Most clay cookware is not suitable for use directly on an open flame or over a high-intensity heat source, such as a campfire or an open gas flame without proper precautions. Clay cookware is designed for slower, more controlled cooking methods. Here are some important considerations:
1. Thermal Shock: Clay cookware is sensitive to rapid temperature changes, and exposure to direct open flames can cause thermal shock. Thermal shock can lead to cracking or breaking of the cookware.
2. High Temperatures: Open flames can generate extremely high temperatures, far beyond what clay cookware is designed to handle. Excessive heat can damage the pot, weaken its structural integrity, and cause it to crack or break.
3. Use a Heat Diffuser: If you need to use clay cookware on an open flame, it’s essential to use a heat diffuser or flame tamer. A heat diffuser is a metal or cast iron plate that distributes heat evenly and prevents direct contact between the flame and the clay pot. This helps to moderate the heat and reduce the risk of thermal shock.
4. Slow Cooking: Even with a heat diffuser, it’s advisable to use clay cookware for slow cooking or simmering on an open flame rather than high-heat cooking methods like searing or rapid boiling.
5. Wood-Fired Ovens: Traditional clay ovens, such as wood-fired ovens used for baking bread and pizza, are designed to withstand the high temperatures generated by the flames. These ovens have thick clay walls that can handle the heat while maintaining a consistent temperature.
6. Check Manufacturer Recommendations: Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations for your specific clay cookware. Some clay pots are designed for stovetop use, while others are intended solely for baking or serving.
In summary, while it is possible to use clay cookware on an open flame with the proper precautions, it is generally not recommended. Clay cookware is best suited for slow, controlled cooking over moderate heat sources like stovetops and conventional ovens. If you want to cook over open flames, consider using cookware specifically designed for high-heat cooking, such as cast iron or stainless steel.