The Top Fire Pits For Outdoor Cooking in 2022

A crackling fire pit is essential to any outdoor gathering, whether sizzling steaks or glazed ribs are cooked over it or gooey s'mores are eaten around it. An outdoor wood-burning fire pit grill combination may be the perfect companion if you enjoy spending time outdoors, cooking, and unwinding. There is nothing like outdoor, open-fire cooking.

There are several "fire feature" choices available, from a stone or wood burning fire pit to a chiminea, whether you want to heat your outdoor area with wood or propane. You won't find any natural gas or propane fire pits on this list since we’ve limited it to actual, wood-burning fire pits with outdoor cooking and grilling elements and accessories. 

Here, you get the best of both worlds; an outdoor fire pit and charcoal grill all-in-one that allows you to gather, cook, dine and relax after dinner with these wood or charcoal-burning fire pit options.

When buying a fire pit for both outdoor cooking and gathering, keep the following in mind: 

1. Fire Pit Materials

Fire pits made of sturdy materials last longer and endure over several decades. The materials also affect the heat retaining properties. Therefore, it's crucial that you consider the construction materials before choosing a fire pit. The following materials are all highly durable: cast iron, steel, ceramic, stone, and marble stone. All of the fire pits on our list are cast iron and steel. 

Metal fire pits are excellent as they are strong and are less likely to crumble over time like those made of clay. They don't require a lot of maintenance and are simple to clean. Because a cast iron or steel fire pit doesn't need much upkeep and can withstand weather elements well, it may be used all year long. 

When comparing steel to cast iron, cast iron fire pits have longer lifespans, especially if they receive regular maintenance. Compared to steel, they are typically more expensive, but with proper care, they can last generations, making them worthwhile investments. 

2. Structure and Size

You should consider your outdoor space while selecting your fire pit's size. Go with a larger one if you need a fire pit for a big space or would like to have a more focal gathering spot for family and friends. For example, The 30-Gallon Sea Island Forge Fire Kettle (42” diameter) can accommodate 8-10 seated adults comfortably (depending on your chair selections— Adirondacks, for example, have a much larger footprint than other seating choices). The 50-Gallon size (60" diameter) can accommodate 10-16 (again, varies by seating choice). Medium-sized fire pits can also work well for you if you intend to put them in a smaller yard or patio. Be sure to consider the foundation of your fire pit. We recommend placing your fire pit on a solid, temperature-resistant base for safety reasons. We recommend pavers, brick, or slate, at least 1.5” thick to protect from radiant heat. 

When it comes to cooking space, grill surfaces vary in size and this can be an important consideration. For example, you can easily fit food for 20-30 people on the 30-Gallon Grill add-on.

3. Your Goals

Think about your purpose for purchasing a fire pit. Are you wanting to host sizable parties? Do you imagine cooking a large meal with family and staying gathered around the fire pit late into the night? If so, you may want to choose fire pits that are larger in size; at least 30” in diameter, produce intense heat, and have more safety features. Do you want to spend less time and effort on preparing or cleaning the fire pit? Choose the option with simple maintenance requirements and user-friendly features. 

Do you want to invest in a piece that can stay in your family for generations? You'll need to consider spending a little more and paying attention to the products with strong construction and high-quality materials. To strike the ideal balance between your purchasing dreams and needs, it’s important to do your research and consider your personal use case. We’re hoping this article does that leg work for you. 

We’ve carefully selected a list of top-notch outdoor fire pits that can be used for outdoor cooking for backyard or patio use, resort properties, vineyards, and hotels. They are not listed in any particular order as they’re all great charcoal or wood-burning fire pits that come with grilling and cooking accessories. Each has strong features depending on what you’re looking for.

The Multi-Purpose One: Sea Island Forge Grilling System

We may be tooting our own horn a bit, but we are really proud to craft such a high-quality and versatile fire pit and grilling option. The SIF Fire Kettle is hand-forged using cast ductile iron and galvanized carbon steel, designed to outlive us all. Customers love the ability to grill while sitting around the fire with friends and family. It truly is an all-in-one piece. You can stay seated in one comfortable spot around the flames the entire evening with your guests, all while cooking appetizers and entrees, eating, and roasting marshmallows, and sipping bourbon to finish out the night.

