Fire Pit for Cooking

Picture of Max Firepits

Max Firepits

It's not hard to find a fire pit for cooking on, but are you using the right style and the right techniques? In this article we explore the entire range of options.

Fire Pit for Cooking

Whether buying a new fire pit or figuring out the best way to cook on your current setup, this guide provides all the information you need to transform your backyard into a gourmet paradise. Now, before you go out and buy ‘all the fire pits’ or a custom-made bbq read this handy article and see what fire pits are suited for what style and which ones might suit your needs and budget.

Key Takeaways

  • Explore the variety of fire pit styles available for cooking and understand the importance of choosing the right type for your needs.
  • Learn techniques for cooking over an open flame, including using grates, skewers, and cast iron cookware.
  • Discover the versatility of fire pits, allowing you to enjoy a wide range of cooking methods from grilling to slow roasting.

Introduction to Cooking with Fire Pits

Cooking over an open flame has a unique appeal that returns us to our early traditions. There’s something primal and communal about gathering around a fire pit and whipping up some good tucker. 

Gathering around a fire pit with family and friends, making meals together, using the fire to stay warm and sharing a laugh is a timeless Australian tradition that brings people together. 

Everyone can participate in the cooking, whether turning bbq skewers, checking the camp oven, or cooking toast for brekky on the cooking grills!

This experience reminds us of the simple pleasures of sharing good food and good company in the great outdoors.

Types of Fire Pits for Cooking (Wood, Gas, Charcoal)

Choosing the right fire pit is crucial for perfect outdoor cooking. Traditional wood-burning pits offer a complete sensory experience with their crackling sound, smoky aroma, and high temps. Gas firepits are more convenient, easy to clean, and provide precise temperature control. Charcoal pits ( such as a hibachi grill ) are easier to manage but still give your meats and vegetables a fantastic flavour.

“For those seeking authenticity, nothing replaces the robust flavour that wood-fired cooking imparts,”

Emma Johnston, campfire culinary enthusiast.

Choosing the Right Fire Pit for Your Needs

When choosing a grill, consider how many people you may prepare for and what atmosphere you want to make. A large metal grill may be more suitable for large gatherings, while a smaller one might be better for a more intimate setting. You can even use a smaller table-based fire pit to recreate the wildly popular Korean BBQ experience at home! Some of the rounder fire pits such as the cauldron fire pit, chalice fire pit and goblet fire pit can make it a bit more difficult to safely place your cooking grills, however these unique designs can be used with a bit of ingenuity!

Think about materials such as stainless steel, bricks or stone and how they can blend with your outdoor space. If you need to move your grill around frequently, portability should be a consideration. Stainless steel grills are rust-resistant and great for outdoor use, while stone grills can add a natural touch to your garden.

Recipes and Cooking Techniques

Experienced chefs swear by the versatility of fire pit preparation. The variety of styles is almost endless, from grilling juicy, charred steaks on cooking grills to simmering hearty stews in a camp oven hanging over the flame or stuck right down in the coals.

“The key to mastering the fire pit lies in understanding the temperature zones,” advises Chef Marco Garcia, a proponent of open-flame grilling.

Many top chefs prefer using fire pits for cooking as they believe it adds a distinct flavour to their dishes that cannot be achieved through other cooking methods. The searing of meat and vegetables and the smoke created from the flames licking the fire pit and cooking grills really enhances the taste and texture of the food – which is what you want!

Grilling

Description: BBQ Grilling is the most direct cooking method over an open fire. Food is placed on a grate directly above the flames. This method is perfect for foods that brown quickly and benefit from an excellent crusty sear.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Steak, Ribs and Chops
  • Hamburgers or Rissoles
  • Vegetables and sliced potato
  • Fish fillets or prawns!
skewers cooking on a fire pit

Skewers

Skewering involves putting food on a long, thin wooden or metal skewers or stick held over the flames or placed on a grill above the fire. This method allows for easy rotation and even cooking, which is ideal for bite-sized foods. This method is particularly popular with Asian-flavoured dishes such as satays and Korean bulgogi. Yummo!

