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All About Back Yard, Garden And Patio Chimineas

Updated on July 31, 2014

Buying A Cast Iron Chiminea For Your Back Yard Is A Great Investment

Summer has finally arrived! This is the perfect time of year to relax outside in the cool evening air in front of a warm Chiminea.

A chiminea has a metal body for burning wood and a chimney on top to direct the smoke upward so that it can be used as a heat source on chilly evenings. They stand on legs to keep the main burning body off of the ground and they come in a variety of shapes and sized however, the pot bellied shape is the most popular.

My husband and I love our chiminea and we use it all year round for cooking. In the evenings it's also nice to light with some nice hard wood logs to watch them burn and enjoy the radiating warmth.

In the page below I have outlined all of the different ways that we enjoy our chiminea and why I think that anyone who enjoys spending evenings in their back yard or garden should own one. I have also provided care instructions and accessory suggestions.

Why Buy A Chiminea?

Chimineas are both decorative and functional. They make great patio heaters and you can cook a variety of foods inside of them. People buy chimineas for any combination of these reasons and we enjoy ours for all of them.

I will admit that when my husband first insisted on spending the money on a chiminea 6 years ago I was extremely sceptical. I thought, when will we EVER use that thing? What good is it? Where will we put it? But I came around to his way of thinking when he started using it for cooking. We BBQ year round with our chiminea, it is so handy and it has really grown on me. It's also sort of cute.

Our chiminea is cast iron and it has a swing out (removable) grill which is big enough to cook about four good sized burgers on or two big steaks. It is also wonderful for ambiance and warmth on chilly summer nights when you just want to sit outside and enjoy the evening with a nice cosy log fire.

The last point I think is worth mentioning here is that a cast iron chiminea is built to last. It's heavy and solid. You might think that the price is a little steep up front but it's a purchase that you're going to be enjoying for years and years.

Some Assembly Required

But don't be intimidated, it's really not brain surgery!

Heater Chiminea

Deckmate Corona  Outdoor Chimenea  Fireplace Model  30075
Deckmate Corona Outdoor Chimenea Fireplace Model 30075

This is an ideal chiminea for someone who will be using it primarily for a patio heater. You can still cook In this chiminea however, you'll need to use something like a pie iron to stick inside because it doesn't have a grill. Alternatively you can make foil packets of things to roast inside.

 

Cooking Chiminea

Deeco DM-0039-IA-C Aztec Allure Cast Iron Pizza Oven Chiminea
Deeco DM-0039-IA-C Aztec Allure Cast Iron Pizza Oven Chiminea

This is a really ornate chiminea which is clearly made to appeal to someone who likes to cook outdoors. It still has the basic parts but it's very fancy and has a PIZZA OVEN on top. So not only does it look awesome but it also has an oven which you can make all sorts of amazing outdoor breads and things in. I would LOVE to get one of these in my garden!!!

 

What To Burn In A Chiminea

We use charcoal for cooking food and typically hardwood logs when it's burning as a heater.

When it's being used as a heater we have also used compressed peat and recycled compressed wood, which are basically solid blocks of sawdust. These are a bit easier to get inside the chiminea because they're quite small however it's not very difficult to split logs into smaller pieces either and if you love the smell of wood smoke the way I do, it's really worth it.

If you are burning scrap wood or anything that has been treated or painted you can't cook with it. Make sure that it's completely burned out of the chiminea before you use it for cooking food.

Cooking In A Chiminea

As I mentioned previously we use our chiminea for cooking quite often. Having the swing out grill is ideal for this purpose, however I have noticed that this doesn't seem to be a feature that is widely available in the US so you might only be able to find one with a fixed grill. This won't be as convenient but it's still ok.

Basically if there is a grill attached to your chiminea you can use it the same as you would any BBQ. You will have to adjust cooking times slightly to account for the fact that the closed back of the chiminea makes it sort of like an oven so it can get hotter than a normal open grill.

If there isn't a grill in your chiminea you can still cook in it using pie irons which are basically small, double sided cast iron pans at the end of a pole, which you can cook all sorts of delicious things inside of by putting them in the fire. You can also make sealed foil packets of things like new potatoes and garlic butter or corn cobs with butter and seasoning to wedge into the embers for slow cooking veggie deliciousness.

Pie Irons

Pie Iron Recipes Book
Pie Iron Recipes Book

If you need some help getting the creative juices flowing this book is filled with ideas for pie irons. I think my husband and I will be writing one of our own soon enough!

 
Rome's 1905 Dog 'n Brat Cooker with Steel and Wood Handles
Rome's 1905 Dog 'n Brat Cooker with Steel and Wood Handles

We have one of these. I have to say that I prefer the square and round shapes but I am determined to find a good creative use for this one.

