While chefs and home cooks around the world produce amazing dishes using electric and gas stoves, a wood-fired grill brings something extra to the meal. And while you may think that wood-fired grills are not worth it, because they produce too much mess, when you see what amazing food you can produce on these grills, you’ll wonder why you weren’t cooking on these sooner!
What You Need To Get Started
Before you even think about what meat you’re going to cook, there are several things which you need to have in place first.
Choose Your Wood Carefully
For a proper wood-fired grill, you need to choose your wood carefully. It is recommended that you use seasoned, dried oak or any other hardwood such as walnut, ash or hickory. Wood which has a lot of resin, or pine, is not good to use as it burns far too quickly. As well, the fumes that the wood gives off when burning will give an unpleasant taste to the meat.
Arrange Your Wood
You should arrange your wood in the shape of a tepee over your kindling or firelighters. You will then light this to start the fire.
Don’t Be In A Rush
Before you even start to think about what to cook, you need to wait for the wood to catch alight and to burn into embers. Help this process along by breaking up the red, glowing wood into chunks. Be warned: this will take between 30 and 45 minutes so if you do decide to make supper using this method of cooking, make it a social occasion. Have some friends around to help you while away the time.
Ready, Set, Cook!
Push the burning wood towards the back of the grill and move the embers to the front. Spread them out evenly at the front of the grill. Put the grill grate on top of the embers and put your meat – and anything else that you want to barbeque – on the grate.
Don’t go too heavy on the seasoning as the smoke will do the majority of the flavouring. On your vegetables, add a little olive oil and salt. The meat already has a lot of flavour in it so the smoke will enhance it.
Restaurants Who’ve Turned To Wood-Fired Grilling
Wood-fired grilling is no longer just for camping and relaxed afternoons with friends at the pool. In recent years, fine dining has adopted wood-fired grilling and has made it part of their signature repertoire.
Top on the list is Ekstedt in Stockholm. This inventive restaurant is Michelin starred and they cook their food in a wood-burning oven, over a fire pit or smoked through a chimney using birchwood.
Another fine dining restaurant which uses this cooking technique is Pitt Cue in London. This restaurant has made itself famous by raising their own curly-haired, rare-breed mangalitsa pigs. These pigs are slow-roasted over open flames and are worth waiting for, especially when you can play now online to pass the time.
There are so many more restaurants in various parts of the world – both well-known and not-so-well-known – who’ve turned to wood-fire grilling as their go-to cooking technique. Although still in its infancy, it will be interesting to see where this trend develops.