Chimineas are brilliant for barbecuing. Many of our cast iron models include slide or swing-out grills for cooking succulent steaks, sausages, burgers and veg. But there’s more. You can cook almost anything in a chiminea that you can cook in an oven, and more. Smoked foods have a unique flavour redolent of long, balmy summer nights, and it’s actually fairly easy to achieve. Here’s how to make the kind of food great memories are made of.
About smoking food with a chiminea
Fish is one of the things people seem to love smoking most, probably because the smoke complements the fish’s delicate taste so beautifully. You can also use your chim to smoke tofu, meat, fowl, cheese and vegetables, all of which turn out a proper gourmet treat. It’s seriously delicious stuff, food you won’t forget in a hurry.
How to do the smoking bit?
You could take the long and tortuous traditional route and spend days marinading and twelve hours smoking the dratted stuff. Or you could take a leaf out of Alison and Dana Doncaster’s excellent book, The Chiminea Cook Book and Users Guide. They’ve taken clever short cuts that make smoking food on your chim a whole lot easier and faster, and the results are totally delicious. Marinade your meat, fish, cheese or whatever. Suspend it inside the chim’s chimney and cook it for a surprisingly short time. Then get it out and eat it. We like their style.
Your food smoking weapons of choice? Grills, fish clamps and skewers, the kind of kit every keen cook, barbecue lover and chim owner has to hand. Use the fish clamps to hold small chunks of food in position, and thread goujons and strips of food onto skewers. It’s all very DIY and basic. Your food is ready when it looks right, cooked to your taste. It’s very like BBQing, in that you just keep an eye on the food and remove it when it looks done.
What kind of wood to use?
People use all sorts of fragrant woods to provide delicious-tasting smoke. Build a fire in the chiminea with beech, oak, hickory, dry cedar, apple or another fragrant wood. You can also add dampened handfuls of herbs to the fire to create your own brand of tangy smoke. Bay Leaves are really good. Don’t use pine, it’s far too resinous. And avoid rotten wood.
How to smoke a whole fish so tasty you’ll be an alfresco hero
You’ll need a fish clamp / grill and a skewer.
- Take one whole gutted fish, leaving the head and tail on
- Season it with your favourite seasoning or marinade it beforehand
- Stick it in a fish clamp or wrap it in tinfoil
- Hang the package from a skewer balanced across the top of the chimney neck
- Cook for 15-20 minutes
- Peel the skin off and serve
How to smoke vegetables to perfection
You’ll need a skewer.
- Cut your veg into generous chunks and skewer them kebab-style
- Coat them with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper
- Hang the skewers down the chimney
- Cook until tender
How to cook spare ribs and chicken wings to die for
You’ll need a fish clamp or fish grill, and a skewer.
- Season the meat or pre-marinade it
- Stuff it into your fish grill and hang it in the chimney for ten to fifteen minutes
Mmmmm…. smokey bacon!
One more. You can imagine how fantastic home-smoked bacon tastes fresh off the chiminea. Just skewer it, dangle it for a few minutes and you’ll create bacon with a flavour so mouthwatering you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven. Angel food.
Honestly, it’s ridiculously easy to smoke great food on a chiminea. Give it a go and you will become a legend in your own lifetime, a smoking masterchef and in-demand outdoor entertainer.