I have always loved open fire cooking as it brings a lovely smokey flavor to your food. An important part of cooking meat on an open fire is knowing when the fire is ready. A wood fire should be a mass of glowing coals that show no flame, it can take up to an hour or more to reach this stage depending on the size of the fire. The coals of a charcoal fire are ready when they look grey and ashy by day and they glow red at night.
A guide line on heat for a fire that I was taught is below.
- Hot coals – have an ashy colour and you can only hold your hand 100 mm above the coals for 2 to 3 seconds
- Medium Coals – are entirely covered with grey ash and you can only hold your hand 100 mm above the coals for 3 to 4 seconds
- Low coals – are covered with a thick layer of grey ash and you can hold your hand 100 mm above the coals for 4 to 5 seconds
Place your grid at about 100mm above your coals. A rough guide to cooking time for your meat based on this is:
Beef (25mm ) Rare 10 – 12 minutes
Beef( 25mm ) Medium 16 – 18 minutes
Lamb/Pork (20mm ) Rare 10 – 12 minutes
Lamb /Pork (20mm) Medium 14 – 16 minutes