Recommended Dishes:

  • Kebabs with sauces like satay and Korean flavourings
  • Marshmallows, yes marshmallows!
  • Prawns and Chorizo
  • Sausages
  • Beef, Onion and Capsicum
photo of a cast iron camp oven in the coals

Camp Oven Cooking

A camp oven is a thick-walled cast-iron cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid. When used in a fire pit, it can be placed directly in the coals, allowing for slow cooking, similar to using a slow cooker or an oven. Coals can be shovelled on top of the lid for baking bread, dampers, etc., to create an even temperature from above.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Stews and Curries
  • Soups
  • Bread and Damper
  • Casseroles
photo of a chicken spit roasted over a fire

Spit roasting

Spit roasting involves simmering large pieces of meat over a fire, using a spit (a long rod) to rotate the meat. This method allows even cooking and basting, making it perfect for large gatherings. You have many options for the rotisserie, including a manual version or battery-powered commercial products that do the work for you.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Whole marinated chicken
  • Leg of lamb
  • Pork shoulder
  • Prime rib

Plank Cooking

Plank cooking involves placing your ingredients on a hardwood plank (usually cedar) set over the fire pits. The plank imparts a subtle smoky and woody flavour and as a side benefit, the board acts as a barrier to direct flames so you get a more even result.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Salmon
  • Chicken breasts
  • Pork chops
  • BBQ Vegetables

Cooking on a fire pit adds a smoky depth to your meals that is not easily replicated with other methods. It also heats evenly and doubles as a source of warmth on those cooler nights. Not to mention, it’s simply great fun to get everyone out of the house and into the fresh air for a night around the fire pits.

The Tools of the Trade

When it comes to fire pit cooking, having the right accessories is crucial. These tools make cooking safer and more comfortable and allow for more creativity in the kitchen. Here are the top five accessories every outdoor chef should have: 

1. Choose tools that simplify the cooking process and make it more accessible. 

2. Select accessories that are safe to use and help to prevent accidents over the cooking grills.

3. Invest in accessories that enable greater culinary versatility. 

4. The right equipment is essential for a successful and enjoyable cooking experience when using fire pits.

5. These tools will allow you to lift your cooking game and achieve mouth-watering results.

Cast Iron Cookware

Durable and versatile, cast iron cookware is essential for fire pit cooking. A good set might include skillets, pots, and a Camp oven. Cast iron’s excellent temperature retention and distribution properties make it perfect for everything from searing steaks to slow-cooking stews directly in the coals.

  • Ideal For: Searing, sautéing, baking, and simmering.

Grill Grate

Sturdy cooking grills placed over your fire pit can transform it into a barbecue grill. Look for a grate large enough to accommodate multiple items simultaneously and made from heavy-duty materials to withstand the heat. if you own a tripod fire pit, then sometimes these come with suspended cooking grills, making it easier to slow roast larger cuts of meat.

  • Ideal For: Grilling meats, vegetables, and even toasting bread.

Long-Handled Utensils

To manage your time safely over the open flame, you’ll need a set of long-handled cooking utensils, including tongs, spatulas, and meat forks. These tools help keep your hands away from the fire while flipping burgers, turning veggies, or serving up hearty helpings of your fire-cooked meals.

  • Ideal For: Safely handling and serving.

Fireproof Cooking Gloves

Protect your hands from the intense fire of the fire pit with a pair of high-quality fireproof gloves. These gloves should be made from materials that can withstand high temperatures, allowing you to adjust logs, move cookware, and handle your meal without risk.

  • Ideal For: Managing the fire, adjusting cookware, and directly handling hot food items.

Skewers and Roasting Sticks

For an authentic fire pit cooking experience, a set of skewers or roasting sticks is indispensable. They’re perfect for making kebabs, roasting marshmallows, or cooking hot dogs over the flames. Choose from metal or bamboo, but ensure metal skewers have insulated handles to prevent burns.

  • Ideal For: Skewering meats, vegetables, and marshmallow roasting.

