Cooking outside over fire must be one of the best ways to cook. It's not just about the food - which tastes incredible - it's about the people and the stories you share as you gather round the flames.
Naturally, it all starts with the fire. Our brand ambassador and woodfired cooking expert, Ben Quinn, defines fires by their age. You look at a fire and fit the cooking method to it. Different ages are better for different ways of cooking – you might use the smoke of a baby fire for off-set warming but you’ll want a steady adult fire before you start grilling.
This is about being patient and understanding the characteristics of the fire, its strengths and weaknesses. Remember though, all fire is hot, unpredictable and can be dangerous. Have a healthy respect for it and you wont go wrong.
The New Fire
The fire starts out life as a spark. Nothing more than a few flames. You can’t cook on it yet – have a drink and be patient. Wait for it to grow.
The Baby Fire
The first ignitions of kindling or the first glow of coals can be used for high smoking or off-set warming, but you’ve still got a way to go before you start cooking.
The Child Fire
The fire is now alive and starting to make noises, even a little heat. Be careful though, it’s still very fragile. Stick to smoking and off-set warming until it grows bigger.
The Teenage Fire
All of a sudden the fire has heat and noise and smells. It tends to be violent and grows quickly, the heat spreading, unpredictable and sometimes ferocious. You can start cooking directly with it now, it’s good for charing your veg.
The Adult Fire
Steadier now, the adult fire has a consistent heat. It’s very hot, almost too hot to be near it. Now’s the time to get grilling, searing and off-set roasting.
The Elderly Fire
The fire starts to die down, but the last of the coals still hold their heat. This fire is consistent and wonderful for slow grilling, careful smoking and infusing flavour, but keep a careful eye on it because the heat can suddenly die out. Gather round and warm your hands if it’s chilly, watch the embers glow.
The Dying Fire
By now all appears to have gone. The smell, heat, and noise have died down. You can still use the fire to warm your food or hold the heat in but be careful, there’s life in the old fire yet and the dying heat might catch you unaware, and can always reignite.
We'd love you to give it a go - start by experimenting with some of Ben's recipes, specially developed to celebrate our new partnership with Cornish Sea Salt: