Top Tips for Cooking with a Chiminea
Cooking with a chiminea is great fun
Chiminea Cooking Tips - Before You Start
Let's start with the basics. Before you do anything else you need to make sure that your chiminea is placed on a hard, firm, even surface. Avoid placing it directly on wooden decking or anything else that can catch fire. Anything that wobbles is also a no-no.
Never leave a lit chiminea unattended. OK, if you need the toilet I'm sure it's fine to go and come back but never leave the house while you are waiting for the fire to get to a suitable temperature before you start cooking - it's just common sense. if you have kids get a chiminea guard to place around it if they are running free in the garden. I know from experience that burnt little fingers tend to put a dampener on your day.
When cooking with a clay chiminea make sure to seal it against the elements. While this is not always necessary it can extend the life of your chiminea. Furniture and Butcher's wax both work very well for this task. You should also look into getting some type of covering for your clay chiminea, a grill cover would work and many chiminea dealers offer multi-purpose weather covers. If you live in an area that gets very cold it is best to store your clay chiminea inside so you can prevent it from cracking. But if you do store it indoors you do not want to store it on its stand.
When you are cooking with a cast iron or stainless steel chiminea be aware that food can cook very quickly. This is because fires can burn longer and hotter in these types of chiminea and as they are a cross between a bbq and an oven you can imagine that the heat is far greater and far more concentrated than a standard bbq. While cast iron and steel chimineas are not likely to crack, chip or flake like a clay one they can become rusty if left out in the rain for too long.
OK, lets get down to some actually cooking tips!
Firstly, it's best to start the fire 20-30 minutes before you start. For those of you who have never cooked with a chiminea before it might be best to choose charcoal. Some people will argue that you should only choose wood, but charcoal is fine. It's also easier to start if you get those instant fire types that are sold at most supermarkets.
When preparing the food the best advice it to make sure that you get all the meat about the same size so you know that when one piece is done, the rest wil be too. As for bbqing always tenderise meat and prick sausages to avoid them splitting and spitting everywhere.
Place food on metal sheets, thread on skewers, or wrap in foil packets, keeping similar items together.
If you don't have any get some long handle bbq tongs and use these to insert food into the chiminea. You may have a swing out grill, but this will be super hot so be careful. I always have a pair of heavy duty gloves handy too.
If you've got food in foil you can put these on top of the coals otherwise place them on top of the grill. Skewers can be placed onto a metal grill or set in at an angle above the coals.
As food can cook far more quickly in a chiminea it's best to check food more frequently to see if it's done - every1 0 minutes or so works for me. Juices from properly cooked meat will be clear and not pink, just use a skewer to prick meat to see. If your food is wrapped in foil it will naturally take longer than food that is directly exposed to the heat.
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