 
Rome's 1998 Pie Iron Storage Bag, 30-Inch x 10-Inch
Rome's 1998 Pie Iron Storage Bag, 30-Inch x 10-Inch

We could really use one of these. What a great bag to store pie irons in so that they're always tidy, clean and accessible!

 

Foil Packet Veggies

To make a foil packet for roasting potatoes or corn cobs or anything else in you just need to lay out two big sheets of aluminium foil (double layer) then place whatever you're roasting in the middle in an even layer. Sprinkle in your seasoning and distribute slivers of butter and then roll the foil into a packet making sure all edges are crimped firmly closed. DO NOT poke holes in the packet. Then to roast the potatoes just lay the packet on top of your coals or wedge it in the embers for about a half hour.

Beautiful Roasted Garlic Potatoes

15-20 small potatoes

1 tbsp garlic paste

2 tbsp butter or garlic butter for extra pungency

How To Clean The Grill On A Chiminea

You clean the grill on a chiminea the same as you clean any grill. By that I mean, burn off anything that's stuck on and then scrape off the rest.

If the grill comes out easily you could also scrub it in the sink if you want to and If the grill part is not cast iron you could even pop it in an oven bag when you do your oven racks to get it extra clean.

Do not use any chemical cleaners on your grill if it's made of cast iron.

Helpful Accessories And Tools For A Chiminea

CoverMates – Chiminea Cover – 28DIAMETER x 48H – Elite Collection – 3 YR Warranty – Year Around Protection - Black
CoverMates – Chiminea Cover – 28DIAMETER x 48H – Elite Collection – 3 YR Warranty – Year Around Protection - Black

I imagine this could be very helpful for someone who doesn't live in the land of constant precipitation. We have never used one ourselves. Cast iron chimineas do rust but the rust is only superficial and we just give ours a fresh coat of paint every year. I don't think that you'll be guaranteed a rust free chiminea even if you use a cover but it does look tidy.

 
Weber 7416 Rapidfire Chimney Starter
Weber 7416 Rapidfire Chimney Starter

My husband swears by his Chimney Starter. You just load the charcoal in the top and light the bottom, then it smolders away so the charcoal reaches BBQ readiness in just a few minutes instead of it taking half an hour.

 
Fire Resistant Chiminea Outdoor Fireplace Pad - Round
Fire Resistant Chiminea Outdoor Fireplace Pad - Round

This could be useful if you are lighting the chiminea in an area where it might create scorch marks that you actually care about. We have ours sitting on an old cement slab so it's not an issue for us.

 
BBQ Fan Blower
BBQ Fan Blower

This is another tool that my husband swears by. It's great to use when you're lighting hardwood or compressed wood.

 
Bernzomatic TS4000 Trigger Start Torch
Bernzomatic TS4000 Trigger Start Torch

The last really useful tool in my husband's BBQ arsenal. It's convenient and reliable. Why use anything else?

 

BBQ Sword In Action - Roasting a ghost peep!

Fun Novelty Accessories For Your Chiminea

BBQ Sword - Barbeque Skewer
BBQ Sword - Barbeque Skewer

These are a fantastic novelty. I bought my husband two of them years ago because, you can't have just one BBQ sword! Theyr'e ideal for roasting marshmallows and peeps. You can also pop a sausage or hot dog on there as pictured!

 
Marshmallow Peeps Lavender Easter Bunnies 12ct.
Marshmallow Peeps Lavender Easter Bunnies 12ct.

Have you ever tried roasting peeps on an open fire? The outside goes crusty, the inside turns to mush and they're fabulous. Since you can acquire these year round, I strongly recommend that you give it a try!!! (Also a great camping activity!)

 
Mystical Fire Campfire Fireplace Colorant 0.882 oz Packets 12 Pack
Mystical Fire Campfire Fireplace Colorant 0.882 oz Packets 12 Pack

It's important to note that you should really only use these in a chiminea if you don't use it for cooking because this product consists of little packets full of chemicals to make the colored fire. We have another burning apparatus that we use to burn these.

To use these you just throw them into the (established) fire whole, so that you're not exposing yourself to the contents. My husband enjoys this product because they really do make the fire quite colorful for about 10 minutes or sometimes longer. An amusing novelty!

 
Rome's Chestnut Roaster and Fireplace Popcorn Popper, Steel with Wood Handle
Rome's Chestnut Roaster and Fireplace Popcorn Popper, Steel with Wood Handle

We have a different looking popcorn popper that we use in the chiminea but it's essentially the same as this one. the top part is just more of a wire cage and the bottom is like a tiny frying pan on a pole. Ours works really well and there is something strangely flavorful and great about popcorn that has come straight out of the fire!

