This week I chat about one of the more unique wood fired oven cooking tools in my arsenal. The medieval Flambadou is an incredible fire tool which adds spectacular flaming fat to any dish.
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Gday, welcome to the Wood Fired Oven podcast, where I take a deep dive into the techniques, recipes and history of wood fired oven cooking. My name is Mark and obsessed and somewhat curious fan of outdoor cooking, especially with my wood fired oven. Follow my podcast in your favorite app and listen in as I go searching for the best recipes, tips, and advice to both supercharge our cooking skills and motivate you to light up your favorite outdoor cooking gear this weekend.
This week, I'm taking a look at the medieval flambadou . One of the great advantages of the wood fired oven, I think is its versatility both in terms of the foods you can cook, but also the different types of techniques and cooking styles that you can try. You can use a huge range of cooking tools and fire gear from cast iron to Spanish Cazuelas to well naked, nothing at all, cooking straight onto the embers or onto the brick oven floor. And that's really cool if you like experimenting with your food. One of the most interestingly and frankly coolest tools in my arsenal is the flambadou. And it is so well suited to cooking and a wood fired oven. It's heavy, it's chunky, it's made of steel or cast iron, and it just has that awesome rustic feel. So given its name, you've probably guessed that its origins were from France and they think that it's most likely from a region in the south of the country.
Okay. So what does it look like? Imagine a small hollow cone of steel or cast iron like a funnel with a moderately large opening, maybe six to eight centimeters wide tapering to a small hole at the bottom. The cone is maybe 15 centimeters long or so. The steel is about four to five millimeters thick. So it is nice and chunky with a super-heavy solid feel to it. Now this cone is attached to a steel handle, a rod of steel it's about a meter long. Now picture placing the cone into glowing embers for at least an hour to heat up. To heat up so much that it glows red. And that looks pretty cool at night. Your food has been cooking to perfection, hopefully at the same time. And now it's time to drizzle flaming pork fat over the meat. So you drop a piece of pork fat into the funnel. It starts to melt oozes down to the bottom and it drips out the bottom hole onto the meat. And now the cool part happens as the drips meet the air, it ignites and drizzles onto the meat while sizzling like crazy. Take a quick, listen to my flambadou igniting the fat and drizzling flaming goodness. Over some wood fired oven picanha.
That seriously geek's me out! It is so cool, but what is extra cool is the marvelous crust that develops on the meat. It looks fantastic and it smells fantastic and well, it's just playing cool.
Now I was first introduced to the flambadou by the talented Swedish chef Niklas Ekstedt. If you haven't heard of Niklas or his famous restaurant Ekstedt in Stockholm, Sweden, you have to check out his Instagram profile. I'll leave a link in the show notes. He is a master of fire and smoke. If you take a peek on YouTube or Instagram, you can see his spectacular restaurant, kitchen flaming and smoking, like a fire cooks heaven, pretty jealous. It is super cool. I definitely need one of those kitchens in my backyard. Okay. I highly recommend his book food from the fire, the Scandinavian flavors of open fire cooking. It's a fantastic book. It's got lots of amazing recipes naturally, but also had some great advice on tools and techniques for cooking with fire. He chats about the flambadou too. I'll leave a link to the book in the show notes.
So all of this motivated me some time ago, maybe six months or so to hunt one of these awesome medieval tools out. Actually they are a little hard to come by. I eventually found a few on eBay, jump on eBay and check them out. I got one from a guy in France, which seemed pretty fitting really, but if you know a good blacksmith hit them up to make you one, it cannot be that difficult to make. So I've used the flambadou on steak, pork ribs, chicken, and some vegetables, but you can use it to baste any meat, any vegetables, any seafood. In fact, I think for me, it's particularly effective on steak and chicken.
While you can use tallow in the flambadou as well as pork fat. Wow. Actually, you, you can use any animal fats. I've only tried pork fat. If you've tried one of these things, I drop us a line. Cause I'd love to hear your experiences using a flambadou and what unique things you've tried with it. So the pork fat, I think gives the steak and the chicken, a gorgeous crusty finished with a nice, subtle flavor of bacon. It's delightfully decadent on the palette. I know some cooks use the same fat as the meat they're cooking with, but I really like to cross mix the flaming fat and the meat. I'm always on the search for deeper and richer flavors in my cooking. And I think this probably adds a unique taste as well. And man, it looks incredible as it glows in the fire and oh man, oh man, the smell it is, it is just divine.
I will admit though, to having overdone the flambadou occasion, it's a heavy, chunky tool. Like I've said that needs care and a thoughtful touch to the meat. You got to keep a closer eye on the crust that forms to ensure you don't overdo it. But rest assured you will probably fail a few times as you get the hang of it. It is easy to get mesmerised by the flaming fat and the glowing cone. And to forget about the food under it. I have a video of my flambadou firing up a storm. So it take a look in the show notes for a link to my website, WoodFiredOven.cooking, and take a look. It's a, it's pretty cool.
When I cook pork shoulder in my smoker, which I usually do at least once a month, I always cut away much of the exterior fat and cut it into strips for use in the flambadou. I keep the strips in a Ziploc bag, seal them up and freeze them. So I always have a ready supply for when it's ready to heat up the flambadou. It's a good idea to prewarm the strips near the opening to the oven before using them as well. And there's no doubt to, it's actually a bit of a crowd pleaser removing the literally glowing cone from the embers on a dark night looks spectacular. And then when the fat starts igniting and sizzling onto the meat, it's just amazing. Most folk have never actually seen one in use, so it's always a unique experience for our family guests. I'd like to encourage you to get your hands on one of these medieval cooking tools. If you have a wood fired oven, perfect, but any outdoor cooking gear would probably benefit from this addition to your cooking tools.
It's always fun to try new tools and techniques and the quest for better tasting and intriguing food. I guess, pushing the cooking envelope allows us to fail as well, and I've done a fair amount of that over the last couple of years. And, and sometimes we do succeed with a dish that surprises and delights us. So thank goodness for those failures life. They help us figure out what works and what doesn't. How about trying something new this weekend, as you crank up your favorite outdoor cooking gear, stay safe, have fun and go cook with fire.
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