I’m not a pitmaster, a barbecue guru or a chef. I’m here to prove that you don’t need to be any of these things to be inspired by the world of live fire cooking and create delicious food at home.
Cooking with fire is by far the oldest – and one of the simplest – ways to prepare food, but the possibilities to experiment and add variety are near-enough limitless.
You don’t need a whole bunch of expensive, complicated equipment or a degree in culinary arts to get started. A simple kettle grill is incredibly versatile, and combined with some great ingredients and a little care will yield all manner of tasty meals.
I’ve always thought grilling food over charcoal was the ideal way to cook, with the potential to lift otherwise mediocre cuts of meat or bland burgers up a couple of levels on the flavour and enjoyment scale. There’s also a satisfaction to be had from the extra time and planning that’s required to cook outside.
I’m lucky enough that my job allows me to visit a lot of different locations around the world and it was during a trip to Austin, TX in 2013 that I realised just how little I knew about barbecue. The first taste of a Central Texas style smoked brisket is quite an awakening and the passion to discover and learn more about barbecue was …ignited?
The following year I bought a Weber Smoky Mountain cooker and had it shipped back to the UK so I could start recreating the experience of these Texas smokehouses at home. I also made a conscious effort to start exploring more of the live fire cooking techniques around the world – from the ultra-simple satay of Malaysia to the flamboyance of Brazilian churrascarias.
So I invite you to come along for the ride, to discover great places to eat barbecue around the world, learn how the techniques and ingredients developed and figure out how to recreate the experience at home (weather permitting if, like me, you’re based in the UK).