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I love hanging out around a fire pit with family. We talk and laugh while cooking s’mores and enjoy the fresh air under the stars. In many ways, it’s a freeing experience that feels like the realization of the American dream. Finding the right fire pit cooking grate only made this experience even better.
Fire Pit Cooking Grate Considerations
Cooking in an oven is fine and obviously convenient, but it can also get a little boring. Cooking dinner over an open fire not only adds unique flavoring but is also just a nice change of pace. Cooking with a Weber or similar grill can add some flavors, but cooking over a fire pit offers unparalleled authenticity.
What Is The Best Fire Pit Grate?
So what makes a great fire pit cooking grate? Versatility and durability. Those are the key considerations you should be looking for. Some campfire grill grates only work for a camping trip, but not with a backyard fire pit. You might also make the mistake of purchasing a fir pit grill grate that sits directly on the fire pit, meaning you can’t adjust the height to better control the direct heat. The bottom line is that their are a variety of design features to consider. Here are our favorite products to consider:
Breeo Outpost Review
The Breeo Outpost was designed to optimize your open-fire cooking experience. The grill surface is adjustable up and down the attached post, enabling you to control the heat better as you cook. And you can cook up a variety of food choices because of accessories like the kettle hook described in further detail below. Based on our experience, there is one fire pit grill grate that clearly is better than the alternatives, and that is the Breeo Outpost. Breeo is the company that developed the very first smokeless fire pit, but that only tells half of their story.
Breeo is at the heart of outdoor cooking culture. For instance, they’ve designed fire pits with sear plate rims for cooking. Those same sear plates have a port for the Outpost, Breeo’s fire pit grill grate. Of course, while the Breeo Outpost fits perfectly with Breeo fire pits, it works with other fire pits too.
It’s also worth noting that theOutpost is designed for versatility and portability, meaning it will work just as well on your next camping trip as it will as a grill surface above your backyard fire pit. If you have a Breeo fire pit, you can simply slide the Outpost into the designated port quickly and seamlessly. If you don’t have a Breeo fire pit, the Outpost stake slides firmly into the ground next to your fire pit or above an open campfire.
Breeo Outpost Anchorpoint
Breeo’s Anchorpoint technology is one of the design features that truly set this fire pit cooking grill apart from the competition. The Anchorpoint is an attachment that comes with every Outpost. This is important for two reasons. First, this increases the versatility of how you can use the Outpost. You don’t need the Anchorpoint when attaching the Outpost to one of Breeo’s fire pits, and you might not need the Anchorpoint for every other situation either. Secondly, you can use the top part of the post to drive the Anchorpoint into the ground.
To use the Anchorpoint system, simply line up the Anchorpoint and Outpost as you want it, with the upper post facing the opposite direction of the locking mechanism. Then once you’ve driven the Anchorpoint firmly into the ground, you simply turn the upper post to lock it. I never knew that stake design was so important until I used a Breeo Outpost.
Attachments & Accessories
If you are interested in improving your outdoor cooking experience, we recommend considering some of Breeo’s other accessories to go along with the Outpost. Namely, you should consider adding on the kettle hook and cast iron kettle. You might initially assume that the kettle hook is only necessary if you plan to purchase the cast-iron kettle too, but you would be wrong in making that assumption. The stainless steel attachment includes three hooks, rather than just one. Certainly, you can hang a kettle from the kettle hook, but you can also hang large pieces of meat, such as Leg of Lamb. Depending on the season, you might also consider hanging pineapple to roast.Delish.
Naturally, you can also hang the cast-iron kettle from the kettle hook. I know. Outlandish statement there. Breeo’s cast-iron kettle holds up to 2 gallons of soup, stew, or campfire beans. While the exterior bottom piece of the kettle is flat, the interior is rounded, which enables consistent and even cooking. This pure cast-iron kettle is seasoned with flaxseed oil and features a stainless steel handle.
Breeo Outpost Pros and Cons
The bottom line is that there aren’t many companies that put as much thoughtful design into something as seemingly simple as a fire pit cooking grate. Other campfire grill grates are a dime a dozen. The Breeo Outpost is designed with durable stainless steel, an adjustable height that allows you to cook with optimal heat, and attachments that set it apart from the competition.
