My parent-in-law recently had their new house build and our relatives came over for a house warming party. One of them brought a huge pile of clams caught fresh just a day before. We actually get this pile of clams sent by this relative regularly and it has always been a happy struggle of how best we can cook. This time we decided to charcoal barbeque them. We also has some sweet potatoes that my wife and my daughter picked from an annual local event so it was a perfect idea to cook these two fresh ingredients at the same time.
For Yaki-Imo (sweet potato barbeque) preparation, we first washed all the dirt off the sweet potatoes and wrapped them with newspapers. Then my wife made the papers a little wet before adding a layer of foil. This wet layer of newspaper inside the foil is for keeping the peel from burning. If the peels are burnt, it gets hard to peel and you get less bite out of every potato so it was a much needed step.
Fire Starting Has Never Been This Easy
We wanted to try our barbeque gear that we recently purchased that is for lighting charcoal quickly without the use of any chemical lighter fluid. It was recommended by so many people that I had it in our Amazon wishlist for a while. We finally bought it as we knew we will be needing lots of charcoals very soon. This particular model we bought is not available outside Japan but you should be able to find something similar. It’s a fire starter & extinguisher kit produced by a famous Japanese outdoor brand, Captain Stag. It costs about 3,400 yen which is equivalent to about $30 USD at the time of writing.
Getting the charcoal going can be a frustrating task at times. And unless you’re in the mood to take it slow and start everything from scratch, you will want to get to the cooking part as soon as possible. I can appreciate the slow, primitive approach but sometimes we just want to have the charcoals going, especially this time around when you have many people to feed. We needed lots of charcoals quickly to cook up all the clams and sweet potatoes and this fire starting tool was supposed to come in very handy. Much to our surprise, it performed way better than we expected. I never thought I could light charcoals this easy and this fast! All I needed was a piece of burning newspaper placed at the bottom with some dry twigs. The fire never seemed to weaken and just kept going and going. Soon enough, the charcoals started burning. All these happened in less than 10 minutes. It could have taken us an easy half an hour to light all these charcoals if we didn’t have the tool.
I believe you can find similar products as it doesn’t seem particularly unique. Its tall and narrow structure helps with building up the fire and all the holes at the bottom are for the oxygen to flow. It’s a simple design but extremely valuable that we thought it’s worth every penny. What makes this product special though is that it also comes with an extinguisher bucket that makes charcoals reusable. It was easily the best 3,000 yen we spent this year.
Here is the Amazon Japan url of this product if anyone is interested to have a look.
The sweet potatoes were cooked perfectly. Unfortunately, they were under ripe and didn’t have much sweetness to them. But the clams were so delicious that we went for a second run.
I have a love and hate relationship with tools. As much as I like gears and gadgets, I like to keep things minimal so I try not to own every piece of equipment. But this time around, I think I found a true gem of a tool that I have absolutely no regret from buying. We only do charcoal barbeque on a special occasion because it’s time consuming but now that we’ve learned that it can be pretty easy, I’m sure we will be doing it much more often!