1. Too many coals will overcook your food or burn it.
2. Use hardwood to get good coals, which will produce heat for a much longer time. Softwoods like pine will lose heat quite quickly. It can still be used but you’ll need to change coals several times.
3. Avoid burning chemically-treated wood, ply or artificial woods (MDF, and so on) as their composition are harmful to both you and the environment.
4. Keep burning wood to ensure you have a continuing supply of coals for meals requiring a longer cooking time.
5. Try slow cooking with just a handful of coals, for fall-off-the-bone soft meat.
6. Preheat your oven to make sure it’s ready to receive your food or you’ll lose half your heat from the coals in warming the oven.
7. Use a trivet to keep your food off the bottom to prevent burning.
8. Some people like to put a little water in the bottom, beneath the trivet, to keep meat moist.
9. When you add your vegetables to a bake (about 35 minutes before serving) add fresh or extra coals to the top to help crisp them up and prevent them steaming.
10. Use a round foil baking tray with meals such as a bake to keep your oven cleaner and make it easier to clean. Or for large pieces of meat use oven bags.
11. Although fun, when sitting down for a big community meal, variations in oven types, sizes, coals and meals impact timing so be ready to eat when your meal is cooked, otherwise you risk drying out or burning it as you wait for others.