Cooking on a wood fueled barbecue can be very intimidating at first, but as soon as you know what you’re doing, you will be able to cook with ease. Cooking on wood is becoming the more popular way to cook outside once again, due to its smoky aromas and unbelievable taste, it’s a flavour that you can’t get with any other style of cooking. A fire is like making a cake, it needs all the essential ingredients to make it work, fire is made up from the perfect balance of fuel, air and heat, once you take one aspect away, it will fail.
Before you even start cooking, you need to ensure that you have the right wood, this will set you off in the right direction for creating the perfect fire. To create the best burn for your fire, you will need to use hard woods, such as Oak, Ash and Beech, these woods are more dense, so will create a long lasting burn, to keep your fire going whilst your chosen food is cooking. Wet wood contains up to 60% water, this will create a lot of smoke and ruin the food, it also will not create efficient heat to cook food on, any wood that you choose, should be well dried. Our kiln dried logs are perfect for cooking on, with an average moisture content of under 20%, so no need to worry about too much smoke.
Preparing the fire is the main part for cooking on wood, it is essential that you get this step right so that your food turns out perfect, you want your barbecue to be the perfect temperature throughout, if it is too hot the food will burn to a crisp, however if it is too cold, it will not cook through evenly and you will get cold spots, especially on larger joints of meat. You need to build up your fire with a good air flow, starting with kindling and slowly building up the fire, will allow for the best burn. You should let the wood burn evenly to establish embers and glowing coals. Depending on what you are cooking you can create zones, with one side containing the burning wood and the other glowing embers, which will give a steady heat flow, great for slowing cooking large joints, making them juicy and tender.
Now it comes down to the best bit, apart from the eating, cooking the food. If you are cooking meats you want to create what is known as the ‘Maillard reaction’ this is when the sugars and amino acids in meat combine at temperature to create new compounds with distinct flavour, which is complex, savoury and aromatic. To perfect this reaction it requires careful control and keeping an eye on the meat is key, the meat should be turned regularly, so that the heat is not applied to one part too long. When cooking meat it may also be helpful to vary the distance between the food and embers, this will manage the heat. It is important to remember that you want to be cooking over the embers and not the flames.