Cooking over a flame grill BBQ on your very own homemade fire pit in the backyard for family and friends is something special indeed. Thankfully, these days there are lots of different grill plate options to choose from off the shelf for reasonable prices without having to weld your own purpose-built mechanical cooking monstrosity!
When I was a kid (here we go), we were quite happy to cook up steak and snags over an old grill plate supported by a few bricks – basically, a campfire in the backyard. These days we want the "backyard campfire" to not only be more versatile but it has to also look amazingly trendy!
This is where fire pit hanging grills come into the fray in the war over who has the best outdoor cooking outfit to WOW them all. No longer is the fire pit something pretty to look at and keep warm during winter occasions, no longer is it merely a place for children to roast marshmallows on long (sometimes dangerous) skewers, nor is it just a pointless inferno for adolescent men to stand around chest beating and cast their beer top lids into; nope, today's fire pit is a cooking mastery equal to (if not better than) any stand alone pizza oven.
Since building my own fire pit, I've been rather satisfied with its performance as a way to roast portions of meat using a rotisserie; however, there was one glaring piece missing from my outdoor cooking operation and that was a grill. Until now…
A few days ago, my wife and I were window shopping at a local barbeque retailer (Barbeques Galore to be exact) and whilst I was busy ogling at a Kamado Joe Barbecue my wife spotted a tripod with adjustable hanging grill designed for fire pits. She shook my shoulder (and broke me out of my admiring trance) and said, "Mark, you don't need a Kamado! This hanging grill is exactly what you were looking for and it only costs 50 bucks!"
She was right, I had been looking for a grill to suit our fire pit but I hadn't thought of a hanging grill and I guess a Kamado was more of a "want" than a "need" – although I'm not too sure about that…
Seriously, a hanging grill wasn't exactly what I had in mind because I really hadn't thought of it at all and was instead considering one of those flat round grills with handles that fitted over the fire pit. To be fair, I always thought of a tripod in regards to cooking to be associated with campfires such as boiling a billy etc but I didn't expect to see one purpose made for a fire pit. But there it was all fully assembled in-store standing commandingly over a metal fire pit with its hanging grill hovering and shimmering like the best idea since sliced bread.
And after seeing the price tag of $49 AU, Nina and I looked at each other and said, "let's get it!" So we ended up buying the tripod with adjustable hanging grill and yesterday I put it together – see the video I made at the end of this article showing how I assembled it.
Obviously, the hanging grill we purchased isn't the only type you can buy, in fact, there are many designs available (mainly online – see list at end of post) to suit a range of situations. One top selling hanging grill is called Wimpy's Swing-Away Campfire Grill sold in the USA here and whilst I couldn't get this one even if I wanted to (because I live in Australia) I'm still more than happy with mine. Yes, I do get how the Wimpy has the flexibility to swing the grill away from the fire in order to safely turn the food etc, but I can still do similar with my tripod by simply raising the grill to get it out of the heat. And, in my opinion raising and lowering (if needed) to turn meat or serve food has to be more stable than the swing by sheer design. If you think about it, lowering and raising with a tripod frame and pulley system will always cause less stress and friction than pivoting a swing joint on a single axis especially if the grill plate is weighed down heavily with food.
Having said that, the Wimpy grill is a good piece of kit and I take my hat off to those people who engineer these products for us to use making life easier and entertaining more fun. The truth is, everyone has a different fire pit and one selects the type of grill that complements that and their own tastes so it's wise to consider carefully what you need and how you want to use it before buying something to suit.
Where to buy hanging grills online?
- Hanging grills on Amazon USA – Has a good selection of items plus a tonne of accessories.
- Hanging grills for a fire pit on Amazon UK – Has some pretty trendy designs available due to the European market.
- Hanging grills for Australian buyers on eBay – Not a big selection but definitely worth a look.
Finally, I still must be upfront and state that I am still yet to test out my tripod hanging grill and although my expectations for how it will perform are high (as stated in the assembly video below) I'm reserving my formal opinion/review for now. Nevertheless, watch this space and our Reviews Section for when I do put this hanging grill through its paces – I'm/we're really looking forward to it!
Tripod with Hanging Grill for fire pit assembly video