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  • Cooking with fire. Here and now.

    Culture July 30, 2023 By Denver Cramer

Alright, folks, gather around the virtual campfire as we embark on a sizzling journey through the ages and around the globe to explore the art of cooking with fire! From its primal origins to the hottest new restaurants in the USA, Australia, Japan, Argentina, and Europe, we're about to set your taste buds ablaze with excitement.

Back in the day, when our ancestors discovered the magic of fire, they not only found a way to stay warm during chilly nights but also stumbled upon the secrets of fire-cooking. Picture this: a group of cavemen huddled around a roaring flame, holding spears with meat skewered on them, savoring the scent of charred goodness that filled the air. That's the OG barbecue party right there!

Fast forward to the 21st century, and we find that the allure of cooking with fire has not dimmed one bit. Some of the hottest restaurants in the USA are taking things back to the basics and giving fire its rightful place in the culinary limelight. Meet the firemasters who've made a name for themselves in the smoke and flames game.


Rodney Scott, the BBQ boss from South Carolina, has taken the world by storm with his mouthwatering whole hog barbecue. This man knows his way around a pit, slow-cooking the pig to tender perfection, infusing it with smoky flavors that make you close your eyes and go "Mmm!" His joints in Charleston and Birmingham have become meccas for BBQ aficionados seeking a slice of smoky heaven.


Meanwhile, over in Texas, we have the legendary Aaron Franklin, the man who brought brisket into the mainstream barbecue consciousness. Franklin's brisket is a revelation—juicy, flavorful, with a delightful crust that makes angels sing. People line up for hours at his Austin restaurant, waiting to get a taste of his wood-smoked wonder. It's safe to say that this BBQ guru has achieved cult status in the fire-cooking universe. We even replicated his brisket at home (to an extent) through his masterclass! Was epic. 


Now, let's fly across the globe to the land down under, where Fire Door in Sydney, Australia, is making waves with their scorching approach to fine dining. Chef Lennox Hastie is the fire-whisperer behind this hot spot. His kitchen is like an inferno playground, featuring custom-made wood-burning ovens and grills, where ingredients dance with the flames in a passionate tango. The menu at Fire Door is a captivating symphony of fire-kissed flavors, celebrating the natural beauty of each element.

But wait, we're not done yet! Our journey takes us to the Land of the Rising Sun, where the art of teppanyaki and hibachi grilling has been refined to perfection. Habachi, the traditional Japanese fire-cooking method, involves cooking small pieces of meat, seafood, and veggies on a hot iron griddle right before your eyes. The skillful chefs juggle knives, flip ingredients in the air, and create a fiery spectacle that's as entertaining as it is delicious.


Over in Argentina, we find the grilling maestro, Francis Mallmann, who's redefining the meaning of the word "barbecue." Mallmann's approach to fire-cooking is all about rustic simplicity and connecting with nature. He's known for his asados, where he grills entire animals and vegetables over an open flame. Imagine the sight of a whole lamb sizzling over red-hot coals, emitting a smoky aroma that beckons carnivores from miles away. It's a carnivore's paradise, indeed.


Now, let's take a sizzling trip to Europe, where fire-cooking traditions run deep and strong. In Spain, the tradition of grilling fish and seafood over hot coals has been elevated to an art form. You'll find restaurants along the coast where the catch of the day is grilled to perfection, keeping the flavors pure and unadulterated.


In Italy, they've mastered the art of pizza-making in wood-fired ovens. The crackling flames cook the pizza at blistering temperatures, giving it a charred, smoky crust that's simply addictive. Buon appetito!


And who can forget the world-renowned Spanish restaurant, Asador Etxebarri, located in the tiny village of Axpe, where chef Victor Arguinzoniz has become the master of grilling and smoking using carefully selected woods to enhance the flavors of his dishes.

So, there you have it, folks! Cooking with fire is an ancient art that has stood the test of time and continues to mesmerize food enthusiasts across the globe. From the USA's pitmasters to Australia's fire-fueled fine dining, Japan's hibachi magic, Argentina's primal asados, and Europe's charred delicacies, fire-cooking is a culinary adventure that's hotter than ever.

Now go forth, ignite your passion for fire-cooking, and let your taste buds dance in the flames of deliciousness!

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