Summer is finally here, so are the sun, heat, and outdoor barbecues!
With the ongoing pandemic, everything seems uncertain. Can we meet with our friends and families? Will restaurants accommodate us? The guidelines can change at any time, without warning.
Despite the uncertainties surrounding us all, it is possible to enjoy a fantastic summer from the comfort of your backyard.
How? The answer is simple; with an outdoor fireplace!
How to Get the Most Out of Your Fireplace
As long as it's warm enough to stay outside, everyone loves to gather around a fire from spring until fall.
The outdoor fireplace is the perfect place to gather with family or friends, watching the flames dance while chatting and roasting marshmallows.
Make your outdoor fireplace even more versatile by using it for cooking. It's an excellent alternative to using a barbecue and adds new flavors and cooking techniques to your repertoire.
Verify Your Municipality's Regulations
First and foremost, if you don't have an outdoor fireplace and are planning on installing one, verify your municipality's bylaws.
Some towns prohibit the use of an outdoor wood-burning fireplace. Others prohibit using an outdoor fireplace during drier periods or on windy days. In addition, most municipalities have bylaws regarding the location of the outdoor fireplace. For example, it must be a certain amount of feet away from trees and other structures on the property. Be sure to comply with the laws of your municipality.
Add a Grill to Your Fireplace
Whether your outdoor fireplace is built-in-place, or portable, adding a grate can turn your fireplace into a multi-purpose appliance.
Be sure to use non-toxic sources of fuel when cooking on an outdoor fireplace. No painted, stained or, rotten wood, for example. Instead, burn hard, dry logs or barbecue charcoal.
Many different cooking methods are at your disposal when using a grill over an open fire. Cook foods directly on the grill or by using a dish or cast-iron skillet.
Consider Building an Outdoor Pizza Oven
A pizza oven is a must for any outdoor kitchen. It can be integrated into several outdoor fireplaces or it can be added as a completely independent unit. For a high performance outdoor pizza oven, consider hiring experts to build and install it. Your We Love Fire local expert is there to guide you in your search.
If you'd rather begin by experimenting with this cooking method, build an inexpensive pizza oven by watching the following tutorial. Be sure to use refractory bricks and slabs which are fire-resistant and retain heat well.
Add a Grill to Your Fire Pit
While an outdoor fireplace can almost double as a barbecue, how about a fire pit?
You can most certainly cook on it!
Be sure to comply with your municipality's laws or those of the campground in which you're staying. Use only non-toxic fuel.
In most cases, a grill can be added to the top of a fire pit. If that's not a possibility, wrap your food in aluminum foil and place it directly on the embers, or poke it with a rod and grill it over the fire. You can even toss some foods directly onto the fire, as does top pitmaster Steven Raichlen with his T-bone steak.
Lacking Inspiration? Consider These Easy Recipes
Finding food to cook on your outdoor fireplace isn't as complicated as you may think.
Traditional snacks such as sausages pierced with a rod and cooked over the fire, marshmallows and s'mores, are an easy go-to treat. Other dishes can be wrapped in aluminum foil and placed on the embers, such as grilled cheese and potatoes garnished to your liking.
Try this easy recipe for delicious hot sandwiches for the entire family: Cut a whole loaf of bread into slices, add cheese and your favorite sandwich meat between every two slices of bread. Then, wrap the entire loaf in aluminum foil and place it on the embers.
The chocolate banana will soon become a classic dessert on your outdoor fireplace! Keep the banana in its peel and make an incision along the side from top to bottom. Then, add chocolate squares into the incision, wrap the banana in aluminum foil, and place it on the embers. This dessert will have you licking your fingers!
More complex dishes can also be cooked on an outdoor fireplace using a grill. Mix your ingredients on a baking sheet or in a cast iron pan, and place it on the grill. This technique is ideal for nachos, vegetables, fish, omelets, and more.
An easy, yet inspiring recipe is that of homemade bread baked on a skewer over embers. The following recipe makes a loaf consisting of approximately 6 to 8 pieces of bread made with garlic scapes and sun-dried tomatoes.
- 4 cups (500g) all-purpose flour
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1-1/4 cups (310mL) warm water (37-38˚C or 100˚F)
- 3 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 garlic flowers sliced
- Approximately 15 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, lightly drained and sliced (about 140 g)
- Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine the warm water, yeast and sugar and let stand until foamy.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the yeast.
- Knead for 8 minutes until you get a smooth, elastic and homogeneous ball of dough.
- Add the garlic flower and dried tomatoes. Distribute them well throughout the dough. Make sure the mixture does not stick to your hands.
- Form into a ball, place it in a bowl and cover with a clean cloth. Let rise for one hour in a warm and dry place or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, knead it lightly and divide it into 6 or 8 pieces.
- Roll each piece of dough between your hands to form a long sausage, then twist it around a skewer (don't twist too tightly to give the bread enough room to expand).
- Cook over the coals, turning the rod continuously until the bread is well browned (about 10 to 15 minutes). You'll know it's ready when it sounds hollow after you tap it and if it no longer sticks to the skewer when you pull it off.
Make the Most of Your Outdoor Fireplace
With these suggestions and easy recipes, you'll never look at your outdoor fireplace the same way again! Of course, make sure to supervise children around fire at all time. They too will remember the good moments around the fire.
Need help finding the perfect outdoor fireplace for your home? Contact a We Love Fire retailer near you for dedicated customer service and knowledgeable advice.
Find the perfect fireplace for your outdoor space, and enjoy a summer of new culinary discoveries!