3 Things I Learned from the Flambadou Mk 1

 A few months ago Will Salt* (of Floyd on Booze fame) sent me a frenzied message about some piece of hardware he’d found out about in this article.

In short it’s a culinary technique from the middle ages that involves heating a metal cone until its extremely hot, inserting fat into the top of it then watching as flaming, molten fat pours satisfyingly from the hole in the bottom, onto whatever it is you’re cooking.

We had a look around on eBay and some specialist cookware websites but couldn’t find an easy way of getting hold of one.

Fortunately one of my oldest and best friends, Chris is a skilled blacksmith who happened to be at his forge and a bit bored of what he was doing.

Here is how mine and Will’s conversation went.

That is a time of product conception to minimal viable product in 38 minutes. In your face Frank Robinson, Steve Blank and Eric Ries.[8][9][10][11]

Fast forward an embarrassingly long time to last Friday when I finally got round to having a go with it. 

Ingredients involved prawns, fennel and a compound butter made from garlic, chilis and parsley.

For a first run out, I thought it went pretty well. Heated the cone for around 10 minutes directly in the coals. While that was happening the prawns became acquainted with the grill.

Tongs came out for safe transition of butter (from the freezer) into very hot Flambadou and we were away.

It smoked a lot but there wasn’t the bombastic   flaming inferno I was looking forward to.

So I put it in the fire. Then it caught fire and all of a sudden I was having a lot of fun.

Flaming, nutty, aromatic molten animal fat started dripping onto those prawny shelly boys.

They’d had around 2 mins on the grill and the tops started to go beautifully pink and delicious as soon as the basting began.

The grilled fennel and chilis blistered up beautifully too.

My food photograph needs a bit of work but you get the idea. It’s a very fun way to make delicious food.
Product Notes:

1. The hole wasn’t big enough. Without some kinetic encouragement, the butter fat didn’t always escape the bottom of the funnel. Little bits of garlic and parsley were bunging it up. Chris has since drilled a bigger hole in it.

2. The angle of the handle should be at a narrower angle. The people who would enjoy one of these might be likely to walk into things when using it. 45 degrees should do it. People usually have more airspace than radial space. See attached detailed schematic.

3. Surprisingly, the butter that came out of the cone after I’d finished was banging. I thought it would taste burned and gross after being set on fire but it was nutty, smokey and perfectly browned.

For a first try, I was pretty damn pleased with this. It’s not exactly rocket surgery that if you cover grilled food in melted butter that you’re going to have a good time but this is one that will be getting quite a lot of use.

I’ll be doing one more run out to make sure the hole is the right size then getting the final brief into Chris for the first run of 10.

*Our mutual friend Emma introduced us 5 or 6 years ago at a party because we both liked barbecuing, hence Will Barbecue. I think it was at the Hunter S. Good pub.