With a little bit of skill, direct live-fire cooking is one of the most exciting and important methods of cooking. Cooking over fire, whether it be direct or indirect, is down to the ability to control temperature and while it is possible to guide someone as to how this happens, it is really only something that can be learned through practice. The aim is to get a good char on the outside while keeping the meat juicy and tender inside.
Meat should be at least 4cm (1.in) thick.
Take your meat (or fish) out of the refrigerator 10 minutes before cooking, to bring it up to room temperature.
Get the grill fairly hot – the charcoal should have burnt down and be coated in white ash.
At the last minute, season the meat well but do not use any oil on it; if the grill is hot enough, the meat will not stick.
Don’t overcrowd the grill – make sure there is plenty of space between each piece of meat.
It is impossible to give exact cooking times, as the time depends on the thickness of the meat, the animal it comes from and the temperature of the grill. However, as an example, a 400g (14oz) bone-in pork chop takes 8 minutes on each side over hot charcoal and a 15-minute rest, the key thing being the rest.
Most meat should be between 140°C (284°F) and 170C (338°F), the point at which the Maillard reaction begins, to an internal temperature of 65°C (149°F) before resting for 15 minutes in a warm place —60°C (140°F) is ideal.