If you love the the primal rawness of cooking over an open fire, and aren't faint of heart, there's a piece of kit to add to your arsenal of grilling tools. It's ideal for perfecting some incredible flavours and crisping up skin, and it's called a flambadou.
WHAT IS A FLAMBADOU?
It's a cast iron cone with a large opening at the top and a small one at the bottom attached to a long metal handle (generally 1m) which is designed to heat until red hot to ignite and melt fat quickly.
Reportedly from the Middle Ages, flambadous were historically used to sear joints of meat, but are comparatively rare now. It's also a traditional French technique for basting meat with fat as it cooks over the coals.
HOW TO USE A FLAMBADOU?
The iron cone should be placed directly into the hottest of embers or coals of the fire until it's glowing red hot. Then pork lard or beef tallow can be placed into the cone and when the fat bursts into flames, renders and drips out of the bottom of the cone while still on fire, make sure it drips onto your food of choice!
Here' a closer look at the thrilling flame action:
FLAMBADOU RECIPE IDEAS
Chef Niklas Ekstedt of Ekstedt restaurant in Stockholm and fire cook extrordinaire writes about flambadou in his recipe book ‘Food from the Fire: The Scandinavian Flavours of Open-fire Cooking’ and includes a recipe for flamed oysters cooked only with on-fire beef tallow dripped onto the raw oysters from a flambadou, served with shallot and apple dressing.
Josh Overington, Chef-owner of Le Cochon Aveugle, tells The Guardian that a flambadou is a prized piece of kitchen kit that he uses it "to render lamb fat as we cook oysters and langoustines. The flaming fat gives shellfish a distinct flavour most people haven’t tasted before.”
Get creative with your flambadou and use it to add extra depth of flavour to your steak or give golden crispy skin to chicken or pork on the grill.
WHERE CAN I FIND A FLAMBADOU?
Try making your own flambadou if you're a dab hand at metal work, or you can always buy one here or here.