Chimineas were invented in Mexico in the 17th century. The original chimineas were pumpkin-shaped clay ovens used to bake bread. The bottom of the chiminea was wide with a large opening in the front and the chiminea had a 3-foot tall chimney. Once the coals were hot, food was placed directly on the coals using either a large metal sheet (for baking bread) or food was threaded on skewers.
Today, most chimineas are manufactured using cast iron and come with a grill that can slide out. Whether you have a cast iron chiminea or a traditional clay chiminea, you can cook delicious meals using the following chiminea cooking tips.
Heating the Chiminea
You should light the fire in your chiminea approximately 20 minutes before you are ready to start cooking. You can use wood or charcoal briquettes for your fire. Novices often do better using charcoal briquettes rather than wood. It is important to remember that you should never use any type of accelerant in a chiminea as it can cause an explosion in the confined cooking space. You can use self-lighting charcoal in a chiminea without worrying about an explosion. If you’re looking for a chimnea then check out this one from Outdoor Art Pros.
Prepping Your Food
One of the most important things you can do is to make that your meat is of equal size and thickness. This will ensure even cooking. If you will be cooking bratwurst or other types of sausage, prick the outside with a fork to help the juices drain.
Choosing a Cooking Vessel
Once the food is prepped, it is time to place the food on the cooking vessel of your choice. Food can be threaded on skewers, wrapped in foil packets or placed on metal cooking sheets.
Placing Your Food in a Chiminea
Grab a pair of long barbecue tongs to place your food in the chiminea. Foil packets can be placed directly on your coals or on a grill rack/metal sheet. Skewers can be angled above the coals or placed on a grill rack in the chiminea.
Check your food every fifteen minutes as a chiminea cooks food quickly because the heat surrounds the food and cooks from all angles. The juices from your meat should be clear. Foil packets typically take longer than direct grill foods.