Size options come in handy based on your intended use. The Outpost is also available in two size options (19-inch and 24-inch). For most people grilling for more than one, the 24-inch model will be the ideal size, and if you purchase Breeo’s largest smokeless fire pit, it has two ports, providing ample space to cook for all of your guests.
And based on the durability and versatility that is in our minds far superior to any other competitor, the Breeo Outpost is available for an excellent price. It also comes with a carrying case, should you decide to take it camping.SUMMARY PROS
- Stainless steel
- May influence you to buy Breeo fire pit
- High-quality construction
- Adjustable height
- Anchorpoint attachment
- Kettle hook attachment
- Works with fire pit or campfire
Other Cooking Grate Options
Of course, while Breeo’s cooking grate is our favorite option, it’s not the only option. The Titan campfire grill grates and Sunnydaze Decor grill grates are two other products worth considering.
Titan Swivel Review
Titan’s Swivel grill grate will work driven in the ground next to most fire pits, but it shines best compared to purpose-specific campfire grates, as that is the intended use. The Titan Swivel grate is built with sturdy steel construction and coated with a high-temperature finish to last for a long time.
The Titan Swivel cooking grate doesn’t have the functionality and accessories that the Breeo Outpost does, but it is better designed than most other outdoor fire pit grates. As indicated, it swivels over or away from the fire, which makes it easier to deal with hot temperatures as you manage your food. The spiral handle also features cool-to-touch technology to prevent you from burning yourself while moving the grate.
If you like wood-fired flavoring, the Titan Swivel offers a very rustic way of cooking. It’s slightly more advanced than what you might imagine of a cowboy cooking on the open prairie. And we mean that in a good way. There is something to be said for simplistic ways of doing things. That said, while we appreciate the quality steel construction, the Titan Swivel is meant for a campfire more so than a fire pit. It’s not nearly as versatile as the Outpost.
And by the way, this is the only option we reviewed that would work with square fire pit cooking. Of course, most fire pits are round, but if you do happen to have a square fire pit, you can drive the Titan Outdoors Swivel into the ground next to the fire, and swivel the square cooking surfaces over the fire to match the aesthetic.
Titan Swivel Pros & Cons
The Titan Swivel cooking grate is better than the average outdoor campfire cooking grate, but it is best used over a campfire. You could use it next to most fire pits, but that isn’t its intended purpose. This unit is a solid campfire grill grate choice, even if it isn’t as versatile as the Outpost.SUMMARY PROS
- Durable construction
- Purpose built for campfires
- Swivel feature
- Cool-to-touch handle
Sunnydaze X-Marks Review
Another popular option is the Sunnydaze X-Mark cooking grate. Unlike the Breeo Outpost and the Titan Swivel, the Sunnydaze X-Mark grate doesn’t include a spike. This fire pit cooking grate is intended to lay across the rim of the fire pit. In some ways, the Sunnydaze X-Mark is the opposite of the Titan Outdoors Swivel in that the Sunnydaze X-Mark can only be used laying across a fire pit, while the Titan Outdoors Swivel cooking grate is best used over a campfire. The Breeo Outpost is unique in that it is designed to work in either environment.
On the positive side, the Sunnydaze X-Mark grill grate is convenient and easy to use. All you have to do is set the grate on the rim of the fire pit. It is also made from durable steel construction and features temperature-resistant paint, making it an excellent choice for aspiring outdoor chefs. Heavy-duty steel should last a long time.
When you grill up steaks, you will have that attractive x-mark sear design many people love on the Sunnydaze cooking grate. Quick Note: Sunnydaze makes a big deal about the x-mark design in their marketing, but most other products (including our favorite, the Outpost) also feature diamond x-marks design. The Sunnydaze cooking grate is a more affordable product; however, if you ever decide to take it camping, you will need to buy a separate stand with the tripod design model.
The Sunnydaze model isn’t an adjustable grill grate. The only option is to set the grate directly on the rim of the fire pit. The significant advantage of an adjustable fire pit grill grate is that it enables you to control the temperature of your food by moving the grate closer to (or further away from) the flame. For most people, we recommend an adjustable grill grate, but if you plan on using it infrequently, the Sunnydaze X-Marks is as simple and convenient as it gets.
