Fire table dinners are a fun at-home meal experience. Enjoy some quality time with family and friends while everyone cooks their own meat and vegetables.
I want to tell you about one of my family’s all-time favorite dinners. We lovingly call it “Fire Table Dinner.” Many, many years ago my parents bought an outdoor table with a grill in the center, and they started the tradition of fire table dinners. Every time we would visit, we had to have dinner around the fire table at least once. Flash forward to about eight years ago, my husband and I decided we needed a fire table of our own. So, we went on the search for one. It turns out, they are not easy to find. Most fire tables don’t come with a grill. We searched and measured tables until we found one with a fire pit would fit a standard 22 inch grill cooking grate. Finally we settled on this one and bought it for each other as an anniversary present. Best present ever!!
Slow Down and Enjoy the Experience
For us, the fire table dinner is all about slowing down and enjoying time together. I prepare the meat and vegetables while my husband gets the charcoal going. Then, we gather around the table. We put a little bit of everything on the grill, and while it cooks we talk. We cook a little, talk a little, eat a little, and then we start over again.
Everyone has a pair of tongs, so they can pick what they want off the grill and help pass out food to the others. It takes awhile to cook all the food, but that’s the point. Fire table dinner is not about rushing. Instead, it’s about enjoying, enjoying the food and enjoying the company. This meal really reminds me of going to a Japanese steak house, where the chef cooks in front of you on the hibachi grill. It’s our at home version of this fun meal experience.
Food Ideas for Fire Table Dinner
So now, what do we cook on our fire table? Well, almost everything. Depending on what’s in the fridge and what looks good at the grocery store, we change up the menu a bit. There’s always some meat, both beef and chicken are great. Sometimes we serve both. I always cut up the meat into chunks. The pieces are large enough they won’t slip through the grate but small enough they’re almost bite (or two-bite) sized. You can simply season the meat. Our favorite is season salt, garlic powder and a little olive oil. If I’m feeling fancy, I marinate the beef and chicken all day. I like to make homemade hibachi yum yum sauce to go with our meal. It tastes great on all the meat and vegetables. Here’s my recipe.
The next part of the meal is vegetables. I prep the vegetables by cutting them into bite sized pieces. Then, I drizzle them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. I try to keep the vegetable pieces big enough so they don’t fall through the grate. Some great vegetables options are: bell peppers, mushrooms, onion, zucchini, carrots and potatoes. I cut the potatoes into chunks and fully cook them in the microwave before bringing them out to the fire table, otherwise they just take too long to cook. Then, we throw the potatoes on the grill they get nicely roasted and crispy. You might also want to pre-cook the carrots a bit or slice them very thin because they also take awhile to cook.
Don’t forget about grilling dessert. We love grilling pineapple slices. You can use fresh or canned. Let them get a little caramelized on the outside, and enjoy the sweet deliciousness. I recently read a magazine article about grilling grapes, so we decided to try it. I put them on a screwer to make turning easier, and they were fun too. (Just let them cool a bit before you bite into them.) And of course, a perfect dessert when you’re sitting around the fire is s’mores. Simply remove the grate when dinner’s finished and roast some marshmallows over the coals. You can also add wood to the fire pit and toast the marshmallows over the fire. Another fun addition is Jiffy Pop popcorn.
A BYOT Party (Bring Your Own Tongs)
We have carried on the tradition that sparked our love for fire table dinners. Sharing the experience with friends and family is so much fun. We call them “Bring Your Own Tongs” parties. Everyone gets a kick out of cooking their own food. And family often requests fire table dinners when they come over to visit.