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How to Cook in an Indoor Fireplace

Three Methods:

Cooking in an indoor fireplace is fun, romantic and definitely a bit primal. While almost nobody cooks in their fireplace anymore, this used to be the primary cooking spot in the old days. Here are a few tips on how to cook in your wood-burning fireplace.


Skewer Method

  1. Get or make a long metal skewer similar to one you'd use to roast marshmallows on a campfire.It should be long enough to hold near the fire comfortably without getting yourself too hot.
  2. Start a nice hot wood fire in your fireplace.It will give off more heat if you use hardwoods and let it burn a while before cooking to develop a nice core of hot glowing embers at the base of the fire.
  3. Choose a food to cook.You can theoretically do just about any solid food but since you will be holding it on a long skewer throughout the cooking, choose something relatively small. Sausages, hot dogs, and meat balls are good basic starting points. If you want to get a bit more adventurous, try some small, seasoned game birds like quail, squab, poussin, partridge or grouse.
  4. Pierce the food with the skewer so that it is securely held by the skewer and will not fall off even with slow rotation.
  5. Place a cookie sheet or roasting pan next to the fire to catch drips.
  6. Hold the food near the fire, slowly rotating it and changing its position so as to "rotisserie cook" it, evenly heating it throughout.Do not hold the food directly in the fire as it will burn very quickly! Just close enough to slowly heat it.
  7. Continue cooking until the meat is golden brown on the outside and fully cooked on the inside.If you are not sure, it can help to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature when you think it is getting close.
  8. When done to your liking, remove and rest the meat on a plate, cover with foil and let rest a few minutes before serving.

String Method

  1. Place a nail or hook into the wall or mantle above your fireplace.
  2. Prepare a good hardwood fire, waiting until you have a good core of embers and it is giving good heat.Holding your hand directly in front of the fire at the front edge of the fireplace opening should be uncomfortable.
  3. Marinate and/or season a roast of your choice.The easiest choice is a leg of lamb with the shank bone intact. However, you can also roast whole chicken or game hens this way. If you get crafty with your kitchen twine, you can even rig up pork or beef roasts too.
  4. Once your meat roast is seasoned, tie it securely with a very long piece of kitchen twine.If you are using a leg of lamb, you simply need to wrap the twine tightly around the shank bone and tie tightly. If you are using a chicken or other roast you need to truss the roast in a way such that it can be hung by the twine in an upright position (see the video below).
  5. Hang the roast in front of the fire from the nail or hook above your fireplace.The roast should be just in front of the middle of the fire. Secure the string to the nail or hook securely.
  6. Place a large cookie sheet or roasting pan just below the roast to catch dripping fat and juices.
  7. Give the roast a slight spin so that it rotates on the string.It will spin one direction for a while and then slowly, on its own, begin to rotate back the other way. It should continue spinning back and forth slowly on its own for many minutes. If you notice it slowing down or stopping, periodically give it another gentle spin.
  8. Continue adding wood to the fire as needed during the cooking process to keep a good, hot fire going.
  9. Baste your meat periodically and wet the string just above it with water to keep it from drying out and breaking.
  10. Continue cooking however long is required to reach the level of doneness you desire.Again, using a meat thermometer towards the end can be helpful to determine the interior temperature.
  11. When done, simply cut the string and remove the roast to a dish or plate, cover with foil and let rest before carving.

Dutch Oven Method

Another easy way to cook in your indoor fireplace is to use a cast iron dutch oven. Ideally, use a campfire dutch oven which has a handle and legs.

  1. Prepare a fire in your fireplace off to the side, leaving room on one side to place the dutch oven.
  2. Prepare ingredients for a braise, stew or soup to be placed in the dutch oven.
  3. Put ingredients in the pot and cover.
  4. Once you have glowing embers at the base of the fire, use a fire tongs or shovel to scoop a handful of embers and place them to the side of the fire.
  5. Carefully place the dutch oven on top of the hot embers.A demonstration of this setup and technique can be seen on this .
  6. Place more embers on the top of the oven to ensure even heating.
  7. During cooking, periodically turn the dutch oven to make sure it heats evenly.
  8. Add hot embers as needed through the cooking time to keep the heat up.
  9. When done, simply remove the dutch oven and serve.

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Demonstration of string-turned fireplace cooking
  • Make sure to start your fire early, giving it time to develop a nice hot core of glowing embers. These give off much more heat than just the initial burning wood. Hardwoods like oak, mesquite, hickory, almond wood and others burn the longest and give off the most heat.
  • Invest in a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature of larger roasts (whole chicken, leg of lamb, tri-tip, etc.). It should only be used toward the end of cooking, when you think your food is almost ready. Insert it into the thickest part of the meat. Use it sparingly because each time you stab the meat and then remove the thermometer, precious juices from inside can leak out!


  • Always be safe! Only build a fire in a properly maintained fireplace that is meant for wood fires. Use oven mitts or other protection when handling food near the fire to avoid burns.

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Date: 19.12.2018, 14:29 / Views: 63593