Wood Fire Provides Depth of Flavor
Some of today’s restaurant chefs are looking to wood grills for their main cooking tool. It’s not just for BBQ and pizza anymore. When a wood fire is being used, chefs have another layer of flavor to manipulate. The most popular types of firewood used to achieve maximum flavor are:
- Oak Firewood
- Hickory Firewood
- Cherry Firewood
- Apple Firewood
As stated in The New York Times article, the smoke from the wood fired grill most often becomes “the signature, distinctive flavor of the restaurant”. Not only the sense of taste comes into play, the sense of smell does as well, literally surrounding you with the delicious wood flavor.
One chef pinpointed the unique wood flavor even more by stating that he is able to cook a simple food with more flavor, according to an article in Fortune. The wood adds flavor (i.e. the char or cooking wood flavors themselves) that can not be obtained with other cooking mediums.
Not Just for Meats
Wood fire in restaurants goes beyond just grilling meat. Restaurant chefs are baking, broiling, and smoking foods with wood fire. The grills themselves often become the center of the kitchens, being showcased to the diners as they eat the wood fired creations.
To the chefs that have embraced wood fire cooking, the very hot temperature allows them to sear things more quickly and efficiently. For busy nights in the restaurant, this is an added benefit, because time is of the essence, after all!
Vegetables are being reinvented with the wood fire as well. One chef slowly chars leeks until they almost melt into a puddle, then serves it as “grille sauce”. Specific vegetables like mushrooms and cabbage, take on a whole depth of flavor because they become literally infused with the smoky flavor.
If it’s Good Enough for the Caveman
Cooking over an open fire is not easy, and culinary schools are not teaching it. However, wood fire cooking has been around since the caveman. Mastering it is not a simple task, but when you find a chef that has dedicated their skills to it, your dining experience becomes something truly special and comforting. After all, who doesn’t like to smell a wood fire and eat delicious food? I never knew brussel sprouts could taste so complex and delectable!
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