Sitting around the fire is an incredible experience, but getting dark smoke in your eyes can be extremely frustrating. If you want to learn how to build a smokeless fire (or at least a fire with very minimal smoke) then we have two awesome methods to share with you.
We created the Gather Grill to be a place where people can come together and enjoy each other’s company for hours on end. You can prepare and cook food, eat around the fire, and relax by the firepit all from the same place.
It’s an excellent way to make memories, and so it is important to understand how to prevent your gathering from getting smoked out.
You can watch the video below or read the blog to learn our two ways for building a smokeless fire. Let’s get to it!
What is a smokeless firepit?
Smokeless firepits have become extremely popular over the last couple years. Although no fire is truly smokeless (where there is fire, there will be some smoke), these firepits do greatly reduce the amount of smoke from a traditional firepit.
They do this through a double combustion process – essentially, the smokeless firepits have a double wall and the hot air from the double wall rises and helps burn the smoke away.
Many people enjoy smokeless firepits because they reduce the amount of smoke in their eyes and do not leave clothing or hair smelling like smoke at the end of the fire.
But fear not – if you don’t have a smokeless firepit then you can still drastically reduce the amount of smoke from your fire and enjoy a virtually smokeless fire.
For instance, the Gather Grill is not a smokeless firepit – there are no double walls. However, this does not mean you cannot enjoy a smokeless fire or avoid having hair that smells like smoke. In fact, if you follow either of the two methods below, you can enjoy a mostly smokeless fire from your Gather Grill or many other firepits.
Method 1: Use Quality Firewood
People don’t often think about the importance of using quality firewood, but the fuel you burn has a direct impact on the amount of smoke your fire will create.
When you burn firewood that is wet or moldy, it will create a lot of smoke, and it will be gross.
In fact, did you know that the smell that gets in your hair and clothes when sitting around a firepit is not from the wood, but from the moisture in the wood? The moisture is what sticks to you, and the moisture is what smells.
The hotter the fire, the cleaner the burn and the lesser the smoke. So once again, burning wet wood will always be smokier because the fire cannot get hot enough.
There are three common types of firewood:
Greenwood has been freshly cut and still retains high levels of moisture from the living tree
Seasoned wood has been cut 6-12 months ago and allowed to sit outside and air dry. It has a reduced moisture content, but the quality can vary widely. Many factors, including how the wood was cut, how the wood was stacked to dry, and the climate where the wood was seasoned, will determine how dry seasoned wood can get. Unfortunately, seasoned wood often grows mold and fungus and can sometimes be frustratingly wet.
Kiln Dried firewood provides the best experience as it has been dried in a controlled space for a specific amount of time to reduce the moisture. Not all kiln dried wood is the same, but it will consistently be better than seasoned wood.
If you’re looking for quality firewood, then we recommend getting kiln dried firewood from a quality supplier like Cutting Edge Firewood. Kiln dried wood will have minimal moisture content and be clean from things like bugs, mold, or fungus. Not only will it burn better, it will produce better flavor when you cook over kiln dried wood.
It’s actually incredible the difference that quality firewood can make on your fireside experience. Once you see it for yourself, you’ll never want to use cheap, wet firewood again.
Method 2: Use Charcoal
Another creative way to create a smokeless fire is to actually burn charcoal.
Charcoal is a “lightweight black carbon residue produced by strongly heating wood in minimal oxygen to remove all water and volatile constituents.”
Since there is no moisture (or mold or fungus), charcoal is able to burn with excellent heat and minimal smoke.
When cooking over the Gather Grill, you can either use charcoal or cooking wood. Many people choose to cook with charcoal because it is easier to control and ready for cooking faster than wood. One of the benefits of the Gather Grill is that, when you’re done cooking, you can remove the grill top and enjoy the fire pit.
The process is easy – just make sure to use heat proof gloves and get a friend to help if you need it. The entire grill, griddle, and subgrate can simply be lifted off the fire pit and placed in a safe location, then you instantly have a gorgeous, built to last a lifetime firepit.
If you’ve already got charcoal down in the firepit, you will know that it is warm and ready. Although charcoal fires are mostly smokeless, they do not create as much flame or crackle as a wood fire. Depending on your preference, you can add more charcoal to add to the heat, or you can mix in some clean, dry pieces of firewood to create more flame and crackle.
Think it’s too much work to fire up charcoal for the Gather Grill? Checkout our method for lighting a charcoal grill with less than 1 minute of work.
Other Tips: How to Build a Smokeless Fire
While using charcoal or high quality firewood will drastically reduce the amount of smoke in your fire, there are a few other things you can do to reduce the impact of smoke during your fire.
- Remember that all moisture is bad: This may seem overly obvious, but water is the enemy of a good fire. Avoid using wet wood, building on wet ground, or leaving wet ash in your firepit before starting a fire.
- Make it hot: Have you ever noticed how wood that is just starting to catch fire or is smoldering at the end smokes more? Higher heat helps burn the smoke away, so make and keep your fire hot. Using a stainless steel firepit like the Gather Grill can help keep the fire hot because the metal holds the heat.
- Keep your fire off the ground: The ground is often full of moisture from rain or dew, and we’ve already established why that’s a problem. It also doesn’t hold heat well or breathe well, so the ground will do nothing to help your fire burn hotter or cleaner.
- Don’t burn leaves, pinecones, or pine needles: Although they may burn quickly, these yard waste items create a lot of smoke. They also reduce oxygen flow and cool the fire down, which is also a negative and can increase the smoke amount.
- Greasy foods cause smoke: We love cooking bacon and burgers on the Gather Grill and do it unapologetically, but it’s important to remember that those foods do create grease that will fall into the firepit and create smoke when it burns. This is only temporary, however, and the grease burns quickly. If you’re worried about this, consider cooking things with less grease.
- Allow airflow: Taking oxygen away from a fire will create smoke really quickly, so you need to build the fire in such a way that it can breathe. Using a firepit like the Gather Grill that is built with an airflow vent and with a grate that allows air to surround the fire will help ensure your fire can breathe.
Make Every Fire an Experience
For thousands of years, people have gathered around food and fire.
It’s this tradition that inspired the creation of Gather Grills. With a desire to renew our relationships and bring friends and family back together, we designed the ultimate fire-burning, food-cooking, guest-gathering table grill.
The fire may last only a few hours, but the human bonds last a lifetime.