Most Dutch or Belgian BBQ enthusiasts will know the books of the Dutch barbecue legend Jord Althuizen.
Especially his 3-volume Smokey Goodness series is a well known, visually attractive bestseller, rich in pictures and recipes.
The names of the books aren’t a coincidence. It’s also the name of his company which evolves around BBQ and the BBQ lifestyle with an online shop, on-site catering and of course: Trainings.
His signature training is a masterclass called “A WORLD OF FIRE” and is given by Jord Althuizen himself, targeting cooks of all levels of expertise and enthusiasm.
My lovely wife gave me this experience as a gift so I hopped on my bike and drove 6 whole kilometers to reach Jord’s BBQ cave.
The world of fire experience
Together with about 30 other enthusiasts we were received with unlimited cocktails and quality wine to start off the evening. During 4 hours Jord provided lots of insights and explanation on the many facets of next-level barbecuing. Clearly he is in his element when addressing a crowd, rarely lost for words and quick to quip.
All-in-all it was a well-prepared, varied program with a LOT of good food and beverages.
A real treat for anyone who enjoys food.
Part 1 – The perfect Hamburger
In this 30 minute section Jord explained the ins and outs of preparing the perfect hamburger.
Some take-aways that stuck with me:
- Use fatty meat, but not too crazy
- Protect the meat for the grinder’s heat so that the fat doesn’t partially melt, causing a sticky, hard to shape ground meat
- Get quality bread such as a soft brioche bun
At the end we were presented with Jord’s signature burgers which, to my surprise, weren’t the protagonists on the palette. Instead a large amount of sauce and bread covered the flavor of the meat so I can’t quite judge whether it was a good burger or not.
Part 2 – White fish in a salt crust
In the 2nd part Jord explained how to prepare fish by wrapping it in banana leaves and covering it all in a thick crust of salt and egg white which was both an interesting process and quite an eyecatcher.
While the fish was put in the over we all scooted over to the barrel barbecue where half a pork had been slow cooking during 18 hours.
Part 3 – Slow roasted Pork
Jord explained how the pork had been slow cooking for about 18 hours while cutting up the beast and handing out plates full of meat.
This was definitely one of the best flavors of the evening.
No dressing, no side dishes.
Just pure meat flavor.
At also shows that quite some prep work goes into these evenings.
Part 4 – Lamb on the cross
Now we were moving into the Argentine territory!
By lack of portable barbecues the Gauchos had to make do with a metal cross and a fire above which they’d let the animal slow roast for many hours. Although it’s not a common thing to do at home it definitely belongs in the realm of restaurants. And Jord is in the lucky possession of both the tools and the place to perform this type of preparation!
In this case he had prepared a lamb (cordero) which turned out nice and tasty!
While chatting with Jord I was a bit surprised to find that while traveling through Latin America he hadn’t quite caught on to the fact that the meat culture there is very different. At no point he mentioned the importance of the “lesser fancy” meats like asado de tira, costillas or matambre.
Instead he explained how he couldn’t get a proper answer from the national tourism office regarding where to find the very best asado restaurants. He ended up at “show restaurants” which have partnerships with the big wineries, of which most notably Salentein.
Part 6 – raw meat covered in hot grease
If that doesn’t sound fancy it’s because in my honest opinion it’s not.
In all fairness I forgot the name but I do remember it was intented as a type of fusion cooking where a quality, raw type of beef was covered in the boiling fat that was cut off of other meats and then set on fire in a cone shaped metal funnel. As the boiling fat drips on the raw meat a very thin layer of it causes some level of cooking . In theory.
I found the reality to be an unseasoned, cold and very fatty bit of meat which lacked any flavor.
It seemed like many of the guests did like it so my averse reaction is probably just very personal.
Part 2 – The fish is done!
Remember the white fish from earlier?
It was cooked and served and quite tasty actually!
The purpose of cooking it in salt is a bit lost on me but the fish itself was delicious and also presented quite nicely.
Part 7 – Tomahawk
The final cut was a Tomahawk steak that had been slow cooking for quite a couple of hours.
The result was a well seasoned, medium rare slice of beef with a nice seasoning on the side.
Absolutely well done.