Tag: Fire

Asado is an incredible Argentinian all-day outdoor cooking experience that is a real feast for the senses, and we’re excited to be welcoming chef Tim Gibb of Asado Fire Kitchen to Philleigh Way on Sunday August 2nd for a special asado course.  To get an idea of what attendees can expect from the day, and to find out more about the art of asado, we fired Tim a few questions. 

chef tim gibb of asado fire kitchen cooking a whole side of lamb

For those who aren’t familiar with it, what is asado?
Asado is not just the act of cooking over fire it’s the ambience created by the whole event. Its about the food, the party, the drinks and the good vibes. Similar to what we term BBQ, just taken up a few levels. Generally it’s a whole day and night event and nothing is rushed.

So there’s more to it than cooking a whole lamb over fire on a cross?
The lamb on the cross is one of the most iconic asado images and it really does do the meat justice, but the whole day/event is a feast. Vegetables cooked over fire is a whole world of new flavours and things to play with.

vegetables cooked in the embers of a fire asado style

Your Dad ran a smokery where you live in Dorset so you grew up surrounded by smokey flavours, but how did you then discover asado and develop your skills?
Working with Dad from a young age led me into kitchens, with a particular passion for seafood. I also spent a lot of time around the Jurassic coast of Dorset fishing as a nipper, and we all know that you also spend a lot of time not catching fish! During these times fires were usually a go to and if/when the fish did turn up we were rolling. Cooking preparation back then was never our strong point – it usually centered around a fire, a dirty knife and a pokey stick thing trying to avoid the exploding pebbles, but it possessed a beautiful simplicity. One thing has led to another over the years skills wise, and having travelled, but I was consistently drawn back to cooking over and around fire. Then I just put the two together and started discovering where things could go. I don’t think you ever stop learning.

smoking meat asado style

From where do you find your inspiration?
Like any chef (I imagine) it comes from the excitement of eating and having a good time. We live in an incredible time where local produce is going from strength to strength and finding new ways of doing it the justice that it deserves is an exciting prospect. I don’t profess to adhering strictly to the South American rules of asado, its more that I’ve taken the style and the ethos and I’m giving it an English twist. Fire cooking is huge now so one of the joys of social media is seeing what others are up to and how they are doing it. Not only for new ingredients, but for cooking methods and techniques.

herbs used to baste meat whilst cooking over fire

Where’s the most memorable place you’ve lit your fire?
For me it has to be the beach – I’m a huge fan. Chesil Beach is incredible and even though it’s right on my doorstep it never grows old. Every venue provides new challenges, its one of the joys of outdoor cooking and because you’re always on the move it stays exciting. 2020 had some stunning venues lined up: the shore of Lake Windemere, a back drop of the historic ruins of Corfe Castle here in Dorset, Penn Castle over looking the Portland race towards Durdle Door to name a few, but unfortunately Covid-19 put a stop to all these for the time being. 2021 will be an awesome year.

tim gibb of asado fire kitchen cooking fish and shellfish over a fire on the beach

What’s your favourite thing to cook over fire and why? Any surprises?
I’m a huge fan of cooking seafood. It really takes the flavor of the fire so well and there is a heap of different ways to cook things that keeps it exhilarating. Dirty lobsters, planked fillets, grilling prawns, scallops in there shells, fire basket mussels, the list is endless. The fire looks so cool when it’s packed with a seafood feast and a lot of it is amazingly simple to do.
Watermelon is one of the more unusual items to put around a fire I suppose you could say, although nothing is off limits anymore. The flesh absorbs a beautiful sweet smokey flavor, not too dissimilar to tuna – but it’s watermelon!! Reserve the sweet juice that you collect during cooking and you have a watermelon consommé. A bit of smoked feta, mint dressing and you have a vegetarian alternative that will stun the most hardened carnivores.

cooking meat, fish, fruit and vegetables over fire asado style

And your favourite bit of kit?
Not so much an individual bit of kit but I’ve been converting a 1964 Bedford fire engine for a few years now and although we keep hitting road blocks, when I get everything that I have planned in my head on board she really will be a fire cooking mecca. It’s going to be an Argentine grill, hot smoker and wood fire kitchen all in one. It’s been a challenge, but during lockdown we have made positive progress with her and I’m optimistic that things are now moving in the right direction.
Kit-wise it has to be the pit and frame from Tom at Country Fire Kitchen. Its incredibly well made and versatile so has endless possibilities.

portico outdoor kitchen by country fire kitchen

What will attendees on your course learn, and what will they be able to repeat at home after the course?
Attendees will learn a host of different cooking areas surrounding a fire and how to utilize the energy and flavor in all manner of ways. They will learn how to adapt equipment they may have at home to cook in ways they never thought possible. We will cook some things fast, some slow, some dirty and discuss the benefits of the best way to cook particular things and why. We will get the lamb on the cross, veggies in the embers and showcase how you can do smaller versions for smaller parties.

cooking meat asado style

If you could give aspiring backyard asadors one piece of advice, what would it be?
If you think something is possible and like the idea of it there is only one way to find out: Do it! The rules are consistently being re-written so don’t be put off by the fact you haven’t seen it done before. Also, get rid of your watch. It’s ready when it’s ready and until then enjoy the company, drink and conversation.

