Every fire starts with the ignition. To keep your ignition as natural as possible, our firelighters are the perfect fire starter. Be mindful of some commercial fire starters as they may rely on highly flammable fuel to help generate flames.
The smoking stage occurs immediately after the wood is lit and heated, leading to evaporation of water and the release of carbon dioxide. The wood will produce white smoke until it heats sufficiently for full combustion. If you’ve ever heard the American BBQ saying “thin blue smoke” this isn’t it. You don’t want to cook over this smoke. You need to wait for the wood to fully combust before cooking.
Next is the actual fire, or flames. The fuel is burning away, flames are rising and things are heating up, creating volatile gases. There is a tipping point in this process when the heat is on the incline, known as a flashover. Make sure your fire is well stacked before this as adding wood at this stage will reduce the temperature.
In reality, many of the stages of wood combustion occur simultaneously; wood gases can be flaming and the edges of the wood can be glowing red as the embers burn, while water in the core of the place is still evaporating. You can cook with flames so long as they are indirect or offset - the flames should not be in direct contact with the ingredient.
Embers are glowing wood. When cooking directly, there should not be any fire from the embers themselves. Most people make the mistake of grilling over actual flames. However, it is the embers that provide the most intense, consistent and clean heat.
When you cook over embers, the natural fats, oils and juices from ingredients dripping onto them can create a flame, but this should not be confused with a burning wood fire. This is the ideal time to cook. Depending on the wood type, the embers tend to break down into even pieces and can be fragile, shattering like glass. The temperature of embers will eventually plateau. You can cook on the rise, but it is this plateau period that offers the most consistent heat and optimum time to cook. It is fine to add more wood as you are cooking, but be mindful that you will need time to let the flames subside, and allow the heat to rise again. Once the embers have plateaued, the embers experience decay and their temperature begins to decline. The embers are now covered in a fine ash and almost appear dormant, but under the surface they remain a powerhouse of heat. It is not until you put your hand over them that you realise how much heat is still being generated.