Tuesday, 23 July 2019

The great Australian challenge – campfire cooking!

Cooking on woodfire is an art form and people over the ages have perfected this taste and skill. However, just like creating the perfect dish, making the perfect fire for cooking is just as important and (as with the dish) it’s all about having the right timber ingredients.

 

The right firewood

The best firewood for an ideal cooking fire is a solid hardwood that is dry, properly seasoned, split into manageable and a variety of sizes, and that produces good coals.

So you understand what I mean by the above let me explain:

  • Dry and seasoned – wood that has been aged after it is cut will ensure that is not green or have high moisture and oil content. This will ensure that the best and most stable and consistent heat source can be achieved from it while burning. Wood that is wet will also smoke, spit and hiss and the food will be steamed rather than grilled creating an altogether different cooking experience and result.
  • Variety of sizes – great big pieces of wood burn slowly and take time to produce effective heat but are consistent. Small pieces of wood burn quickly and produce a more immediate flame but less consistent heat. Having a variety of sizes (small, medium, large) will allow you to have more control over your cooking environment and a variety of cooking spaces within the same grill.
  • Coal creation – a good solid bed of coals is essential for slow cooking on a fire and also for creating consistent heat that doesn’t burn. Wood that produces these coals is ideal for tasty fire cooking and that smokey wood-fire taste.
  • The wood you choose to burn will also have an affect on the flavour of the food. Dense, aromatic wood will produce a delicious deep and smoky taste within the food. Light and quick to burn wood will burn quickly, with more flame but will not imprint on the flavours of the food as deeply.

Manage your grill

It is also critical to manage your grill and understand where the hottest parts of the fire are located and therefore where and when to cook on it.

Cooking with this sort of living, breathing and changing element is rewarding but challenging and very different from cooking over a stable gas fire flame.

When it comes to fire size does matter. Best practice is to have a fire grill that makes use of all the temperatures and fire stages and is big enough to accommodate this. Having a section over hot coals and then room on the side for new wood in flame will ensure that you have all stages of the fire cycle to cook on and work with and a constant supply of coals. The hot parts of the grill can be used for searing and sealing the meat, the cooler and more consistent parts of the grill for cooking through the meat. You will need to move your food around the wood fire grill and be watchful, tending the fire and the wood at all times!

About Bluegum

Bluegum is a eucalyptus species of timber native in Australia and perfect for wood fire use. It is dense, produces excellent and consistent heat and flame as well as coals and a lovely aromatic flavour when used in a cooking fire.

Firewood Solutions supply quality and seasoned Buegum firewood harvested from plantation grown and sustainable forests and landholders in South Australia, which is split, ready for your home and business fire!

 

Blogs and articles used in the writing of this blog

https://www.woodfiregrill.com.au/seven-tips-cooking-fire-like-pro/

https://www.thekitchn.com/5-rookie-mistakes-to-avoid-when-cooking-over-an-open-fire-232730

https://www.firewood.asn.au/images/downloads/faa_cooking_with_wood.pdf

https://amplefirewood.com.au/choosing-right-firewood-wood-fire-pizza-ovens/

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