How to Cook in an Indoor Fireplace

Just because summer is over doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying food cooked over an open fire! If you have a wood-burning fireplace in your home, you can grill, skewer, simmer, and cook a variety of different foods all year long. Make sure to always open the flue, and use good safety practices so you don't get injured while you’re cooking.
[Edit]Steps [Edit]Setting Up Your Indoor Fireplace Have your chimney inspected once a year to make sure it’s safe to use. Hire a professional fireplace inspector (also sometimes called a chimney sweep) to do an inspection every year before you make your first fire—fireplaces that aren’t maintained properly can pose a huge safety risk. The inspector will do a basic sweep, check the flue, and make sure the fireplace is up to safety standards.[1] A general inspection costs about $125 to $250. Pick a hard, seasoned wood to cook your meals with. Cedar, alder, maple, hickory, pecan, oak, cherry, and apple wood are all great choices for your indoor fireplace. The smoke from these woods will infuse your food with a great flavor, and they will easily get hot enough and make big enough flames for you to cook your meal.[2] Learn how to safely build a fire in your fireplace. Check that the chimney is clean and unblocked, and make sure to open the damper. Stack a few larger logs on the bottom, add a few smaller logs on top of those, and then top off the stack with some kindling. This way, the smoke from the kindling will have easy access to the chimney and your house won’t get as smokey.[3] Putting the bigger logs on the bottom will also give you a longer burn time, from 3 to 5 hours, which can be really helpful if you’re cooking stews or other dishes that need more time. There are lots of different methods to start a fire. Some people recommend putting kindling on the bottom and some say you should start with a bed of ash. Kindling on the bottom will make a fire with a shorter burn time, and using a thicker bed of ash will produce a longer-lasting heat for roasting. high.}} Use the right kind of cookware and utensils to keep you safe. Long tongs, fire-resistant gloves, skewers, a cast-iron skillet, a meat thermometer, and a dutch oven are some of the basic tools you’ll need to cook safely in your fireplace. Additionally, set a cooling rack inside of a rimmed baking sheet and keep this next to the fireplace. You can use this to set your hot dishes on so that they don’t accidentally burn the floor.[4] You can also use a few bricks to prop a grill pan or cast-iron skillet above the flames. This can give your food a more even cook and reduce the risk that it’ll burn. Try to arrange the bricks and grill pan so that they are about above the wood or kindling. Avoid using anything made of plastic, silicone, or glass. You can use aluminum or stainless steel, just be aware that the bottoms will probably permanently turn black. Clean up the fireplace after each meal so it stays in prime condition. Once the fire has gone out, shovel up the ashes and dispose of them in a garbage bag. You can then sweep out the ashes that remain, or use a vacuum to clean up. Don’t forget to wipe off the hearth, as the ash from the fire probably got on the hearth, too.[5] In addition to cleaning the fireplace after each meal, you should also deep clean your fireplace every 2 to 3 months while it’s in use. [Edit]Using Different Cooking Methods Grill meats and vegetables in the fireplace for a nice, smoky flavor. You can buy a grill insert made specifically for fireplace grilling, or you can build a makeshift one yourself out of bricks and a grill pan. Set the food directly on the grill pan, or use a cast-iron skillet on top of the pan to help contain the drippings. Hotdogs, hamburgers, chicken, asparagus, shrimp, corn on the cob, and tons of other foods are great options to throw on your indoor fireplace grill.