Click here to find out more about the asado course on Sunday August 2nd and to book one of the few remaining spaces.

As summer hits and the evenings draw out, many of us are spending more time cooking and eating outside. Whether that means barbecuing in your backyard or (as lockdown measures ease) a day trip to a beach, here are a few of my top tips for eating well outside and making sure that cooking and clearing up after yourself is as easy as possible.

The One Essential Bit of BBQ Kit

A fish clamp or grill basket is the only piece of kit that you need to cook over fire at the beach, or over your bbq at home. Use it for grilling veg, sausages or meat as well as fish over a fire or bbq, and simply flip it over – no more chasing sausages around a grill with tongs, or dropping them on the coals!

Cracking Crab

Buy cooked crab from a fishmonger – lots of fisherman and fish merchants have been selling direct or online (for delivery) during lockdown. You can find a comprehensive list of Cornish fish and shellfish options for local collection and nationwide delivery here. Then either cook some chips or French fries at home and take them with you, or stop off to pick up some chips from a takeaway (many of them are now re-opening with physical distancing policies in place) on your way to the beach for an amazing, messy, seafood feast on the sand. Don’t forget some crab cracking and picking tools, though! I’d recommend a small pin hammer to crack the shell and then use the handle of a teaspoon to remove the white meat.

How To Barbecue at The Beach

If you want to barbecue at the beach, then get yourself a bucket bbq, wood and charcoal, rather than a disposable bbq. Light a fire in it, add charcoal, then cook over it, thus avoiding the flavour taint of firelighters. It’s also tidier and better value for money because you can reuse it. Just be sure to clear up after yourselves and leave only your footprints on the sand!

Other ways that we might be able to help…

Philleigh Way BBQ Packs

If you’re in Cornwall then let us help shoulder some of your BBQ burden with one of our BBQ packs – everything that you need for a classic, Middle Eastern inspired or luxury BBQ including meats, spice mixes, steak rubs, artisan breads and salads.

Outside Cookery Courses

If you’re interested in improving your outside cooking skills, then as soon as it’s safe, sensible and permitted for us to start teaching our courses again we’ll likely be starting with our outside cookery courses (with physical distancing and appropriate health and hygiene measures in place). Choose from Better Barbecuing or an Argentian Asado Masterclass. Dates have yet to be updated, and as yet we’re unsure when we will be phasing some of our courses back in, but e-mail to express an interest and we’ll get in touch to let you know.

On March 7th we’ll be joined at Philleigh Way by guest tutor Andi Tuck, to lead a special Cooking With Fire course. Andi is widely regarded as a rising star on the Cornish foodie scene for both his incredible abilities with smoke and fire but also for his incredible flavour combinations. He’s head chef at the award winning St Kew Inn, a beautiful 15th Century establishment in North Cornwall, and also the founder of Tan & Mor (Cornish for “Fire and Sea”) his live fire cooking experience business. St Kew’s forward thinking “custodians” (they don’t refer to themselves as landlords, instead seeing their role as looking after the historic inn) allowed Andi to install a live fire set-up in the kitchen and also to build an incredible outside kitchen for the summer months when he arrived there a year ago, and he’s built an incredible reputation for the food and theatre of his live fire cooking.

Ahead of his upcoming course we took the excuse to head up the road to St Kew and sit down with Andi in the historic bar after a busy lunch service to find out a bit more about his food, what attendees can expect on March 7th, and how you can add a bit of cooking with fire to your culinary skill set.

Andi, what is it that you love about cooking with fire and smoke?
The flavour, first and foremost. And I think it’s quite nostalgic, as well; growing up with barbeques in the summer. I think there’s a flavour that cooking over fire gives that’s hard to replicate any other way.

St Kew’s outdoor kitchen. Photo by Sam Buckle.

What does it allow you to do that you couldn’t otherwise, in a normal kitchen?
It’s really the offset cooking. You can’t generate the same flavour smoking with smoke chips as you can smoking over an open fire. There’s not that depth of flavour. It creates a flavour profile that smoke chips try to replicate, but they produce a much harsher flavour. Smoking over an open fire is much more subtle and has more depth. With the smoking chips it’s like “BANG! SMOKE!” but when you’re smoking over wood that has been soaked in water so it’s generating its own steam as well, it creates a deeper flavour. Offset cooking also means you tend to be cooking low and slow, and drawing out more flavours.

How did you develop your skills cooking over fire?
Working with some of the best live fire chefs in the country. Lots of research, going to evens like Meatopia which is like my annual pilgrimage. Working with chefs like Ben Quinn and Simon Stallard here in Cornwall, and then at Meatopia working with some amazing international live fire chefs. I got to work with Lennox Hastie who’s an Australian chef and the stuff that you learn with him in a day is more than some people learn in a lifetime.

Before moving to St Kew Inn, you cooked in various notable kitchens around North Cornwall. What is it about cooking in Cornwall that you enjoy so much?
The produce. You’re getting ingredients from the sea to the kitchen in a matter of minutes, not hours. With the local connections that I’ve made now with people like George Cleave the fishmonger in Port Isaac, his fish is at the kitchen door within minutes of being landed, which is awesome.

