Is there anything more outdoorsy than cooking over an open fire?
Well, maybe tearing the meat right off the freshly killed bones, then cooking it over an open fire….but we aren’t touching that topic today.
But a cooking method that’s right up there with smoking meat in terms of awesomeness is cooking over an open fire.
Plenty of people do this while camping, but they’re using cast iron pots or old frying pans, not letting the fire do the real work for them.
Today, we’re going to change that and help you pick one of the best fire pit grills to get your fire-roasted goodness going, ASAP.
Get stoked, because we’re about to go all-in.
Can you grill on a fire pit?
This is the first question everyone asks.
Here’s the easy answer: is there fire? Yes. Does fire cook things? Yes.
So the clear answer is YES, you can grill on a fire pit.
The specific setup is up to you, and that’s what we’re to help you build.
The two ways to cook on a fire pit are this:
- But a cooking-ready fire pit grill setup, or
- Buying a fire pit grill grate that fits over/with your existing fire pit.
We’ll help you pick the right choice for you, either style. Below you’ll find the top 4 choices for each style, reviewed.
4 Best Fire Pit Grills for 2020
- Finether Outdoor Square Fire Pit with BBQ Grill Grate
- Painted Steel, Mesh, + Stainless Steel Grilling Grate
- Mesh Screen Cover, Fire Poker
- 24 inches x 24 inches
- Kingso 2-in-1 Outdoor Heavy Duty Fire Pit with Cooking Grate
- Heavy Duty Painted Steel, Mesh, + Ceramic Grilling Grate
- Mesh Screen Cover, Fire Poker
- 30 inches
- Bali Outdoors Wood Burning Fire Pit with Cooking Grill
- Heavy Duty Painted Steel, Mesh
- Log Rack, Fire Poker
- 18 inches
Here is a round, standalone fire pit with a built-in grilling grate. Where this grill shines, despite being a slightly smaller size, is in the adjustable height on the grilling grate.
Also, the grate covers over the entire fire fairly symmetrically, which makes for a nice even grilling surface.
The cooking grate is ceramic, which makes for excellent heat transfer and consistency, as well as a readily cleaned surface. We like that this grate is removable, so you don’t have to have some awkward side thing in the way when you’re just roasting marshmallows over the fire with the kids!
Here is a square wood fire pit option, for those who like a different geometry in their backyard space.
Or maybe you’ve just got a really small backyard and having even a fire pit, a small gas grill, and charcoal grill won’t all fit, so here’s your next best option.
We love how seamlessly everything fits together in this fire pit, for a solid cooking experience similar to the typical rectangular grilling surface. You can store it all in one compact package, at just about 2 feet in every direction.
The celestial pattern on the sides adds a nice touch for some unique ambiance during your grilling session.
This made in the USA fire pit grill combo is a nice choice for smaller spaces, which is pretty important for an intimate backyard fire pit area!
That said, you’re not likely to cook many multi-serving meals with this fire pit grill, since it’s not the biggest grate out there. The fire pit itself is only about 30 by 12 inches, so it’s fairly small.
But for the typical preference of having a nice backyard fire pit that you can sometimes cook over, without having your arm tire from holding a roasting fork, we love this design. The cooking grate that simply swivels out of the way, so there’s no setting it in the dirt and losing it in the dark! #win
While this isn’t going to be the first choice for a backyard fixture, this just might be the ideal camping accessory!
This is as easy to set up as a quad chair but just as functional as all the other fire pits in this list!
Here’s what makes this fire pit super cool and super unique: a folding fire pit stand, a heat shield, and a tri-folding grilling grate.
Yes, you can have your fire and (almost) take it with you, too! This grate holds up to 75 pounds, so when you’re planning on tailgating with a big crowd this is (probably) going to do the job, no matter how many hours you’re out there!
The stainless steel grate can be counted on to provide 370 sq inches of easy-to-clean cooking space, so you can plan on getting your grill on for a long time with this setup!
4 Best Fire Pit Grill Grates for 2020
- onlyfire BBQ Solid Stainless Steel Cooking Grate, 36-Inch
- Stainless Steel
- 36 inches
- Sunnydaze X-Marks Fire Pit Cooking Grate
- Heavy Duty Painted Steel
- Multiple Options
- Titan Great Outdoors Adjustable Swivel Grill Fire Pit Grate + Griddle Plate
- Powder-Coated Steel, Rolled Steel
- 60 inches tall, 18 inches square (griddle), 24 inches square (grill grate)
This is a solid option for a fire pit grill insert if you tend to do a lot of smaller size grilling, like grilling vegetables or more delicate meat cuts like cutlets, tenderloins, or fish. In comparison to the wider, straight grate spacing like our second option, this will help prevent smaller size pieces from dropping down into the fire!
Another thing we like about this grate is the painted steel construction, which just provides a nice look to your custom made fire pit grill.
The fact that this comes in a variety of sizes makes this almost the perfect fit for every fire pit imaginable!
Having the handles off to the side make removal after cooking easy, if desired. If you size this grate properly and have a lower, slower cooking fire, you may still find them safe to touch when cooking is done!
