The fireplace is one of the most iconic and historic indoor grills in America. It’s not surprising that it has been used for centuries as both a cooking device, but also to keep people warm during cold months or even just feel cozy by its presence.
The fireplace is a focus for warmth, cooking, and socializing. It’s not only an important part of our homes but also symbolizes the spirit within us all to be happy with the family around this great fire pit. The colonial era was a time when most people enjoyed cooking food on the fireplace. The fireplace provided heat and livelihood for many families, so it’s no surprise that this tradition carried on into modern America with gridirons being used to cook meats like pork or beef. Fireplace grilling is an old custom that has all but disappeared in America, however it remains common across Europe and India.
Grilling in a fireplace is not just for the sake of cooking. When you use this method, there are at least five benefits that will come with it:
- The indoor grilling method is most similar to the outdoor, particular kind of grill – a wood-burning or charcoal one.
- The fire can be as hot or mild to your taste.
- You can enjoy the subtle but unmistakable smoke flavor of wood-grilled food.
- The Grilling season doesn’t have to be limited by time of year! If you live in the Frost Belt, now is a great chance for indoor bbq.
- The best part about the fireplace is the sense of warmth and security it provides. It’s a fundamental fixture for human beings, who have been baking their bread around fires since prehistory began.
To grill in your fireplace, you need some wood and kindling. The gridiron or Tuscan Grills are great for this task. Gridirons are used on the open flames of campfires and grills, allowing food to be cooked without directly over direct heat. A square or rectangular grill made out of cast iron with a grate that can position 3 – 6 inches above the fire. The fireplace grill can be as simple or fancy as you want. Some people build their own out of wire shelves that they lay over two bricks positioned at opposite sides, while others buy pre-made ones in the store.
Fireplace grilling is an art form that requires patience and practice to master. To start, you need a log fire burning down into glowing embers before attempting any culinary miracles on your food. Then you quickly rake the embers into a pile about 1 inch deep (or just put some wood on one side of your fire for high-heat searing) to control your heat. When you’re ready to cook, position the gridiron or grate of your Tuscan grill over coals and preheat for three minutes before putting your food. In larger fireplaces (especially those in restaurants), there will be one side or center where embers are raked under gridirons before being shoveled into an open flame on either side for added warmth.
Choosing A Fireplace Grill: Buying Guide
- • A heavy cast iron gridiron with bars at least ¼ inch thick and legs that reach up to 3 inches will give your food a great sear on both sides while also being easy enough for even beginners. There are models that have handles for easy transportation, whereas others feature widely spaced bars at one end and more closely packed ones elsewhere to accommodate larger cooking items.
- • The notch in the frame of some Tuscan grills allows you to raise or lower your grate as needed.
- • You can also find Tuscan grills with two gridirons attached by a floating hinge, which feature legs on both the top and bottom. It can be used to cook both delicate foods like vegetables and meats as well as more robust ingredients. To use it, simply sandwich the desired food between two metal grates; once you’ve heated one side, turn it over for an additional minute or two before removing it.
Cooking In A Fireplace Grill
- • Make sure your fireplace is large enough that you can build one side of the fire while leaving plenty open on either end to position gridirons.
Using The Fireplace Rotisserie
The Fireplace Rotisserie is a device that has been around for centuries, and in this high-tech world, it still manages to provide me with an old-fashioned kind of feel.
The SpitJack is a fireplace rotisserie manufactured in Italy that has the brass and handsome black metal look of nineteenth-century cookware. The spit jack features an Italian design with sleek lines and durable construction material. The basic parts of the machine include a steel turnspit, an upright metal brace to hold it on one end, and a box with a clockwork mechanism for turning this spit at another. And a long flat metal pan under what will be cooked food in order to catch any drippings that might otherwise go down without you noticing.
