How to build a fire is the first step to sizzling steaks, homemade burgers and colorful vegetables so let's get started.
Start the right way and half the battle is won.
Fire, the most important element of a barbecue, get this right for a successful barbecue and satisfied guests.
Hardwood and charcoal are popular fuels to use for a BBQ fire depending on preference and availability.
For this demonstration we use charcoal briquettes with liquid fire fuel and solid fuel fire lighters.
How to build a fire from other types of fuel? Use the same method, but remember when using hardwood types it will take longer for the right temperature to be reached. Ideal to grill over medium temperature embers and not flames.
Place three or four pieces of fire lighters at the bottom of the barbecue.
Light each one, but take care not burn your hands. It's best to use long matches, gas igniter or taper.
Use a large tong to hold the fire lighter blocks while lighting them.
When the fuel blocks are burning start placing charcoal briquettes around and on top of the burning blocks.
Be careful not to bump them over or smother the flames.
At this stage you should take great care not to burn yourself when placing the remainder of the briquettes around and on top of the burning blocks.
Use a long tong to do this.
Build your fire to a pyramid shape with the charcoal briquettes.
Spray with liquid fuel to help the fire burn more rapidly.
Always use liquid fuel for this purpose only - NEVER USE PETROL.
Spray the liquid fuel on before lighting the fire.
Never spray liquid fuel onto a burning fire as this can cause the bottle to catch alight and explode in your hands.
Use enough charcoal. Rather, use more than to little - It's horrible to be halfway through the barbecue to discover that the fire is not sufficient to get the meat done.
It takes at least 30 minutes for the fire to get to the right temperature depending on the amount of charcoal used.
Now is the time to make sure the meat and other food to barbecue is ready to go sizzling on the fire as soon as it's ready...
Or sit back and relax with a cold beer until the fire is ready.
Wait until all the charcoal briquettes turn light grey
The fire is at the right temperature when the briquettes all turn light grey. Spread the clumps out evenly and place the grid over the top.
Place the meat on top of the grill and wait for the sizzling sound when the fat starts dripping off ... and the appetizing aroma of roasting meat that makes your tummy rumble.
It is a big plus if the barbecue has a couple of different notches to raise or lower the grid for easy adjusting of heat, which is the only way to do this with an open fire. Kind of like the knob on your stove.
Flames are very hot normally used for boiling water or getting intense heat to a one pot meal in a Dutch oven.
Embers vary from very hot to moderate heat.
When baking bread in a Dutch Oven use only a small amount of embers at the bottom and about 5 embers on top of the lid.
Camp fire using logs of wood
Line the BBQ with foil at the bottom for quick cleaning later
Drop a few Rosmary twigs on the fire for pleasant aroma
Other fuels to use are lumps of charcoal, which is easier to ignite and excellent to use if it's a good quality. It's hard to define a good quality charcoal, and usually it's through experience that you learn which charcoal in your area is a good quality to use. High grade charcoal is usually big clumps - less fine dust - and must give good consistent heat.
Hardwood like oak and apple give a pleasant aroma and burn slowly.
We like to use Rooikrans - Red-eyed wattle - or grapevine branches when available.
How to build a fire is the start of an unforgettable cooking experience.
Always make sure that your barbecue is well away from overhanging branches, canopy or ceiling. Take extra care when building a barbecue fire close to a thatch roof or lapa.
When building a fire on the ground you should always build a fire in a well cleared area away from grass, branches and dead leafy matter. To pack a wall with stones around the perimeter of the fire also helps.
Be extremely vigilant when small children are playing in the vicinity of the fire.
Never leave an open fire unattended.
Always make sure that the fire is completely put out before retiring to bed.
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