The majority of people have never actually cooked with real firewood. And that is perfectly understandable given the endless cooking options that technology has enabled utilizing all sorts of cooking utensils and appliances. Most people use gas and electric stoves, and for outside cooking they use either electric grills or easy-to-light charcoal.
Grilling with easy-to-light charcoal is the closest thing to cooking with real fire, however, the fact is that it is still just a replacement to real firewood cooking. Granted, it is not as easy and quick, but cooking with a real fire you prepared yourself can provide a lot of enjoyment and sense of pleasure, while also preserving the taste and flavor of your food a lot better.
If you wish to experience the pleasure of cooking with real firewood check out the following tips and guidelines on how to achieve it.
Get Proper Hardwood
Cooking on real fire enhances the taste of the food thanks to the smoke which comes from the wood. This is why it is imperative that you avoid softwoods for your cooking. You need hardwoods which are going to burn a lot longer, thereby ensuring your food will cook to perfection.
It is true that softwoods are easier to ignite, and provide a lot of heat. However, as it was already mentioned, they don’t last long. A good example of a softwood is pine. Burning pine will release additional piney smells, which are not particularly bad, but do not mix well with food smells. The best idea would be to use softwood as fire starters and then add hardwoods.
Hardwoods burn longer due to their density. They are harder to start a fire with, but once you get it going you will see that your efforts are worth it. Different hardwoods release different smells and aromas which further compliment the flavor of the food. A perfect example of a good cooking hardwood is oak. It releases a rich, smokey smell.
Furthermore, fruit trees are also convenient since they release a more pleasant aroma. Choices include: apple wood, pecan wood, pear wood and almond wood. If you can get your hands on old grape vine cuttings it would be the perfect solution for starting a quick fire with quality wood.
Prepare and Start the Fire Ahead
As it was already mentioned on a couple of occasions, starting a fire with hardwoods can take some time. Depending on how much food you are going to cook, and how much time it will take to get done, you need to plan your fire and the amount of hardwood you are going to use to ensure that there is enough heat for the entire time. This is especially important since are going to need embers, which can take hours to build. And then you need to make sure you keep feeding the fire properly.
Why Cooking with Embers is Ideal
It has already been established that you are going to need embers for cooking. Embers are much better than normal fire for cooking, especially because they produce a lot more heat than normal fire, and also last for a long time. Furthermore, normal fire flames are not what you want to use to cook your food with.
If you are using a fire pit, start building your ember core a few hours before cooking. Keep adding wood until you are satisfied with the core, and let the remaining fire go out before you start placing your food over it.
Additional Firewood Cooking Alternatives
Using Rotisseries – Rotisseries are used to rotate the food over a fire. They can be motorized or hand-turned. They are convenient for cooking larger roasts since the rotating effect ensures that the meat will be equally roasted on all sides. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t place them too close to hot embers because you will end up with having the surface overcooked while the interior part will remain uncooked.
Fireplace – Modern fireplaces are not designed for cooking, so in order to achieve this you would need special equipment. These include fireplace cranes and fireplace grills. Also there are fireplace rotisseries available on the market.
If you wish to start cooking with real firewood now you have the essential information. Follow these tips and guidelines and take your cooking a step further.