Can You Cook on a Portable Fire Pit? Yes, you can cook all types of food on a portable fire pit. Many people use it for grilling hot dogs, hamburgers, making s’mores with graham crackers, marshmallows, whole chickens, and chocolate bars. Your friends and family are sure to appreciate the backyard fun you can have.
Save yourself from having to go to the store or a fast-food joint to enjoy a delicious meal.
It’s even possible to prepare marshmallows, which are considered an essential camping trip. Whether outdoor cooking with wood, natural gas, or propane, an outdoor adventure is the best way to enjoy a fire, and meals are a big part of that.
The Fuel for Gas Fire Pit Cooking
Cooking food in open flames means that you can choose to burn charcoal or wood. Some people like a mixture of both to have a smoky flavor.
Charcoal is usually easy to light, and it burns relatively hot. It works well for beginners and foods that have been pre-seasoned or marinated. However, it doesn’t offer a smoky taste to the food, so it doesn’t overpower everything.
One of the features of charcoal with fire pits is that you can also put firewood on the hot coals after preparing the food. This gives you the benefit of a wood fire, too.
Wood is often a classic choice for the open fire pit and is easy to light. Just make sure you use the right firewood and set it up correctly for cooking.
Consider a log cabin or teepee arrangement for burning wood. These are reliable methods. Start with some tinder, progress to using kindling, and then bring on the big wooden blocks. The tinder can be quarter-inch thick sticks, pine needles, bark, or straw.
It’s best to stay away from paper and leaves, as they produce more ash and could cause the fire to go out of the outdoor fire pit.
The kindling should be bigger than twigs. If you plan to use charcoal, put it in now. Then, add some decent logs to the fire pit grill.
The best wood is seasoned hardwood. Oak burns hot and clean and produces a decent flame. Avoid softwood or greenwood because it can smoke out the campfire.
Some people choose propane pits instead. If you go this route, make sure that you have a strong propane open flame and watch that the heat doesn’t go overboard. Generally, propane isn’t used at campsites because it’s expensive and wood is readily available.
Getting Fire Pits Set Up
The location of the fire is crucial for safety. Ensure that the fire pit isn’t under overhanging foliage. Keep it off of flammable surfaces, such as decks. With that, keep it free of vegetation if there’s no cover.
A ground fire pit should have a deep base with plenty of sand. You can also use a portable fire pit ring to offer shelter from the wind.
Another tip is to choose the right charcoal grill after it’s located safely. There are many styles/sizes available, but you just need something for cooking over the fire.
It’s also a good idea to consider the right barbecue tools and accessories. These include tongs, grill brushes, and spatulas. The handles should be long enough that you don’t hurt your fingers. Remember, fire safety first!
Outdoor grilling with a fire pit can be a lot of fun, but you might want to invest in a thermometer. That way, you know when the meat is cooked properly.
A lid is also a great idea for the fire pit. That way, you can keep the flames in the campfire and have a better food quality while you cook food. This also lets you smoke the meat.
It’s important to set up the space so that you’re not cooking over the flames, using too much heat, etc. A two-zone system is the best way to go. Let one sideburn to embers and then push them to the other side.
Consider your menu, as well. There are plenty of delicious foods you can make, such as marshmallows and any type of meat.
Something should be said for gas fire pits, too. The propane is the fuel source, so you don’t have to deal with adding wood or getting the fire started. However, propane costs more and has other considerations with it.
Managing the Heat
Safety is crucial while you’re managing the heat as you cook. It takes practice, but it can be done. Think about cooking smaller cuts at first.
Ensure that the flames are contained, too. You want to grill the food and not char it.
The two primary ways to control the heat that your food is cooking over are by how close the embers are to the grill grate and how many embers are there.
Some grills let you raise the cooking surface or change the angle. Play around with it to ensure that the flame is spot-on.
Ultimately, some people prefer a gas fire pit for their outdoor space. Generally, gas fire pits are ideal if you want to stay warm and prepare food. Plus, propane is easier to get started.
Direct and Indirect Heat
Ideally, you should be cooking the thicket food pieces first, so everything gets done at the same time. Ultimately, you should remove these items from the grill right before they’re done. They continue cooking, even after they are off the grill.
Direct heat is suitable for smaller cuts of meat. With that, they work well for a good sear. You can also cook hamburgers and hot dogs over direct heat, as well as marshmallows. Just make sure that these sticky treats don’t touch the fire pit grate!
Indirect heat works well for roasting chickens. You need a lid to achieve this and put the meat around the embers instead of right on top of the fire.
This traps the heat in as you’re roasting to smoke and cook the food thoroughly without burning anything.
Roasting on a fire pit can also be done with lava rock. However, most people use their outdoor pit for grilling. If you have the room, you can also keep cooked food warm with or without lava rocks.
Wood Types of To Burn in Fire Pit
Wood is a fantastic fuel for your fire pit, and there are many different types of wood to choose from. But not all woods are created equal. In order to maximize the heat output from your fire pit, you want to use hardwoods that burn well and release a lot of energy in a short amount of time. Here’s what you need to know about the best type of wood for burning in your fire pit:
Oakwood: is considered to be the king of fire pit woods. It’s dense, heavy, and releases a lot of heat in a quick period of time. It also creates lasting coals that are perfect for grilling or adding to an outdoor kitchen. Oak is great for containing embers when it burns, so you can count on your fire pit to output a lot of heat for hours. However, oak can be messy and produce a large amount of ash when it burns.
Alderwood: considered the best type of wood for creating lasting coals. Alder contains a chemical called “aldehyde” which produces great coals that last a long time. It also requires less oxygen to burn and has a lower flame. Alder produces less dust, making it easier to clean up after you’re done cooking or enjoying your fire pit. It also lights quickly and easily, so you don’t have to worry about starting your fire in the best way possible.
Beechwood: another heavy wood that releases a lot of heat. It burns well, produces few sparks or embers, and is considered to be easy to start. It also creates lasting coals, so it’s perfect for an outdoor home with lots of outside activities where people will want to cook on the grill or hang out around the fire pit longer than usual.
Cherry wood: one of the most popular types of wood to use in fire pits. It’s known for producing a lot of heat, long-lasting coals, and little smoke or sparks. Cherry is easy to start and keeps burning with minimal fuel.
Greenwood: it contains a lot of water, which can lead to low heat output and difficulty starting. It’s best to avoid using green wood in your fire pit until it dries out but still think twice before throwing green wood into the fire.
Ironwood: this type of hardwood is very dense and makes great coals that will last for hours. Ironwood is another wood that produces a high amount of heat and little smoke or ash.
Maplewood: this type of fire pit wood has a similar burn to oak, but it’s easier to clean up after burning maple in your fire pit because it burns so well. The resulting coals are great for cooking on the grill or starting your fire.
Almond wood: this type of wood has a high heat output and may be restricted in certain areas. It’s best to burn almond in your fire pit when it is seasoned, dry, and cut to size. When you do this, it doesn’t create much smoke or sparks.
You’re free to use any cooking source you want, but a gas fire pit might be the best choice. It’s made of metal and often designed to be portable. With that, you can add some warmth to the night as things start getting chilly.
Don’t worry if you don’t have natural gas or propane; you can still use wood! Save your family from a boring meal with the right fire pit. Outdoor adventures in the backyard have never been as exciting. What’s on the menu for you?