Fire pit grill

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Henniep

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So I recently bought a fire pit like below so I can have some nice summer fires burning left over offcuts. I thought it would also be nice to cook some food over an open fire so am pondering how I can get a grill over the flames. Ideally, I want something height adjustable to control cooking speed. So just sticking a round grill over the top would not be ideal.

View attachment 134161

I was thinking of knocking together a tripod with hanging grill like below. I like the idea of chain allowing for height adjustment. Are they a pain to use? are you constantly moving the food around to get it to balance properly?

View attachment 134162

My other idea was something like this where you can swivel the grill around. As this is going on a concrete patio, it'll need something with legs

View attachment 134163
The free-standing look more versatile with the grill and pan. Can easily be taken away from the fire for packing the meat or removing it if the fire gets too hot. Looks easy to adjust the height above the coals as well! Plus... you have the option to grill or stir fry?
 

Richard_C

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The 'shape' of a 50p (and 20p) piece is in fact a Reuleaux Heptagon.
Agreed, it's just that the Royal Mint, who designed and made it, called it an equilateral curved heptagon in all their publicity. Didn't want to confuse people. Bit like the Ford Cortina. That's what Ford called it and if I mentioned a Dagenham Dustbin instead some might not think it was the same thing 😁
 

TRITON

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So are 3 chain suspended grills, it's just that the planet is pulling, not pushing.

Before Newton invented gravity you could just put things where you wanted without support and they stayed put; at least I think that's what our physics teacher said.....
Ahh, you're not thinking of it clearly Rich'.
On a circle, which is held at three points, lets take two of them. Because its a circle the two points leave a section(Im rubbish with the mathematical names for parts of a circle -think its called a chord. Well the section between the two lines of the chord form an unsupported overhang which if a weight is placed upon has the ability to tilt, because the two supporting lines(in this case the chains) form a fulcrum point.

On a rectangle or square, theres no point that a placed weight can affect the balance, aas there are no fulcrum points that are unsupported by the chains, so no matter where you place the weight, it is always countered by at least 2 of the supports.
 

Richard_C

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I did think clearly. I agree that, were you to put (say) a brick on the unsupported overhang and a single prawn to cook in the centre it would be unstable, but I did say "unless you do anything stupid" in my post. Your 4 chain and rectangle is undoubtedly more stable, but infinitely harder to get level in the first place. The perfect answer is 4 chains and a square grill, the pragmatic one is 3 chains on a tripod and a circular grill as used by many commercial hanging cooking racks including the one in the op's picture.

If it's a permanent installation on level ground you are right, if you take enough trouble setting up, but I assumed it was a non permanent cooking device.

Both will work.
 

Glitch

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I have the hanging setup and it works very well for slower cooked foods where you can lift the food far enough away so that you don't need to keep fiddling with it.

With a few quick-cook exceptions, BBQ/grill cooking involves cooking close to, but not directly over the heat source (a fact lost to most of us Brits), and this means not really using the firepit as they are "intended".

What do you want to cook?

I'm another 'BBQ Freak' Only got 4 though.

I haven't cooked meat indoors for many years and BBQ/Grill all year round.

@LittleEars has made some excellent points and is asking the right question - What do you want to cook?

Do you already have a 'normal' BBQ?

Adapting a fire pit for cooking will be fun but might take a while to master it and get good results.

Without knowing the answers you might also want to consider something like this Half grill/griddle
 

bertterbo

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I'd just be cooking typical BBQ food. Burgers, Sausages, chicken thighs, drumsticks, jacket potatoes etc. Nothing fancy.

The reason for not just wanting to stick the grill on top of the 'pit bowl' is to make it easier to adjust the temperature, but more importantly, I've noticed that fire pits go through wood a lot quicker than charcoal. So the tripod setup also makes it really easy to add new wood.
 

Garden Shed Projects

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I was a bit obsessed with BBQ up untill a couple of years ago when I redid the lawn and decking and temporarily lots my BBQ spot. I haven't managed to get back into it at all.

I was using the BBQ as an outside kitchen so any meat or fish, even bacon was bbq'd. Loved it. I found the secret is get to know your temperatures. A meat thermometer and a grill thermometer are a must. Its only worth the effort if you enjoy it.
 

Glitch

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I'd just be cooking typical BBQ food. Burgers, Sausages, chicken thighs, drumsticks, jacket potatoes etc. Nothing fancy.

The reason for not just wanting to stick the grill on top of the 'pit bowl' is to make it easier to adjust the temperature, but more importantly, I've noticed that fire pits go through wood a lot quicker than charcoal. So the tripod setup also makes it really easy to add new wood.

TBH I think you'll get a bit frustrated trying to cook that type of food on that set up.
I'd want something more stable for flipping burgers and less chance of sausages and drumsticks rolling into the fire.

As others have mentioned you need to cook over embers not a flaming fire. You can control the temperature by shifting the embers around to get different heat zones. You'll also need space to burn more wood down.

