By Christie Vanover | Published June 20, 2016 | Last Updated February 22, 2023

How to Grill on a Fire Pit

Backyards across America are stocked with fire pits.


They make the party more fun. Who wants to be that house where you sit in a circle around a whole lot of nothing?

Not this girl.

If you’ve joined the fire pit fan club, you’re surely the place to be on the block, but have you tried grilling on your fire pit?

Read our article “How to Make a Fire Pit Grill” to learn how to build your own Fire Pit Grill. Then, grab your coals and steaks and get the party started.


You’re at the store looking at the variety of coals to choose from. Resist the urge to grab the briquettes. For your pit (and really all barbecuing), I recommend going with lump charcoal. It produces a lot less ash, so it makes cleanup really easy.

Fire Pit Grill

Pile the coals in the center, leaving an outer circumference without coals. This way you can cook your food over high direct heat or lower indirect heat.

You can light the coals with a charcoal chimney, but I prefer to add fire starters to the coals. I tuck two in, light them up, add the Sunnydaze X-Marks Fire Pit Grate and let the coals burn for 20-30 minutes.

From here, just follow any recipe. If the recipe calls for direct heat, cook over the center. If it calls for indirect cooking, move the food to the edges.

One thing to remember, this grill setup doesn’t have a lid, so the food may take a little bit longer to cook.

On a recent trip to South Carolina for a Foodie Pop-Up Workshop, I grilled with this setup with Kita from Girl Carnivore and Ally from Ally’s Kitchen. We grilled everything from chicken to New York Strip to flank steak to veg. It was a hit.

How to Grill on a Fire Pit


If you want to skip the grate and cook on a stick, be sure to use long skewers. We like Steven Raichlen’s Best of Barbecue Signature Stainless Steel Grilling Kabob Skewers.

  • They’re 17 inches long, keeping your hand clear of the fire.
  • They’re flat, so your food won’t spin around when you try to turn it.
  • They’re very sturdy, so they can hold a heavy load
  • And they’re pretty stylish


Take time to enjoy the killer meal you just prepared. Then, you have two options: let the coals burn out and clean it in the morning. Or, remove the grill grate and keep the party going by adding firewood and roasting up some marshmallows.

If you used lump charcoal, you can sprinkle the cooled ashes in your garden. If you used briquettes, you’ll need to let the coals cool completely and then toss them in the trash.