When temperatures drop, there’s nothing quite like gathering around an outdoor fire pit to keep warm. However, not everyone has the space (or budget) for a fire pit. If this is your case, you may want to know if you can use your idle BBQ grill as a makeshift fire pit to keep warm in the colder months.
You can use a BBQ grill as a fire pit by replacing the cooking grates with a screen or anything that can allow free air circulation, placing the grill on a level surface, adding fuel, and lighting the fire. You should ensure the grill is stable and well-lit to prevent fire accidents.
In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss preparing a BBQ grill for a fire pit. I’ll also discuss the safety considerations for a safer BBQ grill makeshift fire pit. Let’s get started!
How To Prepare a BBQ Grill for a Fire Pit
Preparation is a crucial safety consideration for using your BBQ grill as a fire pit. According to NBC News, medical professionals treated 5,300 backyard-fire-related injuries in the United States in 2017. This figure was almost triple the number reported in 2008, indicating how risky backyard fires can be.
Using a BBQ grill as a fire pit can be riskier since it lacks the crucial safety features of a fire pit. You should always consider the option of buying an actual fire pit. Therefore, if you’re going to use your BBQ grill as a fire pit, here is how to prepare it:
Replace the Cooking Grates
First, you must remove the cooking grates and replace them with a screen or anything that will allow free air circulation. When it comes to a fire pit, the cooking grates will be a barrier that prevents free air circulation.
A fire pit needs sufficient air circulation to ensure the fire doesn’t suffocate and go out. If you don’t have a replacement for the cooking grates, you can create space by propping up the grill’s lid with something like a stick.
Place the Grill on a Level Surface
Imagine your makeshift BBQ fire pit tipping and falling over; the heat may cause harm to yourself and your family members. This issue is where the nature and stability of the surface become paramount.
You want to place the BBQ grill on a level and stable surface to avoid accidents. The most suitable level surfaces should be concrete, stone, or gravel since they can withstand high temperatures. If you don’t have any of these materials, you can opt for a fire-resistant pit mat as an alternative.
Add Fuel to the Grill
The best fuel for a BBQ grill fire pit is charcoal since it burns hotter and lasts longer. However, if you’re using a gas grill, you can still use it as a fire pit by removing the propane tank.
It’s worth noting that if you decide to use wood, you must ensure it’s thoroughly dry. Wet wood produces excessive black carbon, a potentially carcinogenic compound. This chemical toxin exposes your family to cancer risks, asthma, and chronic bronchitis.
Light the Fire
It’s time to light the fire—after preparing the grill and adding fuel. You can use a chimney starter to light the coals if it’s a charcoal grill. Once you have ignited the coals, add them to the grill and let them burn for 30 minutes before adding more wood.
If you’re using a gas grill, turn on all the burners high and let the grill heat up.
Expert Tip: If you have a gas grill, ensure that you turn off the gas before lighting the fire. You don’t want to risk a gas leak. Gas leaks are hazardous; apart from posing a fire risk, they expose your family to breathing difficulties, headaches, nausea, and chest pains.
Now that you know how to turn your BBQ grill into a fire pit, you can enjoy the warmth of a fire without having to invest in a separate piece of equipment. So next time the temperature drops, gather your family around the grill and enjoy a cozy night.
How To Use a BBQ Grill Makeshift Fire Pit
After preparing your BBQ grill makeshift fire pit, it’s time to use it for the intended purpose; to keep you and your family warm.
Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your fire pit:
- Maintain a safe distance. Sitting too close to a fire pit is not recommended as it can lead to fire accidents. The ideal distance from the fire pit is 7 feet (2.13 meters). Thus, you should ensure that everyone around the fire pit maintains this safe distance.
- Dress appropriately. When sitting around a fire pit, you want to be as comfortable as possible. It’s best to dress in layers to ensure you can remove or add clothes as needed. The last thing you want is to be too hot or too cold.
- Have everything you need within reach. To avoid getting up and down every few minutes, have everything you need within reach. These items include things like blankets, snacks, and chairs. Having everything close by allows you to relax and enjoy the fire without worrying about getting up.
- End with a s’more. No fire pit experience is complete without a s’more. S’mores are a classic camping treat that people of all ages can enjoy.
You’ll need these to make s’mores:
- graham crackers
Once you have everything, follow these simple steps:
- Begin your smores by breaking a graham cracker in half.
- Add a piece of chocolate to one side.
- Then top it with a toasted marshmallow.
- Once you have all the ingredients, sandwich them together and enjoy.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s recap a few things and help answer some common questions about using a grill as a fire pit, shall we?
Can you use a BBQ grill as a fire pit?
Yes, a BBQ grill can be used as a fire pit. However, it’s important to keep in mind that BBQ grills are not designed to be used as fire pits, so you will need to take extra precautions to ensure that it is used safely.
For example, you should never use a BBQ grill as a fire pit on a wooden deck or any other flammable surface, and you should make sure that the grill is placed on a sturdy and non-flammable base. Additionally, you should never leave a fire unattended, and you should always make sure that the fire is completely extinguished before leaving the area.
Can you burn wood in a charcoal grill?
Yes, you can burn wood on a charcoal grill. But again, it’s really, really important to keep in mind that charcoal grills are NOT designed to burn wood, so you will need to take extra precautions to ensure that it is done safely.
The same rules apply and are recommended here! You should never use a charcoal grill to burn wood on a wooden deck or any other flammable surface, and you should make sure that the grill is placed on a sturdy and non-flammable base.
Additionally, you should never leave a fire unattended, and you should always make sure that the fire is completely extinguished before leaving the area. It’s also a good idea to avoid using any chemicals or accelerants when burning wood in a charcoal grill, as these can be dangerous and cause the fire to spread quickly.
The winter season can be extremely challenging; the cold weather, the shorter days, and the lack of sunlight affect your mental health. But by using a BBQ grill fire pit, you can create a warm and inviting space for your family to enjoy.
The next time temperatures drop, don’t let them get you down, even if you don’t have a fire pit. Prepare a makeshift BBQ grill and gather your family around the fire to keep warm.