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Tools of the Fire Trade

Heirloom Fire Infiernillo

Heirloom Fire Infiernillo

There are many tools in the movable kitchen of Heirloom Fire. During this post we are going to have a look at the workhorse, the Infiernillo.

Firstly, I must give credit to the man who originally designed this rugged portable oven; Francis Mallmann. Featured heavily in his 2009 book “Seven Fires: Grilling The Argentine Way”, Francis introduced and inspired many of us to the rustic, minimalistic cooking style of the Gaucho Cowboys. If you are fan of fire cooking and the freedom of being outdoors (which I assume you are since you have found yourself here), than I highly recommend you picking yourself up a copy.

Mallmann translates infiernillo to “little hell”, which is very appropriate. With its dual fire plates and single cooking plate, the infiernillo captures the most important elements of an oven lending radiant heat to surround whatever may be roasting. The layout of the oven consists of a 3 shelf frame that fits 3 thick steel plates. When working the infiernillo, you start 2 fires, one on the top plate and one on the bottom plate, leaving the center plate to cook in. Top heat is not always needed, but is crucial with baking desserts (yes thats right, ever had a lattice top strawberry and rhubarb pie cooked over a fire? No? Oh, you haven’t been to one of our parties yet, sorry to hear that) or Salt Roasted recipes.

Having had access to use of one at one point, I knew that when designing the kitchen of Heirloom Fire I needed to capture these elements in my main “grill”. After much time spent at the drafting table, finding something to take the place of Mallman’s infiernillo design seemed futile.

Mallmann's Infiernillo

The core design of the Heirloom Fire infiernillo borrows from Mallmann’s Concept with a few different tweaks. Our design has 4 shelves, the 4th plate taking advantage of the top heat to cook with direct flame. We have also added a stationary, legged shelf that supports the plate when pulled from the fire.

Mallman was inspired by the Incas who used a even more minimalistic set up but swapped steel for stone.

Heirloom Fire is rooted in the history of fire and fire cookery. We rediscover, research and learn new ways to maintain the highest quality of the end result. whether it be hand spun ducks (inspired by the early Colonial hearth kitchens) or a whole roasted lamb in the style of the Gaucho's steel cross; each piece we design usually has some basis of historical influence.

So, here’s to Francis for inspiring so many of us in our field.

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