Cooking over a campfire can be a really fun experience that feeds into our primal caveman nature. Make sure you enjoy a successful outdoor experience by following a few simple rules when it comes to building and lighting your campfire.
Prepare your site
Now that you’ve read our campfire advice, we would love to hear your campfire pearls of wisdom. Share your very own tips for the perfect campfire on our Facebook page, tweet us, or send us an email and we will upload our favorites to this page!
Firing up the grill is a great way to spend your leisure time while feeding family and friends. However, owning a grill involves more than simply lighting the fire. We call it S.L.C.
Follow these simple precautions to minimize the risk of injury or fire:
Selecting the right location for your grill reduces the risk of fire. Check that there are no buildings, trees, hanging laundry, etc. in your chosen grill location. Once you have selected your site:
It is all too easy to neglect grills during the winter months. We recommend getting your grill in shape by:
If you have any of your own top tips for Responsible Grilling then we would love to hear them! Please share to our Facebook page, tweet us or send us an email.
Warm the grill to make removing grease and food easier. Once the coals are lit and the grate starts to heat up, use a long-handled wire brush on your grill to clean off any leftover food or grease. Don’t forget to scrape it again immediately after use. You’ll be ready for your next grill in no time.
Whether your grill is clean or dirty, lean foods with little fat may still stick to your grill. Apply oil to food using a pair of tongs and a piece of paper/kitchen towel soaked in vegetable oil to keep it from sticking. Never apply oil directly from the bottle or from a spray, as this can cause unwanted flames and even smoke.
Don’t forget food hygiene outdoors when cooking. Remember to have separate plates for raw and cooked meat, different chopping boards for vegetables, etc. Also make sure to keep your food in the fridge for as long as possible and keep marinating meats in there, too.
Flames flare up from your grill when fat drips onto the heat source and catches fire. This can char the outside of the food before the inside is cooked through. To reduce flare-ups, select lean cuts of meat, trim excess fat and remove the skins from poultry. As an added safety measure, it's a good idea to keep a spray bottle filled with water nearby to quickly douse any flare-up.
Bacteria in undercooked food can ruin a great event. That's why it's essential to make sure that your grill is at optimum temperature for killing any bugs and thoroughly cooking your food. A food thermometer is a great way to make sure your food cooks to the right temperature. Alternatively, you can pierce the food with a fork to allow the heat to cook the inside of the food faster.
Now that you’ve read our best grilling advice, we would love to hear your "tricks of the trade"! Share your very own top grilling tips on our Facebook page, tweet us or send us an email, and we will upload our favorites to this page!
Not only are we passionate about lighting fires we really want to share our love and enthusiasm for all things fire.Especially about which woods will make your fire hot and toasty and those which, quite frankly, are a bit of a damp squib.
Wood is a natural and sustainable choice of fuel for domestic fires and has been in use since the first fire many millennia ago. When we warm our homes with wood, we participate in a natural cycle that we share with our ancient ancestors. Wood fuelled the open fires of the hunter-gatherers, the brick ovens of the first bakers, and, until the 19th century, all our homes.
Today, we still love to sit in front of a fire and coming in from the cold naturally draws us to the fire. We all know that feeling of returning home after a busy day out, to a cold chilly house and really wanting a warm and cosy fire as quickly as possible.
Knowing which wood to use will help you achieve a speedy, toasty house leaving you more time to relax and enjoy your well-earned rest at the end of a busy day. Whether it is gazing into the magical flames or unwinding with a glass of your favorite wine, enjoy your fire with Zip™ firestarters and the right wood:
Aspen, basswood, cottonwood, chestnut, yellow poplar and spruce produce relative low amounts of heat and whilst easy to burn also pop, throw out sparks and produce a fair amount of smoke. They are most suitable for use as kindling.
If you have further advice on which woods to use, we would love to hear it! You can tweet us, share on our Facebook page or email.