The patented Grill attachment is definitely what sets this outdoor cooking piece apart from the others. The grill grate raises and lowers, as well as swings side to side, allowing for precise temperature control. Added bonus, the maneuverability of this grill allows easy access to your fire, without removing all your food! The Heat Dome 2.0 enhances flavor by locking in juices to keep meats tender and by spreading a mouthwatering smokey flavor across your cuisine. It also comes with a thermometer and a smoke valve for even greater control and precision over cooking temperatures. Additional attachments are also available, such as a Griddle or fire-side burner that can accommodate skillets, dutch ovens, cast-iron pans, or even coffee pots. 

Sea Island Forge customers quickly become evangelists. Professional chefs like Chef Cory Bahr with Parish Restaurant are big fans of the Grilling System, “Cooking over a live fire is one of the most rewarding experiences I can think of. Steve and Sandy of Sea Island Forge have created one of the finest cooking instruments I’ve ever worked with. The craftsmanship and thoughtfulness of each and every piece is unparalleled”.

1. Overall Features

  • Size: 30-Gallon, 42 inches. 
  • Weight: 220 lbs.
  • Price: $3,650.00.
  • Includes 30-Gallon cast ductile iron Fire Kettle, galvanized steel boot rail stand, stainless steel 30-Gallon fire pit grill with mounting plate, stainless steel heat dome, and hand-hammered twisted poker. The grill provides 3.3 square feet of cooking space.

2. What You're Going To Like

  • Two Kettle sizes to choose from. 
  • High Durability: Heirloom-quality cast ductile iron bowl and galvanized carbon steel stand. Fun Fact: Ductile iron is more durable and long-lasting than traditional gray iron of antique syrup Kettles.
  • Safety Features: Twisted galvanized steel boot rail dissipates heat and prevents any burning when touched. Your guests’ shoes will be protected! 
  • Easy Assembly: No tools required. 
  • Gather while you cook. Your guests can enjoy the fire pit while your food is precisely cooked on the grill. 
  • Adaptable Food Temperature Control Options: The patented grill ratchet system allows the grill to be easily raised, lowered, and rotated to and from the heat to provide many cooking temperature options easily. It is also easy to access and tend your fire. 
  • Easy to add and remove grill features before and after cooking.
  • Easy Cleanup: Clean just like a kitchen cast-iron skillet. The Kettle bowl can be seasoned with vegetable oil. The Grill is stainless steel and can be cleaned between burns with soap and water.
  • Not interested in a wood-burning fire pit? This Grilling System allows you to use your favorite charcoal for grilling and cooking as well, or a combination of the two.

3. Things To Take Into Account

  • Can patina over time and is recommended to oil regularly to “season” the cast iron bowl.
  • Is Heavy Duty and you will need friends to move it. Regular-sized Kettle is 225 lb (30 gallons) and the largest is 370 lb (50 gallons).

The Rustic One: Cowboy Cauldron Steel Fire Pit and Grill Ranch Boss

A Cowboy Cauldron gives a rustic focal point to an outdoor entertainment area and its style goes well with both conventional and contemporary patio furniture. The unique tripod design comes in four different sizes, from a portable 70 lb The Dude to the 304 lb Ranch Boss, which is ideal for hosting larger gatherings. Cowboy Cauldrons have been an especially popular choice for boutique hotels, restaurants, ski resorts, and dude ranches. Users appreciate how innovative and functional it is.

One reviewer mentions the thoughtful design of the Cauldron: “It invokes the past while modern and durable. Like a classic sports car, sitting still it still looks beautiful and ready for action.” If you’d like grilling accessories, the company sells additional tools and extras including pot tongs, pigtails, trammels, cauldron lids, and hand-forged chains.

1. Overall Features

  • Size: 30-Gallon Kettle, 42 inches.
  • Weight: 304 lbs.
  • Price: $3,999.00.
  • Includes a seamless plate steel basin, tripod, hang chain, aluminum composite waterproof cover with stainless steel clips, grate, grate support, and cooking grill.

