Backyard: Fire

In recognition of yet-another-local-lockdown due to the ongoing pandemic, I'm doing a week of feature blog posts about living in the backyard. From May 10th through 16th, my posts will be themed around life outdoors but as close to home as possible, a few steps out the back door.

It’s been about a month since I settled on my backyard firepit solution but I haven’t said much about the pit itself save for posting a few photos of the results of my outdoor cooking efforts.

My upgrade from a simple steel fire bowl was an effort to find a backyard firepit that answered a number of questions:

How much was I willing to spend?

My initial research had led me to a company out East who build custom iron fire pits. I corresponded with their sales guys for about a week back and forth, negotiating a price, but at the end of the day I wasn’t going to be able to get what I wanted AND have it shipped across the country without spending well over a thousand dollars. I’m all for good quality, but knowing that I also needed to spend some money on firewood and other supplies, that was pushing the budget into the neighbourhood of $1500 which was substantially more than I wanted to spend. I landed on something on the slightly-fancy end of the box-store firepit selection.

How much of my yard was I willing to convert to a permanent fire pit?

A couple months ago I was still debating the question of whether or not to install a permanent firepit in the yard. Given fire regulations and safety considerations, there were a couple candidate spots in the middle of my lawn that were possible locations for this… but only a couple. I was really deciding on what was more important out my backdoor: a fire pit or an open lawn. The compromise was a firepit that could be relocated, moved, or even stored. I have the sense that it will stay in roughly the same space for the rest of this summer, but going with the portable solution avoided major landscaping efforts and converting a part of my yard into “the firepit” forever.

Could I cook on it?

I dug around the internet looking for solutions to my cooking dilemma. I found tripods upon which I could hang a camp oven. I read the reviews of wire racks and iron grates. I contemplated the effort to build a stand-alone spit that I could pound into the soil and from which I could suspend my culinary creations. Ultimately, the firepit I discovered was a single unit that was a cylindrical fire bowl with a notched holder for two included demi-circle cast iron grill attachments. One of those grills is a grated grill, while the other one is a solid half circle of smooth cast iron joy. These both provide direct cooking surfaces but also as somewhere to rest a pan or Dutch oven above or near the fire.

A month after bringing home and setting up my new fire pit I’ve stoked at least five backyard cookouts, seasoned my grills, and begun to seriously dabble in open fire cooking… right in my own backyard.

And oh man, are the neighbours ever getting jealous.

Reminder: Blogs are not a replacement for professional advice. Please read my note on safety and safe participation.