It’s summer-time! The most wonderful time of the year if you’re a BBQ connoisseur! There’s something raw and desirable about cooking your food over a hot burning fire. Everything about it gives me joy. The stimulation of the senses, the grill marks, and unique flavours all add to the cooking experience of barbeque food.
Back in the day I didn’t know any better about all the toxicity associated with your typical barbeque. I can remember pouring a number of charcoal lumps, dousing them with toxic and dangerous lighting fluid and when they were hot enough, cooking some grub over the fire.
But wait! The fire suddenly went out due to the elements! That’s ok, throw some MORE fluid on the fire. Ah the “good ole’ days.” Or if you were more inclined to use a gas BBQ, you would continually burn propane to keep the fire going until you cooked your food. The idea of lighting a gas BBQ used to terrify me. All thanks to one sunny afternoon at my grandparent’s house when I scorched the hair off my arms.
I’d had enough. I needed a better, safer, and healthier option. As I got older and graduated from Chiropractic school, preparing healthier food became more important to me. But how do I possibly do that when all I knew about making barbeque was what I experienced as a child, at the homes of family and friends?
I did what most people do when they want to inquire about a certain topic. I Googled it. This led me on an online search adventure that eventually landed me on a YouTube video about how to burn wood without lighting fluid in less than 10 minutes. Here is what I learned from my journey.
First, you will need to purchase 4–5 items from your local BBQ store.
1. A charcoal BBQ if you don’t have one (I use a Spiedini Grill)
2. Natural Fire Starter (non-toxic lighting cubes or compressed wood starter)
3. Charcoal Chimney Starter
4. Source of Fire (a match or lighter)
5. Hardwood (charred for fast lighting)
Find a non-flammable surface to start the process of burning the hardwood. Be smart. Don’t place it on surfaces that will burn like wood or grass. Make sure that you are doing this in an open area that is far away from your house or flammable objects. Ask your local fire department if you are unsure but really some common sense goes a long way.
Take your chimney starter, which is a metallic cylinder with a heat-safe handle and dump enough hardwood into it that it reaches the top. You don’t need to overfill the chimney as it may be a fire hazard. If your BBQ is large, consider purchasing a couple of chimneys (I have 3 even though I’ve never used more than 2 at the same time).
Place 1–2 natural fire starters on a fire-proof surface or right on your grill. Again, ensure it is in a well-ventilated area away from your house and anything flammable. Then light the cubes or wood fire-starter using a match or lighter.
Place the chimney on top of the lighting cubes and wait approximately 10 minutes or until the wood is red hot. The cubes will burn out but the chimney will keep the fire going in a blazing inferno. Make sure you don’t leave it unattended for too long.
When your wood is red hot and ready, pick the chimney up safely with the handle wearing fire-resistant gloves and pour the wood into your BBQ. Place the grill on top and let it get really hot before placing your food items on top. To safe time marinate, cut, season and prepare your grilling food items ahead of time. Then place them on the BBQ and watch them sizzle.
When the food is cooked to your liking, remove them and get ready to enjoy a succulent barbeque that would make any grill master proud. Above all, no more toxic lighter fluid. No more briquettes (that may contain chemical additives for quicker lighting). Just a little bit of nature and a couple of items from the hardware store.
For some great grilling recipes, click here to read, “Victoria Day BBQ Recipes”.
Did you know grilled vegetables retain more of their vitamins and minerals? And meat cooked over an open flame actually preserves more riboflavin and thiamine? All these important vitamins and nutrients play a vital role in a healthy diet. Click here to read more about what you need to be ‘King of the Grill’.