I have been researching tips for cooking and baking in an RV oven. I no longer use my oven, mainly because my one and only experience was a disaster. We were having a pot luck dinner and I volunteered to make roasted potatoes for 30. (I know, crazy idea, right!) I peeled and chopped, peeled and chopped, and then peeled and chopped some more. Once all the chopping was done I coated them with olive oil, seasoned them and separated them onto 3 trays. Two went in my oven and one on the BBQ.
The BBQ did not disappoint and in 30 minutes turned out perfectly roasted potatoes. The oven – not so much. After 30 minutes they were still raw and I was panicking for a solution. Fortunately when you are having a pot luck for 30 RVers, everyone has a microwave, so sadly we had to split up the trays and microwave them until they were done. Needless to say my oven became a storage solution; never to be turned on again.
This year I intend to try again so I decided to research ideas, advice and solutions to make attempt #2 successful. I guess I should have done this before attempt 1, but it’s a bit late now.
Success seems possible because most articles offer the same solutions, and claim they make all the difference. Here are the top ideas.
- Preheat: this seems obvious but I often rush this step and without a digital thermometer display it’s impossible to know when the oven it preheated. Apparently RV ovens take much longer to heat up, so be sure to allow for that.
- Interior Thermometer: Solution one makes solution two seem obvious but for some of us, not so much. I had never thought of getting one of these until I researched this blog but it’s now on my RV shopping list. Apparently RV’s smaller ovens are much more difficult to regulate heat in.
- No Peeking: It’s a well know fact that you should not open the oven until it’s time, but that is easier said than done. When you don’t know how well the oven works this is near impossible. The main reason for this is that RV’s smaller ovens lose too much heat causing the element to ignite more, creating hot spots.
- Rack placement: Move your rack to the middle level to get it away from the burner. This will allow the heat to disperse for more even cooking.
- Add stoneware or unglazed tiles: Every article I read mentioned the importance of heat distribution. With the small propane element and it’s high direct heat, evening out the heat becomes very important. By all accounts the thin metal shelf provided in all RV ovens is not enough. Adding tiles or stoneware will solve that problem and, along with the correct rack placement, you should be good to go.
- Airbake cookie sheets: Many campers suggested placing an air bake cookie sheet under everything you cook. This help distribute the heat while avoiding burning the bottom of your food.
- Avoid metal pans: Several articles suggested using Pyrex or cast iron cookware to help improve heat distribution. Cast iron also goes from stove top to oven to campfire…a great benefit for campers.
- Rotate, rotate, rotate: Even with the above tips it seems you still need to rotate your food. This sounds simple but remembering to leave my lawn chair and book might be an issue???
- Altitude & trailer temperature: Be sure to consider your altitude and air temperature when planning cooking times. Apparently running your air conditioner will greatly impact the function of your RV oven.
- Practice, practice, practice: What I did take away from all this research is the only way to get better is to accept that you will under cook and burn several dishes before you get it right.
With all these tips I expect to have greater success this summer. What I have learned is, don’t make your first attempt a pot luck for 30. My next attempt will be for a dinner for my husband with hot dogs in the fridge for backup in case it’s a flop.
Wish me luck.