Let’s be honest, we chefs seem to love a cool gadget more than most people. As soon as we see something new or different, we just can’t wait to start experimenting with it and then off course, reaping the pleasure of showing off our new toy to everyone and telling anyone who will listen all about how wonderful it is and how cool we are. Over the last couple of years, one of the hottest “new” fads in the exhausting, cultish world of chefs is cooking with something called a “kamado”.
A Kamado is actually an ancient, Asian-style grill with thick ceramic walls that imparts rich, smoky flavours to meats, fish and vegetables. Relatively unchanged for centuries, it was originally called a “Mushikamado”, though its name was eventually shortened to “Kamado”, which in Japanese literally means “cooking range” or “stove”. Examples of their predecessors, such as clay pots in China, date back at least 3,000 years so it really is nothing new…just don’t tell that to the over-excited chefs, you might bruise their delicate egos.
However, the passion these big gadgets inspire in their owner is understandable because they really can do it all. The Kamado is so versatile it can grill, roast and smoke food. It can also rival the best freestanding Italian pizza ovens and some brands such as “Big Green Egg” have attained a cult following but be aware, they do not come cheap. A medium sized, stand-alone kamado will easily cost around 1000 Euros or more, so they are expensive toys.
I must admit that I’m really happy with my kamado and I’ve even cooked amazing Paella on mine. The secret to their success is kamados have much thicker walls and retain heat more efficiently and effectively than other grills. Air enters through an area on the bottom of the grill, passes by the charcoal fuel source, and leaves out the top. It’s very similar to a wood stove. The temperature is regulated and controlled by the amount of air you allow in and out of the grill and once pre-heated, Kamado grills are very stable and can cook at low or high temperatures for as long as the grill has charcoal and oxygen. Kamados also look really cool and can sit outside all year round with very little maintenance. I often cook delicious pork shoulders at a very low temperature and I sometimes leave them cooking overnight. The next day the meat is unbelievably tender with this beautifully intense, smoky flavour.
Slow-cooked spiced pork shoulder
This is absolutely delicious when cooked in a Kamado but you can easily make at home it in any type of oven.
This recipe is also perfect for pulled pork. You can shred the meat with a fork and mix it BBQ sauce to make the most incredible sandwiches!
2 kg boneless pork shoulder
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp salt flakes
1 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp ground cumin
Massage the oil into the pork shoulder and then apply the rub generously all over the shoulder. Leave for at least 30 minutes (but ideally overnight) for the rub to sink in and start gently curing the meat
Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2.
Heat a large non-stick pan until very hot and sear the pork on all sides until golden brown. Place the meat on a wire rack in a roasting tin and add 2 cups of cold water. Cover with tin foil and cook for 4 ½ hours.
By Marc Fosh – Michelin Star Chef