5 Ways to Get Dinner on the Table With a Wood Burning Fire
Stuck in a dinner rut? Why not mix things up while enjoying the great outdoors?? Whether you’re throwing together some veggie skewers, or roasting a whole pig, there is a wood-fired cooking technique for the job. Wood burning fire pits, outdoor fireplaces, and ovens all allow you to make the most of your outdoor living space and create delectable dinners. When preparing meals over a fire, make sure to use quality, dry seasoned hardwoods. Now, on to our five favorite ways to get dinner on the table with a wood burning fire feature!
Our first and most cost effective technique is the foil packet. This is also perhaps the easiest method because clean up is virtually zero and the packets come together in minutes. Here’s the gist:
1. Combine protein, veggies, spices, and sauces on a piece of aluminum foil.
2. Place a second piece of foil on top, then fold over the edges, sealing your ingredients inside. Now you’re ready to cook.
3. Place the foil packet in the embers of your fire. If you’re feeling fancy, pull out the cooking grate and throw your foil packets on top. Cooking times will vary, so always stick to your recipe’s recommendations.
There are hundreds of different combinations to try so get creative! We love individual foil packets because everyone gets their dinner customized, just how they like it.
Skewers are a staple of summertime cookouts and another fast and easy way to get dinner on the table. All you’ll need are your favorite veggies and proteins, skewers, and your fire pit, complete with a cooking grate. If you’re using wooden skewers, we recommend soaking them in water while preparing the ingredients. This way the wood won’t cook along with the food! We love prepping ahead by pre-cutting and marinating our proteins the day before. Marinating provides a richer flavor while also adding extra moisture, ensuring optimal protein succulence, trust.
Campfires and cast iron cookware were kind of made for each other. Wood burning fires create a hot bed of coals and cast iron has the wonderful ability to evenly disperse heat, creating the perfect cooking environment. You can use cast iron in combination with a cooking grate or directly over the coals. If you go the direct-to-coal route, we suggest using a few rocks to slightly elevate the cookware. This way you can easily rotate in fresh coals, keeping the heat consistent. When cooking with cast iron we like to use butter, over oil, and add it to the cookware before preheating. If you are dairy free, use an oil with a high smoke point, like avocado or refined coconut. Keep in mind that using oil increases the chance of flare ups; so, take extra caution in preventing the oil from dripping out of the pan. In addition to the cookware itself there are accessories, like tongs and handle covers, that you’ll need to have handy. Cast iron is a bit more of an investment than the other cooking techniques, but the recipe options you’ll have are worth it!
Next, we have good old fire roasting. This cooking technique uses dry, radiant heat and is THE original cooking method, dating back thousands of years. When it comes down to it, all you really need is a fire, a stick and something to roast. However, more sophisticated tools like metal spits, and baskets will expand your recipe horizons. The key to roasting proteins with a wood fire, is to place it slightly in front of, rather than directly over the flames. This way the protein isn’t in full heat the entire time, just remember to consistently rotate! We love using a drip pan for basting, it keeps the moisture in the protein while also creating a golden, crispy crust.
Last but not least, we have the wood-burning oven. These convection ovens, much like cast iron, are made from refractory material, which evenly distributes heat. Even though most people associate wood-fired ovens with pizza, there are endless recipe possibilities! Aside from delicious breads; slow roasted veggies, rotisserie chicken, and baked potatoes are all dishes you can create with an outdoor oven. Keep in mind these ovens are an investment and require curing before use and regular maintenance thereafter. However, with proper care, your oven will provide beautiful meals for many years to come.