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what to burn in a chiminea

Cast Iron Chiminea, Chiminea maintenance and care, Clay Chiminea, Steel Chiminea

Top 5 Essential Chiminea Accessories

When you’re buying a chiminea, you need to think about what accessories you’re going to need. Chimineas do require some protection from the weather, and there are a few absolute essentials which will make using and enjoying your chiminea not only safer, but a lot more fun, too.

Insulated Waterproof Cover

Medium Insulated Waterproof Cover

1. Cover – this is an absolute necessity for any chiminea. Covers should be UV-proof (to help prevent fading), waterproof, and tear-proof. Cast iron chimineas will rust if left out in the rain, and even enamel-coated steel chimineas may be susceptible to rust if water gets into the joins and into the bowl. Clay chimineas should never be used when even slightly damp, otherwise they might crack, and a large crack can be catastrophic for your chiminea. The clay is slightly porous and will absorb a small amount of water, so you must be sure it is absolutely dry before you attempt to light a fire in it, which is why a waterproof cover is so essential.

If you have a clay chiminea, you should really buy a padded insulated cover before the winter – a clay chiminea may crack if left out in the frost, which will certainly shorten its operational lifespan.

2. Pumice Stones – these are an essential addition to your clay chiminea. If you wish, you could use sand or gravel. Pumice stones are recommended because the aerated structure of the pumice makes it a great insulator, but as long as you have something between the hot fuel and the bowl of the chiminea, you can use any good insulating material. Please note that cast iron and steel chimineas don’t require this layer of insulation.

3. Sturdy Fire Gloves – the area surrounding the chiminea will get extremely hot and if you happen to accidentally touch the sides of the chiminea, you could burn yourself quite badly, so a pair of sturdy fire gloves are a sensible accessory for your chiminea. A chiminea guard (similar to a fire grate) is also a great investment if you have children or pets.

4. Poker – ideal for redistributing hot fuel, a poker is an absolute necessity for any chiminea. You can also use it to stir up the embers to encourage a fiercer burn if the fire starts to die down.

5. Fuel – of course, you’ll need something to burn in your chiminea. Charcoal is good for cast iron or steel chimineas, particularly if you’re using your chiminea for cooking, as are wood-based fuels. You can use charcoal in some clay chimineas, particularly those intended for barbecues, such as the Cozumel range, but please check the instructions as charcoal burns too hot for most clay chimineas. Wood-based fuel, in the form of timber or heat logs, is fine for every clay chiminea, and you can also use Logmakers to make your own fuel from household and garden waste.

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Cooking with your chiminea or firebowl

Using Your Chiminea To Make Pizza

You can use your chiminea to make pizza, just as you can use your chiminea for barbeques and grilling.

You’ll need some equipment before you start: first, some good-quality charcoal. You can use charcoal briquettes, but pure charcoal is better for cooking in our opinion because it’s additive-free. If you have a clay chiminea, it might be worth finding another fuel which will provide the necessary heat as some clay chimineas cannot stand the heat generated by charcoal. Wood (preferably non-resinous, such as oak, apple, or cherry), or fuel suitable for barbeques, such as heat logs, should work fine, but you might need to increase your cooking times. If you want, you can add a few smoke chips to the fuel for additional flavour.

If your chiminea does not have a grill, you can make a platform for cooking by placing a few firebricks in the bottom of your chiminea and placing a big ceramic tile or metal grill over the top. Some clay chimineas have a relatively narrow mouth, so ensure you have enough room to get the pizza in and out. Be aware that the pizza can sometimes unexpectedly slide off the cooking surface, so be careful when turning the pizza, and wear thick gloves to protect your hands.

Ensure your chiminea has been properly seasoned, or, if it’s a cast iron or steel chiminea, that it’s been fired up a few times before you use it for cooking. Make a pile of fuel in the centre of the bowl and light it. Once the charcoal has turned grey/white, or the fiercer flames have died down (if you’re using wood), rake over the fuel and pile most of it off to the sides, while keeping an even lay directly under your cooking surface. You want an indirect heat underneath the pizza, so try to make sure any larger flames are well off to the sides.

If you’re using a pizza stone, please note that they are not designed to take direct heat, so ensure the flames have died down a little before you put the stone into the chiminea. Preheat the stone in the chiminea for about 15 minutes to ensure a crispy base for your pizza. If you’re worried about your pizza sticking, you can line the cooking surface with foil.

Cooking a Pizza on the Toledo Large

Cooking a Pizza on the Toledo Large

Make up your pizza dough – use your favourite recipe. If you want to take a short-cut, use a ready-made base. A thinner base is quicker to cook, and you might need less sauce than you would for an oven-cooked pizza.

Have your toppings pre-cooked and the dough stretched or rolled out to keep assembly as quick as possible. If you’re cooking directly on a grill, make sure to wipe it with olive oil just before cooking to minimise sticking. Pull out the pizza stone or grill and assemble your pizza.

If you want a thicker crust, part-bake the crust first, then turn it over to ensure even cooking before adding the sauce and toppings.

Replace the stone or grill in the chiminea and keep an eye on the pizza. If the heat inside the chiminea is adequate, your pizza should only take a few minutes to cook. It’s cooked when the crust is a delicate golden-brown, the cheese (if using) is melted, the other toppings slightly browned, and the underside of the pizza an even golden-brown.

If you’re not too overzealous with the toppings, moving your pizza in and out of the chiminea should be easy enough. If you go a bit heavy on the sauce or toppings, the pizza might sag in the middle.

