I spent today helping Tom Bray, the man at Country Fire Kitchen and Argentinian Cross, catering for an event of 160 people. Lamb was the order of the day, three and a half of them, spread eagled out on the asado crosses like smokey, tasty, parachutists waiting to land on someone's plate (or the fire, where they look like they're casting themselves selflessly). The lamb took about 7 hours to cook and was served with chimichurri and quinoa salad, complete with fire roasted butternut squash. Throughout the cook the lamb was basted with a water, garlic, lemon, salt and rosemary brine which sizzled when lashed onto the meat with a rosemary prong basting brush.
The finished product was beautifully tender, juicy, self basted pink chunks and strips of lamb served in a beautiful Italian bread, warmed over the fire, to make a wrap. Reward for a day's work if ever it was needed.
I met Tom whilst doing my MBA dissertation on sustainability in the barbecue food industry. If you think that barbecue and outdoor cooking is (at worst) about burger and sausages, or (slightly better) large amounts of primal cuts, then take a fresh look at what Tom does on his instagram page. Yes, you get the large cuts of meat, alongside fire roasted planked salmon and served up with mouthwatering vegetables sides and accompaniments (even the onions in the chimichurri were roasted on the embers of the fire). When Tom said his business wasn't based around a model of sustainability I pointed out that what he does is a positive contributor to sustainability on many levels; the social aspect of bringing people together around food, the reconnection of people with their food, the local sourcing he does of the meat, the balance of meat, fish, vegetables and grain, and the cooking methods used. He also runs masterclasses on how to do asado-style cooking, which you can see dates for and book on his site, as well as buying the kit and equipment he uses.
Just to prove I actually did some work here's a photo of me tending the fire!!
Photo courtesy of Tom Bray @countryfirekitchen