What Is Fire Pit Cooking?
Fire pit cooking is simply the usage of a fire to cook your food. Fire pit cooking can be done in many ways. It can be as simple as cooking hotdogs over a fire, or it could be as complex as cooking a large breakfast for your family.
Regardless of how you choose to use your fire pit for cooking, it’s important to realize that fire pits are not camping grills. While this may seem obvious- the two cannot take the place of one another; however, they can complement each other very well if used together. If you’re looking for an amazing way to grill meals while camping, maybe give our box rails a try! They’re simply boxes made of lx steel, which allow the user to easily transport their grill over wood coals/logs and give them easy access once they’ve set up camp.
What Are The Benefits?
The biggest benefit to using a fire pit for cooking is the sheer simplicity. While a grill does make a decent cooking surface, it’s a little bit more complicated in some cases than people may be looking for when they’re trying to eat something hot and tasty simply. With fire pit cooking, it’s as simple as making sure you have your gear with you, and you’re good to go! But, of course- many other benefits come along with it, such as:
1) Reduced Effort
While most campfire recipes will take some time to cook all the way through, the majority of them only require that you have “hot coals” instead of actively having flames. This can significantly reduce the amount of effort needed for cooking meals.
2) Off the Ground
Fire pits are usually designed to be set off the ground for a better cooking experience, which can reduce the risk of burning your meal or dropping it in a pile of dirt or sand. Furthermore, many fire pits come with a grate inside them, giving you the ability to cook using a wok in addition to a pot!
3) Provides Ambiance
Cooking over an open flame at night is simply much more enjoyable than when compared to cooking over a propane stove or electric griddle that emits zero useful light when used during twilight hours.
4) Cooking Over Wood Coals Adds Character
Cooking over coals from wood fires is one of those things that adds character and enhances the overall flavor of your meals.
5) Easier To Transport
Perhaps the biggest concern for most people, when they’re looking to cook over a fire pit, is how much effort it will take in order to transport one from their house to a campground in the woods. However, because most campsites have permanent fire pits already, all you usually need is some lighter fluid, matches, and a few twigs/wood shavings- which takes up virtually no space in your car whatsoever!
Types of Fire Pit Cooking
There are many different types of fire pit cooking to choose from depending on the type of meal you plan to cook and how large your grill grate inside your fire pit is.
The simplest way to get started with fire pit cooking is simply by digging a hole in the ground, placing some wood coals inside it, and cooking whatever you can manage over them!
This method yields great results when done properly. However, it requires proximity to trees or bushes.
For those who may not have access to a shovel or for those looking for something slightly more long-term- there’s always the option of using a portable fire pit. These come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but probably the most popular looks like a round bucket with several metal bars attached to it.
There are also fire pits that come in the form of large grills or even ones that can be placed directly on your existing picnic table. Of course, if neither of these appeals to you, you can always choose to bring your grill with you instead; however, this isn’t advisable due to the lack of ambiance that comes along with cooking over a propane grill when compared to cooking over an open fire pit.
Tips For Cooking On A Fire Pit
- You want to use either lump coal or hardwood that is well seasoned (dried). Make sure it’s all-natural wood, with no chemicals or other garbage in there. It should be clean-burning and put out very little ash. Look for products like Cowboy Lump, Duraflame Fire Starters, Royal Oak Lump Charcoal, etc…
- You can cook anything on your fire pit too! Chicken wings would be good since you will need to turn them while they are cooking. Ribs would be amazing if you had a rack with handles (most of us do not), then just skewer the ribs together and stack them on the sides of the pit, so they don’t touch the coals below. Just make sure and rotate and move the ribs around so they cook evenly.
- A good time to cook on your fire pit is when it’s windy outside. The winds will help keep the coal/wood in one spot and not blow them all over your yard or spread embers everywhere. You can also add more coals if needed by using a chimney starter ($10 at Walmart). Just fill the bottom with some hardwood chunks and place some newspaper under it, and light it up. It’ll burn off all that newspaper, then you’ll start to see smoke coming out of the top (no flames), and once that happens, put on your cooking grate and let’s rip! I usually use this method to get my cooking temp up to about 300-350 degrees. Then I’ll move it back to my original coal position and continue cooking.
- You do not need to flip what you are cooking, but if you want, you can use tongs & a spatula (if needed). Just make sure and take your time, so the meat does not fall apart on you. If turning is hard for whatever reason, don’t stress over it too much, chances are the meat will still be delicious (I’ve never had to turn anything I was cooking). Remember that all food will cook twice as fast on a fire pit!
- Take some spray bottle’s filled with apple juice or any fruit juice (+ water), and every once in a while, spritz the meat with this mixture. This is to keep it moist and give it that nice smokey flavor everyone loves!
- Use your common sense when cooking on a fire pit; there are no rules but just remember you want the heat to be even, so don’t leave your meat in one spot for too long without moving it around at all times. For example, if you have 3 ribs, cook them with the 1st side up for 2 min, then flip & repeat until done. You may also use indirect heat by letting the coal/wood die down on one side of the fire pit then placing your meat directly over the other section, so it does not touch any coals below. Just make sure and watch out for high temp flare-ups, which could burn your food rapidly.
- You can check if your meat is done by using a meat thermometer or cutting the meat in half to see if it’s pink inside. If you opt for the latter, try not to “stab” the meat since you’ll release lots of juice when doing so, plus it’s very messy & hard to clean up after.
- Serve hot & enjoy! Don’t forget to put out your fire pit before eating or drinking anything near it, take away any coals that are still hot, and never ever leave your fire unattended. Always have a hose close by in case embers start flying everywhere.
- Remember that cooking on a fire pit will always give you good flavor but expect professional results lol just have fun & enjoy cooking on your fire pit!
- After you’re done with your fire pit, it’s best to cover it up for the night with some bricks or rocks (whatever is laying around) just to keep embers from flying out and starting a wildfire somewhere in your vicinity. Also, be sure and put it out by dousing coals with water then covering them completely. If need be, you can use a shovel or a hose; just make sure and get all of the coals wet before you go to bed, so no one gets burned while sleeping!
With a warming fire pit, you can cook up some delicious food and enjoy the fall weather at your picnic or party. Whether it’s raining outside or not, there is nothing like sitting around this type of outdoor space while eating yummy grilled meats with friends and family besides themselves in satisfaction!
The guide is a great way to get started with outdoor cooking. It has all of the information you need and more! If it helped your experience, please let us know in the comment section below- we would love for others who have used this resource to find their answer too.