This is a nice option for a large fire pit size, especially classic round built-in/block style fire pits, but do double-check that this will fit across your fire pit!
If you have a very shallow basin-style fire pit, this may not be your best option since you won’t be able to get a very hot fire going in the small space between pit bottom and grate. If you can’t get a solid, hot fire going, you’ll be waiting ages to finish cooking your meal!
With stainless steel construction, you’ll enjoy good durability and easy cleaning when the cooking is done.
The handles are attached to the grate for quick removal, but being metal, towards the cooking area, and over a fire note that they’ll obviously be pretty hot when cooking is done!
This adjustable fire pit grill grate might be one of our favorite options, due to the dual cooking surfaces, but it loses a few points for needing to be staked into the ground (not great for patio fire pits), and for having a much smaller cooking area than our first two options.
That said, if you’re simply looking for a grate that works over either an open fire or your camping charcoal grill, this is the one to get! With solid steel construction and a powder coated finish, you can expect this to last you quite some time!
This is a great tool for a superior open-fire cooking configuration! Cook meat on the lower level and toast buns on the griddle, or fry up some eggs for breakfast on the top while the sausages sizzle away on the bottom layer. We love that this works as a traditional grill surface or a fire pit flat top grill surface.
We love the smaller size of this fire grate for a portable grilling experience. At just about 2 feet long by just under 1.5 feet wide, this is a nice, durable fire pit grill grate in a compact package.
With legs that fold flat for storage, you also get the added flexibility of using this grate over any style fire pit or even over an open fire built directly on the ground!
The steel mesh top provides those picture-perfect grill marks every time, and prevents smaller foods from dropping through.
As another great idea, if you’re camping and happen to have a flat-top grill or griddle-grill combo, you could try using the griddle panel on top of this guy for a legit, backwoods, open-fire breakfast!
Fire Pit Grills Buying Guide
Most of the sizes you find are going to be smaller, as standalone backyard fire pits often are.
Where you’ll be able to get yourself set up with a custom larger fire pit grill, is in having your own custom-built fire pit in the backyard and choosing a larger grilling grate accessory to go with it.
Are you looking for a fire pit grill to be an all-in-one, often used backyard fixture? Or do you prefer the idea of throwing back a few brews with the bros and you’ll grill a steak once in a while?
For the frequently used statement cooking setup, get yourself the all-in-one fire pit with a grilling grate built in or included in some way.
If you want more flexibility, the staked grate or folding table-shaped grate on this list might be a better configuration for you.
Look for durable steel or similar for your fire pit, to be able to withstand the heat of a direct flame and the fire burning hot right against the metal.
Everything on this list will let you grill some hot dogs for the kids over an open fire.
But when you’re deciding on style, you’ll also be deciding how functional your open-fire cooking setup is. The fire pit grill combos will give you multiple uses, but likely no griddle plate. The mutli-level staked option, with both griddle and grill, won’t work on your beautiful stamped concrete back patio.
Consider the functions of the grilling grate itself (and if that works with your dream setup) before purchasing.
All options on this list are wood-based (although some could be used with a charcoal fuel source as well). The idea of cooking directly into a propane fire is often frowned upon, which is why you won’t find any propane fire pit grills on this list.
Fire Pit Grills – FAQ
Can you use charcoal for a fire pit?
Yes. Charcoal burns as a hot but fairly flameless fire, much less dramatic than a wood burning fire. If the fire pit can withstand an open wood-burning flame, it can handle a charcoal fire.
Can you grill on a propane fire pit?
While you could use some of the add-on fire pit grill grates above with a propane fire pit, it’s not recommended.
Burning directly over a propane flame (which is a little bit different than cooking over a propane grill) is not recommended, and grease dripping off the food can make for clogs and a forever not-quite-right fire pit from then on.
What wood should I use to cook in a fire pit grill?
I mean, wood is wood, so just run with it, right?
In a pinch, sure. But if you’re going to really make this fire pit grill a true culinary masterpiece of an experience, then you’re going to get the tastiest flavor for your meat by choosing the same wood as for your best smoking wood choices.
What can I grill over a fire pit?
If you need fire pit grill ideas, you’re lacking imagination. Anything you can grill on a traditional grill, you can grill over your fire pit!
Check out our grilling recipes section for some inspiration, if you’re really stuck!
Final Thoughts On Fire Pit Grills
While this is a far less common method of grilling, it’s a pretty awesome way to get that outdoorsy, camping-under-the-stars feel of cooking right within your backyard.
If you’re the type to prefer the more upscale look look of a stately metal standalone fire pit, you’ll want to opt for the Kingso 2-in-1 Outdoor Heavy Duty Fire Pit with Cooking Grate. This will give you the best of both worlds for a relaxing fire or a functional cooking station.
If you’d like to customize your cooking experience a little bit more, and have the option of cooking over your backyard fire pit OR on your open ground fire at the camp site, you’ll probably prefer the option of the Sunnydaze X-Marks Fire Pit Cooking Grate. This will rest atop most standalone fire pits (either freestanding or built-ins), and can be rigged up on a hanging stand to hang over an open campfire.
Happy cooking, you pyros!