A fire pit would be an excellent addition to your Westerville, OH, backyard. It naturally becomes an attractive focal point for your landscape and creates a cozy spot to gather with family and friends. It also provides beautiful ambiance for nighttime gatherings and extends your outdoor season. But many people don’t realize you can also cook more than s’mores on a fire pit. Whether you already have a fire pit or are planning to add one, try some of these helpful tips for fire pit cooking.

How to Use Your Westerville, OH, Fire Pit for Cooking

The Type of Fuel Matters

Fire pits can run on a variety of fuel types, including wood, propane, natural gas, and charcoal. It is not advisable to cook over a gas or propane fire, so make sure you have the correct type of fire pit before planning to cook outdoors.

Wood-burning fire pits are a popular choice for outdoor grilling. Many people love the smoky flavor that food acquires when cooked over an open flame. Selecting different types of wood will create a variety of different aromas and flavors. Experiment with varieties such as cherry wood, almond wood, hickory, and mesquite for subtle flavor variations.

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Charcoal offers the benefits of being easy to light, and it burns evenly and fairly hot. Charcoal doesn’t add a smoky flavor, so it’s a good choice for foods that are marinated or pre-seasoned. You can also cook with a mixture of wood and charcoal if you want to add smoky flavor but still have the ease of cooking with charcoal.

Make Sure You Have the Right Tools

You will need a few extras to outfit your fire pit for cooking. The most important item is a good fire pit grill. Options range from a simple grill you can lay directly on the fire pit wall to models with adjustable stands. Grills that can be raised or have a swivel base will allow you to move the food to accommodate the varying temperatures of the fire. You’ll also need some sturdy, long-handled barbequing utensils such as tongs and a spatula.

To cook roasts or whole birds, you’ll need a rotisserie device. A motorized rotisserie will continuously turn the meat to ensure even cooking. For even better results when cooking large cuts, a lid will help trap in heat and speed up cooking times.

Cooking with Skewers

For a more hands-on approach to outdoor cooking, skewers give everyone the opportunity to cook their own food. They also allow guests to customize their selection of meats and veggies. There are a few things to keep in mind when selecting skewers for roasting food over an open flame. Most importantly, skewers should be long enough to keep your hands clear of the fire. Look for options in the 17” – 24” range with a good handle that doesn’t get hot. Flat skewers will keep food secure and ensure even cooking. And they should be sturdy so that they don’t bend when loaded with raw food. You can also use a combination of a grill with smaller skewers placed directly on the grill if you prefer to do all the cooking.

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Cleaning the Fire Pit

If you’re cooking over a backyard fire, don’t forget to take the time to clean up. Cooking creates grease and drippings that you don’t want to let accumulate in your fire pit. Avoid attracting unwanted pests to your yard by cleaning out all ashes and drippings from the fire pit after it has cooled.