Chiminea Cooking - The Basics

Chiminea Cooking – The Basics

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Whether you’ve got a large or small garden a chiminea provides a great focal point to any outside space.

Although most people use a chiminea for warmth, you can also use a chiminea for cooking.

Historically chimineas were made from clay and used in Mexico for baking bread and heating. However, since then chimineas have changed somewhat and are made from clay, or steel, or cast iron. Many chimineas also have a grill for cooking and BBQing but there are also a number of other ways you can cook on a chiminea.

Methods of Chiminea Cooking

There are three main methods for chiminea cooking, cooking over the fire with a grill, cooking in the fire by baking, and cooking on top of the chimney.

Let’s look at each of these methods in detail and then we’ll cover the type of fuel to use, accessories you may need to cook and of course, we’ll finish with some types of food you can cook.

1 Chiminea Cooking Over the Fire

Cooking over the fire is the most common method of chiminea cooking and is usually done by the use of a BBQ grill.

Many modern chimineas are constructed either with a built-in grill or with the ability to add a grill at a later date.

On the La Hacienda Circles Chimenea, the top of the chiminea comes off providing you with a large grill area allowing you to cook a whole variety of different foods.

Clay Chimineas with BBQ grill

We cover chiminea BBQing more in our article How to Cook on a BBQ Chiminea Grill.

If your chiminea doesn’t come with a grill you can always measure the bowl diameter and buy one to fit. Just make sure that you have something inside the bowl to rest the grill on.

The best way to do this is to place a couple of fire bricks inside the chiminea. Leave enough space between them for your fire and rest the grill on the bricks. The fire burns in between the bricks cooking any food that rests on the grill.

One of the best chimineas for this is the Log Barn Chiminea. It has a really good-sized opening which gives you plenty of space for fuel and for the grill.

Chiminea Cooking Log Barn Large Opening

We’ve got a Log Barn chiminea and we’ve done a full review of it in our Log Barn Chiminea Review article.

If you want to cook on the fire without grilling there are a few other ways of doing so.

A toasting/grill rack is another great way of cooking on a chiminea. It does away with the need for a BBQ grill but still gives you the option to grill food.

Marshmallow forks are another great way of cooking on a chiminea. Kids (and adults) love making smores or just toasting marshmallows over a fire. Buy some forks and keep them in the cupboard for some evening fun.

Another popular way of chiminea cooking is to bake pizza. Unfortunately, the size of the bowl of the chiminea will affect the size of the pizzas you can cook but you can get a variety of different sizes. Just make sure you get a pizza stone small enough to fit!

Finally using a cast iron pan gives you lots of options to cook over the flames in a chiminea. Cast iron pans come in all shapes and sizes and allow you to cook all manner of foods.

2 Chiminea Cooking in the Fire

When you’re cooking in the fire of a chiminea it really doesn’t matter what size shape or style of chiminea you have but obviously the bigger it is, the easier cooking will be.

The most common way to cook in a fire is by wrapping the food in foil but don’t just limit yourself to baked potatoes!

Yes, they may be what people cooked within a fire years ago but nowadays you can cook so much more in a fire.

As long as you completely wrap the food up in a good quality foil you can cook pretty much anything including stews, fish, vegetables and so much more. For a selection of fantastic recipes take a look at All Recipes Foil Packet cooking article.

The best thing about foil packet cooking is that it’s simple and there are no dishes to clean. Simply select your food and wrap it up in the foil.

Then all you have to do is to put the packets on top of the embers and cover them slightly. Once the food is cooked to perfection you can even recycle the foil. Simple, easy, and no-hassle cooking at its best!!

The only cooking accessory you’ll need to buy is some strong foil and of course, some long-handled tongs to take the hot foil packet out of the fire.

3 Chiminea Cooking on the Chiminey

No, we aren’t joking, surprisingly you can cook on the top of the chimney due to the amount of heat that is generated.

The main thing you need to consider when cooking on the chimney is to ensure there is still enough space to allow the smoke to escape.

Using a small pan you can cook a number of items on the chimney. Just make sure that whatever pan you decide to use, isn’t so heavy or cumbersome that it will become unstable.

What Types of Food to Cook in or on a Chiminea

Using one of the cooking methods above, you can cook pretty much any type of food.

Chimineas are perfect for cooler evenings and offer a fantastic way to have some fun with friends and family whilst cooking outdoors.

Aside from grilling, one can also cook tasty vegetables, pork, chicken, and even fish dishes in any type of chiminea.

