Flavour Guy: Venture into the woods for barbecue and brownies

Comparing the Magee Bostonian with the Cuisinart Gourmet Outdoor Oven gives Flavourguy an opportunity to look at the world of serious outdoor cooking.

Both of these rigorously made cast iron ovens go beyond basic BBQ and grilling.

Both are examples of state of the art wood-fired stoves able to roast a chicken, bake a pie or turn out a pizza. While not ideal for camping, as they are best moved with the help of a transient weightlifter, each is perfect for setting up a serious outdoor summer kitchen.

While the Magee has been around a long time, it may be difficult to find. (We found ours in the woods.) The Cuisinart is newer and should be more available. Surprisingly, they have many common features. Both have temperature gauges, stay cool handles, wood grates and ash trays, air intake controls, and stone baking floors. Despite these similarities, the observant consumer will likely notice subtle differences.

The Cuisinart Gourmet Outdoor Oven comes in attractive red enamel, which should withstand years of outdoor use, while the Magee Bostonian comes in basic black with silver and chrome highlights. These may have to be touched up occasionally. Built in approximately 1870, the Magee has already demonstrated that it will be around for a long time.

But don’t let Cuisinart’s good looks be the only factor in your decision.

A closer inspection shows other differences. Unlike the Magee, the Cuisinart oven is adaptable with a multilevel oven grill. Higher settings may work better with flat breads and pies. A lower level is best for a chicken or roast. The Magee, however, also lets you cook on top of the stove. This is great for a large group or when several dishes are cooked outdoors.

While the Cuisinart is designed solely for outdoor cooking, a distinct advantage of the Magee may be that it can be taken apart and reassembled in an indoor kitchen, which many outdoor chefs are likely to have. All you need to do is punch a hole in the wall to let the smoke out. Easy peasy.

So overall it is a tough choice. The Magee has a larger cooking surface and offers portability. The Cuisinart comes in red. The wise consumer should seriously consider both models before making a decision.

Barbecue brownies

We have been baking on our relatively simple outdoor grill this summer. The key is to not put food directly over the heat and keep the grill covered.

Although ours is a fairly basic BBQ, I was able to maintain a constant temperature of 250°-300°F. This is hot enough for piecrusts and pizza style flat breads. (It is also great for slow cooked ribs.)

We were fortunate to have Marissa, a recent graduate of Montreal’s Pearson Adult Career Centre’s Cooking School, staying with us at the cottage.

Here is a soft-centred brownie recipe that worked well in both a toaster oven and on an outdoor covered grill.

  • Melt together 6 oz. unsweetened chocolate and 1 cup of butter.
  • Blend 4 eggs with 2 cups of sugar and then add the chocolate mix.
  • Mix in 1/2 cup of flour (gluten free works too) plus any extras you like (Oreos bits, chocolate chips, nuts).
  • Spread this in a pan and bake at 300°F for 45 min. to an hour.

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