New in fire pits? Learn how to use a fire pit in this article.
A fire pit is more than just a good focal point in your backyard. It is meant to be a space or an area where you and your family enjoy moments together. This is where you get to share your great barbecuing skills with your friends as you sit by an open fire, sharing jokes and exchanging stories. Your outdoor fire pit, whether in-ground or a free-standing equipment, is a place where traditions are built and shared for generations to come. Hence, it is such a tragedy if you have not been maximizing the use of your fire pit.
There are still a lot of people who enjoy the outdoor activity of campfires but are still apprehensive when it comes to using their fire pits. Others are simply newbies or first-time owners and are not quite confident in utilizing them as well. It can be due to a lot of factors like being a little afraid of manually lighting or building a fire, unsure of what to actually do once a fire is built or how to safely cook food etc…
Regardless of the reason, if you are still feeling a little bit of a greenhorn when it comes to handling your backyard wood or gas fire pit, there is no need to be ashamed or apprehensive. There are some great tips and ideas on how to fully enjoy the functionality of your fire pit!
It is exciting to start burning wood or powering up your gas fueled fire pit but the most important step on how to use a fire pit is to know how to SAFELY do it. Remember, you are utilizing a live fire so you better be careful.
- Consider your city or neighborhood regulations on using a fire pit before buying or starting one. You don’t want to be enjoying your campfire in your backyard then be slapped with a hefty fine for violating the rule.
- Always read the manual and instructions that come along with your purchased fire pit. If there are questions that need further explanations and answers, never hesitate to call the manufacturer or consult with an expert.
- Do not forget the 10-feet rule. Ensure that your fire pit is at least 10 feet away from anything combustible or flammable. This includes your home, patio furniture, bushes, low hanging tree branches. Embers tend to fly off from your fire pit and even though a spark screen will help keep them inside the fire pit, it is still better to be safe than sorry.
- Ensure that you are in a well-ventilated area because fumes and even smoke from wood burning can be harmful.
- Keep your fire extinguisher and first aid kit nearby when using your fire pit especially if you have children and pets running around the area. You do not wish for accidents to happen but just in case there is trouble, it is best to be prepared. Also, check the expiration dates on your fire extinguisher and make sure that it is in top condition, ready for use.
How to Use a Fire Pit
The trickiest or perhaps most daunting thing that you have to do when using a fire pit is actually lighting it up. Starting a fire can be easy and an enjoyment to most people but there are still a lot who are not keen on doing it. This is why there are people who opt to use gas fueled fire pits that they can light up with a push of a button. However, if you want to use that traditional, wood-burning fire pit, here are some quick tips.
- Always start your fire small. Don’t get too ambitious at once because a bigger flame is more difficult to handle in case it gets out of hand. Do not use gasoline or any highly flammable liquid to start a fire. Stick to recommended fire starters like wood kindling. NEVER EXPERIMENT!
- Always employ stacking when building your fire. Place the larger logs at the bottom then place the smaller ones in a crisscross pattern to facilitate airflow. Good ventilation is a must when creating a healthy flame.
- Create a teepee by placing a tinder bundle in the center then piling twigs and kindling on top of it before lighting it with a match. There are long-stemmed matches that you can use so your fingertips will be at a good distance from your fire starter.
- Do not pile your wood too high to avoid tinder or burning pellets to spill over.
- Always have a spark screen to cover your fire pit once the fire is really going to prevent embers from flying out. It is also a good idea to have wind guards but, it is advisable not to use a fire pit when it is pretty windy.
PUTTING OUT YOUR FIRE PIT
If you think your work is done once a fire is going then, think again. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are able to put out the fire in your fire pit completely after every use.
- Follow your fire pit’s manual when it comes to extinguishing the fire after every use. Read about safety procedures on how to put out a fire pit as well, just to be extra safe.
- You can use your fire extinguisher to completely put out the fire or soak your coal or wood to ensure that there are no more burning embers. Just be careful when pouring water unto something hot because the steam can burn.
- Let your fire die down gradually and avoid adding any more fuel to it so you can take care of the embers easily once the flames are out. Do not handle the coals or embers with your bare hands. Use thongs to gather them one by one as you dump them in a metal bucket filled with cold water.
- You can also use the lid, if you have one, to cover your fire pit to snuff the flames out and allow the embers to cool off. This cuts off the oxygen supply so the fire pit gradually dies out safely and away from pets, children or anything combustible.
- If you are using a gas fueled fire pit, make sure to shut off the gas valve after you turn off your fire pit.
NOTE: NEVER LEAVE A LIVE FIRE PIT UNATTENDED. DO NOT ABANDON IT UNLESS IT IS ABSOLUTELY EXTINGUISHED.
Do not forget to clean around your fire pit after every use as well. It is better to check for stray embers lying around the grass to avoid any fire accidents. Keeping the surroundings clean is another great way to ensure safety.
Always place a protective cover on your fire pit, especially if it’s a free-standing vessel, whenever it is not in use to avoid rusting or corrosion from exposure to water or any type of weather. You want to be able to enjoy your fire pit for a long time and taking extra care of it will ensure that it remains in tip-top shape!
BEST USES FOR YOUR FIRE PIT
Cooking or barbecuing is one of the most obvious activities that you can do with your fire pit. There are a lot of free-standing wood or coal burning fire pits which come with grilling grate so you can prepare a good steak, chicken skewers or roast some vegetables that you and your guest will enjoy munching on as you sit by the fire.
It is important that you use food-grade grilling grates because you want to prevent any food poisoning from happening. Always use protective gear like heat proof mitt, aprons and proper grilling tools. It is also better to practice barbecuing on a griller before you start cooking in a huge, open fire pit, just so you can master the temperature and be adept in handling things over high-temperature flames. Better yet, leave the cooking to the designated chef or barbecue master in the family.
If openly cooking slabs of meat is not your cup of tea, you can actually broil or cook food wrapped in foil. An example would be wrapping up some shrimps in foil along with some lemon and butter, place it on top of the fire pit grill and enjoy low-effort, less messy grub!
Finally, do not forget to clean your grill after every use to prevent rusting. You also do not want hardened food or particles to transfer into your next cook-out, ruining the feast!
Fire pits are often associated with camping out in the great outdoors. Children, most especially, are eager to stay out as soon as the sun goes down to enjoy ghost stories while getting their fingers and faces sticky with roasted marshmallows. So, grab some packs of graham crackers, Hershey chocolate bars and bags of marshmallows and start creating S’mores!
Roasting marshmallows should be done with care and make sure you use a long stick or skewer so the kids are a good distance away from the open flame. Supervise when it comes to handling something hot to avoid accidents. After you’ve created enough s’mores and goodies, you can begin telling stories or simply enjoy games by the fire.
Enjoy a romantic night under the starry sky as you cozy up with your love one by a roaring fire or a gentle, warm, dancing flame from a smokeless fire pit table. Add some wine, some great music and cuddle! You do not actually have to grill or cook anything on it but just enjoy pre-cooked dinner. Some fire pits double up as a table or have enough ledge space for you to place wine glasses, utensils and small plates of food for you and your date.
Finally, whatever activity or purpose you might have for you fire pit, the most significant thing to remember is to sit back, enjoy and relax!
Hi, I’m Adam and I’m a HUGE fan of Food and Cooking.
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