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Use your Shovel to Cook on the Coals

Not long after I started work ( oh so many years ago !) I was invited to year-end Barbecue held by a local contractor. I was told that I was very lucky to be invited. Invitations were sought after, as the owner was famous for his beef tenderloin cooked over a pit fire on a shovel!

The meat lived up to its reputation. The beef tenderloin was placed on the scrubbed shovel placed on top of the coals and basted as it grilled. The result was an exceptionally tender moist piece of meat which I still remember being the best BBQ meat I had ever eaten!

Roast beef on cutting board and meat fork

Unique methods of BBQ Cooking

Apart from the wow factor, cooking this way gives the meat a smokey flavor as the smoke flows over the edge of the shovel. Also, the meat is covered in a caramelized crust which is created when it is initially seared on the spade.

Shovel grilling is very easy.

Here’s How to BBQ Cook using a Steel Shovel


Build a Fire

Build a sizeable fire using hardwood. Preferably built in an outdoor fire pit. You can also use natural lump charcoal and then add a few hardwood chunks for flavor. Remember don’t burn resinous pine, softwoods or pressure-treated lumber wood.

Allow it to burn until glowing ash covers the coals.


The Shovel

Pitmaster and the Cook

BBQ Steel Shovel Cooking

Obtain a well-made shovel which has a flat blade. The blade should be made of steel, not aluminum. The handle should be long and made of wood. Steel Shovel Wood Handle.

If it is new, first scrub the shovel well to remove any protective coating. Place the shovel into the fire before cooking to further sterilize the blade.

If you are using a used shovel make sure it has no rust. It should then be thoroughly scrubbed with soapy water rinsed and then sterilized in the fire.


Cooking with the Shovel

The shovel blade should be preheated before the meat is placed on it to begin grilling.

A good guide as to how hot the blade should be is that if you sprinkle a few drops of water on it should evaporate in 2 to 3 seconds. This helps with the caramelization of the meat and prevents sticking.


What to Cook using your Shovel

I have seen pitmasters cook a wide variety of foods on their shovels from eggs to sausages and even vegetables.

It is primarily suited though to grilling thick meat portions .i.e 1-inch chops, steaks, and tenderloin. It can also be used to cook tuna or salmon steaks.


Cleaning your Shovel

After you have finished cooking the meat place the shovel blade back in the fire. This will help to burn off any remaining food particles. Use a grill brush to remove any carbonized bits.

Once the blade has cooled rub it with a coating of vegetable oil.


After you have experienced steaks cooked with this method you will  find it difficult not to use your shovel over and over again!

Photo credit : BBQ


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