Cooking on a campfire can be a really fun experience. It fuels our primal cave man nature. Make sure you enjoy a successful outdoor experience by following a few simple rules when it comes to building and lighting your campfire.
Now you’ve had a read of our Campfire advice we would love to hear any ‘pearls of wisdom’ that you might have. Share your very own top tips for the perfect campfire on our Facebook, tweet us or send us an email and we will upload our favourites on to this page!
Firing up the barbecue, is a great way to spend your leisure time whilst feeding family and friends at the same time. However, barbecue ownership involves more than simply lighting the fire. We call it the S.L.C
Following these simple precautions can minimise the risk of injury or the break out of an unwanted fire:
Selecting the right location for your barbecue reduces the risk of unplanned fires. Simply check that there are no buildings, trees, washing etc. in your selected barbecue zone. Once you have selected your site:
It is all too easy for barbecues to be neglected over the winter months. We recommend getting it in shape by:
If you have any of your own top tips forResponsible BBQ then we would love to hear them! Please share to our Facebook page, tweet us or send us an email.
Removing grease and food from a barbecue is easier when it is a little warm. So once the coals are alight and the grate is slowly starting to heat up, use a long handled wire brush on your grill to clean off any left-over food or grease. And, don’t forget to scrape it again immediately after use. This way, you’ll be ready for your next barbecue in double-quick time.
Whether your barbecue is clean or dirty, the lack of grease in lean foods means that they may still stick to your grill. Using a vegetable oil soaked piece of paper/ kitchen towel and a pair of tongs apply the oil to the food to stop sticking. Never apply oil directly from the bottle or from a spray as this may cause unwanted flames and even smoke.
Don’t forget food hygiene outdoors when cooking. Remember to have separate plates for raw and cooked meat, different chopping boards for vegetables etc. Also ensure that your food is in the fridge for as long as possible and keep marinating meats in there too.
Flames erupt from your barbecue when fat drips onto the heat source and catches fire. You run the risk of charring the outside of the food before the inside is cooked thoroughly. To reduce flare- ups, select lean cuts of meat, trim excess fat and remove the skins from poultry. As an added safety measure it is worth keeping a "squirt" or "spray" water bottle nearby to quickly douse any flare-up.
Bacteria in any under cooked food can ruin a great event, so ensuring that your barbecue is at optimum temperature for killing any bugs and thoroughly cooking your food is essential. To make sure your barbecue reaches the right temperature, consider investing in a food thermometer to check that the food is cooking at its most appropriate heat. Alternatively pierce the food with a fork to allow the heat to more quickly cook the inside of the food.
Now you’ve read our best barbecuing advice, we would love to hear your ‘tricks of the trade’! Share your very own BBQ top tips on our Facebook page, tweet us or send us an email, and we will upload our favourites on to this page!
When lighting your fire, place your firelighter on a bed of cinders or amongst the coal in your BBQ.
Check the safety tips on packs!!
Not only are we passionate about lighting fires we really want to share our love and enthusiasm for all things fire.Especially about which woods will make your fire hot and toasty and those which, quite frankly, are a bit of a damp squib.
Wood is a natural and sustainable choice of fuel for domestic fires and has been in use since the first fire many millennia ago. When we warm our homes with wood, we participate in a natural cycle that we share with our ancient ancestors. Wood fuelled the open fires of the hunter-gatherers, the brick ovens of the first bakers, and, until the 19th century, all our homes.
Today, we still love to sit in front of a fire and coming in from the cold naturally draws us to the fire. We all know that feeling of returning home after a busy day out, to a cold chilly house and really wanting a warm and cosy fire as quickly as possible.
Knowing which wood to use will help you achieve a speedy, toasty house leaving you more time to relax and enjoy your well-earned rest at the end of a busy day. Whether it is gazing into the magical flames or unwinding with a glass of your favorite wine, enjoy your fire with Zip™ firelighters and the right wood:
Aspen, basswood, cottonwood, chestnut, yellow poplar and spruce produce relative low amounts of heat and whilst easy to burn also pop, throw out sparks and produce a fair amount of smoke. They are most suitable for use as kindling.
If you have further advice on which woods to use, we would love to hear it! You can tweet us, share on our Facebook page or email.
Get your barbeque fired up before the guests arrive
You don’t want your friends to arrive to the smell of barbeque debris burning off your grill- maybe even start cooking a few small snacks so that your guests are welcomed with the tempting smell of delicious food.
Preparation is key
Make sure all of your food is prepped well in advance- get marinating the night before, skewer your meat- whatever you can do to free up time on the day so you can spend more time entertaining and less time washing up!
Set up your workspace in advance so that you have everything you will need to grill with confidence. Make sure you have all the cooking tolls that you need and enough work surface space to keep your raw and cooked meat separate.
Use simple, fresh ingredients
Use quality cuts of meat and take advance of the wonderful fresh vegetables available for the season. A simple bit of seasoning and marinating is often all you need to bring out the delicious natural flavours of your barbeque.
Done abandon your barbeque
Stay with your barbeque at all times- for your food and safety’s sake! You won’t be lonely, there are always guests that congregate around the barbeque-cooking is theatre!
If you have a large barbeque, control the proximity of the food to the coals using a tiered rack system- if your barbeque does not allow you to so this, move your food around from hot to cooler parts of the grill as required. You could also place food on foil to slow the cooking process down.
Rest is best!
Don’t forget to rest your meat before serving. This makes such a difference- if you were to eat a piece of steak straight off the barbeque all of the juices would run out as soon as you cut into it- the resting process allows for all the meat juices to be absorbed- leaving you with a lovely, juicy piece of meat to savour!
