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Tom’s 10 top tips to cooking on the asado cross

Tom Bray - Country Fire Kitchen Owner
  1. Get your first asado cook under your belt
    If you haven't cooked this way before then my advice is to just give it a go. I find that only be doing something yourself you can really grasp what its all about! You obliviously need some kit first - but you are in safe hands here.

  2. Salt (plenty/salmuera)
    You can’t beat this combo: meat, salt and smoke. If you’d like to try something different you can make a brine to apply to the meat during the cooking process. Perfect for the asado cross cooking. You can experiment with flavours but I add garlic, woody herbs, chilli flakes, salt and warm water. You are looking to use 1 table spoon of salt for every one cup of water. Apply using your homemade rosemary brush or pop in a spray bottle. Baste the meat throughout the cooking. 

  3. Practice, try cooking for a bigger group
    This style of cooking is all about sharing with friends and family. The more you cook on the cross, the more you can develop your own style too. 

  4. Get inspired
    There’s lots of great books and videos out there. Francis Mallman’s Seven Fires is great for asado cooking. There's some good YouTube videos too - the older videos from Loco X (por) Los Asados is great - its in spanish but hey you will pick things up!

  5. Get your local butcher on side
    For asado cooking you need slight tweaks to the traditional British cuts - most butchers have their routines and will cut down the ribs, mincing the meat or sell the ribs in small pieces for stews for example.  So you will normally need to give plenty of notice for large sections of beef ribs. Use a butcher that works with whole carcasses too. Then you can get exactly what you want.

  6. Make friends with a log supplier 
    You will need well seasoned hard woods like oak, beech, birch, ash etc. Fruit woods are also really good. Cherry wood with asado lamb is great! I know some top people in the trade. They are so knowledgeable about fire too. They will love to hear what you are doing with their logs.

  7. Stay hydrated!
    This is my rule, you will have your own I'm sure, but it's beer for the cooking  and red wine for the eating. Do bare in mind that it takes around 6 or 7 hours to cook an asado lamb, so stock up well!

  8. A large chopping board
    When cooking large cuts of meat a large chopping area is really useful. You could use various boards placed together or a clean stainless steel surface then you can break it into smaller cuts and carve on a smaller board. We have just launched our new large rustic chopping boards (in oak and elm) with a perfect juice groove! Take a look.

  9. Make use of the fire
    When you light a fire you have 360 degrees around it and over the top of it to make use of. If you are cooking a lamb you will be managing a fire for the best part of 7-8 hours too so you can get a lot done in that time. You could start by cooking some veg directly in the embers or hang a chicken over the top of the fire. Although you need to be very careful as if you start doing too much with the same fire you will lose your heat very quickly. I like to move the fire as I'm cooking, making it bigger for certain tasks or stretching out across the base of the pit. Fire management is what it's all about and this really only comes with practice!

  10. Left overs
    Smokey meat makes for incredible left over meals. My favourite is making black bean stews with beef or pork left overs. We will get the recipe up on the blog soon. In my view if you are going to spend hours cooking asado style then you might as well cook a good sized slab of meat, as you can cook some incredible dishes with smoked meats.

 

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