[6] Check the temperature of meats often to ensure they’re cooked through. A hotdog will cook through more quickly, in just 3 to 4 minutes, whereas chicken will take closer to 10 to 12 minutes. Use an instant-read digital thermometer to make sure things are cooked through. Chicken should be cooked to , hamburger should be cooked to , pork should be cooked to , and steak should be cooked to , depending on how well-done you want it. Veggies will be done once they are easily pierced with a fork or knife, which most often takes about 5 to 10 minutes. They should have a light char on the outside. Make foil-packet meals for easy prep and clean-up. Use heavy-duty foil so there is less of a chance of the packet ripping. Put any meat in the center of the piece of foil and then add the veggies on top of the meat. Fold over the sides and roll the edges together to seal in the food. Set the filled and sealed foil packet on a grill pan that is elevated above the fire. Let them cook for 35 to 45 minutes, occasionally flipping the packets over.[7] Chicken, sausages, or shrimp and a mix of vegetables, like carrots, potatoes, onions, and peppers, make awesome meals! Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the veggies and add some salt and pepper for a really simple preparation, or be a little more adventurous and look up some cool recipes to try out. Skewer hotdogs, marshmallows, and other camping favorites. This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to cook over a fireplace, indoors or outside. Use long, metal skewers so that you won’t have to get too close to the fire. Put your favorite food onto the skewer, and then roast it over the open flames. When the food is done, use tongs to remove the hot item so you don’t burn yourself.[8] In addition to the classic hotdogs and marshmallows, you can also cook heartier veggies, like bell peppers, shrimp, bacon, and fruits, like plums or apples! When cooking food on a skewer, check the item every 2 to 3 minutes, or whenever you notice that it’s starting to char on the outside. If you don’t fancy the idea of holding your skewer over the flame, prepare a few kebobs on skewers and set them on a grill pan in the fireplace. Use a dutch oven to make stews in the wintertime. Prepare the dish and put it into the dutch oven while the fire is heating up. Use a fireplace crane or set the dutch oven on top of a grill pan that is suspended above the flames by some bricks. Check the food every 20 to 30 minutes to see how it’s coming along—it should cook faster in the fireplace than it would on the stovetop or in an oven.[9] Always use fire-resistant gloves and long-handled tongs when you’re checking the dish. Never touch the dutch oven with bare hands. If you plan on cooking in your fireplace often, it may be worthwhile to invest in a dutch oven with legs. This way, you can just set the dutch oven into the fireplace without worrying about setting up the grill pan and bricks. Put vegetables directly onto the logs to give them a good char. Onions, eggplant, bell peppers, potatoes, beets, and yams are great vegetables to cook this way. Don’t set them directly on a flame, but rather put them on top of a log that hasn’t fully started to burn yet. The fire from the logs below will help provide the heat to cook the veggies through. Keep an eye on the vegetables and remove them from the fireplace when they start to look soft.[10] Potatoes, yams, and carrots will take the longest to cook, about 30 to 40 minutes. Onions and squashes take about 15 to 20 minutes, and softer vegetables, like peppers, eggplant, and mushrooms, will take about 10 minutes to cook. [Edit]Tips Using your indoor fireplace is a great way to save on electricity and gas, as you won’t need to use your oven at all. Almost anything you can cook on a grill or over an outdoor fireplace you can replicate indoors. Avoid cooking really fatty meats, like steak and bacon, in your fireplace if you don’t want your house to get too smokey. Their excess fat and grease can create a lot of smoke. [Edit]Warnings Always check that the flue is open before you make a fire and start cooking. Never cook in a gas fireplace. The chemicals from the gas can get into the food, which isn’t good for you to ingest. Also, the logs in a gas fireplace need to stay clean—food bits and grease drippings could pose a fire hazard. [Edit]Things You’ll Need [Edit]Setting up Your Indoor Fireplace Firewood Kindling Long-handled tongs Fire-resistant gloves Metal skewers Cast-iron skillet Grill pan Bricks Meat thermometer Dutch oven Grease pan [Edit]Using Different Cooking Methods Heavy-duty foil Long-handled tongs Fire-resistant gloves Metal skewers Cast-iron skillet Grill pan Bricks Meat thermometer Dutch oven Grease pan [Edit]Related wikiHows Cook Food on Your Car's Engine Cook Food in a Hotel Room Cook Lasagna in Your Dishwasher Light a Fire in a Fireplace [Edit]References ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