Cooking in a fire pit is among the oldest cooking methods known to man, and is still an enjoyable way to cook especially during the hotter months. Whether on a camping trip, or in your own backyard you can have an adventure while enjoying delicious food. These helpful hints and tips will make it fun, safe and tasty.
A fire pit can either be a permanent structure, or one that is moveable and above ground. Fire pits can be built on tables, stone, copper or cast iron. Fire pits can also have grates placed over the top of them to grill over. You can use a tripod or rotisserie to cook with while using an outdoor fire pit.
Balance – There has to be a balance between what you intend to cook and the size of the hole whether you dig it yourself or use a fire pit purchased from the store. The pit is good when it is dug a foot larger all the way around than the item being cooked in it. Three feet is the standard depth of a fire pit, and depth effects the size and intensity of the fire.
Stone/Brick Size – Fire pits are typically lined with bricks or stones to preserve heat during the cooking process. Large stones are best to retain the heat, avoid stones that have been in salt water. These can crack or expose in the heat; bricks are a permanent and better solution.
Prepare Coal Prior to Cooking– There is a large amount of coals required for cooking in a fire pit. Filling the hole with wood and letting it burn out will provide you with the coals; this takes time making charcoal the choice some prefer. A hole that is a foot deep filled with coals will be sufficient for cooking.
Securely Wrap the Food– Flavor the food before wrapping it. Make sure that any food going directly into the coals is securely packaged to keep it from falling out into the coals. Some people use aluminum fail to keep heat in and protect the food.
Insert Food. Cook– Put the meat in the pit and cover it. Coal in the pit should remain heated for more than two days even without a fire in the pit. Both meat and vegetables can be placed in the fire pit.
Advantages to Fire Pits
Outdoor fire pits can double as grills. You can use firewood instead of charcoal or gas to cook with. There are several types of wood including almond, oak, and cherry that can be used to add both aroma and flavor to the food you are cooking using an outdoor fire pit. There are also a variety of ways that you can cook using a fire pit including skewers. Items such as marshmallows, small birds, hot dogs, sausages can be grilled using skewers over the fire pit.
Direct Heat- Cooking is done by placing food directly on top of the source of the heat instead of having hot air circulating around the food. Cooking times will decrease for smaller items. Using the outdoor fire pits direct heat will not only help increase the time it taks to cook but there will be a caramelized coloring that gets your meat juicy and crispy.
Grilling with Indirect Heat– This is the process where food is slowly cooked in the fire pit with hot air circulating around it. There is no fear that the food will be overcooked, using indirect heat to grill on top of the fire pit requires using an area that is not exposed to direct heat from the bottom. There are things such as whole chickens, and roasts that will cook longer and slower this way.
Rotisserie- Food is put on a rotisserie’s metal plate and turned either by hand or using a motor. The turning not only slow cooks but all sides are evenly brown and roasted.
Cast iron can also be used in the fire pit or directly on the grill grate in order to cook with the outdoor fire pit.
This tips and tricks will make cooking with an outdoor fire pit enjoyable and tasty.