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Creating A Fire Pit To Cook On – How to Get The Most From A Fire Pit!

Everyone loves a good outdoor fire, but when you have a fire pit you can cook on, you create a multi-purpose entertaining space that is certain to be the life of any outdoor party!

Fire pits have become all the rage over the last few years.

For one, they are an excellent way to extend the outdoor season on cool, chilly nights. But they can also be an excellent way to create wonderful outdoor meals.

cooking over an open fire
There is nothing more incredible than cooking over an open fire!

And it is an experience that family and friends are certain to fall in love with over and over again.

Creating An Outdoor Fire Pit To Cook On

Ever since installing our DIY stone fire pit at the farm back in 2012, we have used it to cook hundreds of meals.

From simmering soups and stews, to fire-grilled chicken, steak, sausage and vegetables, there is hardly anything we won’t try to cook over open flames. And yes, that even includes traditional hot dogs, marshmallows, s’mores, hot coffee and cocoa.

There is just something about cooking over an open fire. The smokey flavor along with the heat of the fire really does provide an experience all to it’s own.

fall harvest soup
One of our favorites to make, homemade soup over the fire!

And the best part of all, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune! Our homemade stone fire pit was built for a little over $100, and has been going strong for well over 7 years now. (See : How To Build An Inexpensive Fire Pit)

And when it came to adding the cooking options, they were even more economical than that!

Creating A Fire Pit To Cook On

Although you can find hundreds of styles of fire pits for sale commercially, it is easy to create one at home for far less. And in nearly all cases, more functional to use when it comes to cooking.

You can create an economical fire ring with local rock as we did, or make one from concrete or brick. It can even be as easy as digging a hole to create one simply from the surrounding earth.

concrete fire pit
This fire pit was created from tumbled concrete paver block.

However you create it, the key is to make the space large enough ( 2-3 feet in diameter) to allow for a little cooking.

After that, it all comes down to creating a few cooking surfaces to either hang, grill, or smoke your food. And here are a few that work perfectly!

Installing A Cooking Bar

When it comes to having a fire pit you can cook on, a cooking bar is a great place to start!

One of the best things we ever did at the farm was install the simple cooking bar in the picture below over the fire pit. Not only was it extremely inexpensive to make, it took only an hour to install.

The cooking bar is perfect for hanging everything from a pot of chili or hot cocoa, to smoking whole chickens and sausage.

open fire cooking bar
Our cooking bar over the fire pit. It was a simple and inexpensive way to create a bar to hang our soup pots.

We created the bar from 1″ black iron pipe and 90 degree elbow connections. We created a permanent base by sinking 1-1/4″ pipe into the ground a few feet in depth for strength.

The U-shaped bar then simply slides down into the pipe to use.

When not it in use, we cover the pipes with threaded metal covers at ground level to keep the base pipes closed off. See : Installing An Outdoor Cooking Bar

Installing A Cooking Grate

Another great way to cook nearly anything on a fire pit is with a simple metal grate placed over the fire.

This can be done by using the edge of your fire pit, or placing bricks or blocks to hold the grate. For ours, we used the same metal post concept (using 4 posts) to place the grate over the fire.

grilling corn
Outdoor grates like this are perfect for placing over small fire pits. You can use a few concrete blocks or bricks, or install metal posts to hold the grate in place.

Local welding shops are also usually a great place to start if you need a custom size. We were able to have ours fabricated from steel mesh plating for about $75.

You can also easily recycle and re-purpose a couple of large grates from an old gas or charcoal grill to make your own.

In recent years, it has also become easier to find grates commercially. Many companies now produce cooking grates that range from 2′ x 2′, all the way up to 4′ x 4′. Product Link : SunnyDaze Cooking Grate 30″

paella pan
By placing a large Paella pan on a cooking grate, you can create nearly any dish imaginable.

Depending on the size, theses grates can also be great for taking on the road when camping as well!

Here is to cooking and living more outdoors with an outdoor fire pit you can cook on. Happy Outdoor Living! Jim and Mary.

Jim and Mary Competti have been writing gardening, DIY and recipe articles and books for over 15 years from their 46 acre Ohio farm. The two are frequent speakers on all things gardening and love to travel in their spare time.

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