Why Wood-Fired Food Tastes Best (Give it a Try!)



It’s not barbecue and it’s not smoking … it’s something in between, and it’s magical! We’re talking about wood-firing food and how it imparts irresistibly unique, roasty flavors and depth to meat, poultry, fish and vegetables.

“Chefs prefer wood-fired grills over gas because you get better flavor,” said The Gables at Chadds Ford executive chef Jose Castillo. “The smoke from the wood penetrates while the food is cooking for nuanced flavors. Even though we use modern cooking techniques at The Gables, having a wood-fired grill is the more Southern-style of grilling that we love.”

Not only does wood-firing’s subtly smoky hints meld perfectly with The Gables’ Southern-inspired cuisine, but it also hearkens back to roots in Spain and South America, where it was used as a rustic way to roast and braise, too.

“Cooking over an open flame goes back the cave man, man and fire,” Jose added. “The Argentinians and Brazilians got it right — gaucho cooking is simple, and the basis of hearty meals.”

Bonus: Wood-firing is more than just delicious — it’s also a healthier way to cook. Fat drippings drop into the grill so the food doesn’t “sit” in them. Vegetables cook quickly to retain more nutrients and bigger flavors as the flame caramelizes them to create a slight sweetness along with the smokiness. And using high heat and a live flame gives a beautiful sear on steaks and other proteins while the inside remains tender and juicy.

“We wood-fire grill our steaks, beef and turkey burgers, and chicken and vegetable paninis; plus the romaine, asparagus, salmon and shrimp that go on our salads,” Jose noted.

And what does chef Jose reach for when he’s in the mood for wood-fired nibbles? Grilled asparagus and grilled shrimp for a light, healthy and tasty repast.

Curious? Hungry? Join us for lunchdinner, Sunday brunch or at the bar — check out our happy hour, too. Our wood-fired specialties pair beautifully with selections from our extensive winereserve wine and beer lists, any number of our signature cocktails and martinis and our bourbons and single malt scotches (pro tip: try a flight). Our friendly servers and bartenders are always happy to make recommendations.

The Gables at Chadds Ford is nestled in the heart of the historic Brandywine Valley. Our combination of fresh seasonal cuisine, rustic yet elegant charm and enchanting outdoor dining will keep you coming back time and time again. The Gables is also the perfect venue to host your next special event, whether you are planning a wedding, rehearsal dinner, baby shower or corporate event.

Nina Malone

Photos: The Gables at Chadds Ford