Is the produce that you have access to here particularly suitable to this style of cooking?
Yes and no… it’s more all of the foraging and wild coastal ingredients. I could go out for a day’s foraging and get enough to run a menu for the night. I love cooking fish on open fire… I will never put a fish in the oven. The set-up that I’ve got in the kitchen here is basically an oven, it’s just an open oven. You’ve got it really hot near the flames but because the heat rises I can take it up to the next level, which is a foot above the flames, and then I turn it every so often and it’ll get through to about 48-50 degrees on the bone which is perfect.

Fresh mackerel and sea leeks on the grill

What are the ingredients that you like working with the most?
Fish is my number one. Fish and fire is my thing I suppose. Anything foraged. To know what you’ve gone through to get that is really special. There’re quite a lot of wild and foraged ingredients that people have forgotten about now, but historically, and as far back as the days of hunter-gatherers, they were what people lived off. There are quite a few companies that are starting to use more foraged ingredients and it’s getting bigger. Hopefully it doesn’t get so big through that there’s nothing left for me to find! 99% of what people eat today was wild at some point, like broccoli for instance – we could go out now and forage for sea broccoli, which is an ancestor of that.

Photo by Sam Buckle.

And you’ve recently won an award for the food that you’re cooking at St Kew Inn?
Yes, out of all of the 180 pubs that are part of St Austell Brewery we won the best food pub of the year. I’ve only been here a year – it was a year to the day since I started and it’s quite a big accolade to win within the St Austell Brewery family, when you’re up against pubs like The Cornish Arms in Tavistock who win it year after year. It’s been a good way to start 2020!

You’ve cooked over fire at food festivals such as Meatopia in London and on the beach at St Ives Food Festival. What do you cook when looking to show off what’s possible with live fire?
Anything that people can do at home. I’m not one of these chef’s who’s going to show you all of these secret or unobtainable things that you can’t replicate at home. If you’re demonstrating then people want to know how to do it, they want to learn how to do it. Things like octopus that people assume is going to be unobtainable, you just go through how to do it step by step and you can get it easily. I wouldn’t rock up with a load of dry ice!

Local Porthilly oysters. Photographed by Sam Buckle.

Which other chefs do you look up to and admire, and why?
For me it’s the chefs that don’t seek the limelight… they’re not TV chefs. People like Niklas Ekstedt who’s got the Ekstedt restaurant in Stockholm. And then chefs like Ben Quinn, he’s been a massive inspiration in my career; he was the one that got me to see my true potential in live fire cooking. Generally though, people that do something a bit different. Tom Brown is a great inspiration being a Cornish boy as well.

What’s the simplest dish that you’d suggest for people wanting a gentle introduction to cooking over fire?
Mackerel. But it’s learning how to do mackerel well, because nine times out of ten your dad or granddad will have done mackerel on the BBQ and cooked the hell out of it; it’ll be dry, and horrible. It’s knowing the cuisson and knowing when to take it off. You let the residual heat of the fish finish it off. You can eat fish raw (like sushi), so if it’s still pink on the bone when you take it off the heat then it’ll be absolutely fine.

Cook this dish on our Fire course with Andi!

Do readers who are aspiring to cook over fire need any special equipment?
No! As long as you’ve got a barbecue and a safe place to do it. That’s the best thing about cooking over fire. Anyone can barbecue. There’re certain things that I’d suggest, like I’d never suggest cooking with a disposable bbq just because of the flavour it gives off – they’re often soaked in paraffin which really isn’t good to cook over. It’s more about sustainable wood or charcoal, and I’ll cover things like soaking wood on the course… going in to depth on things like using different woods for different meats. Meats like beef and chicken can take a heavier smoke flavour like oak, whereas with fish you’d want to go for apple wood or something subtle like chestnut.

Lobster, on the coals. Photo by Sam Buckle.

What are you looking forward to sharing at your course at Philleigh Way?
My enthusiasm, really. I want to make people not just stick paraffin firelighters under their food and actually show them that they can cook gourmet style food over fire, which is what we do here at St Kew.
I’d like to challenge preconceptions about cooking over fire, and show them what they can achieve. It can and should be so much more than having a raging fire and chucking stuff straight on. Some things need a hot heat and some things need a smouldering heat…. We might “black and blue” a steak by just rolling it in the hot coals to clinch it and then knock all the coals off, rest it and cut it. It’d be nice to do my octopus dish but because of time we might not be able to do the full dish – I might start cooking one but bring a cooked one with me that I’ll prepare the day before so that I can show the finished result.

Whether you want to start introducing cooking over fire into your regular repertoire, or simply up your barbecue game in preparation for the summer, Andi’s course is going to cover all bases. We have just a few spaces remaining.


And if you’re not able to make it to Cornwall in early March for Andi’s course but are planning on visiting later in the year, then you should definitely make a date to have a meal at St Kew Inn and enjoy his incredible cooking. You can also check out the other courses that we’ll be running during your visit here.

Wishlist 0
Continue Shopping