Sunnydaze X-Marks Pros & Cons
The Sunnydaze X-Marks might be a good option if you plan on using your fire pit cooking grate infrequently. And that’s because it is a fire pit cooking grate in every sense of the word. There is no stake, so you can’t easily use it with a campfire.SUMMARY PROS
- Durable construction
- No stake, so not intended for camping
- Easy to use
- Signature X-Marks
Alternative Cooking Grate Options
If none of the above cooking grates are exactly what you are looking for, there are a few other options available on Amazon, including the Texsport Heavy-Duty Swivel Grill, the Pioneer Large Camp Grill, and the RedCamp Folding Campfire Grill. That said, cheap grill grates are a dime a dozen. If you are looking for an alternative to gas grills, we recommend buying one of the high-quality adjustable grill grates reviewed above.
If you already have a gas grill, adding open fire cooking with wood or charcoal can be a game-changer. Features such as the adjustable grill plate height or having an adjustable stake make a world of difference. Some of the cheaper grill grates are of poor quality, so be sure to thoroughly review your options before investing. Fortunately, we are here to help in that regard.
Is It Safe To Cook Food Over A Fire Pit
Cooking with fire is something you always need to be careful with, but cooking over a fire pit can be just as safe as cooking with gas grills or a charcoal grill, assuming you take proper precautions. For example, never put anything in or near the fire pit that is combustible, or that might explain. Only use wood or charcoal.
Also, be sure to let your food cool down enough to avoid burning your mouth. Campfire-cooked foods will often be sizzling hot, so you won’t have to worry about getting your food warm, but it just might get too hot.
Certain features, such as having an adjustable grill plate height, can make cooking with a fire pit much safer. Height adjustable stake grills enable you to move the food away from the fire if the flame is too hot. You don’t want to be cooking in the flame, after all.
Can You Use Your Fire Pit As a BBQ
The short answer is yes. You can absolutely use your fire pit for barbecue. It will be a certain brand of barbecue, so some might give you a hard time about what qualifies as barbecue, but who cares. If you are cooking over an open fire with a grill grate, that makes you pretty authentic in our book.
The same features that make open fire cooking safe, such as finding a height-adjustable fire pit cooking grate, will also help your BBQ technique. Again, this is because the adjustable fire pit grill will enable you to control the cooking temperature by raising or lowering the grill grate.
A backyard fire pit grill can be a game-changer. Camping grills get the job done but can be a pain to lug around. You might find it much easier to build a fire in a designated area and just bring along a camping grate to make grilling up dinner easier. And if you choose to take your portable cooking grate camping, it will be a much more authentic experience.
What Can You Grill Over A Fire Pit
Some campfire grill grates provide better versatility than others. One of the reasons we prefer the Breeo Outpost is that the kettle and kettle hook allows for nearly endless possibilities. Sure, you can cook hot dogs, hamburgers, and steaks directly on the grill grate. The wood-fire flavoring will result in a delicious meal even when cooking up the basics.
But when you are ready to get more adventurous, you might hang a leg of lamb or pineapple (or both) from the kettle hook. And if you have the cast-iron kettle, try a soup or stew. If you need inspiration, be sure to check out the convenient recipes on Breeo’s website. You might also consider checking out one of the cookbooks from Steven Raichlen.
If you consider yourself a pizza-lover, don’t worry, there are plenty of recipes out there for campfire pizza. In your backyard, we prefer Ooni pizza ovens for cooking up fire-kissed pizzas. That said, if you are at a campsite without your Ooni, by all means, try a campfire pizza.
Nothing beats good campfire food, but with a proper adjustable fire pit grill grate, you can take your open fire cooking to the next level. With the appropriate campfire cooking tools, the possibilities are nearly endless.
What Fuel Should You Use For Fire Pit Cooking?
Kiln-dried logs are the best fuel to cook on a fire pit, but in certain situations, wood briquettes or charcoal might be used. The big thing here is to make sure your fire pit manufacturer doesn’t expressly suggest avoiding charcoal or wood briquettes for some reason. The benefits to using kiln-dried logs are that they have limited moisture in the logs, so they are easier to burn. Cooking with wood will also provide more complex flavoring.