2. What You're Going To Like

  • Unbreakable Basin: The seamless plate steel basin is resistant to heat, weather, and breaking. Because of the thickness of the steel, the basin heats up gradually and disperses heat evenly.
  • Durability: The basin is plate steel and the frames are zinc treated and powder coated.
  • Smoke is raised away from the face due to the suspended cauldron’s height.
  • Adjustable Height: Basin can be raised or lowered to sit or stand next to the pit.
  • Easy Set up: No tools required. 
  • Four cauldron sizes to choose from.
  • Grill feature has hinges that allow the grill to be easily removed or added back to stoke the fire or move coals.

3. Things To Take Into Account

  • No adjustable ratchet system for grilling temperature control. 
  • When setting up or touching the cauldron, be sure to wear workman's gloves and cover your legs (the cauldron can swing when tending the food on the grill). They become very hot and do not have a protective barrier around them.

The Semi-Portable One: The KUDU Open Fire Grill Master Package

While the first two open fire cooking options on this list are fire pits with grill accessories, the KUDU Open Fire Grill is a charcoal grill with a fire pit accessory. Similar to the Sea Iron Forge Kettle and Grill, by raising the cast iron pan and grill grate away from the flame, you can simply adjust the two cooking surfaces horizontally and vertically from high heat to low heat and back again in seconds.

This transportable system meant for cooking over fire in the backyard has a variety of cooking options and can be quickly transformed into a raised vertical fire pit after you're done cooking. Just attach the ring assembly to the vertical bars to create a roaring fire for socializing with loved ones.

1. Overall Features

  • Size: 19” cooking surface.
  • Weight: 75 lbs.
  • Price: $999.00.
  • Includes coated heavy gauge steel base, stainless steel grill grate, two elevation bars with bolts, cast iron skillet, fire Rings, a Dutch oven, a Dutch oven hanger, a rotisserie, a carry case, a cutting board, and coal baskets.

2. What You're Going To Like

  • Greater portability is possible with less weight.
  • Flexible Options for Controlling Food Temperature: through elevation bars you can raise and lower two cooking surfaces above the heat.
  • Extremely easy assembly and breakdown in minutes creates easy portability. 
  • Attach the ring assembly to the vertical bars to create a “fire pit” to enjoy.
  • Removable legs and self-leveling feet.
  • Safety Features: Cool-coil handles for moving the grill.
  • Easy to add and remove grill features before and after cooking.
  • Has other innovative accessories, such as the Kudu Rotisserie

3. Things To Take Into Account

  • Has a grill aesthetic instead of a fire pit look.
  • Even though it is a “grill,” it does not come with a lid thermometer, or wheels to create more ease or portability. 
  • Less durability compared to the others (5-year limited warranty).

The Popular One: Yukon Solo Stove Fire Pit with Fire Pit Cooking System*

What is a fire pit list without a sleek and portable Solo Stove? The smokeless fire pits from Solo Stove were first launched in 2018 and have a special ventilation system that is intended to reduce smoke for individuals seated close to them. A ring of vents at the bottom draws air in, some of which is directed into the fire chamber to feed it, while the remainder is directed through small gaps on the walls, heated, and then forced out across the top of the fire. Small wood particles that would normally form smoke are killed off in a way known as a "secondary burn" as a result of this. 

Three years later, Solo Stove released a Fire Pit Cooking System* that can fit the three different fire pit sizes offered. It is comprised of a cast-iron grill with wide grates for the flow of woodsy flavor and a non-stick, pre-seasoned surface. This is contained within a hub component, which connects to the fire pits of Solo Stoves to provide a cooking height of six to eight inches (15 to 20 cm) above the flames, allowing the chef to sear, roast, and flavor food over the wood-fire of the fire pit without turning those wings or burgers into charred crisps.

1. Overall Features

  • Size: 17.5” cooking surface.
  • Height: 23-25” (17” Solo Stove with 6-8” grill hub).
  • Weight: 59 lbs (38 lb Solo Stove + 21 lb Cooking System).
  • Price: $669.98 ($399.99 for Yukon Fire Pit + $269.99 for Cooking System). 
  • Includes shiny double-walled stainless steel fire pit and cast-iron grill grate with hub component.

