Did you know that there are best types of wood for cooking? To cook you want hardwood not that soft campsite wood. Depending on the type you choose you will get different results.
CAMPFIRES CAN BE SO MUCH MORE
A camping trip doesn’t seem complete if you don’t come home with hair and clothes smelling of wood smoke. Fire is more than a tool, it’s a ceremony and many of the best camping and cabin memories are those times spent together around the fire.
But your campfire can be used for much more than roasting your marshmallows! Cooking over a wood fire has really gained in popularity in recent years. Several restaurants and chefs now specialize in this type of cooking, which gives a taste that no gas BBQ can match.
I fundamentally believe that cooking over the campfire brings the human to its deepest essence. Hypnotic, comforting, fragrant, tasty the campfire touches the five senses for the cook as well as the guest.
COOK ON THE FIRE
When we started our own adventure as campers, one of the first purchases we made after the 2006 Airstream trailer was a mini Kamado Joe grill. The smallest of the series, I was more than convinced (and therefore worked very hard to convince my darling as well) that despite its weight it would be an essential device for our gourmet camping weekends.
The following summer, we sold it in the classifieds. In fact, I quickly realized that it was nonsense to build perfect embers in the kamado while the campfire was going at full speed during the aperitif. So I bought a grill, some utensils, cast iron skillets and casseroles and I started cooking directly on the campfire.
Now, many years later, we have arranged our backyard to look like a campground. We have a fire pit with a quad-pod Fire Bridge hanging over it, a Kudu grill, a Forno Venetzia wood burning pizza oven and a Solo stove.
BEST TYPES OF WOOD FOR COOKING
The first year of camping we where seasonal on a campground in the Quebec Laurentians. The nice gentleman who had sold us our cord of wood, seeing me cooking directly on my fire said: “Your fire would be a lot hotter if you had bought some hard wood instead of camping wood!”. Sigh! I had no idea that there were two categories of wood: wood that heats and wood that just… burns.
If you see classified ads that say camping wood, then we’re talking about wood for show and marshmallows. Ideally look for firewood or hardwood. But if you have no choice, it is better to cook slowly and take your time on camping wood than to burn everything a hardwood fire when you don’t have the experience.
HEAT CONTENT IN DIFFERENT TYPES OF WOOD
Every type of wood burns differently. Some types also burn hotter than others. Here is a main list of wood types and their heat index that we might find in the East Northern Americas.
The higher the number the hotter that wood burns!
|HEAT PER CORD (Million BTUs)
|Western white cedar
MAPLE IS MY WOOD OF CHOICE
In Quebec, hardwoods such as maple, yellow birch (or cherry), paper birch, beech, elm and oak are the wood species of choice for cooking on the campfire.
At home (because we have a fire pit in the back yard… even at home!), I prefer maple a local very hard wood. I takes longer but when the embers get there they have this intensity that will make your fire look like a fire out of a western! Not to mention the aroma that maple will give to your meals.
I get my maple from a company that actually oven dries the wood so they are perfect for cooking use.
In the southern United States, they use hickory, mesquite, and other species that seem more attractive and exotic to us, but you have to understand that this is what they use because it is the wood that is found in these regions! Here the abundance of maple would be the envy of some of America’s greatest Pit Masters.
Now you got your wood lets start by BUILDING A FIRE.