Morning of the wedding: 9 dos and don’ts for the bridal party
Morning of the wedding: 9 dos and don’ts for the bridal party

Geraldine Carton

What to eat this week: Goat’s cheese and pickled beetroot melt
What to eat this week: Goat’s cheese and pickled beetroot melt

Meg Walker

The most heartwarming moments from the Olympics so far
The most heartwarming moments from the Olympics so far

Sarah Finnan

11 Irish women with the coolest jobs outside Ireland
11 Irish women with the coolest jobs outside Ireland

Geraldine Carton

Fans seem to think Taylor Swift is in Donegal
Fans seem to think Taylor Swift is in Donegal

Sarah Finnan

Britney Spears’ lawyer files request for new conservator of her finances
Britney Spears’ lawyer files request for new conservator of her finances

Jennifer McShane

All you need to know about Elizabeth Holmes’ unbelievable Theranos fraud case
All you need to know about Elizabeth Holmes’ unbelievable Theranos fraud case

Jennifer McShane

Millie Mackintosh opens up about her c-section experience and recovery
Millie Mackintosh opens up about her c-section experience and recovery

Sarah Finnan

Andie MacDowell: Why is my grey hair an issue and George Clooney’s isn’t?
Andie MacDowell: Why is my grey hair an issue and George Clooney’s isn’t?

Sarah Finnan

Looks like weddings of 100 guests might go ahead this August, under one condition
Looks like weddings of 100 guests might go ahead this August, under one condition

Lauren Heskin

Image / Living / Food & Drink

Cooking with Fire: Top tips from Big Grill co-founder Andy Noonan


by IMAGE Interiors & Living
17th Jul 2021

Photograph: Nathalie Marquez Courtney

blank

Test your cooking skills this summer by prepping a meal over a fire

If you’ve been to The Big Grill Festival in Herbert Park, you’re probably gasping to try cooking over a fire yourself. But where to begin? Big Grill co-founder and co-owner of Fowl Play barbecue restaurant, Andy Noonan lays out his do’s and don’t’s to cooking over a flame.

It’s all about that base…

Sand and gravel make the best base layer for an al fresco fire. To prepare the ground, scoop out a shallow hole (about 7-10cm deep and 30cm in diameter), mark the perimeter of the hole with wet stones (dry ones will crack) in a horseshoe shape, leaving a channel for airflow and a place where you can pull hot embers down into.

Building your fire…

To build the fire, place two logs on the ground perpendicular to each other, just inside the stones, place your tinder (wood shavings, dry grass) then add very small twigs on top gently, ensuring good airflow. Set alight. As the flame builds, add larger sticks gradually.

Begin building your fire in the arch of your horseshoe shape. Place two large logs perpendicular to each other with a gap of approx 10-12 inches, and put tinder (e.g. wood shavings, dry grass) in the centre, covered with very small twigs and sticks. Spark the tinder and small twigs and ensure good airflow around it. As the flame builds, keep adding larger sticks gradually.

Once you have a good fire going, add large logs into a criss-cross fashion on top of the perpendicular logs. This will protect your tinder from burning out too quickly, while still allowing air to pass through. The aim is to create a nice bed of embers to cook on.

Now you’ve established your fire, you can start creating your cooking zone. Place two large logs at the edge of your horseshoe shape and drag the burning embers into the centre. Be careful not to disrupt your original fire, you need that to continue burning for a constant supply of hot embers. Rest an oiled grill on the two logs and you’re ready to start cooking. You can use the safe zone in front of the grill to keep food warm.

What not to do…

Do NOT use accelerants! They’re dangerous and will make your food taste like petrol. A paper towel with some cooking oil on it acts as a safer alternative. Remember you want to cook over hot embers, not flames. You want to burn the wood until you create a nice bed of embers, ie charcoal, to cook over.

Check with your local council to see if fires are permitted in your chosen spot. If you get a green light, ensure you allow a 4-6 metre perimeter around the fire, away from any overhanging trees, shrubs or combustible material. If you’re unsure of the area you’re lighting a fire in, don’t do it.

Photograph: Nathalie Marquez Courtney

And his expert tips…

Ideally, you want to build a fire that has three zones – with a strong fire at the back to burn logs, an area in front of the fire into which you can pull your red hot embers and finally an area in front of that with little or no embers, to act as a safe (flare-up free) zone to keep things warm.

You can also try cooking ‘dirty’ – placing the food directly on the embers. This is great for steaks, other red meat and things like sweet potatoes.

Happy cooking!

Also Read

blank
FOOD & DRINK
Sunday baking: Susan Jane White’s healthy(ish) brownies

Coconut sugar is surprisngly not at all coconutty in flavour and gives Susan Jane White’s brownies an edge. It’s amazing...

By Meg Walker

blank
CULTURE
7 brilliant film gems worth watching with dad on Father’s Day

Everyone has at least one thing they and their dad bond over. For my dad and I, it has always...

By Jennifer McShane

World Travel Awards
TRAVEL
Here are all the Irish spots nominated at the World Travel Awards this year

The World Travel Awards has released their 2021 list of nominees and several Irish spots impressed. Ireland featured heavily on...

By Sarah Finnan

blank
FOOD & DRINK
Looking for brunch inspo? Try this keto-friendly Greek frittata

This keto-friendly frittata has all the flavours of your favourite Greek salad and pairs beautifully with a delicious tzatziki. This...

By Meg Walker

summer TV
CULTURE
Summer TV is coming: Five shows we’re excited for this season

From new seasons of our favourite shows to reboots to completely new programmes altogether, here’s a taste of the summer...

By Sarah Finnan

blank
CULTURE
Judge denies Britney Spears’ request to remove father from conservatorship

The decision comes a week after Spears delivered a devastating testimony and, despite the appeal being filed late last year,...

By Jennifer McShane

Torca Road, Dalkey
PROPERTY
This modern Dalkey home with sea views is on the market for €2.25 million

Although the sleek interiors and beautiful views of the sea are what would most appeal to adults, children would be most impressed by the bespoke treehouse in the garden.

By Megan Burns