While many of us BBQ with a typical gas appliance these days, the growth of smoking, American BBQ and cooking low and slow is currently rapid. Smokers are popping up everywhere, even Bunnings where the Fornetto is sold.

There’s no doubt about it, whether you’re barbecuing a steak at searingly high temperatures on the grill, or opting for the low and slow smoking method, there’s nothing quite like the delicious taste and smell of barbecue food cooked over natural fuel such as charcoal or wood. We sought some input from the team at Fornetto.

“From traditional grilling, roasting or slow cooking, cooking with natural fuel has seen a huge resurgence.  It adds a new, exciting dimension to cooking outdoors as well as producing that delicious, mouth-watering, smokey taste that is so sought after,” says Mr Graham Brake, group general manager of outdoor appliance company, Fornetto.

Here, Mr Brake shares his top tips for cooking with real fuel:

  1. Charcoal Choices– not all charcoal is created equal.  Opt for a poor grade and you may be faced with a slow start to your outdoor cook-up or a fizzle-out finish.  Opt for high grade natural or lump charcoal to ensure a sustained heat that also imparts a lovely earthy flavour into your food.

  1. Wonderful Wood – the type of wood you choose makes a big impact on flavour.  Most Australian hard woods are a great choice.  White Gum, Yellow/White Box, Red Gum, Ironbark and fruit woods such as Apple and Cherry are all popular woods that are readily available.  Check your wood is dry and free from pests or contamination.  Avoid Australian aromatics such as Pine and Eucalyptus that can add a disagreeable flavour to your food.
  2. Smoking Chips – these are a great way to enhance the flavour of your barbecue food, giving that unique smokey taste.  Many chips are infused with additional flavours such as red wine, cognac or muscatel, to impart depth and flavoursome flair to your finished meal.
  3. Low and Slow – from pulled pork to hickory smoked ribs, without doubt the flavour of the moment is produced by cooking at low temperatures for a long time.  Inspired by popular North American cuisine, this cooking technique is produced perfectly by using a multi-function smoker.  Opt for a free-standing smoker with separate compartments so you can adapt your technique and quantity of food to suit your needs.

  1. Griller in the Midst– with the best fuel and a high quality barbecue, there’s nothing as satisfying as cooking up a storm over a dancing flame. As a rule, items that take less than 30 minutes can be cooked directly over the coals, however larger cuts of meat that require longer should be positioned above the coal on the grill, with a drip tray underneath to catch the fat and prevent your meat from burning.

With the warmer weather not far away, we cannot wait to get outside and BBQ again, or maybe it is time we start smoking too…