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Setting up a campfire

Discussion in 'Fire Side Chat' started by allyson93, Feb 3, 2018.

  1. Hi,

    I am wondering if there is a recommended way to lay-set up a campfire for cooking (roasting) and generating usable coals and ashes?


  2. Hi @allyson93

    A great setup for a roasting and generating coals is to set the stones round the fire in a "U" horseshoe shape. With the main fire burning in the back of the U it is easy to rake embers forwards for cooking whilst keeping a lively fire. Giving you full control over the cooking heat.

    I use this pattern a fair bit for roasting meats whilst pot cooking at the same time. Additionally you if you have a grill you may be able to balance the grill across the open end of the U for grilling and searing.

    For roasting bigger joints indirect of the embers is best (firemark 3+), simply by moving the grill further from the fire to required heat. Turn the joint occasionally to ensure an even cook. Without grill supporting the joint on rocks or sticks also works well.

    Another consideration is the harder woods like oak, cherry, beech will make longer lasting more even heated embers, but I guess this is location based opportunity- I get a lot of wind fallen hazel, silver birch and drift wood in the wilds here. For garden pit cooking I tend to squirrel away choice bits of oak, cherry and hawthorn as they present themselves. Depending on species the woods smoke will provide different flavours to the food as well as the cooking characteristics, I will cover this further in the blog sometime as I could go on a bit.

    As with any fire I think people comfort and ambience first, then adapt the food to fit.

    Hope this helps and best wishes on your fire cooking adventures!

    allyson93 likes this.
  3. Hi Pete,

    Thanks for that advice! I will try that out.

    Several years ago I watched a Saami chef demonstrate how to plank roast a salmon by a open fire. He pegged the skin-on salmon fillet to a birch plank using birch pegs and stood it up (vertical to the fire.)

    I tried this out on my own but I think I might have gotten the heat and/or distance from heat wrong? The albumin came out of the fish in globs and also formed a film on the surface of the fish. But, parts of the center were like sashimi.

    Do you have any advice for me on what Firemark to shoot for when plank roasting salmon or other fish?

    Thanks so much!


  4. Hi Allyson

    Fantastic to hear, that Saami chef's salmon sounds amazing, especially the detail of his birch planking. The essence of locality.

    Firemark 3 should do it, sounds like your salmon just needed a bit longer or closer to the fire. At this distance (2-3 feet?) the heat fluctuations from the fire should even out cooking.

    Inserting and holding a knife in the cooked salmon for 5 seconds should give an idea. If its ready the blade should be uncomfortably hot to touch on the back of your hand.

    If using a temperature probe which I use for larger roast meats aim for salmon at 60C (140F)

    I have a recipe I will post soon glazing the planked salmon with; 2 Tbsp honey, juice 1 lemon, chilli flakes, then serving with ember roasted beetroot and a dill creme fraiche.


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