UK BBQ Mag Spring 2017 - Page 54

DJ – We have a lot of people come on to classes who made pizza in their oven but have yet to make the next step. It’s just because using a wood fired oven is not intuitive to someone brought up with an electric oven and they just need a nudge to get started. After a day with us cooking fish, steaks, bread, roast potatoes, grilled chicken and pastries they are usually inspired to go and see just what their ovens can really do.

What wood do you recommend for a wfo?

DJ – I love to remind people that humans have been cooking with wood for million years and generally had no choice about what wood to use; it was whatever grew locally. It’s easy to get preoccupied with this wood or that when the only really vital thing is that it is dry hard wood. We use hard wood from a farmer friend who has stored it for 3 years or more so we know it’s going to be well dried – somewhere around 15% moisture. He gets it from the tree surgeons working locally so we use lots of oak, ash, beech, sycamore and chestnut. When we are teaching in Spain we use the hard wood from the area so almond, olive and holm oak feature heavily.

How do you see the whole Outdoor cooking niche from where you are?

DJ - It’s been amazing to be part of this revival of interest in wood fired cooking. We see a lot of people getting into it because it’s a great way to entertain and spend time with friends and family.

You had a trip to the U.S. to visit some great BBQ joints, can you tell us some more about your trip?

HJ - We had such a great fortnight. We started in Washington DC, headed south to North Carolina down to Charleston, up to Georgia, back into North Carolina before heading home again. In 14 days we had 14 plates of ‘cue – most of it good and some of it great. Some from restaurants, some from diners and some from shacks. We met some great pit-masters all with very fixed views of how meat should be cooked and what it should be served with. Once they knew what we were trying to learn about, they were hugely hospitable and made us try lots of their different meats. In North Carolina it was all about the pig but we also went to a Texan joint where the brisket was most important. Also we didn’t realise there was such a lot to learn about the sides and sauces. We could do with another trip to head into Alabama and Texas and find out what they’re doing there.

DJ – On of the greatest things for me is just how all-encompassing barbecue is in the USA. We visited President Obama’s favourite barbecue (12 Bones in Ashville, North Carolina) and it was full of lunchtime workers grabbing a bite to eat. There’s no pretention, no special aura, it’s just barbecue and everyone loves it.

What other food cultures inspire you?

HJ – we love to travel to find out about food and cooking and through that the local culture and history. Wherever we are we’ll head to the nearest market and find out what’s for sale and chat to the stallholders – usually in the international language of food.

We’ve travelled through India, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam; also lots of Europe and I had 10 days in Japan last year. Every place has something to teach us – that’s one of the great things about food and cooking; you can never learn everything. We’re just taking our 4th foodie week to the Alpujarras in southern Spain and that’s fascinating – seasonal and local food at its most essential in that they eat what they grow in their fincas and what’s in season at that moment. There are plenty of places we still want to visit though – high on my list is the Lebanon, Argentina and Australia