Fireplace cooking is fun and sexy!
Most people have never cooked in their fireplace. Yet cooking in your fireplace is not as hard as it may seem! Not only that, but it produces delicious food that is impressive to your guests. Actually, forget guests! You and your loved one huddled around the warm fire alone, watching your dinner cook on a real wood fire doesn't get sexier! Talking about romance, cooking on your fireplace grill is the ultimate! And to all you men out there...decorate the table with a few roses and cook your lady a great meal in the toasty fireplace and you will have romance happening in no time!
Fireplace cooking is one of the most primitive ways to cook food (aside from cooking on a campfire). Don't you remember Little House on the Prairie? They cooked all their food in the fireplace. But it is not old or obsolete. Far from it! Hearth cooking is a great way to prepare many dishes, some that couldn't even be prepared any other way!
While some types of fireplace cooking require special equipment, like a fireplace grill, others can be done on most any fireplaces with a little creativity and ingenuity.
Advantages of hearth cooking:
- Its fun - Come on! Its grilling food in your fireplace! How frickin' cool are you if you cook dinner in the fireplace? And who doesn't like building a toasty fire? The food just takes it to a whole new level.
- Its romantic - A fire in the fireplace is romantic to begin with. But roasting a chicken or leg of lamb in that fire? Forgetaboutit!.
- Its delicious - Real wood fire, slow roasting in front of a warm fire...this all adds up to tender juicy roasts that will impress any foody.
- Real wood fire - For the grilling purist, cooking on a real wood fire is the ultimate. It don't get much better than this!
Types of fireplace cooking:
- Hearth Cooking String-Turned Roasts - This is one of the most simple forms of fireplace cooking that doesn't require special equipment. Screw a hook into your fireplace mantle and you are ready to spin roasts in front of your fire, resulting in evenly cooked, succulent meats. While string-turned leg of lamb is a French classic, if you get creative you can get creative and cook other roasts in this way, such as string-turned roast chicken.
- Fireplace Rotisserie - A rotisserie, requiring a rotisserie spit in front of your fire, allows you to slowly roast food. The general principle is the same as string-turned hearth cooking but it is on a motorized or hand-turned rotisserie instead and it is a little more versatile.
- Fireplace Grill - You need special equipment but a fireplace grill allows you to cook grilled foods just like you would on your outdoor fire pit or barbecue. You use the hot embers of your fire instead of gas or charcoal to cook up your delicious meal.
- Chestnut Roasting - Its a holiday classic. Yet most people don't really attempt this because they think the chestnuts will explode! If you have the right equipment and a few important tips, its not that hard! And no, the chestnuts won't explode if you do it right. Read about how to do it and the accessories which make it easier.
- Fireplace Crane for Dutch Oven Cooking - A Dutch oven is a cast iron pot with a lid that has a metal handle that you can hang it from. If you install a fireplace hinged arm to hold pots or improvise another type of holder, you can hang your Dutch over over your fire in your fireplace. This allows slow stewing of hundreds of delicious recipes. This form of hearth cooking is ideal for soup or stews. You can also hang a kettle over the fire to make hot drinks!
- Fireplace and Campfire Dutch Ovens - Now that you have your fireplace crane (above) you can use a dutch oven to cook over your fire. Even without a crane or tripod, you can cook over a pile of embers with legged cast iron dutch ovens or skillets. Check out the recipe for Dutch Oven Chicken!
- Pie Iron Cooking - A pie iron lets you cook crusty, Panini-like sandwiches and toasty desserts (many other things!) right in an open fire! In your fireplace, campfire or fire pit, try out these easy cooking utensils to cook with fire anywhere.
- Fireplace Skillet - Other cooking pans can be placed directly on your blazing fire for cooking. However, there are several cast iron utensils made specifically for cooking over a wood fire. Many include long legs so that you can easily sit your skillet over hot wood embers. Again, this is great for stews, soups and even sauteed dishes. The smokey aromas of the wood fire even permeate your food for a unique flavor that can only come from fireplace cooking.
- Skewer Cooking - Anything you can stick on a long skewer can be roasted by hand in the fire. While this is classic for roasted marshmallows, hot dogs and sausages, you can do a lot more if you get creative. Try some little game birds hand roasted by your fire. Yum!
- Long-Handle Roasters - There are several long-handled fire-roasting utensils available that allow you to hand cook different foods over an open fire. These include chestnut roasters, popcorn poppers and even a grilled cheese sandwich press.
- Keep Your Chimney Clean! How to Clean a Chimney - Most of you probably hire a chimney sweep to periodically clean your chimney. This should be done at least once a year if you use your fireplace a lot! If no major repairs are needed, this is actually a pretty simple thing to do if you learn how. Learn more here about sweeping your own chimney!
Fireplace Cooking Recipe Ideas
String-Turned Leg of Lamb
, or Gigot à la Ficelle
, is a Southern French classic. There is nothing quite like sitting by the fire, enjoying a nice glass of wine while your dinner spins in front of the fire, filling the room with amazing aromas. Its really not as hard as it may seem!
Although string-turned lamb is a classic, if you are creative you can string-turn many types of meats in front of your fireplace.
String-Turned Roast Chicken - Here’s a recipe for cooking a chicken in your fireplace! While the delicious ginger-tarragon marinade is a Provençal French classic, I experimented and came up with the best way I could find to truss and hang a chicken for string-turned fireplace cooking. This recipe even has video of the cooking process!
Dutch Oven Chicken and Mushrooms - You can make a lot of things in a dutch oven in your fireplace. This is an example of a classic French dish, Chicken with Vin Jaune with Morel Mushrooms. Delish!
How to Make Smores! - What would fireplace cooking be without fire roasted smores?! Ok, so this isn't a real meal, but it is an American classic you can make on a fire pit, campfire or in your fireplace. You know you want some!
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead, get started. Make your first fireplace cooking dinner tonight!
The best place I know of to buy fireplace cooking accessories (and they are hard to find, let me tell you!) is SpitJack.com. They have a selection of beautiful and functional fireplace cooking accessories including fireplace grills, rotisseries, cranes, and utensils as well as fire pits and other fire and fire cooking related accesories.
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