Grilling Steak In Your Fireplace Is Easier Than You Might Think

There is something special about a wood-burning fireplace. Not only does it add a decent amount of resale value to your home – Redfin states that homes with fireplaces list for 13% higher than the national median average — but a wood-burning fireplace brings warmth, aroma, and a prestigious aesthetic to whatever room it is in, per Timber Home Living. Beyond simply being beautiful works of masonry, fireplaces serve multiple functions, particularly in houses built during the early days of the country. Old House Online explains that the fireplace was the hub of the colonial home, serving as the primary heat source and a place to cook.

Over time, as heating and cooking technology improved, fireplaces became more ornamental than functional. Each period of design had its own unique spin on the fireplace. One element that remained relatively constant was the idea of the open hearth. An open hearth functions as a bit of a wide window so that one can gaze upon the crackling wood in the firebox (via Essential Home and Garden). So for all you grillers out there, if you live in a home adorned with an open hearth and a wood-burning fireplace, you can grill over the coals from the comfort of your living room.

The magic of cooking over fire

There are many different ways to cook with fire, but the most popular has to be grilling. Cooking meat over an open flame spans across the epochs of history, from the Stone Age and the Spanish Conquistadors, right up to our current barbecuing moment, per Steak School. And there is no better test of a good grill master than a perfectly grilled steak over hot coals. The char and the flavors you get from the smoke and heat of the wood can turn an already premium cut of meat into a work of art.

The same principles of grilling over a campfire are true of grilling in your fireplace, as they are essentially the same process, except one is indoors. First, you need good firewood, preferably hardwoods like oak or maple, as they conduct a considerable amount of heat and flavor. You'll need the right kind of tools, such as fireproof gloves, a fireplace tool set, a metal cooktop such as a grill grate or baking sheet, some bricks to set your cook sheet upon, long-handled tongs, and some good cast iron (via Bon Appétit). Get your fire going and wait until you've got a good amount of coals built up before beginning.

How to grill steak in your fireplace

Obviously, before you've even ignited the fire, you need to ensure you've taken proper safety precautions. Your damper must be completely open to allow the smoke and heat to rise through the flue — which should be cleaned no less than once a year to prevent creosote buildup — crack a window, remove any remaining ash from a previous fire, and keep a fire extinguisher close by, per the American Academy of Pediatrics. Once you've done this pre-fire safety check, you're ready to begin the grilling process.

Once the fire has developed some coals, you can set up your cooking space. For grilling in the fireplace, indirect heat is the best method to use. According to Char-Broil, grilling over indirect heat means you are placing the meat on the side of the grill farthest away from the heat source. This will help prevent your steak from burning. Use two bricks as ballasts to rest the grill grate — or an inverted rack from your turkey roaster, per Esquire – on top. Place this makeshift grill in your fireplace, using a long-handled shovel to rake some of the coals underneath the grate. Once the grate is sufficiently heated, grill the steak to preferred doneness as you would normally (via Bon Appétit). This experience is easy and enjoyable for anyone willing to take the time to do it. And you get the added benefit of your living room smelling like perfectly grilled steak.