Rediscover the Campfire
Before there were grills, there were campfires, and they’re still magical. You can have plenty of fun with a little fireplace in the backyard. (Check your local ordinances to make sure it is allowed.) Here are two methods:
The Pit: Dig a hole about 10 cm deep and 60 cm in diameter, and place some round stones in a circle, very close together, along the edge. A mere 10 or 15 rocks about the size of a softball will do the job-there’s your fire pit.
The Fireplace: If you happen to have flat stones, and more of them, you can build a little fireplace. Pile the rocks on three sides and leave it open on one side to allow you to get at the fire. The stones should be piled high enough to shield the fire from wind without cutting off the air supply.
Starting It Up: After you have your fire pit, make the fire. If you’re in the backyard, crumple up some paper (look for bark or dry leaves if you’re in the woods). Loosely arrange small twigs over the paper, bark, or leaves to create a tepee. Add a layer of slightly larger twigs on top of that. Then light the paper. As soon as the twigs have caught fire, start piling on more twigs, using ever-larger ones as the fire gets going. When the fire will burn sticks of 5 cm in diameter, pile on enough so that when they burn down, they’ll create a nice bed of coals. That could take a half hour or more, depending on how big a fire you have.
Cooking Tips: Once you have red-hot coals, it’s time to cook. In keeping with the primitiveness of it, find and cut a couple of nice slim branches. Sharpen one end of one with a jackknife, and poke it through a couple of hot dogs to roast over the fire. Toast a couple of rolls at the same time on the other stick. Add a piece of firewood occasionally if you don’t want the fire to go out. When you’ve had your fill, use the sticks to toast a few marshmallows. Be sure to douse the fire completely when you’re done, even if it looks as if it has gone out. The fire pit or fireplace can be used over and over again.
Grilled watermelon, who knew? These easy grilling ideas will be unexpected hits at your next barbecue.