Planning a cookout or barbecue this weekend? Try going rustic by having your cookout over your fire pit! Your guests will love huddling around the fire, inhaling the grilling aromas, and watching the meat cook. And the flavor from a real wood fire can’t be beat by gas or even charcoal!
You can barbecue anything on a fire pit that you would on a traditional grill, but the method will be a bit different. Read on for tips for fire pit cookouts.
- Prepare your fire pit for grilling. Unless you’re planning a rotisserie, you’ll need a grate to go over the pit. Some fire pits come with a cooking grate, while others don’t. You don’t necessarily have to buy one specifically for your fire pit. Will the grate from your grill fit across? Many hardware stores and camping stores sell inexpensive fire pit cooking grates or grills, as well.
- Burn good firewood. As with most wood fires, use only well-seasoned hardwoods. Avoid softwoods like pine that contain a lot of resin. The resin will burn off and leave your food sooty. Fruit trees like apple and cherry make excellent wood for cooking. Never burn treated lumber or wood with paint.
- Cook over embers. Like cooking with charcoal, let your fire burn down to embers before cooking. Open flames will burn your food. Start your fire early and built a healthy bed of coals before you start grilling on your fire pit. Your pyromaniac guests will enjoy helping with this.
- Use a lid. A lid hold in the heat, helping your food cook evenly. It also traps the hardwood smoke, adding more flavor. Most fire pits don’t have lids, so you might have to get creative, especially for larger fire pits. Just make sure the lid is metal, and not galvanized. Galvanized metals can give off toxic chemicals when burned.
Want a fire pit for some summer fun? Check out our selection here: outdoor fire pits and fireplaces.
Since the beginning of time, families and friends have gathered around fires for companionship, dining, and entertaining. As the patio and garden evolve into outdoor entertainment rooms, many people are looking for ways to add outdoor fireplaces or fire pits to their outdoor spaces. But not all will serve you equally well. Below are five tips for selecting an outdoor fireplace that will best serve your needs:
- Consider your needs. Before buying, consider what you want from your outdoor fireplace. Are you looking primarily for heat to take the chill off the evenings so you can enjoy your outdoor space for more of the year? Are you mainly looking for a fire everyone can gather around for socializing? Do you also want the ability to cook over the flames of your fire?
- Height matters. A fire pit in or on the ground gives a real campfire feel. Outdoor fireplaces that elevate the fire bowl place the fire closer to eye-level viewing yet usually low enough to see over from a seated position. Do you want to be able to visit easily with people sitting on the other side of the fire? If so, you will probably prefer an outdoor fireplace or fire pit that you can see over when seated.
- All fires have some smoke. If avoiding smoke is important to your enjoyment of your outdoor fireplace, consider one with a chimney that directs the smoke up and away from you or one with tempered glass sides like the Moda Flame Palermo H Indoor Outdoor Firepit Bio Ethanol Fireplace Black.
- Iron eventually will rust. Even the finest, exterior grade wrought iron will eventually rust. Touch up any scratches with a rust-preventative, high temperature paint to extend the life of any outdoor fireplace with wrought iron components. Neither stainless steel nor copper will rust.
- Does portability matter to you? If you think you might want to take your fire pit to the lake or beach, to the mountains or park, to the tail gate party or the family reunion, to the back of the garden or to the patio, then an outdoor fire pit or fireplace that you can move may be more appropriate for you. Some have wheels, others are lightweight enough to move easily, and some such as the Fire Sense 29-Inch Folding Fire Pit even fold for portability.