 

What To Do About Rust On A Chiminea

Cast iron is prone to rust, it's a fact. The metal isn't actually damaged and it's still 100% functional but the rust makes the chiminea look sort of derelict. To correct this you don't need to scrape it, or treat it or do anything that requires a lot of expense or preparation... You just need to give it a coat of paint every year.

We paint our chiminea every spring. The special heat resistant paint is inexpensive and readily available at hardware stores. It is literally, a two minute job to spray it on. After it's painted (as per the instructions on the can) the paint will need to be cured so all you need to do is pop a couple of logs in the chiminea and light them.

So as you can see, it's not a big job to keep your chiminea looking beautiful. The black paint is also great if you see a chiminea that you really like but it has been accented with a bronze color. Ours came that way, I couldn't find it in black. So we made it black!

Paint For Chiminea

Rust-Oleum 241169 High Heat Ultra Enamel Spray, Black, 12-Ounce
Rust-Oleum 241169 High Heat Ultra Enamel Spray, Black, 12-Ounce

This is the sort of paint that you'll be looking for.

 

Repainted Chiminea - Looks Brand New!

Hubby's BBQ Corner - With newly repainted chiminea lit to cure paint

Here you can see most of our outdoor cooking/burning contraptions. The weird looking thing to the left of the chiminea is a smoker.

So What's This Thing?

If you spotted the cage between the chiminea lid and base you might be wondering what purpose it serves.

It's something my husband made so that he can use the chiminea in the rain and even in the snow. We live in Scotland so we get about four sunny days a year.

If you want to make one for yourself, it is just a baking rack purchased for much cheapness, bent into a cylindrical shape and when used in combination with the lid it stops the water getting in so that you don't have all the smoke billowing out the front.

Simple, efficient, cheap!

And This Is What Happens If You Shove A Bunch Of Sticks Down The Chimney - Probably not the best idea...

Image Credits

All of the photographs within this page were taken by myself and my husband and we do not give permission for them to be used elsewhere.

Do You Have A Chiminea In Your Back Yard? - Or will you be getting one soon?

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    • mel-kav profile image

      mel-kav 4 years ago

      We had one, but my husband always stuffed it with too much wood so that fire roared out of the top of it - like your photo above. Anyway - the top cracked and it was non-repairable. But they are great!

    • Trudy Hanley profile image

      Trudy 4 years ago

      Enjoyed learning all about Chimineas. I have wanted to purchase or build a backyard fire pit. Whenever I have looked at them, I have also wondered about the Chimineas, and how they would compare to the open pit,or ones with screened tops. Thank you for a great lens that really can help in making an educated decision. I own a gas cooking grill, but the chiminea could serve several purposes:)

    • curiosityktc profile image

      curiosityktc 4 years ago

      what a great lens. I loved all of the photos that you included. It looks like your husband has the whole backyard bbq area down to a real science. Thank you for all the great information!

    • thingz1 profile image

      thingz1 4 years ago

      I didn't realize they could be used for cooking/grilling. Thanks for the info.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      Wonderful lens about something I now want - a chiminea! I think this would be a great answer for both cooking and warming outdoors. Social bookmarked - happy summer!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 4 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      My brother has a bunch of wood purchased and acquired for the wood burning fireplace in his new home, which refuses to work properly and now can't be used. A chiminea in his back yard would be the perfect solution for what to do with all that fireplace wood! Thanks for the idea.

    • ComfortsOfHome profile image

      ComfortsOfHome 4 years ago

      @Stuwaha: LOL, yes, I think so. Sometimes there is nothing like a real fire!

    • BowWowBear profile image

      BowWowBear 4 years ago

      Neat idea for making the back yard more of a living space. Now I can get one and use all that wood I have been let cure out back. Thanks for sharing!

    • JRsFavoriteFinds profile image

      JRsFavoriteFinds 4 years ago

      Very interesting! I think this would make a great addition to most back yards.

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 4 years ago from Kansas

      I've always wanted to get one, but haven't yet. They are so practical and make a great piece on a patio. I've not known that you can cook in one. Now I have to get one!

    • profile image

      justin-ishley 4 years ago

      i'm surprised Chiminea is still in use in this modern era, i mean there are lots of electronics to do so and save time and money too.

    • profile image

      ASUS3000 4 years ago

      Now I want some garlic roasted potatoes.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Alas, I haven't a back yard, but if I had, I'd definitely have a chiminea. They are such a lovely landscaping accessory in the garden and on the patio. Well done page!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This is one of the coolest lenses that I have seen, very informative and interesting subject...Nice work!!