Briquettes are very easy to purchase and are found in local supermarkets, gas stations, and DIY retailers. They are produced from the smaller pieces of wood or dust left over in the furnace once the lump wood has been removed, which are then compressed into a briquette using a binding agent. They are denser than lump wood and take more time to light, but burn longer and hotter. Many brands may contain wood by-products, combined with additives, starches and sometimes waste material, which sometimes give off a chemical smell. Zip™ briquettes are 100% natural and contain only wood, making them cleaner burning and producing great tasting food.
Zip™ 100% Natural Hardwood Briquettes
Every grill master has their own individual way of cooking their outdoor food, and we expect this debate to continue for many years to come. Rest assured that both Zip™’s Lump and Briquette charcoals are of the highest quality, producing fabulous tasting outdoor food for families around the world.
If you have any of your own top tips for Briquettes then we would love to hear them! Please share to our Facebook page, tweet us or send us an email.
Burning our rubbish in our gardens is a traditional way of clearing plant and household waste, any time of year. If you live in an urban area, it is best to be mindful of your neighbours and how the smoke or even flames may harm their homes. Many of us, have believed the urban myth of having to wait until after 6.00pm before lighting, but there are no time rules to say when you can and can’t light bonfires on your property.
Legally, there are no specific rules on lighting bonfires, but the Environmental Protection Act 1990 does make it an offence to burn plastic, rubber or painted materials, as this will create poisonous fumes that can have a damaging effect on your health and that of your neighbours’.
Under the Highways Act 1980 anyone who lights a fire and then allows the smoke to blow across a public highway could be liable for an offence, if the smoke affects visibility on the highway and endangers the safety of traffic. So think about the wind direction before lighting.
Here are a few tips to ensure that your neighbours still remain your friends…
All you need to get your bonfire going with no fuss at all, is to use Zip™ block or individually wrapped firestarters, just 3 or 4 cubes will easily light your fire in a safe and controlled manner. All that is left to do us stand back with a cup of tea and watch your waste turn to ash. Great for digging back into the garden!
Now you’ve read our very best bonfire advice, we would love to hear any ‘pearls of wisdom’ that you might have. Share your very own Bonfire top tips on our Facebook page, tweet us or send us an email and we will upload our favourites on to this page!
At Zip™, we take fire safety very seriously, and are often asked for advice on a number of wide ranking topics such as whether a chimney needs sweeping or how a fireguard should be used. To make it easier, we have collated our most frequently asked questions.
Q: How often should I have my chimney swept?
A: Frequency of sweeping can depend on a number of factors – our guidelines are:-
Many insurance companies now insist on proof of sweeping by a certified chimney sweep and it is also worth checking the details of your insurance policy to ensure you will be covered in the event of a claim.
Q: How can I prevent build-up of creosote and tars in my chimney?
A: To help ensure that your chimney remains clean of all residues, use only dry wood and have your chimney swept on a regular basis. Using wet or damp wood or turf can lead to a build-up of creosote and tar, which needs to be removed. Burning a hot fire can also ignite residues and cause a chimney fire. Why not try Zip™ Soot reducer?
Q: Where should I store my firestarters and fuel?
A: Firestarters should be kept away from the close surroundings of a fire in a cool and dry place. Many fire makers store them next to the fire on the hearth for convenience but, this is a fire risk. We advise to keep our firestarters in a metal tin and away from food.
Wood, coal and peat should be stored in a dry place with good ventilation so that any dampness can quickly be evaporated to leave dry fuel. The wetter the fuel the harder it will be to light.
Q: What fuel is suitable for my stove?
A: Always be guided by your manufacturer’s recommendations.
Q: Do I need a good air supply?