Below you’ll find three of the quickest and easiest dishes you can cook in or on, steel, clay, or cast iron chimineas.

Beef Stew Foil Parcels

Beef stew is a popular choice for cooking in a chiminea, as it can easily be prepared ahead of time and cooked to perfection when ready.

To cook beef stew in a chiminea, all you need is a large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil and a few simple ingredients.

Start by cutting the beef into cubes and adding them to the foil along with chopped onion, celery, carrots, potatoes, and any other vegetables you like. Then season with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs and spices.

Seal up the foil and place on top of the heated coals in the chiminea. Cook for an hour or so until the beef is tender and the vegetables are cooked through.

Serve with crusty bread or over mashed potatoes for a delicious and comforting meal.


After a quick hearty meal, then why not try cooking an omlette on top of your chiminea stack?

You can obviously make whatever type of omlette you like but one of our favourites is the good old ham and cheese variety.

To make the omlette simple take the following ingredients.

3 medium-sized eggs
Some butter
Some grated cheese
A slice or two of ham

Then all you have to do is to follow the next few steps.

1) Put the eggs in a bowl with the seasoning and beat them together.
2) Meanwhile, place a cast iron pan on top of your chiminea stack and wait until it’s hot, then add the butter and allow it to melt.
3) Add the egg mixture to the pan and keep pushing it around until nearly set.
4) Add the ham and cheese and allow the cheese to melt, then fold the omlette in half and serve.

Simple, easy, and tasty chiminea cooking at its best!


Smores are a classic treat that can easily be cooked in or on a chiminea. All you need is a bag of marshmallows, some chocolate, and some giant cookies!

Simply place a few marshmallows on the end of a long skewer, and hold it over the flame until the marshmallows are golden and melted.

Then, sandwich them between two cookies and a piece of chocolate. Enjoy your gooey, warm, melty smores! This is a great way to spend time with family and friends while gathering around the fire.

Fuel for Chiminea: What’s the Best Type to Use?

When it comes to fuel for chiminea, it can be difficult to decide which is the best type to use.

There are several different options available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Below, we’ll look at the different types of fuel for chiminea, so that you can make an informed decision when it comes time to choose what type of fuel to use in your chiminea.


Using charcoal as fuel for your chiminea can give you a nice smoky flavor and a great flame.

Charcoal provides good heat output for cooking, but it doesn’t last as long as wood does. As a result, you may have to add more charcoal frequently.

You can purchase special chiminea-friendly charcoal or use standard charcoal briquettes. It’s important to remember that whatever type of charcoal you use, it should never be doused with lighter fluid or gasoline.

When using charcoal in your chiminea, the best way to start the fire is to use a fire starter. This will help ensure that the fire lights quickly and evenly.

Once the fire is burning, make sure to keep a close eye on it at all times and make sure it’s not getting too hot. Additionally, since you may need to add more charcoal often, be sure to keep plenty of extra charcoal nearby so you don’t run out mid-fire.

Using charcoal in your chiminea can give you great flames and lots of heat. However, if you don’t want to deal with adding more fuel constantly, it may be best to stick with wood. Whichever type of fuel you choose, just be sure to use it safely and follow all manufacturer instructions.


When it comes to fuel for your chiminea, wood is the classic option. Many people prefer to use wood because of the traditional look and feel of an open flame and the lovely crackling sound that comes with burning logs. It also produces a lot of heat, making it an excellent choice for cold nights.

The type of wood you should use depends on the size of your chiminea and the desired heat output. If you have a smaller chiminea, you’ll want to use smaller pieces of wood such as kindling or split logs. These will burn quicker and produce more heat than larger logs. If you have a larger chiminea, you can use larger logs, which will last longer and produce more consistent heat.

You should make sure that the wood is dry and seasoned before using it in your chiminea. Wet wood produces a lot of smoke, which can be dangerous and unpleasant.

You can find out out more about the best types of fuel to use in our What to Burn in a Chiminea? article.

Using wood in your chiminea can be an enjoyable experience if done properly. Just make sure you’re using the right kind of wood and that it’s dry before lighting it up. That way you’ll have a safe and enjoyable time by the fire.


Cooking on a chiminea is one of the best ways to enjoy your garden with family or friends.

A chiminea allows you to cook and keep warm just using one piece of equipment. You can find out more about some of the best chimineas for cooking in our How to Cook on a BBQ Chiminea Grill article.