    • GardenerDon profile image

      Gardener Don 4 years ago

      I'm thinking of moving to Scotland - four days of summer sounds pretty good to Canadians who've just come out of eight months of snow!

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 4 years ago

      Now I know more about chiminea than ever before reading this neat article. Thanks for enlightening me with your great info and photos.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 4 years ago

      These metal ones look so much more functional. Here in Colorado ours are ceramic.

    • profile image

      mp2013 4 years ago

      @Stuwaha: Literally it was just a sprinkling to get it going, but it certainly did the trick ;)

    • cire81 lm profile image

      cire81 lm 4 years ago

      Thanks for the write up and sharing. I find your information very interesting and useful. Do check out my lens too.

    • Stuwaha profile image
      Author

      Stuwaha 4 years ago

      @mp2013: yeaaaah, pouring petrol into such a confined space and then lighting it on fire is probably a bad idea :)

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 4 years ago from Somewhere in England

      I would love to have one. Can you tell me which four days will be summer in Scotland this year?

    • profile image

      mp2013 4 years ago

      Just don't try to light it with petrol, you get a big whoosh out of the front of the chimnea as my eyebrows found out to their peril.

    • DeliaCrowe profile image

      DeliaCrowe 4 years ago

      I don't have one but i would like one great lens,

    • profile image

      JZinoBodyArt 4 years ago

      Great lens! I wondered if you could cook in those things. Well done!

    • profile image

      LadyDuck 4 years ago

      I like them and I am going to buy one soon. Your garlic potatoes look tasty.

    • Sherry B19 profile image

      Sherry B19 4 years ago

      I'd love to get one someday...they add more character and plus, I think it'd make the backyard more cozy feeling. Right now we only have a regular old BBQ we use for outdoor cooking on our deck. Thanks for the great info, I never realized there were so many different ones!

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 4 years ago from London UK

      I'm going to get one as soon as they're in the sales.

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 4 years ago

      I don't have one but I'd love to cook on one of these. The food pics look great.

    • PinkstonePictures profile image

      PinkstonePictures 4 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

      I always thought these looked great. When I had a garden I always thought it would be lovely to have but only used traditional BBQ's. Nice info on chimineas

    • fifta profile image

      fifta 4 years ago

      No, I don't have one, but certainly a chiminea is a great addition to anyone's back yard. How fun it is to cook there. Love the baked potatoes.

    • Stuwaha profile image
      Author

      Stuwaha 4 years ago

      @Kailua-KonaGirl: Thanks for that. You gave me a panic when I thought I had misspelled the word throughout the whole lens! :) Corrected the three I found. I agree with you, Cast iron will last forever. The steel and clay ones aren't built to last at all.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 4 years ago from New York

      We use to have a large cast iron chiminea (this is the correct spelling BTW) in our backyard when we lived in our home and we loved it. I'm in an apartment now and really miss it. It was used all year long, even when it snowed in the wintertime. If anyone reading this lens is on the fence about what type of chiminea to buy, I highly recommend the cast iron over the the clay or stainless steel. It will last forever and you will get years of enjoyment from it!

    • Stuwaha profile image
      Author

      Stuwaha 4 years ago

      @Erin Mellor: I hope he paid for replacing them!

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 4 years ago from Europe

      My in-laws just had their garden fences burned down by a wayward neighbor who seemed to think his Chimnea was a blast furnace and took out another neighbors shed. I'd really liked the idea until then.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 4 years ago

      After everything.. those lavender peeps are looking at me and calling my name ha ha!!! :)

    • Northerntrials profile image

      Northerntrials 4 years ago

      I have a portable fire pit but not a chimera. I think yours has more functionality and character.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      So that's what this thing is. Wow.

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 4 years ago from Australia

      Your chiminea obviously provides loads of family fun and nutrition to boot!

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 4 years ago

      we had a chiminea when we lived in England and we loved it! Mainly used it for warmth not cooking...

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 4 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      I have always loved the idea of have a chimnea, but could never actually justify the expense. You have helped tip the scales in favor of this purchase. Thank you!

    • profile image

      Bartukas 4 years ago

      Great lens

    • Stuwaha profile image
      Author

      Stuwaha 4 years ago

      @tattersalls: Fantastic :)

    • profile image

      tattersalls 4 years ago

      @Stuwaha: Sounds like it might work then. Will be having a little shop around before the sun decides to hide again. Cheers!

