Fire Up Your Inner Foodie: Flame Grilling on the Escea EK Outdoor Fireplace Kitchen

Fire Up Your Inner Foodie: Flame Grilling on the Escea EK Outdoor Fireplace Kitchen

Escea’s EK Outdoor Fireplace Kitchen was designed for serious flame grillers. With cooking plates, grills, meat hooks, and an ember generator – all the functionality found in the kitchen, in the great outdoors.

Executive Chef Greg Piner is no stranger to flame-grilling on the Escea EK Outdoor Fireplace Kitchen – in fact, he helped them to design it.

Sharing Escea’s ethos of quality food and quality time – Greg’s love of outdoor cooking comes from the humbling basics of flame cooked food and the way it encourages you to slow down, enjoy the process and focus on the things that matter: “friends, family and simple, delicious food.”

In anticipation for another summer of flame-grilling in the outdoors, we invited Greg out to Escea HQ in Dunedin, eager to get his chef secrets and tips for cooking over open flame.

“When you’ve been a chef for over 24 years it becomes a second language – one that communicates through all the senses.  Cooking over flame is all about igniting the senses that trigger memories – and the memories that turn into stories shared around flames.” - Greg Piner.

When it comes to the EK Series – there is a lot more you can do than simply cook off a steak or a packet of sausages. When creating recipes for this summer of flame-grilling, Greg demonstrates the breadth of possibilities with the Escea EK Series – with restaurant quality meals that can be prepared in your very backyard.

So, how exactly does the EK Series work?

Prepping the EK Series can take around 45 minutes – but trust us, it’s well worth it.

First, light the fire in the ember generator. As embers start to form, they will fall onto the base of the fireplace. Use the stainless-steel fire spare to move the embers across the bottom so that the heat from the embers is distributed evenly under the cooking surfaces you plan to use.   In order to build and maintain a sufficient heat, you’ll need to consistently move the embers as they form, until you’re finished cooking.

The plates and grills can be placed at any of the 13 available heights depending on the desired heat – it also pays to have one or two plates on the highest runs for resting meat and keeping things hot.

Once the plates are hot – you’re good to go. Just keep the generator going and a close eye on the embers – if your surface is too hot, adjust the embers so that there are less of them directly under the plates or grills you’re using.

From Asian inspired stir fry on the hot plate – to blackened eggplant, charred straight over the embers – get your hands on Greg’s recipes, made for the EK Series.

To learn the language of flame-grilling, read on…

Learning the Language of Flame-grilling

with Executive Chef, Greg Piner.

24 years in the industry and a lifelong passion for open fire cooking has left Greg fluent in the language of flame-grilling. But for the average backyard ‘chef ‘, picking up the native dialect may not be so intuitive. Its all about engaging your senses, Greg says, and while it comes with time and experience there are some tips and tricks to make it easier.


  • Consider what kind of meat are you dealing with. Certain cuts of meat will cook faster than others.  Marbled meat will also cook faster as fat conducts heat. “My philosophy is that anything that moves a lot is going to take longer to cook. When you think of your buttocks – they move a lot don’t they? They therefore have a higher blood flow and take longer to cook. Unlike a fillet or a rib eye which doesn’t move as much and therefore cooks quicker.”
  • A great tell that your meat is ready is the colour of the juices. Raw meat has pink juice that runs out of it. However, when it is cooked sufficiently, the juice will be clear.
  • Keep an eye on your meat – depending on what you’re dishing up it will change colour and shape as it cooks.


  • Keep your ears open - the volume and pitch of the sizzle will indicate heat.


  • Always be alert to smell. Often this will be your first indication that your meat is near ready – or even getting burnt!


  • Drive the grill before you get started. Use your hands to look search for hot spots or areas of uneven heat distribution.
  • Less is more. Don’t be tempted to move the meat around too much. A couple of turns is fine.
  • The best way to gauge whether the meat is ready is to get in there and have feel. The best way to learn is through experience, however there is an age-old trick that you can learn about here.


We’ll leave this one for you to figure out – why not browse Greg’s summer flame grilling recipes, created especially for Escea’s range of outdoor cooking fires.

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