A 57cm charcoal Kettle BBQ can do pretty much everything from the usual burgers and sausages, to rack of ribs, to 10hr cooked pork shoulder and even longer for brisket. Add a rotisserie, a plancha, a Vortex fuel dome, a slow n sear and the possibilities are endless.

It's all about using direct and indirect zones and usually keeping the lid on. Cook to internal temperature not time.

That said, meat cooked over a wood fire is probably the pinnacle of live fire cooking.

I'm off to Austin, Texas to try some in May.
 

TRITON

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less chance of sausages and drumsticks rolling into the fire.
Sausages and drumsticks burnt black and covered in ash are part of the traditional British BBQ.
Along with the odd fly/midge/crawling insect in your drink.
 

bertterbo

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" As others have mentioned you need to cook over embers not a flaming fire. You'll also need space to burn more wood down. "

That was actually going to be one of my next questions.

With charcoal, you can just add more as you need it.

But with an open fire that has died down and you're cooking with embers. When you add more wood, I have found this produces a lot of smoke, as the new wood doesn't really catch light. So do you have to take all the food off and light the new wood again?
 

SamG340

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Not sure if you know this & Also I haven't read through so sorry if this is a repeat...

but don't cook over a flame, you need to wait until the fire has died down low to a pile of white embers, oil& season the meat, stick it on the grill over the fire , as the oil drips down it gets the embers going just perfect. You don't want it to go fast, it needs to go nice and steady. This way you get that lovely smokey flavour without burning your food.

Sausages/burgers are helpful because the fat drips steadily keeping the fire going
 

Jacob

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....... Back in the 70s I used to cook saussages on the oven shelf placed on an old car wheel (no tyre). 25p from a scrapyard, a year earlier it would have only cost 5 shillings 🤔
Luxury! When ar worra lad we used to cook over 2 stones with a fire between them. Or a double row so you could get several pans on side by side and sausages spiked on sticks hanging over.
The trick is to light a big bonfire over your stone hearth but only start cooking when it was burnt down to glowing embers piled up between the very hot stones. If very organised you'd set aside some charcoal bits to keep feeding the fire with and orientate the stone rows in line with the wind direction. And have a bit of board as a fan.
n.b. do not attempt this in your kitchen at home.
 
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Richard_C

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t. So do you have to take all the food off and light the new wood again?
I've seen proper big bbqs with a wood fire but no cooking grid at one end, embers are raked along to where they are needed. Not sure it's workable at a domestic scale though.
 

Glitch

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" As others have mentioned you need to cook over embers not a flaming fire. You'll also need space to burn more wood down. "

That was actually going to be one of my next questions.

With charcoal, you can just add more as you need it.

But with an open fire that has died down and you're cooking with embers. When you add more wood, I have found this produces a lot of smoke, as the new wood doesn't really catch light. So do you have to take all the food off and light the new wood again?

Certainly with charcoal it's best to light it in a chimney starter. I guess you could use one for wood but it would have to be split into thin sticks/logs.

Some people use fully lit charcoal to get the wood going quicker. Lumpwood charcoal is better for that. Lights easier and burns quicker and hotter than briquettes.
 

JimJay

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I have to confess that these days I do my barbecuing the easy way - and it doesn't hurt that it's also a better (depending on your taste) way. In a nutshell, I sous vide whatever's going to go on the barbie and then just sear it on the grill. There's no waste of food or charcoal/wood/gas and nothing ends up cold, shrivelled or carbonised.

I have a Looftlighter to get the charcoal/eoid going really quickly and if I'm in a real hurry I have been known not to bother lighting the fuel at all but instead just searing the food with the lighter :D
 

Geoff_S

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I have to confess that these days I do my barbecuing the easy way - and it doesn't hurt that it's also a better (depending on your taste) way. In a nutshell, I sous vide whatever's going to go on the barbie and then just sear it on the grill. There's no waste of food or charcoal/wood/gas and nothing ends up cold, shrivelled or carbonised.

I have a Looftlighter to get the charcoal/eoid going really quickly and if I'm in a real hurry I have been known not to bother lighting the fuel at all but instead just searing the food with the lighter :D
Boil in the bag followed by a flame thrower?

Or you could just marinade it in petrol then chuck a match on it.

Hmm, ever heard of Uber Eats and similar?
 
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Jacob

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I have to confess that these days I do my barbecuing the easy way - and it doesn't hurt that it's also a better (depending on your taste) way. In a nutshell, I sous vide whatever's going to go on the barbie and then just sear it on the grill. There's no waste of food or charcoal/wood/gas and nothing ends up cold, shrivelled or carbonised.

I have a Looftlighter to get the charcoal/eoid going really quickly and if I'm in a real hurry I have been known not to bother lighting the fuel at all but instead just searing the food with the lighter :D
Even simpler - get all your guests together with drinks around the BBQ fire and send somebody off to the chippy. The wrappings make a spectacular blaze!
 

Geoff_S

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Even simpler - get all your guests together with drinks around the BBQ fire and send somebody off to the chippy. The wrappings make a spectacular blaze!
Ha ha ha! Done that before after a spectacular BBQ fail :oops:
 

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