Reflector oven 101


Colonial-style reflector oven photographed in Washington, DC. (Deb Lindsey/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

A tin reflector oven, sometimes called a tin kitchen, was commonly used in 18th- and early-19th-century America to roast meats and/or bake on a fireplace hearth. The design is a demi-barrel shape, raised on short legs, open on one side and lightweight; dimensions are approximately 18 inches high by 181 / 4 inches wide by 11 inches deep (including the feet). One end of the oven used for roasting has a pour spout for the juices that collect in the bottom curve of the oven. Reflector ovens used for baking have a middle shelf.

The Backwoods Tin and Copper Shop (www.backwoodstin.com) of West Bend, Wis., makes the model we used for recipe testing, which costs $250. We were impressed with its performance. If you have a fire going in the fireplace on Thanksgiving, using this oven to roast the turkey could free your kitchen oven for other dishes. The oven is easy to clean, and it creates nicely browned skin all the way around the bird.

Bonnie S. Benwick has the job most envied among cocktail-party conversations. If they only knew ... Cook with her each week at Dinner in Minutes: washingtonpost.com/recipes.
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