2. What You're Going To Like

  • Smokeless Fire Pit: Signature 360° Airflow technology greatly reduces smoke output.
  • Portable- only 59 lbs total.
  • Solo Stove itself is all one piece - extremely easy assembly and clean-up.
  • Lifetime warranty for Solo Stove.

 3. Things To Take Into Account

  • Smaller cooking surface than the other options.
  • Because of its shape, the heat reflector is a recommended add-on. Most of the heat dissipates quickly and does not radiate outward. 
  • No adjustable ratchet system for grilling temperature control. The Yukon burns hot so timing will be critical when cooking. 
  • Cut your kindling to the recommended specification to achieve a truly smokeless experience. 

*Solo Stove came out with a Solo Stove Grill Ultimate Bundle in 2020, which has its patented 360° Airflow technology, but Solo Stove doesn’t advise using the grill as a fire pit because it won't create a smoke-free fire and won't offer as much protection from the flames due to how shallow it is. This means it won't produce an effective, smoke-free fire pit flame like the Solo Stove Fire Pit that reaches over 1200 degrees, but it does create an approachable outdoor cooking experience.

The Smokeless One: X30 BREEO Smokeless Fire Pit Grilling Bundle

Each fire pit in the Breeo X Series is constructed of steel in Pennsylvania and comes in either a traditional stainless steel finish or corten steel, which is intended to weather outside and acquire a natural reddish patina, which is BREEO’s signature look. One of the biggest smokeless fire pits that BREEO offers is the X30, which is the most comparable to the other outdoor cooking fire pits on this list. 

What makes this wood-burning fire pit unique from the other four here is the sear plate that surrounds it completely. Steaks or hamburgers, for instance, can be cooked right on the sear plate. A second port for an outpost grill is also included on the large stainless steel plate. This style is not meant to be carried around frequently like a portable fire pit. Instead, these tough outdoor fire pits with their distinctive red Corten steel surface are intended to be the focal point of an outdoor area.

 1. Overall Features

  • Size: 34-gallon fire pit, Diameter of 34.5” with an inner opening of 30”.
  • Weight: 115 lbs.
  • Price: $1689.00 for corten steel, $1,939 for stainless steel.
  • Includes 7” wide sear plate, x series corten steel or stainless steel smokeless fire pit, outpost grill, lid, and ash shovel.

2. What You're Going To Like

  • Smokeless Fit Pit: Breeo's X airflow technology secondary combustion double wall system almost eliminates smoke.
  • Has two holes on each side for ease of adding outpost systems and cooking grates or accessories.
  • Temperature Control: The knob on the grill allows the grill grate to be slowly moved up and down.

3. Things To Take Into Account

  • The rust build-up on the Corten steel surface, which creates a unique aesthetic, can also easily rub off onto clothing.
  • Knob creates less ease than an adjustable ratchet system for grilling temperature control. 
  • Cut your kindling to the recommended specification to achieve a truly smokeless experience. 

To Sum it all up….

In general, you get what you pay for with these firepits. Steel and cast iron fire pits will outlast all others. In our opinion, they’re worth the investment. One of the simplest ways to create a cozy and welcoming ambiance on your patio, deck, poolside, or any other outdoor space where you wish to host visitors is with a fire pit. It's also simple to set up and keep up. If you want to provide your visitors a place to cook outside and lots of seating around a cozy fire pit so they can converse while getting warm by the flames, think about one of these possibilities.

We have had the pleasure of working alongside chefs and friends enjoying all of the cooking systems mentioned here; whether at food and wine festivals or in a friend's backyard. We enjoyed doing our research and we wish you the best of luck if you are shopping for a centerpiece for entertaining and good food. 

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About

With backgrounds in construction, custom furniture, product design, photography and art, Steve and Sandy Schoettle envisioned a business that combined their respective crafts and a passion for bringing people together. Today, the Schoettles and their team of talented artisans have built just that with a line of legacy pieces that perfect the fireside experience. Outdoor gatherings around a roaring fire and the simple, meaningful traditions they foster are the cornerstone of the Sea Island Forge lifestyle.