At Zip™, we take fire safety very seriously, and are often asked for advice on a number of wide ranking topics such as whether a chimney needs sweeping or how a fireguard should be used. To make it easier, we have collated our most frequently asked questions.
Q: How often should I have my chimney swept?
A: Frequency of sweeping can depend on a number of factors – our guidelines are:-
Many insurance companies now insist on proof of sweeping by a certified chimney sweep and it is also worth checking the details of your insurance policy to ensure you will be covered in the event of a claim.
Q: How can I prevent build-up of creosote and tars in my chimney?
A: To help ensure that your chimney remains clean of all residues, use only dry wood and have your chimney swept on a regular basis. Using wet or damp wood or turf can lead to a build-up of creosote and tar, which needs to be removed. Burning a hot fire can also ignite residues and cause a chimney fire. Why not try Zip™ Soot reducer?
Q: Where should I store my firelighters and fuel?
A: Firelighters should be kept away from the close surroundings of a fire in a cool and dry place. Many fire makers store them next to the fire on the hearth for convenience but, this is a fire risk. We advise to keep our firelighters in a metal tin and away from food.
Wood, coal and peat should be stored in a dry place with good ventilation so that any dampness can quickly be evaporated to leave dry fuel. The wetter the fuel the harder it will be to light.
Q: What fuel is suitable for my stove?
A: Always be guided by your manufacturer’s recommendations.
Q: Do I need a good air supply?
A: For open fires the chimney should provide enough air to help ’draw the fire’. However, for closed appliances like wood burners and stoves, there needs to bean an adequate flow of air, to allow them to burn correctly. Ensure that your rooms with fires in are well ventilated with fresh air. Sometimes a little draft from outside increases the performance of a fire and sometimes the wind direction moving over the chimney pot can aid air flow. However, fires are generally worse performing on windy days when the wind tends to blow down the chimney.
If you have double glazing or draught proofing, you might want to consider fitting an air duct to allow fresh air to enter your room.
Q: What precautions should I take to ensure that my fire does not produce harmful gasses?
A: To prevent harmful gasses being produced by your fire, enough oxygen must be supplied to burn your fuels completely. To do this:
Q: How often do I need to remove the ash from my fire?
A: A build-up of ash may damage your appliance, so it is important that you remove any ash before each new fire. Allow the ash to cool before cleaning out (ideally overnight). If the ash is from wood logs then it would be possible to use it in your garden as a form of fertiliser. It contains 13 essential nutrients for good plant growth. It also helps to maintain a neutral soil condition.
Q: When should I use a fireguard?
A: Zip™ recommends using a fireguard with any open fire. Never leave an open fire unattended without placing a fireguard in front of the fire. Make sure that the fireguard is fireproof and not made of any flammable materials such as plastic or fabric.
Always place a fire guard over any appliance where indoor pets and small children are able to touch or put their hands near. Log burning stoves heat up to high temperatures and the glass also becomes extremely hot and can cause serious burning and blistering.
Cooking on a campfire is very different to cooking on the stove at home. The easiest way to cook outdoors, is to place a grill above the fire, secured by some rocks and place your food on the grill. If you want to be a little more adventurous, try these 5 tried and tested ways of cooking food on your next camping trip:
You will need an egg and an orange. Cut the orange in half, carefully carve out the fruit segments from both sides. Be careful not to pierce or cut through the orange peel skin. Next, crack an egg into each of the two halves of the orange and then carefully place them onto the bed of loose coals at the edge of the fire. Why not add some cheese and whisk to make mini omelettes?
This is a tried and tested way of cooking by many thousands of Scouts, Guides and Brownies all over the world. It is simple to cook, and makes a nice change from sausages. It is a meal, all in one!
Ingredients: Green vegetables, potatoes, cubed meat, herbs/ spices, oil and some water.
Method: Lay out a large double layer of aluminium foil and then combine evenly cubed vegetables and potatoes with your meat. Season with a small amount of herbs or spices and add a little oil and water (to help seam cook the food inside). Carefully roll the edges up tight, so that nothing can get out and then place the whole thing on the coals. The smaller that you cut the food up the quicker that it will cook through.
These are simple and quick to make and can be enjoyed either as a sweet or savoury snack.
Method: Mix flour, water and a pinch of salt together to form a thick dough. If you would like them sweet simply add raisins, sultanas and some cinnamon. If you prefer savoury then why not try adding some grated hard cheese?
Cooking: Make a snake like roll of the dough and twist this snake around a long thick green stick (with bark removed). Support it over the glowing embers of your camp fire and remember to turn them occasionally to evenly cook them until they turn a lovely golden brown. A favourite of scouts the world over!
If you do not have a grill and still love hotdogs then this is for you. Lay sliced onion on a cabbage leaves, add a sausage and then place more onions on top. Wrap up the cabbage leaf tightly around and secure the edges with a number of small green sticks to keep it closed. Place the parcel in the fire embers for about 7-10 minutes, turning occasionally.
For an authentic natural taste, why not try wrapping your meat, cheese or freshly caught fish in wild leaves? For example, using Cattails (Typha, found readily all over Europe and North America, which grow in marshes, swamps and ditches) wrapped around raw food, will produce a fresh earthy taste.
The best method is to wrap your food in the leaves, overlap the leaves around the raw food and tie some wet twine around the leaves to hold it together. Carefully place the parcels of food into the warm embers of your fire and wait for the food to cook.
Now you’ve read our top tips for cooking over an open fire, we would love to hear yours! Share them on our Facebook page, tweet us or send us an email of your much loved recipes and we will upload our favourites on to this page!