Imagine going outside, even when there is a chill in the air, and being able to enjoy being on a deck or outdoor living area, sitting near a toasty fire. Chimineas are a unique outdoor fireplace that helps extend the outdoor living season. Besides being a great focal point, they are perfect for those who love to watch the sights and sounds of nature, either alone or while entertaining friends and family. But why has cast iron become the chiminea of choice? In this article we will explore the benefits of cast iron.
Although the exact origins of chimineas are unknown, it is believed that they first were made of clay or pottery. Evidence suggests that they may have first been used in Mexico.
Clay chimineas, however, can be affected by weather and (depending on climate and other variable) may have to be replaced regularly, particularly as time, rain and other factors would lead to their wearing out or becoming unusable. Once cast iron chimeneas came into existence, they proved to be highly durable and not prone to cracking, peeling and flaking. Some even had doors, making them even safer to use. Then there is the additional possibility of using them for bbq grilling.
To grill in a cast iron chimenea, a grate is needed that fits the outdoor fireplace. Most modern cast iron chiminea come with detachable grills that can swivel in and out of the body. With that in place, it is simply a matter of cooking food above the heat source. Of course, just as with indoor fireplaces, many people enjoy toasting marshmallows or other foods held over the fire on a stick or other holder. And in my opinion there is nothing like freshly grilled fish that has been cooked over a chiminea fire.
A high quality cast iron chimineas is designed not to allow smoke to get near your eyes, cause them to water or allow any other discomfort to arise from sitting or standing near this very special type of outdoor fireplace. Wood or quality fuel of choice burns cleanly in the right kind of chimineas. This is why it is important to buy the best. Of course, the fire is contained, much as it would be in any type of fireplace, providing maximum safety while also radiating heat outwards.
For those who have stood near a barbeque grill, it is clear that heat radiation varies greatly. A major benefit of cast iron chimineas are their ability to radiate heat evenly and quickly. In fact, it generally takes 15 minutes or less to have strong heat waves radiating from these outdoor fireplaces. Due to the way air is drawn into them, chimineas are efficient heat producers. Using naturally scented woods, such as Ocote, can provide an extra level of pleasure for those smelling the wafting aromas.
Anyone investing in a high quality outdoor fireplace will naturally be interested in durability and strength. Even if someone accidentally bumps or jostles a chiminea when it is unlit, it is unlikely to be damaged. Being relatively heavy, they don’t tip over easily nor are they susceptible to nicks or dents. They can indeed be used for years, adding beauty to outside decor while also being very practical, whether using them to stay warm or for cooking or both.