July 07, 2021 5 min read

Chimineas are basically outdoor ovens with “pot belly” openings. They first existed in Mexico from way back in the 1600s, when people used them primarily as indoor stoves for cooking. These days, if you come across a chiminea at somebody’s residence, chances are it’s more of a warming, outdoor decoration piece than it is anything else.  

However, these days, chimineas are still great for cooking. One advantage of chiminea cooking is that the fire adds a smoky taste to the food. That said, you aren’t limited to just barbecued or grilled food when it comes to chiminea cooking. You can actually cook various types and styles and food, and you’ll eventually get to cook the more complex stuff with time and experience.

Chiminea Cooking: Main Steps To Follow

There are things you’re recommended to follow and check on if you’re planning a gathering that involves chiminea cooking. Let’s start with the initial (preparation) stage before moving onto the part when we’re cooking for real.  

  • Before you start using it, make sure your chiminea is in a stable position. It needs to be on a flat, firm surface that will not catch fire. 
  • Have a pair of rubber gloves on hand whenever you’re doing chiminea cooking. You may need them possibly at one point or another.
  • Each time you have lit your chiminea, make sure it’s never left unattended. If the fire is going on and you have to go back inside, then always ensure there’s another adult able to watch over the fire.
  • It's also important to remember how food that cooks inside chimineas tends to cook quickly. So never lose sight or track of the time when you’re cooking with a chiminea or another equipment. The last thing you want is to see all your party food get too burnt and no longer safe or satisfying to eat.

Let’s now move on to practical tips when it comes to actual chiminea cooking:

  • Firstly, you’ll want to light the fire about half an hour prior to the moment you start cooking. You can use either charcoal or wood to cook up your food.
  • Next, prepare all food that you’re going to cook beforehand. They should be prepared in a container that’s right next to the chiminea. That way, you can easily reach for your meats as the chiminea cooking process starts.
  • For cooking meat, make it convenient by cutting all meats to the same size. This is so when you know for certain that one piece is already done, you’ll realise that all the same-sized pieces are done as well. Furthermore, it’s best to keep together the same kinds of food whenever you’re handling the chiminea.
  • If you plan to cook food on skewers, know that you can actually cook them right on top of a metal grill. If you're cooking food in foil, position it right on top of the coals or the grill.
  • Use tongs to both put in and take out your food from the chiminea. This is the safest way for you to handle your food while cooking.
chiminea cooking callida firepit

What Types Of Food Can I Cook With A Chiminea?

This might just surprise you. A major reason why chimineas are fantastic is you’re able to cook with almost any type of food. You can barbecue ribs on it. Or use it to make some amazing casseroles. After all, chimineas were initially designed for this purpose. Baking is also possible when it comes to chiminea cooking.

If you own and currently use a chiminea, you might agree with the fact that by having such equipment outside your house, it can elevate your status as a party thrower. Outside, as everyone else is either eating or engaged in conversation, this serves as a chance to show off your skills in cooking. 

Barbecue Ribs & Potatoes

Thankfully, it doesn’t get any simpler than this meal choice, which is in fact easy-peasy when cooking with a chiminea. Only a handful of choice ingredients are required to make this possible. It’s about preparing short ribs (about 2 half racks) and also a bunch of small potatoes. Those are the main ingredients, whereas you may also need some butter, garlic, and tin foil.

As far as seasoning goes, it’s best to season the ribs according to your own preference. Then place those ribs on the grill inside the chiminea, ensuring the fire generated isn't too big. Throughout the chiminea cooking process, always keep an eye on your fire and food, so as to avoid burning up your fire and then burning or overcooking the meat. Remember to place the ribs on one side while reserving some space for the potatoes.  

When you start chiminea cooking and you see the ribs being cooked, that’s the time to turn your attention to preparing your potatoes. Poke some holes into those potatoes using a fork. Then place a portion of the potatoes on a piece of tin foil. That tin foil needs to be large enough to wrap up all your potatoes nicely. But before wrapping them up, place two squares of butter and two garlic sections. Then once that’s wrapped nicely, simply put on top of the grill and proceed with chiminea cooking. 

Cook the ribs in a way that matches your taste and preferences. Cooking them is totally different from baking your potatoes over the grill, which take roughly 30 minutes. Cooking time is relative, dependent on both the size of your chiminea and the degree of heat that the fire has. But once everything is finished, simply take the food off the grill and serve while it’s hot.

chiminea cooking outdoor fire master firepit

Chiminea Cooking For Baked Pizza

Baking pizza on a chiminea is actually worth trying. Between the extra smoky taste that comes with food being cooked over flames, and the fact that pizza is a popular choice for house gatherings, it’s something that’s definitely worth the hassle to prepare. Note, however, that you’ll need a pizza stone in order for this to work smoothly. It’s best not to cook the pizza over direct heat. 

Step 1 here is to make your pizza the traditional way. You prepare the dough, rolling it flat, and then spread some sauce on top followed by a sprinkle of your choice of cheese. Finally, finish up by adding your selected toppings and then bring out the pizza for chiminea cooking. One tip is worth noting, though: avoid placing lots of toppings onto the pizza, as this runs the risk of giving you a soggy or uneven pizza at the end. 

Next is running the chiminea. To prepare it, you start by allowing the fire to die down initially. Then you place the stone inside the chiminea, aiming to pre-heat it for approximately 20 minutes – this enables your pizza to develop a crispy crust. Also, remember that you can line the surface of the stone with foil so your pizza doesn’t end up sticking to it. In total, chiminea-baked pizza only takes a few minutes to cook.

How would you know if everything’s done as you’re chiminea cooking? If you notice the edges of your pizza starting to become brown, as well as the cheese bubbling, voila! You did it. 

This may surprise you, but it seems to be an endless set of options when we’re talking aboutchiminea cooking. The hard part is really about having to prepare all necessary ingredients beforehand. So start planning out meals based on food that’s easy to prepare for your next gathering, list down all ingredients, have your chiminea properly set up, and enjoy the outdoor cooking experience at home.