These Are the Best Fire Pits to Use for Outdoor Cooking
There's a lot to love about a fire pit. They give off warmth, create a cozy ambience, and can even be used to toast marshmallows or grill entire meals—assuming you have the right model, that is. If you're in the market for a fire pit and interested in something dual purpose (aesthetic and functional), an actual cooking surface is a must. "A pit that's designed with outdoor cooking in mind will come with adjustable fire grates, or even a griddle-style cooking surface," Matthew Eads, cookbook author, gourmet griller, and founder of the blog Grillseeker, says. Adjustable cooking grates allow you to cook food at various heights above the fire, thus controlling the temperature.
If you're used to cooking on a grill, know that cooking over a fire pit is slightly different and comes with its own nuances and challenges. "With a grill, you have the ability to create multiple zones of heat, and when you close the lid you create what is essentially an oven," Eads says. "With a fire pit, multiple zones are harder to achieve so cooking surface heat is controlled by proximity to the fire, making an adjustable height grate very important." Since a fire pit doesn't have a lid, Eads recommends using a cast iron Dutch oven for cooking large cuts of meat or when baking biscuits, cobbler, and the like. If you're new to cooking over a fire pit, he recommends starting with inexpensive foods (like hot dogs) to hone your skills.
One more thing to remember: Fire pits get quite hot. Setting them on non-combustible surfaces like concrete are ideal, but if you're planning to put one on your wooden deck you'll want to look into heat liners and pay close attention to product specifications to ensure you'll be able to use it safely.
- Best Multitasker: Signstek 32-inch Steel Fire Pit
- Best Smokeless: Breeo X Series 24 Smokeless Fire Pit
- Best Adjustable Height: Barebones Cowboy Fire Pit Grill
- Best Concrete: Gray Wharden Concrete Wood Burning Outdoor Fire Pit
- Best Splurge: Arteflame Classic 40'' Grill with Low Round Base