Use these fire pit cooking how to tips and techniques to double the enjoyment of your fire pit or fire ring. Let your snacks, dinner, or dessert cook before your eyes as you enjoy the beauty and camaraderie of your outdoor fire. Here’s how to cook on your fire pit
- with skewers,
- with a grill grate,
- with or without foil in the coal bed, and
- in cast iron pots.
Kebab Skewers Fire Pit Cooking How to Tips
The step up from roasting individual marshmallows or hot dogs on a stick over an open fire is to cook over the fire pit using skewers. This provides the advantage of cooking multiple pieces of food – even a whole meal – on the same stick.
It’s not difficult to find 22 inch to 28 inch long reusable metal skewers. And 36 inch bamboo skewers are available online.
- Let your fire die down to very low flames or to a coal bed before cooking on skewers.
- If you are using bamboo skewers, soak the skewers in water while you prepare the food that will go on them.
- Cut the vegetables, fish, meat or firm fruits into uniform sized pieces.
- Put the skewers through the center (as opposed to the edges) of the food.
- Marinating the kebabs before cooking keeps them moist and flavorful.
- Set the distance between bricks or other supports depending on the length of your skewers.
- Turn the skewers from time to time to cook all sides evenly.
- When turning or removing the skewers, protect your hands from the heat of the fire and the hot skewers.
Grilling over a Fire Pit
Some fire pit come with a grill, such as the ones below.
It’s not a problem if your fire pit did not come with a grill. Grills are made to retrofit fire pits.
If needed, use bricks on each end to elevate the fire pit cooking grill.
Consider the “meat to heat” distance. A hard wood coal bed generates roughly 1,000 degrees of heat. Something you want cooked with a high, quick heating, such as a steak, might be placed only an inch above the coals. If a meat calls for a low and slow cooking, such as a pork butt or venison roast, elevate the grill a foot above the coal bed. For a moderate heat and a moderate speed, such as for chicken or pork chops, elevate the grill about 6 inches above the coal bed.
- When using your fire pit for grilling, start the fire well ahead of time. When coals form, use a shovel to move them to one side and feed the firewood on the other side of the grill.
- From time to time, refurbish the coal bed as needed from the coals on the fire side of the fire pit.
- Be aware that your coal bed will inevitably have some hotter spots, so either move the food or use tongs to move the coals around.
Hot Coals Fire Pit Cooking How to Tips
There are choices for fire pit hot coals cooking: cooking in the coals or near the coals and wrapping foods in foil or leaving them unwrapped.
- Foods that have an outer layer that you won’t be eating anyhow, such as corn in the husk, thick skinned winter squash, unpeeled onions, peanuts and bananas, will do fine cooking unwrapped in or near the coals.
- If you will be eating the outer layer of the food, such as apples, potatoes or fish, wrapping in foil is recommended.
- See how-to instructions for outdoor cooking of corn on the cob in foil and in-the-husk.
Pots and Fire Pit Cooking How to Tips
Cast iron pots and cast iron frying pans turn a fire pit into a cook stove. The ideal style cast iron fire pit pot has three short legs on the bottom to elevate it above the coals, a bail by which you can lift the pot, and a lid designed to hold hot coals on top.
But any cast iron pot in good condition will work.
- Cook over a coal bed, not flaming wood.
- If possible, elevate the pot on brick chunks so it is level and so there is space beneath the pot where coals can fit. Renew the coal bed as needed.
- Although bread can be baked in a cast iron pot in your fire pit, you will probably want to start with dishes that contain a liquid broth such as baked beans, stews, chili, or chowders.
- Your dish will cook more quickly if it is lidded. But from time to time, remove the lid and stir.
There’s no need to spend time stuck in the kitchen while family and friends gather around the fire pit. Instead, let the unmatched process of cooking snacks, meals or dessert with your fire pit be part of the fun.