Cooking on a Fire Pit: The Complete Guide

  • 6 min read

Fire pits are great for outdoor entertaining because they provide warmth in a cool, cozy atmosphere. While still allowing you to enjoy the outdoors, they are also great alternatives to barbecuing. 

Though campfires and barbecue grills are conventional outdoor cooking or grilling, the lengthy and work full arrangement process may discourage you. And in this scenario, fire pits are more convenient and easy-going. 

A fire pit allows you to cook food outdoors without building a huge fire. While camping, you enjoy your self-cooked food without separate arrangements and barbecue and grill gear bags. 

So if you're in the mood for some outdoor cooking, a fire pit can be a great option. Here's everything you need to know to cook or grill on one safely and successfully. 

Why Cook on A Fire Pit?

Contrary to popular belief,cooking on a fire pit is incredibly safe. Not only is it safe, but it's also fun and convenient. 

The heat from the flames safely cooks your food without putting it in danger of burning or exploding. You will need minimal arrangement compared to traditional outdoor cooking methods. 

Plus, when you cook on a fire pit, you can create some amazing flavors that will remind you of your favorite barbecue joint. 

Things to Consider Before Starting Cooking on A Fire Pit

Cooking with cast iron skillets on a fire pit

Before starting cooking on a fire pit, consider a few things, such as making sure the pit is properly prepared and having the right gear. Here are some tips for getting started:

1. Be Sure It's Safe

When it comes to enjoying the warm summer evenings outdoors, many people turn to fire pits for cooking. 

But before you start cooking on the pit, be sure that the material is safe and does not emit harmful byproducts when burning.

Most fire pits are made of materials such as concrete or stone and metal like cast iron and stainless steel, which are approved for cooking on an open flame. 

However, avoid using wood fires in areas covered in dry grass or leaves because these substances can emit byproducts that can be dangerous to your health. 

If you are uncertain about the material used in your particular fire pit, contact the manufacturer or local fire authority for more information. 

Never cook on a fire pit under a closed roof or shed on your patio. Make sure no tree branches are hanging over your fire pit as well. 

2. What fuel do I need to cook?

Hardwood is always a popular choice when it comes to fuel for a fire pit. And that also goes for cooking. This is because hardwood has a high burning rate and provides heat quickly. 

Also, look for well seasoned or kiln-dried wood options. However, coal is also an option if you're looking for an alternative fuel source. A good mixture of both wood and coal will provide the best results.

3. Get A Few Accessories Ready

Having the right tools makes the job easier when you're cooking. Here are a few accessories for your wood fire cooking kit that will make your cooking experience more pleasant. 

Aluminum foil is essential for sealing food and ensuring it doesn't stick to the grill or pot. Skewers make it easy to cook multiple items at once, and tongs let you move them around without using your hands. 

A grate can come in handy when grilling meat or fish over direct heat, and a grill rack is perfect for placing food on top without touching it. 

Finally, a heat-resistant pot is great for cooking things like oatmeal or eggs over medium heat without ending up with scrambled eggs on your stovetop.

4. Cleaning Is Must

After every cooking session, cleaning the fire pit is a must. This will help to prevent any strong grease buildup. Use a hose or bucket to clean the area around the pit, removing any ash, coals, or burned-on food residue. 

Make sure to use a designated area for this task to avoid contaminating your surrounding plants or soil with soot and grease. Then, make sure to cover the fire pit with a good cover or store it in a secure place. 

How To Cook on A Fire Pit

Outdoor cooking on a fire pit

If you're looking to cook on a fire pit, here are a few different methods you can use:

1. Grilling on A Fire Pit

Grilling on a wood fire pit is a great way to cook your food. The direct heat cooks your food quickly and evenly, and the simple grill grate makes it easy to cook your food. 

You can get a grill grate from any outdoor or online store or easily build your own. Also, grilling in fire pits is particularly more enjoyable for groups since everyone is free to take a turn at grilling.

2. Cooking In A Pot On A Fire Pit

Cooking on a pot over the fire pit is a fun and easy way to cook your meals. You will need a stand for cooking on a pot to move it around the fire pit. 

The great thing about cooking this way is that you can customize your meal according to what you have on hand. 

For example, if you have some chicken breasts in the fridge, grilled vegetables, and some spices, you can easily create a simple chicken and vegetable soup using just those ingredients. 

Or, if you're feeling adventurous, try making a stew with beef or mutton instead of chicken. Whatever you choose, cooking over the fire pit will be delicious and satisfying!

3. Roasting on A Fire Pit

Over a fire pit, you can cook all sorts of roasting in an incredibly delicious way. You will need roasting sticks or poker for it. 

You can cook fatty cuts of meat over a fire with the roasting method, resulting in a succulent and juicy feast. Popular fire pit roasting items are whole chicken, lamb ribs, or brisket. 

4. Skewers on A Fire Pit

Are you looking for an easy way to cook your food in a fire pit? Try skewers! They're the simplest of cooking over a fire pit. This method is perfect for cooking bite-sized food: chicken or beef cubes or any vegetable of your choice. 

Thread the food onto the skewers, place them on the fire, and enjoy! Oh! Don't forget to roast your marshmallows on skewers. Get some quick s'mores for your kids. 

Kids cooking smores over a firepit


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you use a fire pit as a grill?

For sure, you can use a fire pit as a grill. There's no question that a fire pit makes for a rustic and inviting outdoor grill, but before you start firing up the coals, make sure you know if it's safe to use one as a cooking surface. Also, get a grill grate according to your fire pit size.

2. Can I use charcoal in a fire pit?

You can use charcoal in a fire pit. Mostly in an open or wood-burning fire pit. Charcoal is mainly charred wood. It can produce intense heat, especially for cooking. Along with good charcoal, infuse a rusty smell that enhances the flavors. 

3. Should you put sand on the bottom of the firepit?

Yes, it would be best to put sand on the bottom of the fire pit while cooking over it. Sand works as a great insulator that spreads the heat evenly through the fire pit. Also, when you cook, sand naturally absorbs oil and grease from food and keeps your fire pit safe and mess-free.

4. Can you roast marshmallows on a tabletop fire pit?

Yes, and why not? Though tabletop fire pits are not greatly encouraged for regular cooking, you can roast some marshmallows or use skewers for light cooking. 

5. What can you cook on an outdoor fire pit?

You can cook anything you want on an outdoor fire pit. You can cook every regular food item, from classic s'mores, popcorn, and french toast to ham and cheese, meat or veggies, stew, and curries. 

6.  What wood should I use for cooking?

The best cooking wood has the following qualities:

  • Easy to light
  • Burns hotter for longer periods of time
  • Creates less smoke
  • Smells great
  • Contains no fungus, pests, or mold

We recommend sources like Cutting Edge Firewood for consistent, premium cooking wood.


Cooking or grilling on a fire pit is a great way to enjoy food with friends and family. It is a fun activity that can be done outdoors and results in delicious food. 

Fire pits are easily available rather than a gas grill or outdoor oven. Also, it can be used for cooking regularly because it's easy to clean and maintain with less effort. 

If you have never cooked or grilled on a fire pit before, We encourage you to try it. You will not be disappointed!

Kathy Koch is a guest author from Fireplace Fact and a sustainable interior designer who is always looking for ways to create something new, exciting and refreshing.