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homebuilt tandoor


Bob Musa
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First off, I must say that I'm very impressed by your pizza oven. That is really spectacular.

As far as the tandoor goes... I'm a little skeptical about the terra cotta lining. I really can't see terra cotta standing up to that kind of thermal shock. The walls shouldn't be getting direct flame, but still, that's a lot to ask of terra cotta. Is that the largest pot available? I was thinking that if you could get a larger one, you could line it with fireclay. That way the outer pot could crack but the inner liner could take the heat.

I'm not expert in these matters, though, so maybe the terra cotta can take it.

It's quite an exciting process. Thanks for sharing it with us! :)

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Most terra cotta can withstand temperatures up to 1200 degrees F (the cold can actually be a bigger worry). What kind of naan is going to be cooked that hot? I.e., Bob knows what he's doing.

Edited by IML (log)
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I really can't see terra cotta standing up to that kind of thermal shock.

I'm putting a lot of faith in this site which describes a "flower pot" tandoor. The author there does say that their pot did develop one long crack. Last night I put a small batch of charcoal in mine and heated the top rim to about 200 (F) with no ill effect. Looking at the charcoal, I was pleasantly surprised at the substantial draft which is produced by the input hole. The air movement is quite visible and the charcoal glows incandescent from the air being drawn in.

Thanks for your kind words regarding the pizza oven. Now, we can't imagine ever living without one.

Tonight I'm going to take the tandoor to about 400 (F).

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Most terra cotta can withstand temperatures up to 1200 degrees F (the cold can actually be a bigger worry).  What kind of naan is going to be cooked that hot?  I.e., Bob knows what he's doing.

Cordierite can go quite a bit higher than that but it's still not recommended to use over a direct flame. It's not the intensity of the heat, it's the ability to handle the sudden changes in heat that tandoori cooking involves. A gust of wind, the water boiling away in naan dough, a few drops of rain - all of these can involve pretty drastic changes in temperature. Firebrick is made to handle this kind of thermal shock, but terra cotta isn't.

Bob, I know people who keep using pizza stones after they've cracked, but I'm not one of those people. Imo, a cracked stone is a structurally weakened stone and much more prone to chipping. If I were to have friends over and I'm firing up the tandoor, I definitely wouldn't want to be concerned over a terra cotta fragment ending up in the naan. I am a bit of a worrywort when it comes to this area, though, as I have a chipped tooth from biting into a piece of pizza that had a ceramic fragment in it. After that incident, I err on the side of caution, possibly a little too much.

Still, though, I'm a pretty big believer in the right tool for the job, and, along those lines, using materials that are specifically engineered for baking (such as firebricks/fireclay).

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I do agree with you, Scott, that there are much better materials, including the tandoors made from large, fifty-five gallon drums, and are used in so many Indian restaurants nowadays.

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  • 2 weeks later...

first meal accomplished !!! oven was up to 600 F with no cracks (yet). i'm going to have to work at heat management however. flareups were a problem.

gallery_23026_1171_62686.jpg

gallery_23026_1171_30590.jpg

Edited by Bob Musa (log)
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question: does anyone know where i can get seekhs (in excess of 30 inches in length)? i've googled this and am coming up blank for a source. :sad:

Wow, that looks magnificent! How about supplying the recipes for the marinade too?

grub, recipes are from a tandoor cookbook. i need to get modifications from my wife. will post.

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question: does anyone know where i can get seekhs (in excess of 30 inches in length)?  i've googled this and am coming up blank for a source.   :sad:
Wow, that looks magnificent! How about supplying the recipes for the marinade too?

grub, recipes are from a tandoor cookbook. i need to get modifications from my wife. will post.

Try www.nishienterprise.com. Click on Tandoor--> Accessories. They have some 39" long skewers. I think they are NJ based.

Good Luck

Edited by deliad (log)
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