Cooking in the fire was a conventional way of preparing meals before the advent of ovens and stoves. However, most people don’t even realize that cooking in a fireplace is an option nowadays! Fireplace cooking is best for winter periods when most of us won’t brave the cold weather to grill outside.
Nevertheless, terrible weather doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t appreciate fireplace cooked food. Whether you have an electric or a wood-burning stove, you can still grill your favorite meals (e.g., meat) throughout the year.
There are various types of grills designed for fireplace cooking. Although electric fireplaces and fireplace cooking equipment are not easy to come by; the puraflame western 33 is available in the market. And it’s one of the best-embedded heating fireplaces I know.
Below are some tips for grilling in your fireplace:
1. Chimney inspection
If you can’t recall the last time you had your chimney examined or swept, don’t cook anything in there. Hire an expert fireplace inspector before making your first fire, fireplaces that aren’t adequately maintained can pose a considerable safety risk. The inspector will do a basic sweep and examine the flue to ensure that your furnace meets the required safety standards.
2. Pick the best wood
Opt for hard seasoned wood such as alder, cedar, pecan, oak, and cherry are all excellent choices for your indoor fireplace. Their smoke will saturate your food. They will also get hot enough and generate hot flames to prepare your meal. Hard seasoned wood is also less likely to throw off sparks, and this ensures your safety.
3. Understand how to light a fire safely
Ensure that the chimney is neat and unblocked. Also, open the damper and heap massive logs at the bottom. Add a few smaller ones on top and later top off the stack with some ignition. By so doing, the smoke from the kindling will easily access the chimney, and your house won’t get dingy.
More so, putting bigger logs at the bottom will give you an extended burning time which is vital if you’re grilling foods that require more time. There are various ways of stating the fire; some people suggest that you put the kindling on the bottom while others will advise you to start with a 2.5 to 5.1 cm bed of ash.
But, igniting on the bottom makes the fire burn for a shorter time and using a thicker bed of ash produces a longer-lasting heat for roasting. For evenly cooked food, allow the fire to get to a steady burn of about 2 to 3 inches before you begin cooking.
4. Use proper cookware
Before you start cooking, have sturdy fireplace tools and gloves. Long tongs, skewers, cast iron skillets, fire-resistant gloves, a meat thermometer, and a Dutch oven are some essential tools you’ll require.
You can as well use some bricks for propping a grill pan on cast iron skillet above the flames. This way, your food will be evenly cooked, with a reduced risk of burning. Arrange the bricks and the grill pan to about four to five inches above the wood or kindling. Besides, don’t use anything made of plastic, glass, or silicone and always have a fire extinguisher.
5. Clean up!
Clean your fireplace after every meal and ensure it remains in top condition. After the fire has gone out, scoop the ashes, dispose of them in a garbage bag, tidy out any remaining ashes and wipe off the hearth.
Cooking in your fireplace is a pleasant way of enjoying hearty meals. For excellent results, have the right tools, have your chimney inspected annually, and clean up after cooking. Remember to pick hard seasoned wood to reduce sparks, and most importantly be safe.