BBQing on an Open Fire

Think of a juicy roast beef turning on a spit on an open fire–not just your regular old fireplace with a hearth, but the real thing. Think a few close friends waiting for just the right cut, cooked exactly to their taste. Everyone is sitting around comfortably, drinking beer, relaxing in the cool breeze of fall. Some light music is heard in the background and perhaps a few night lights add to the ambience. If this appeals to you, get out a long poker and some chopped wood. You can use an electric rotisserie or basic rod as a spit. You are going to be mighty surprised how good this kind of BBQ is. This is one great image. You can do an open fire grill in different ways and forget lugging the propane on a camping trip. Do take the grate and briquettes if you prefer them to the wood, although in my experience, the latter is the usual choice. Some people like cast iron, stone, or copper pits they either tote along or find at their chosen site. This is a whole world of exciting BBQ possibilities.

You can make the experience special with your own menu of items. The meat is the centerpiece, but the sides, the beverages, and the treats and snacks are also important. It can be an art and you need to think ahead and shop right. First timers may need some tips so I would practice in the backyard or at a local park that allows such open grilling.

When you get it down, it becomes second nature. It will be your favorite pastime. There are great places to camp near Houston with the requisite facilities nearby. Plan it during the non-rainy season as a best bet. Fire pit cooking is like no other. The warmth of the fire will captivate as will the wonderful far-reaching aroma. If you are in the woods, you might get a few unwelcome visitors. If they are human, invite them for a bite!

Starting a wood fire is not so simple. Don’t use chemical-based igniters for obvious reasons. There are safer fire starter gels and some woods are kerosene treated. Let any residue burn off before starting to grill. You can use tinder or kindling to get a fire going faster—like newspaper or dried leaves, twigs or pieces of wood. Remember that wet things do not burn! Seasoned wood makes the best fire (avoid newly cut or “green” wood). Soft woods burn quick and fast while hard wood burns longer and hotter. You can start with one and then switch.

Keep in mind that you need oxygen to start your fire and prevent it from suffocating too soon. You will need to stack your wood loosely to provide needed air space. If the fire still starts to die, you can stir the pot with a poker and even blow on the logs. Yes, some big breaths! You want a nice core of glowing embers. You can add wood as needed.

That’s it. It is a highly-recommended way to enjoy the outdoors and some great food and companionship.