We were pondering whether or not we should invest in another brand new and shiny garden BBQ, as the cheap and cheerful ones you pick up from the supermarket or local hardware store never last for long.
This year I wanted to scrimp and save by creating our own and keeping it very frugal, for a while we were playing with the idea to use an old metal drum or maybe a full brick BBQ, as we had plenty of left over bricks. Decisions decisions…. or maybe a Dutch oven?
A DIY Fire pit, holy smokes
The issue we have in our little urban garden is space and after some deliberating we opted for making our own DIY fire pit. As we are both keen on practising a little home bush-craft and also cooking with limited cooking equipment.
Before i started digging up the lawn, we had ‘a little chat’ on how this would be managed over the longer term, if i was allowed to proceed. After a great deal of negotiation, we went for the sunken fire pit, so it is both tidy and we could remove the Y frames and the balance beam to mow the lawn (our gardens borders are curved).
As you can see from the self-explanatory gallery of pictures further down this post, it was really very easy to DIY it, well apart from the turfing and digging up the garden on a hot day! Thirsty work…
So without a BBQ grill, we needed the all essential Dutch oven
We previously bought an 8 litre Dutch oven, these are incredibly versatile cast iron cooking pots (or casserole dishes) that can cook a wide range of ‘oven cooked’ meals (roasts, stews and casseroles) on any naked flame.
We previously made various damper breads on our recent bush-craft course, but apparently you can also cook pizzas, cakes, biscuits and pies too. We will have to try some of the more ‘challenging recipes’ some when soon and blog about either their success or epic failure(s).
Hopefully not the latter…
There’s only one way to eat a brace of conies
Prior to Samwise Gamgee in the film Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers, we had never heard of Rabbits referred to in that way. Though from a quick Google search we tried to find out where it originates, we know that its a hunting phrase for two rabbits held together by I think their fur.
Anyway not to get side-tracked, we wanted to try out a new recipe: rabbit with mustard and tarragon stew from one of our favourite “left over” cook books Food From Plenty by Diana Henry.
Our first impression was hmm not sure how well that will work, but BOY we were surprised just how tasty it was. (since then we have had it a couple of times cooked in the trusty Dutch oven)
To sum it all up, was it worth it?
The fire pit was easy enough to do, just a bit of digging really. If you don’t have any bricks laying about they are cheap enough (varies around 50p a brick) to pickup around 20-25. We had considered using large pieces of stone as an alternative to surround the outside wall. The stone lining at the bottom, can be from small stones from around the garden, in our case the soil here is littered with pebble sized stones.
** Safety note, make sure there are no tree roots, as apparently it can cause a tree to catch fire through drying out their root system!
The best bit is that its the ultimate urban scrimp, as it did not cost us a penny apart from a few hours of time/labour one sunny afternoon and we can use it for years to come with minimal maintenance.
Ok, ok I lied a little… the best bit was actually the extremely tasty cooked stew. As you can see from the pictures we had a great time, but wow that is one tasty recipe, thanks Diana!
Have you made your own BBQ or cooked in a Dutch oven?
Please comment below, we would love to hear your thoughts and ideas with your outdoor cooking experiences.