How to light the perfect barbecue

Some expert tips to ensure your fire is a-flaming

You will need: a bag of charcoal (lump-wood is easier to light than briquettes), some old newspaper, small sticks, logs of wood, matches and a barbecue grill.

• If you’re in the sand, dig a shallow hole 20cm deep and about the size of your grill. You don’t need a huge fire for cooking. If you’re in the mountains or a wadi, collect a few rocks together and make a fire for your grill to sit on, again about 20cm high is perfect.

• Tightly screw up about six sheets of newspaper and place them in the fire pit.

• Collect a couple of handfuls of very small sticks of wood. Place these in a pyramid shape around the newspaper, and add a few larger sticks. You can use firelighters but these are not really required. Your fire is now ready to light.

• Once the wood is burning, place the charcoal on top (don’t open the bag, put the whole bag still in its paper packaging on the fire). As the paper burns through, the charcoal will get hot and fall around and into the fire. Leave it to burn for ten minutes. When some of the charcoal is burning well, spread the coals out evenly.

• After another few minutes the coals will all be burning and will get very hot, far too hot to cook on. Your barbecue will be ready for cooking when you can hold your hand 20cm above the coal for approximately five seconds.

• Place the grills over the fire pit, using more rocks to raise it higher if needed. You are now ready to cook.

• After cooking, remove the grill and place a few of your logs on the remains of the hot coals. Soon you will have a great campfire to keep you warm as the evening cools down.

• A great addition to the grill is a cast iron pot such as the African Potjie (available from Adventure HQ). Simply place a few coals from your fire under the pot and one or two balanced on the lid to slow-cook curries, stews or traditional dishes.

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