Keep the Home Fires Turning – SpitJack Tools for Fireplace Cooking in the Modern Home
Once you get the hang of building a good cooking fire and the techniques that make for easy, safe and efficient fireplace cooking, enjoy live fire cooking indoors.
Easthampton, Massachusetts (PRUnderground) January 15th, 2016
We all enjoy fires and we all enjoy cooking, even though both of them are arguably unnecessary in today’s modern world. As a professional cook I found it fascinating to explore these origin methods of all the world’s great cuisines. Those with experience claim that “food prepared [on modern cooking equipment]… simply doesn’t taste as good.” Others are just drawn to the “magic” of fire. So its not rational and reasoned, but rather intuitive, and even primal motivation that explains why people are now rediscovering the basic pleasures and deep satisfaction of cooking in the fireplace.
I am not suggesting that you run out and buy a crane and trammel, trivet and Dutch oven, but I do encourage you to consider buying The Open Hearth Cookbook and if possible, visit a living museum such as Plimoth Plantation or Old Sturbridge Village (both living meusems in Massachusetts) to discover what fireplace cooking was and is all about.
Most fireplace cooking was done on the “hearth” – the stone platform in front of the fireplace. Hot coals from the fire were brought foward and pots and pans were placed on small platforms called trivets which were placed over the hot coals. This was the way grilling was done as well. The direct reflected radiant heat from the fire was used for cooking with a rotisserie (either hand-held or mechanical) or a reflector oven (“tin kitchen”). Some recipes even called for cooking directly on the hot embers (roast onions or flatbread).
While it is perhaps impractical to conjure up a full-blown kitchen in your home fireplace (the old ones were actually quite large and designed for the purpose) the mechanical spit (spitjack), fireplace grill, and other fireplace cooking tools provide a plausible compromise and way to extend the pleasures of cooking directly with fire to a “new” venue.
While it may seem like a simple, straightforward procedure, and one at which you might feel quite proficient, building a proper cooking fire is rarely done correctly (most efficiently) and is arguably the most important element of the process. Here is an illustrated guide on how to build a cooking fire.
Once you get the hang of building a good cooking fire and the techniques that make for easy, safe and efficient fireplace cooking, try out some of your old favorites or find a new (or very old) recipe to use in your new cooking environment.
SpitJack (the company) was founded in 2004 by Bruce Frankel, a former chef and restaurateur, from a passion for food and cooking with fire. After much research and discovery, SpitJack selected some very practical, safe, and affordable tools to use for indoor and outdoor fireplace cooking. In response to customer feedback, SpitJack has expanded its catalog and is now a leading manufacturer and direct retailer of whole animal rotisseries and accessories.