When it comes to fire pit cooking, having the right accessories is crucial. These tools make meal prep safer and more comfortable and allow for more creativity in the kitchen. Here are the top five accessories every outdoor chef should have: 

1. Choose tools that simplify the cooking process and make it more accessible. 

2. Select options that are easy to use and help to prevent accidents. 

3. Invest in accessories that enable greater culinary versatility. 

4. The right equipment is essential for a successful and enjoyable cooking experience. 

5. These tools will allow you to elevate your cooking game and achieve mouth-watering results. Experience and inspire creativity and experimentation with recipes and techniques. With the right tools, fire pit cooking can become a centrepiece activity for outdoor gatherings, bringing everyone together for unforgettable meals under the stars.

“Just like my own family, our customers just love to purchase our firepit grills to help them make delicious meals in their own backyard! Best of all, fire pits are the true multi-taskers of the garden, they keep everyone warm in Winter, give off the most beautiful lighting and come in various sizes.”

Adele Maynard, Founder MAX Fire Pits


Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to cook over any type of firewood?

Not all firewood is created equal. Hardwoods like oak, hickory, and maple burn longer and provide stable heat, making them ideal for cooking. Avoid softwoods like pine or cedar, as they burn quickly and can impart a resinous flavour.

How do I control the temperature when cooking on a fire pit?

Control the temperature by managing the size of your fire and the distance between the items and the flames. For a hotter fire, add more wood and let it burn down to coals for even heat. Use a grill grate to raise or lower your meal away from the heat source.

Can I roast directly on the coals?

Some foods can be cooked directly on the bbq coals, such as vegetables wrapped in foil or even certain meats. This method, known as caveman-style cooking, imparts a unique flavour but requires careful monitoring to avoid burning.

What’s the best way to light my fire pits?

Start with kindling and small twigs, building up to larger pieces of hardwood. Use a natural fire starter or a chimney starter for charcoal to avoid chemical flavours that lighter fluid can impart.

How do I clean and maintain my fire pits after cooking?

Let the fire pit cool wholly. Remove ash and unburnt charcoal. Clean any cooking grills with a brush and soapy water. Cover your fire pit to protect it from the elements when not in use.

What are some easy meals for beginners to make in a fire pit?

Start with grilled vegetables, skewered meats (kebabs), or foil packet meals. These require minimal preparation and give you a feel for cooking over an open flame.

How do I ensure my food cooks evenly on a fire pit?

Use direct (over the flames) and indirect (beside the fire) cooking methods. Rotate and flip food regularly to ensure even cooking and prevent burning. If you are using one of those gas rings, it’s much easier to maintain an even heat.

Can I use my fire pits for baking?

Absolutely. A camp oven is perfect for baking bread, pies, and pizzas over a fire pit. Place the cast iron camp oven over the coals and place coals on the lid to create an oven-like environment. If you check out BCF or other camping stores, you can find these in various sizes.

Is it necessary to season my cast iron cookware specifically for fire pit use?

Seasoning is crucial for all cast iron cookware to prevent rust and create a non-stick surface. The process is the same whether used on a stove, in an oven, or over a fire pit. Regular seasoning after each use is recommended.

How can I practice fire pit safety, especially in dry conditions?

Always check local fire regulations before starting your fire pit. Keep a bucket of water, sand, or a fire extinguisher nearby. Clear away flammable materials around the fire pit, and never leave the fire unattended.

Conclusion

When grilling, remember that taking your time can lead to perfection. Enjoy the process, and your taste buds will be happier. Sarah Lim, a professional chef who enjoys working on fire pits, says “it’s a great way to cook and start conversations. As you cook, remember it’s more than just a cooking method. It’s a way of life that brings friends and family together. Remember that each dish tells a story, so make yours unforgettable.”

If you are looking for a fire pit, get in touch with our friendly team to have a look at our range and we can help you work out the best freight or shipping. Because we make each of our fire pits to order, we don’t keep any stock but our delivery time is one to two week!

We also offer factory pickup, or we can deliver it right to your door.

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