    • Stuwaha profile image
      Author

      Stuwaha 4 years ago

      @tattersalls: Well things that smoke put off all winged bitey things as far as I know... we have plenty of midges in our garden, but they've never bothered us when the chimnea was lit, so I don't know if they were deterred by it or if they found someone else to bite.

    • profile image

      tattersalls 4 years ago

      I live by the coast and we just had a lovely sunny weekend. Could've spent the whole evening in the garden but the gnats were a pain. Does a chinmea help with keeping them away at all or does it attract more of them?

    • profile image

      ConvenientCalendar 4 years ago

      Great lens! No chimnea yet!

    • CaztyBon profile image

      CaztyBon 4 years ago

      We don't have a chimnea but I love yours and your lens.

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 4 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      I don't have a chiminea, but we di cook a lot over an open fire and it tastes so much better.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      nah, i want a tandoor oven

    • NuttSoRuff profile image

      NuttSoRuff 4 years ago

      I've thought about getting one - I never knew you could cook with it.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 4 years ago from Shanghai, China

      This looks so cool. Alas, no back yard where we live, but I am inspired! Now I know what to do when I get one! Thanks.

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 4 years ago from US

      I don't have that particular kind, but our back patio looks similar to your's with all the different grills and such ;)

    • profile image

      TheGardenGuys 4 years ago

      These are really great. Well show-cased.

    • Dusty2 LM profile image

      Dusty2 LM 4 years ago

      Don't have one in the backyard but have two clay chimneas by the fireplace to hold small accessories so they don't get lost. Really like the two small ones. Considered getting a large one but never got around to getting it. After reading your lens maybe more thought is going to have to be given to it. Appreciate you sharing this lens. Thank You & Have a Great Day!

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 4 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      This lens brings back fond memories of the incinerator barrel we used to have fires in the back yard when we lived out in the country. The chiminea is very attractive, thanks for the awesome article :D

    • alex89 lm profile image

      alex89 lm 4 years ago

      These are great, I wish I had a back yard! My charcoal bbq on the balcony will just have to be enough,

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I wish I did! I have a condo and the HOA won't let us have these! I had to settle for a propane fire table. Beautiful but not the same as these! Enjoyed reading and wish I was able to have one! I did however use the paint you talk about to paint some rust on my table and I will agree it works great and makes everything look 100% again!

    • katiecolette profile image

      katiecolette 4 years ago

      We have a fire pit and a charcoal grill, and we use them in the summer all the time. Chiminea seems to be a good combination of both, a fire pit and a grill :)

    • profile image

      DebMartin 4 years ago

      I've always wondered what I'd do with one because I didn't know you could cook in them. I have only a backyard fire pit and a tripod I hang over the pit for cooking. But I'm loving the idea of adding a Chimnea to my backyard. Hubby's BBQ Corner has inspired me. Thanks! d

    • profile image

      jura 4 years ago

      I am using my chiminea all the time , great lens .

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      I love your little barbecue area. I'm a big hot dog over the open fire fan so one of these chimnea would be ideal for me.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Very nice lens. These chimineas are very useful.

    • Xpeyur profile image

      Xpeyur 4 years ago

      Very nice lens. Great quality of pics. Liked the fire-burst pic best.

    • profile image

      LUMOSE 4 years ago

      Beautiful chimineas.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      We have but we've never used it to cook other than marshmallows. I like the swing out grill and am interested in that smoker.

    • IMKZRNU2 profile image

      IMKZRNU2 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Wonderful lens. I would love to get one of these someday. Thanks for sharing this lens!

    • profile image

      angelatvs 4 years ago

      We have an open fire pit... And love it! We make those potatoes as well!

    • street2linen profile image

      street2linen 4 years ago

      Woah! Using it to cook?! Great idea!

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      I never thought about using it to cook, what a great idea

    • mrdata profile image

      mrdata 4 years ago

      Nice chimineas and useful lens! Thanks!

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 4 years ago

      I don't have one, but am sure they are handy and useful. Those potatoes look wonderful, I bet the food is deliciious.

    • Stuwaha profile image
      Author

      Stuwaha 4 years ago

      @Fiorenza: http://www.chimineashop.co.uk/floor-protector.html I've bought from this seller in the UK before. Says their floor protectors will be back in stock in a couple of weeks. Everywhere else seems to be sold out as well! You might get lucky checking a garden centre like Dobbies but you're likely to pay through your nose for it. :/

    • Fiorenza profile image

      Fiorenza 4 years ago from UK

      Just bought one of those open fire pit thingies. Soooo want one of those heat resistant pads to stand it on, but unfortunately they don't sell the one you show here on the UK Amazon or anything else it seems!