What fuel should I use in my fire pit?
We’re often asked what do we recommend in terms of fuel for your fire pit. It’s surprising how much good quality fuel can make a difference to your fire, whether its for warmth or cooking.
Good quality, dry firewood
The most common and right assumption is firewood. To avoid lots of smoke and also get the maximum heat from your fire, it is important to use only dry, quality firewood. We would recommend using Seasoned or Kiln Dried Logs which you can source locally or online. We use Kiln Dried Logs from a local supplier, Certainly Wood. The beauty of kiln dried logs is their moisture content is usually below 20%, meaning they require no further seasoning and can be used straight away in your fire pit. Another benefit is their consistency, due to the kiln drying process.
Best firewood species to use in your fire pit
We’d recommend using hardwoods, such as oak, ash and beech which are best for heat when cooking and will provide a long burn and flavour. If you’re looking to add a little more flavour, Apple or Pear wood provides a fantastic flavour or why not try adding a little hickory at the end of cooking for a smokey taste.
Why is size important?
As well as the type and moisture content of the wood, size is also really important. Too big and it will be too difficult for the fire to take hold. It will result in the wood smouldering and smoking. You are looking for large surface area in comparison to the mass. If you have a round of wood, split it into four. These wedge shapes have a large surface area and will burn faster, getting hot quicker and consequently will burn off the smoke faster.
Pure Hardwood Charcoal
Charcoal is a great fuel to use when cooking on one of our handcrafted fire pits. It provides a less smokey alternative to wood and can reach and retain high temperatures for long periods - great for low and slow cooking. We supply a Herefordshire Hardwood Charcoal from a local supplier, Birchwood Forestry. John has an SSSI woodland from which he harvests the wood makes it into charcoal in kilns on the farm.
How to light a fire pit
We’re often asked how to light a fire pit and it really is easy, 9 times out of 10 problems occur when you are not using dry, quality fuel.
What you’ll need to light a fire pit:
- Kiln dried or dry seasoned logs, with below 20% moisture content
- Kindling sticks
- Natural firelighters - stay clear of the traditional paraffin blocks
- Gloves - heat resistant, in case you need to move your grill or fire pit.
- Optional - a poker and if you’re cooking a leather apron.
There are two main ways of lighting a fire - the traditional 'bottom up' and our preferred method, the 'top down'. We find the top down method produces less smoke as the fire has more air to burn.
Traditional Method - 'Bottom up':
- Place 6-8 kindling stocks in your fire pit, stacked like a Jenga tower. Place a natural firelighter in the middle of the tower and lie a few small logs at an angle across the kindling.
- Light the firelighter and leave for a few minutes, until it is burning well.
- Add 2-3 more logs to your fire and leave again - when adding more logs ensure plenty of air gaps to ensure good airflow.
- Continue to add more logs until the fire has a good base of heat
- If you’re planning on cooking wait until the logs start to turn white. When they do, your fire pit is ready to start cooking on.
Preferred Method - 'Top down':
- Place 9 small split logs in your fire pit, in rows of three stacked across each other like a Jenga tower. Place 4 kindling sticks on top with a natural firelighter on the top of this tower. Ensure the firelighter is in contact with the kindling and wood.
- Light the firelighter and leave for a few minutes, until it is burning well. You will notice that the fire burns down into the logs.
- When the fire reaches the bottom layer of logs you can add more to the fire.
- If you’re planning on cooking on your fire pit add 3 - 5 more logs and wait until they have started to burn through to create a body of heat to cook over. The flames should also have died down - you are aiming for heat not blazing flames. It will take an average of 40-45 minutes.