How to Beach BBQ?
August 30, 2006 12:56 PM   Subscribe

I would like to grill out on the beach (Newport Beach, CA) in city-provided fire pits. AFAIK, these pits are just concrete rings with sand in them. How should I start the charcoal?

If i use a chimney like this, will the coals continue to burn when sitting on the sand or do i need a grate of some sort under them? Should I use wood instead? If wood, where can i find kindling, since I have only seen big fuel logs at the store?

I have a fair amount of experience starting fires in the woods, just never on a beach. Any other Beach BBQing tips would be very welcome as well.
posted by casconed to Food & Drink (7 answers total)
 
Any normal fire-starting method should work fine. If what you're worried about is ventilation from underneath, I can tell you that many cheap grills don't have that either. I've also started wood fires on the beach and can tell you that it's no different from starting it on a dirt patch.

Start up the charcoal with a chimney, dump it in the pit, and slap a grill over it. Add more charcoal if the heat starts to wane or isn't as intense as you'd like.

Have fun!
posted by chrisamiller at 1:07 PM on August 30, 2006


Just get a large empty metal coffee can or two (the 3-lb size) or similar large can (like a vegetable can from Sam's, etc.), take a can opener and puncture multiple holes on the bottom around the circumference, put the charcoal in, douse with lighter fluid and torch it off. Voila! Hot coals in nothing flat. Picking it up to dump out in the grill may be another matter......bring gloves.
posted by Pressed Rat at 2:16 PM on August 30, 2006


If you want to avoid the lighter fluid, go with chrisamiller's method. You can even start with wood tinder and kindling interspersed within your charcoal. A fan (folding or otherwise) will also be useful for directing air towards parts of your fire that aren't catching as quickly.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:33 PM on August 30, 2006


Anyone with a charcoal grill (or...pit) should get themselves a chimney starter. You'll never go back to lighter fluid. Your coals will be ready in 15 minutes on the first try, and nothing will smell or taste like lighter fluid.
posted by CrayDrygu at 4:17 PM on August 30, 2006


On Newport Beach (I grew up near there and had more than a few BBQs on that beach) you sometimes need to worry about too much wind to start the fire. The chimney you linked to will solve that, and you shouldn't have any real problems getting it started. Sounds like you're all set.

If you want to avoid bringing home a hot, dirty grill (after you've cooked your food on it), you could always go the tin foil pouch route.

Use heavy weight foil, and simply put some food in it and roll up the edges, making sure not to trap much air. These can take a bit longer to cook, though, so keep that in mind.
posted by nadise at 5:20 PM on August 30, 2006


Yeah - foil packs are defintely delicious and easy. Chop up some veggies in with your hamburger patty, add some spices, then wrap it up and let it slow cook in the coals. The juices all mingle and everything gets nice and tender. Baked potatoes are also easy to do in the coals.
posted by chrisamiller at 7:21 PM on August 30, 2006


Those firepits by the pier, and the ones north in Huntington, are often full of trash. Make sure you clean the firepit before lighting the fire and cooking.
posted by frogan at 8:37 PM on August 30, 2006


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