Can you Cook on a Fire Pit?
You can cook anything you’d like on a fire pit as long as you’ve got the right equipment.
Fire pit cooking is one of the most popular and easiest ways to cook great food over a wood fire. Instead of using gas or charcoal as the main fuel, you can use a real solid wood fire for the best possible warmth and intensity of flavour. Cooking on a fire pit is not difficult but slightly different than cooking on a regular grill or BBQ. However, the rustic and primitive feeling of cooking outside on a real wood fire is second to none and the food is great too!
One of the best types of fire to cook over is a Kadai fire bowl. You can find out more about Kadai fire bowls in our article What is a Kadai Fire Bowl?.
Below we’ve put together some information about cooking on a fire pit and some tips on how to make the most of it.
Fire Pit Cooking, What do you Need?
Fire Pit Grill
A fire pit grill is normally made from steel or cast iron and rests on the sides of the fire pit over the fire. Different versions of these are available in a number of different sizes and styles, but the basic principle is the same. You light a fire in the bowl of the fire pit and then place the grill on top. The food is then put on the grill and you cook in the same way as you would if you were cooking on a BBQ.
Fire Proof Pots and Pans
If you wish to cook on your fire pit with a standard frying pan or pot you may wish to think again. Many normal pots and pans may not be able to cope with the heat and the flames and so if you’re going to cook over your fire pit on a regular basis you may wish to get yourself a decent pot or pan. These can then be used directly on the grill or on a specially designed tripod.
A Dutch oven is a thick cooking pot that is usually made from cast iron. They have a tight-fitting lid and have been used for cooking over open fires for hundreds of years. Although they are now also available in ceramic and steel, the cast iron ones tend to be more popular. Dutch ovens are great for cooking stews and casseroles and are hung over a fire pit by a tripod.
Fire Pit Tripod
A fire pit tripod is an essential piece of equipment to help you cook over an open fire. Tripods can hold a plate, grill or dutch oven to aid in cooking over the fire.
One thing that people tend to forget when they start cooking over a fire pit is the tools needed for the job. Tongs, heat resistant gloves are a must especially if you plan to cook using pots, pans and a dutch oven. The last thing you want to do is to start cooking and then struggle to remove your pot from the flames due to a minor error.
The Right Fuel
Of course, your fire pit cooking is only as good as the quality of the fuel you put in it! Some people find it easier to use charcoal when using their fire pit as a BBQ whilst others prefer wood. Charcoal is easier to light and burns fairly hot. It’s a great choice if you’re just starting out as it means you can use your fire pit as you would a BBQ. Once you’ve finished cooking you can simply throw a few logs on the fire pit to use it for warmth.
If you’re going to use wood then try to use good quality seasoned firewood. Avoid conifers or woods that smell like medicine when burned, it’s better to use fruit and nut woods as they provide a delicious, slightly sweet smoke that compliments many types of foods. You can find out more in our Best Fuel For A Fire Pit article.
The Right Flame
The most important thing to remember when cooking on a fire pit is that you need the right type of flames and fire. You may think that because you’re cooking over a fire, you need it to be roaring, but you’d be wrong. Similar to a BBQ the best fire for cooking should be made up of mainly glowing coals. When the wood or charcoal burns down to coals and are glowing then this is the perfect time to cook.
How to BBQ on Fire Pit
Most fire pits can easily be converted into a BBQ so that you can cook delicious meals over a charcoal fire. All you need is a grill and you’ll easily be able to cook anything you would normally cook on a barbecue on a fire pit and more!
One advantage of barbecuing on a fire pit is that you can burn wood or charcoal for fuel. Most standard BBQ’s are not the capacity or size to accommodate a wood fire. Fire pits are also great because they are big, and lots of people can stand or sit by the fireplace and enjoy the warmth. After you have finished cooking, simply remove the grill and place it somewhere safe, then throw on a few logs and enjoy the warmth of the fire long into the night.
Fire Pit Skewer Cooking
Cooking over a fire pit with a skewer couldn’t be easier. There are plenty of wonderful foods that you can cook with a skewer over an open fire.
First, you need to think about what you’ll need? – You obviously need a skewer of some sort but you’ll have to be careful depending upon the type of food you are planning to cook. If you’re planning to just roast a few marshmallows over your fire pit a simple wood skewer will do as they cook relatively quickly.
If you’re looking to cook other items such as kebabs, sausages, or other meats then you may want to opt for metal skewers as they won’t burn in the fire.
How do you use a skewer?
Using a skewer over a fire pit is easy. Just cut your food apart, make sure you pierce the thickest part of your food and slide it into the skewer as far as you can. This will keep it from slipping so your food doesn’t accidentally fall into the fire pit! Once you have your seasoned food in place, hold the food on or near the fire, and slowly turn it over until it is what you want.
Pot Cooking on a Fire Pit
There’s no denying that there is something fundamentally satisfying about the idea of cooking on an open fire.
Cooking in a pan or pot over a fire requires more equipment than using your fire pit as a BBQ but it does open your cooking experience up to a whole range of different meals.
If you plan to cook items in a frying pan or saucepan then you can easily place a grill on top of your fire pit to rest the pan on. Cooking is then done in the same way as you would on your hob. Slow cooking over a fire pit is best done with the help of a tripod. A tripod sits above your fire pit and allows you to hang a pot or dutch oven over the fire. This allows you to keep the heat constant and is a great way to cook flavourful soups, stews, and large cuts of meat.
Dutch ovens have been used for hundreds of years and are great for providing some really nice stews and casseroles. You can see some great dutch ovens in our shop.
Cooking on the fire pit shouldn’t be something for you to worry about. It will take some practice as cooking on a fire pit is different from a BBQ or kitchen stove but don’t let it put you off. We’d suggest you always start small and then work your way up to bigger and better things once you’ve become more confident.