the wind is blowing much at all. If it is blowing briskly you will want to fashion some kind of wind break to save charcoal and to enable the oven to be heated evenly.