All fired up: Outdoor cooking and Black Deer Festival
2nd May 2019
There’s so much more than music to enjoy at next month’s Black Deer Festival at Eridge Park. The Live Fire area is a celebration of cooking outdoors and the lifestyle that accompanies it. We find out more from chefs Ben Merrington and Jon Finch who’ll be running it from June 21–23
Cooking over fire has always been a celebration. For thousands of years it’s been a way to bring communities together. Live Fire at Black Deer continues this tradition bringing friends together to feast and celebrate the age-old art of cooking over the flames.
Over the weekend of June 21-23 we’ll be bringing the very best outdoor cooking and demos all wrapped around great southern style food, drink and hospitality. Expect expert masterclasses on foraging, butchery and charcoal-making from master craftsmen, through to the very best authentic low ‘n’ slow American BBQ and live-fire cooking from industry leading chefs.
'We’re bringing the very best outdoor cooking and demos all wrapped around great southern style food, drink and hospitality'
We also have the Black Deer Cookout BBQ contest running all weekend with six teams battling it out over the smoky coals to be named grand champion.
For years Ben and I travelled the USA enjoying the best BBQ it had to offer but realised this was virtually unheard of back here in the UK. In 2010 we launched the very first Grillstock Festival to bring together like-minded folk for a good old fashioned deep south style cookout.
The spark ignited and the festival grew to be the largest of its kind outside the US attracting tens of thousands of people each year. We bring everything we’ve learned over the past decade of embracing the Live Fire to Black Deer. See you in June!
Tips for perfecting the best chargrilled meat…
Buy good meat: even if it means you buy smaller amounts or buy it less frequently. Great grilled meat starts with great raw meat
Always have two cooking zones: one super hot for searing and then a cooler zone to allow thicker cuts to cook though, or for moving the meat over if it starts to get out of control
Invest in a really good instant meat thermometer: knowing the exact temperature of the meat can make the difference
Don’t sauce your meat until it’s done cooking: most sauces and many marinades include a very high sugar content that burns and goes bitter when grilled well before your meat will be cooked