Fire cooking – my introduction.    02/06/2021

There is something very special indeed about cooking over fire. Whether is a bbq or a fire pit there is a connection to your food and what you are doing that seems enhanced. More real. More visceral. Of course the risks are higher – flames licking your food leaving wisps of black soot marks on the outside or burning the outside before cooking all the way through. These are minor issues which can be overcome with some guidance and more importantly, practice.

Once you come to terms with the fact that any form of fire is ultimately a heat source like a gas or induction hob or even your oven at home, things become more simple! A eureka moment where the possibilities are endless and you’ll instantly berate yourself for all those sausages you cooked at bbqs over the years.

Cooking over fire does require more control and care but the results are well worth it. Invest time and effort into understanding the role of airflow, the different types of fuel, the various types of cooking possible over fire. Direct vs indirect, charcoal vs wood – all of which are critically important. Start simple and work up to the more complicated methods and dishes.

And once you have started to build confidence in what you are doing and it becomes second nature you will be astounded at what you can cook and for just how many people – something at one time you would have thought impossible.

As I said start simple. Learn how to cook a steak perfectly, understand the role of resting. The same with a simple piece of fish. Don’t run before you can walk and always enjoy the journey. Each meal you cook will be better than the last as your understanding of cooking over fire develops. There is nothing, nothing that beats the process of lighting the perfect fire from which to cook a meal when you are confident in your abilities. Knowing the ingredients are perfect, the fuel ideal for the task and that feeling of knowing it’s all coming together as planned to feed family and friends. We have all had the polar opposite experience with meals cooked outdoors being hours late or the “chef” over indulging in the liquid element of the meal at the expense of the food. Planning, timing and experience alongside an understanding of what you are cooking on and how to get the most out of it will put you in good stead to banish any of those fiery horrors of your culinary past.