Roasting in a cast iron pot


New member
Feb 15, 2006
North Carolina
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As my very first attempt to roast I have decided to minimize my cash outlay and use materials mostly at hand. I have a heavy cast iron pot about 3" deep
and 8" in diameter at the bottom. I don't plan to get into 2nd crack so I'm
hoping to keep the smoke under reasonable control. If the contraption described below works and I later want to explore 2nd crack I will buy an electric hot plate and temporarily set it all into the open front doors of my large Vermont Castings wood stove and let the chimney have its way with the smoke.

I don't want to obscure my view of the roasting beans with a pot cover and I don't want to have to shake the pot to keep the beans moving around.

Therefore, I plan to construct a round pot insert made of metal screening and solid pieces of stainless and/or copper. The insert will have a 6 or 8 section
paddle wheel that will lay flat on the pot bottom and the metal screening
will cover the top side of the wheel to keep the bean shrapnel from exiting the pot. The spokes or paddles of the wheel will move the beans around via being connected to a metal rod that will rest across the top of the open pot and will extend over both sides of the pot a bit. One end of this rod will be connected to another rod about 12" long with a wooden handle at the far end. The rods are connected to each other with one loose bolt to allow the operator to move the rods and therby cause the wheel to rotate back and forth to move the beans. A guage will monitor pot temperature.
I will monitor all and constantly wiggle the handle and adjust the heat.

What is your expert advise on this contraption? What temps. to use?
If you look closely you can watch the beans and make sure that they are not sitting with one side facing the heat, etc. watch out to make sure that you do not get the little red spots from roasting too fast or darkened ends from having them sit in contact with the side of the pot too long. Other than that it should work just fine, just make sure that the beans roast evenly all the way through, and if you roast too slow that is a problem too, but you will get it in time.
I personally work with a drum roaster, but I have heard of people roasting on everything down to what is essentially a popcorn popper with some degree of success, although I imagine if you use an air popper I could foresee covering the entire area you are working in with chaff!

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