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When it comes to backyard entertaining, we at The Backyard Gnome have you covered. It is difficult committing to the installation of firepits or fireplaces, as they are very costly and cannot be taken when you move. However, one of the crucial elements of backyard entertaining is fire.
Everyone loves a good fire, as fire brings people together. A firepit drastically changes the way you host guests; it opens up an entire new world. They are great for summertime cooking when it is too hot to use the kitchen oven, but you are still craving a pizza. The use of a fire pit is a wonderful way to bring everyone together. Fire pits not only are used for cooking, but also provide light and warmth, particularly when the sun goes down. And nothing says summer backyard party like a fire pit!
However, many municipal by-laws do not allow the use of in-ground fireplaces, due to fire hazard. In the city, where people live in close proximity, it is more than likely that you will have the fire department called should you disobey the rules. Barbecues are great for cooking, but they do not provide a roaring fire.
If they do, then you are in trouble, because barbecue flames can get out of control and this is very dangerous. Propane is highly explosive, obviously, and barbecue fires can be difficult to get under control once they are really going. As well, not everyone enjoys the aesthetic of a barbecue. They look rather industrial and masculine, which is a great look for some yards, but not all.
There is a great alternative to this: a pot-bellied oven called a chiminea. Traditionally, they are made of clay. They were invented in Mexico in the 1600s as a source of heat and light, in addition to being used for cooking food. A chiminea works by lighting a fire in the belly, known as the bowl. There will be a door to the chiminea, and just inside the door is a grate that lies above the flame. This is where you place your food and let it cook.
The smoke is directed up through a chimney stack. We think the chiminea is a very clever design, meshing function and aesthetic together. While traditionally they are made of clay, more recent designs have been made of cast aluminum or iron. The metal chimineas conduct heat nicely and allow for higher cooking temperatures, so you can use charcoal to cook food. Charcoal is too hot for a clay chiminea. Another benefit to having an iron chiminea is its durability. Clay chimineas are prone to cracking over time, from moving and being dropped, or from high heats. Cast iron and aluminum chimineas stay in one piece, though they are extremely heavy.
Today we review the Blue Rooster cast aluminum chiminea. Blue Rooster is well known for their high-quality goods, whose designs have been often imitated but never duplicated!
So, why cast aluminum over cast iron? Well, cast aluminum has a higher resistance to rust. This particular model has a very cool Venetian-inspired shape and colour, and will add a very rustic, antique look to any yard. It comes in a distressed gold finish for that timeless, antiquated feel. It comes with stainless steel hardware and as we mentioned, is rust resistant! This is very important. It weighs 87 pounds, which is a lot of weight to move in and out of the shed every time it rains. Of course, you should get a cover for it, and will likely need a hand setting it up in your yard.
Some people even set these up in their homes. You can burn real or battery-operated candles in the bowl for a romantic, cosy atmosphere.
This chiminea stands at four feet, four inches tall. It comes with a built-in cooking area and grate. Cooking is very easy with it, because of its generous size. It also has a steel spark screen, which acts as a door. Chimineas are great for containing embers and flame. Chimienas aren’t just for looks; we highly recommend you try cooking with it! Just make sure you let the flames die down to hot embers and coals so you don’t burn your food before its thoroughly cooked. You can cook kebabs, meats, breads, and pizzas in there. For breads and pizzas we recommend using a stone to ensure thorough heating. This is a great addition to your backyard, a real hit with all your guests with its pleasing look and multiple uses. Keep in mind that metal conducts heat very well, so the exterior will be very hot when the fire is going. Make sure you, pets, and children don’t touch the chiminea.
This Venetian chiminea by Blue Rooster sells for around $500 and will bring you years of enjoyment. Bon appetite, and happy entertaining!