While there are plenty of gas fire pits out there, they aren’t really designed for cooking. They are more ornamental and functional than rustic and authentic. Sure, you can roast a marshmallow on a gas fire pit, but we recommend avoiding much more than that.
What Wood Is Best For Fire Pit Cooking?
While you might use softwood as kindling wood, hardwoods burn longer and cleaner. Hardwoods are denser than softwoods, resulting in a stronger fire. Oak, Hickory, Ash, and Birch are examples of hardwoods that would work well with fire pits. While the hardwoods might be harder to start a fire with initially, the softwood kindling can help with that. The other benefit to using hardwood is that they are known for their unique flavoring. Hickory is popular because of the distinct flavor profile it contributes to the cooking process.
Can You Put Charcoal In a Fire Pit
Yes, charcoal can be burned in most fire pits and is especially great if you plan to cook with your fire pit. That said, it’s always a good idea to ensure your fire pit manufacturer doesn’t expressly prohibit charcoal. Did you know that charcoal is wood that’s been burned in an oxygen-deprived area?
Should You Buy A Fire Pit Cooking Grate?
If you are a fan of authenticity, you should buy a fire pit cooking grate. We recommend you carefully consider the features, such as whether it is made from durable steel or stainless steel (we prefer stainless steel). Also, consider whether it is truly a portable grill grate that would work with a fire pit or campfire and whether there is an adjustable height feature.
Which Fire Pit Is Best For Cooking?
There are many fire pit options out there, including many no-name brands you might find on Amazon or at the local hardware store. Many of these are decorative, nearly ornamental, which isn’t necessarily conducive to open fire cooking. Our favorite fire pit brands are Breeo and Solo Stove. They are both designed with technology that puts them in the “smokeless fire pit” category.
Truth be told, we’ve only found one fire pit maker that focuses on open fire cooking. That company is Breeo and designing fire pits that enable outdoor cooking culture is at the heart of what they do. Not only do they make the Outpost grill grate, but their fire pits with a sear plate feature a port that the Outpost can slide into.
This also means that you can hang the kettle hook and kettle directly above the fire. Beyond the features associated with the Outpost, the sear plate is a big deal and one of a kind. Not only can you sear meat before placing it on the grill grate, but you can also cook vegetables or other sides on the sear plate.
To better compete with Breeo, Solo Stove has started adding cooking accessories to their line-up as well, but in our experience, the Breeo fire pits are more durable. Solo Stove fire pits have been known to show up dented, but Breeo’s fire pits are designed to last decades as part of your backyard. After all, Breeo fire pits are made from the same structural steel that bridges are made from.
Fire Pit Cooking Grate Review Summary
Cooking on an open fire provides great flavoring, and honestly, it is just fun. Plus, it is much more authentic than cooking with gas grills. Some cooking grates are better than others, though. Some are specifically designed for campfire cooking, while others are designed to lay across the rim of a fire pit (and can’t easily be used with a campfire). Based on this, the Breeo Outpost is an excellent choice because of the durable stainless steel construction, adjustable height, and accessories such as the kettle hook and cast iron kettle.
It is purpose-built to slide into Breeo fire pits, but because of the versatility and Anchorpoint technology, the Outpost should easily slide in the ground next to almost any fire pit. That said, if you are in the market for a fire pit and interested in outdoor cooking, a Breeo fire pit is also an excellent choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, fire pits are a great alternative to gas grills or charcoal grills and provide a much more authentic experience for open-fire cooking.
Beyond traditional hot dogs, hamburgers, steak, and chicken, you can also get a little creative. Some people enjoy campfire stew, campfire nachos, or campfire sliders. Buying a cooking crate with a kettle hook means even more possibilities.
Without a doubt, pizza is one of my favorite foods. Use a cast-iron skillet and simple ingredients. As long as you don't overcomplicate the toppings, you should get a nice even bake.
No, you don't have to have a height-adjustable grill grate for fire pit cooking, but choosing a cooking grate with adjustable height makes it much easier to control the cook on your food.
Most gas fire pits are designed to be ornamental, so while you might be able to roast marshmallows on a gas fire pit, we wouldn't recommend cooking much else. Cooking with charcoal or wood is a much better experience.
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