SpitJacks are the perfect tool for cooking large pieces, like a leg or shoulder lamb. Though, it is not the best place to cook smaller cuts of meat or vegetable pieces because it doesn’t have a rotisserie basket. To get started, you simply place your roast or bird on the spit and secure it with metal prongs. The great thing about models with two spits, so you can cook a chicken on the top rod and spit roast vegetables beneath. In the fireplace, place a box with clockwork mechanisms on either side. Place it in front of one fire and then place the spit holder opposite to that at another end of your chimney. Fit one end of the spit into a clockwork mechanism; the other end should be inserted in the hole in the spit holder. The next step is to place the drip pan underneath your turnspit. When roasting a whole bird, you need to position it so that the meat is exposed to an even heat. High temperatures will cause burns while low ones won’t cook your meal through properly. The clockwork will spring into action, and the rotisserie is ready to cook your meal. If you want to control the heat, then move your SpitJack deeper into or farther away from the fire. Make sure you keep turning the spit. There’s also an electric motor model if this is harder than it seems. It’s important to wear oven mitts when winding the clockwork mechanism, especially if you are new. Though it may seem like a distance away from your fire pit unseen flames could quickly grow.
There’s a certain allure to cooking over live fire. The smell of burning wood and brimstone is enough to make your heart race with excitement, while at the same time giving off satisfying warmth that can be felt throughout every inch you occupy in this world. The flavor is absolutely incredible when you use a fireplace rotisserie. The food picks up an unforgettable smell of wood smoke, which makes for some great dishes. There’s something deeply satisfying about using a cooking method that is almost as old as civilization itself. Watch this food turn slowly before your eyes and you will feel like time has stopped moving for just one moment, but then it’ll be back to normal when the meal’s ready.
- • To avoid sparks flying everywhere, to create an area for prepping and protect the living room, use a wide stone apron in front of your fireplace.
- • The ideal type of wood for fireplace grilling is hardwood, such as hickory, oak, cherry, apple, or alder. Never use softwoods – pine or spruce emit tarry soot which can cause chimney fires. Charcoal is great for barbecues and other outdoor cooking, but it poses serious risks when used in your fireplace. When you burn charcoal inside the home’s airtight walls carbon monoxide gas may accumulate causing headaches or unconsciousness – even death.
- • In order to get the logs burning well and glowing nicely, you’ll need an Andiron or raised fire grate. If you have enough room, place them in your fireplace’s back where they will be burned more evenly.
- • The dangers of a chimney fire can be reduced by having your fireplace cleaned at the beginning of winter. You need to make sure that it draws well, and this will help with preventing any flare-ups or accidents.
- • The fire should be completely out before you remove the ashes. Make sure they are no longer warm and douse them with water to kill any unseen sparks, then place all the ashes in a metal bucket or trash can (not plastic).
- • It is important to have a dry chemical fire extinguisher on hand in case of emergencies. You should take it once every year for checks and reloads so that you are fully prepared.
- • Use salt to extinguish minor flare-ups when grilling. Keep a carton nearby and you’ll be able the keep your fire safely under control.
How To Grill
- • It’s easy to get started with this project. Just make sure you have the materials. Split logs are the key to a warm fire. You’ll need up to fifteen of them for each recipe, depending on their size and what kindling you’re using with your pit master’s specialties.
- • To increase airflow, make sure you open the damper.
- • After you have carefully built the fire in your fireplace, let it burn for about 40 minutes before cooking. The logs should be at their peak during this time so that they will give off more heat and light than usual when burning bright orange sparks from between their ends.
- • The Mississippi test is a great way to check the heat of your grill. Hold 2-3 inches from the grate and count aloud “One Mississippi, two Mississippi…,” until you can’t hold anymore before moving away because it’ll burn. When the grill is heated to hot, you’ll be able to get two or three Mississippi before having to pull your hand away. When it’s medium-high heat (about 500 degrees fahrenheit), cookery experts say people can expect five – six Mississippi; When the grill is heated to its lowest setting, you can get up to twelve Mississippi.
- • When you have a good bed of embers, rake them into an inch-high pile. When you are ready to cook, put the Tuscan grill or gridiron in place (preferably before andirons) and preheat it. To ensure a perfect dinner, make sure you follow the cooking times listed for each recipe. The times noted in this recipe are guidelines only. Depending on how hot your embers are, they may be shorter or longer. Keep your bed hot, and make sure you shovel fresh embers under the gridiron from time to time.
- • I find that it is always a good idea to keep feeding the fire. I add an extra log every fifteen minutes after lighting up. Keep adding more logs at a rate of one every five minutes, and I will be sure to never run out.