A: For open fires the chimney should provide enough air to help ’draw the fire’. However, for closed appliances like wood burners and stoves, there needs to bean an adequate flow of air, to allow them to burn correctly. Ensure that your rooms with fires in are well ventilated with fresh air. Sometimes a little draft from outside increases the performance of a fire and sometimes the wind direction moving over the chimney pot can aid air flow. However, fires are generally worse performing on windy days when the wind tends to blow down the chimney.
If you have double glazing or draught proofing, you might want to consider fitting an air duct to allow fresh air to enter your room.
Q: What precautions should I take to ensure that my fire does not produce harmful gasses?
A: To prevent harmful gasses being produced by your fire, enough oxygen must be supplied to burn your fuels completely. To do this:
Q: How often do I need to remove the ash from my fire?
A: A build-up of ash may damage your appliance, so it is important that you remove any ash before each new fire. Allow the ash to cool before cleaning out (ideally overnight). If the ash is from wood logs then it would be possible to use it in your garden as a form of fertiliser. It contains 13 essential nutrients for good plant growth. It also helps to maintain a neutral soil condition.
Q: When should I use a fireguard?
A: Zip™ recommends using a fireguard with any open fire. Never leave an open fire unattended without placing a fireguard in front of the fire. Make sure that the fireguard is fireproof and not made of any flammable materials such as plastic or fabric.
Always place a fire guard over any appliance where indoor pets and small children are able to touch or put their hands near. Log burning stoves heat up to high temperatures and the glass also becomes extremely hot and can cause serious burning and blistering.
Cooking on a campfire is very different to cooking on the stove at home. The easiest way to cook outdoors is on a grill placed over the fire using rocks to hold it in place. If you are the more adventurous type, use these 5 tried-and-true ways of cooking food on your next camping trip.
You will need an egg and an orange. Cut the orange in half, carefully carve out the fruit segments from both sides. Be careful not to pierce or cut through the peel. Next, crack an egg into each of the two halves of the orange and carefully place them on the bed of loose coals at the edge of the fire. Whisk in some cheese and you've got mini omelets!
This cooking method has been tried and tested by thousands of Scouts, Guides, and Brownies all over the world. It is simple to cook and makes for a nice change of pace. It's a whole meal rolled into one dish!
Ingredients: Green vegetables, potatoes, cubed meat, herbs and spices, oil, and water.
Method: Lay out a large double layer of aluminum foil and combine evenly diced vegetables and potatoes with your meat. Season with a dash of herbs or spices and add a little oil and water (to help steam cook the food inside). Carefully roll the edges up tight so that nothing can get out, then place the whole package directly on the coals. The smaller you cut the food, the quicker it will cook through.
These are simple and quick to make and can be enjoyed either as a sweet or savory snack.
Method: Mix flour, water, and a pinch of salt together to form a thick dough. For sweet twists, just add dark and golden raisins and some cinnamon. If you prefer savory, try adding some grated hard cheese.
Cooking: Roll the dough into a snake and twist it around a long thick green stick (with bark removed). Prop the stick over the glowing embers of your campfire, turning the twists occasionally so they cook evenly until they turn a nice golden brown. A favorite of scouts the world over!
If you love hotdogs but don't have a grill, then this is for you! Lay sliced onion on cabbage leaves, add a hot dog and then top with more onions. Wrap the cabbage leaf tightly and seal the edges with some small green sticks to keep it closed. Place the packet in the fire embers for about 7-10 minutes, turning occasionally.
For an authentic natural taste, try wrapping your meat, cheese, or freshly caught fish in wild leaves. For example, wrapping raw food in Cattails (Typha, readily found in marshes, swamps, and ditches all over Europe and North America) will produce a fresh earthy taste.
The best method is to wrap your food in the leaves, overlap the leaves around the raw food, and tie some wet twine around the leaves to hold it together. Carefully place the packets of food over the warm embers of your fire and wait for your food to cook.
Now that you know our top tips for cooking over an open fire, we want to hear yours! Share them on our Facebook page, tweet us, or send us an email of your favorite recipes and we will post the best ones here!
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