If you’re cooking anything else at the same time (such as vegetables or potatoes), you can wrap these in foil and nestle them in the hot coals (this only works with charcoal), but bear in mind these take longer to cook, so get these in long before the pizza.

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Chiminea accessories and fuel

Ocote Natural Firelighters Now in Stock

We now have 1kg bags of Ocote Natural firelighters in stock. Ocote is wood from the Montezuma pine, a fast-growing pine native to Mexico and Central America. Ocote is a pale colour and burns extremely well due to the unusually flammable resin distinct to this type of conifer. Due to high demand, the Montezuma pine is grown commercially in many places, but these sticks are bought fairly from poor communities in the Guatemalan highlands.

To use, simply place a few in your chiminea and pile other kindling or paper over the top and light the ends. Using Ocote to light your chiminea is recommended in the case of clay chimineas as there is no risk of cracking the clay, as may occur with some other fuels.

Ocote is 100% natural and gives off a distinctive, sweet smell when burned.

You can buy the 1kg bags here. Also available in packs of 10 1kg bags.

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Chiminea maintenance and care, Clay Chiminea

Preparing Your Clay Chiminea for Use

When you buy a clay chiminea, you must first season or ‘cure’ it before use. Seasoning your chiminea will extend its operational lifespan and help prevent cracks forming when the chiminea is used.

You can easily and quickly season your chiminea. It’s best to make sure you have positioned your chiminea precisely where you want it before you start seasoning your chiminea. Start by layering some sand, pea gravel, or lava (or pumice) stones in the bottom or the bowl of the chiminea. You’ll want to fill it up to about three-quarters to the mouth of the chiminea to make sure the flames aren’t coming into direct contact with the clay. The amount of sand or stone you will need depends on the size of your chiminea. Clay chimineas are available in many different sizes from a cozumel to an extra-large Mexican chiminea.

You can at this point make a rudimentary ‘grate’ by placing two bricks on top of the sand or stones. This will give you a better platform for burning timber, garden clippings, or larger pieces of fuel. This is entirely optional and you can always add bricks as a later date if you want.

Start by making a small fire with a couple of bits of kindling (you can use small pieces of wood, a couple of , or some ocote natural firelighters) and a few pieces of balled-up scrap paper. Let this small fire burn out without adding any more kindling and allow the chiminea to cool fully before making another, slightly larger fire, and, once again, let the fire burn out and leave the chiminea to cool. You’ll need to make about six small fires, increasing in size each time, until you’re making a fire almost the size you’ll be using in the chiminea in the future.

Grapes Mexican Chiminea Large

Grapes Mexican Chiminea Large

Never use a clay chiminea when it’s even slightly damp. If you do leave your clay chiminea out in the rain (although we strongly recommend a cover be purchased with any clay chiminea), always ensure it’s fully dry before lighting it. The clay is porous and so will soak up water and using the chiminea when damp might cause large cracks to form in the body of the chiminea. For this reason, you should also never use lighting fuel or any sort of accelerant.

Because chimineas are efficient garden heaters, you don’t need to light a large fire to get the best out of your clay chiminea. Try to keep the flames within the body of the chiminea as large fires (where flames are visible through the chimney of the chiminea) might damage your chiminea.

Your clay chiminea should last for years if properly looked after. If you have to move your chiminea, ensure it is completely cool. Try to keep your chiminea dry at all times, and either bring it inside over the winter or buy an insulated cover to protect the clay from frost as a damp chiminea left out in winter can freeze and split. Protect your chiminea from bad weather, ensure it is properly seasoned, use the right fuel, and never use an accelerant.

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Cast Iron Chiminea, Chiminea maintenance and care, Uncategorized

New Eco-Friendly LogMakers

Eco-friendly Logmakers will shortly be available to buy on our site. These Logmakers are great for compressing household and garden waste into handy logs which, depending on their composition, will burn for up to 1 hour.

Burning household and garden waste in your chiminea or firebowl – or even in your wood-burning stove – is an excellent way of cutting down on waste and also means a reliable source of free fuel! The Logmakers come in two models: Original, which will handle dry waste, particularly card and paper (great for disposing of bills, junk mail, or papers with sensitive information on!), and Wet and Dry, which is just the thing for making logs out of garden waste. You just need to soak torn papers, card, etc, and garden waste, such as leaves, in water briefly, then stuff them into the Logmaker. The Wet and Dry Logmaker will compress the material and squeeze much of the excess water out – just leave the logs to dry and you’ll have a free fuel store in no time.

Original Logmaker, Wet and Dry Logmaker, Recycled Original Logmaker

Original Logmaker, Wet and Dry Logmaker, Recycled Original Logmaker

If you want to go the extra mile, you can also buy each model in 100% recycled plastic.

Some more ideas for the Logmaker: shredded paper, junk mail, cereal packets, eggboxes, torn up toilet roll tubes, nut shells, teabags, wood shavings and sawdust, dry leaves and small twigs.

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Chiminea accessories and fuel, Chiminea maintenance and care

Lovely things to burn in your chiminea

There are lots of different kinds of wood you can burn in your chiminea and here are just a few popular ones that we know of:

Pinion Pine

Very popular as it smells great and fends off mosquitos.


One of the most popular bbq-ing woods as it adds great flavour to meat and burgers.


Doubles as a quick burning wood great as a firelighter but also gives off a lovely smell.

Do you have a favourite wood? Tell us using the comment box below.