Gas may be faster and more convenient, but there is nothing quite like the crackle, pop and aroma of a real wood fire. 2 Silos Brewing Co. keeps guests warm all season with Cowboy Cauldron firepits that can accommodate up to 14 guests, smaller wood-burning firepits for six and large outdoor stone fireplaces on their patios, all of which are among their most sought-after seating. Assistant general manager Chris Foley shared his tips for building a roaring fire at home this winter:
• If possible, source kiln-dried wood, which helps with initial lighting as well as maintaining and minimizing smoke levels. Store logs in a dry, non-humid place with adequate air flow.
• Make a base of small logs in a crisscross pattern, adding small sticks and wood chips for kindling.
• Light the pile from the bottom with a blowtorch; using a regular lighter will require more kindling or paper.
• The first hour is a fire’s most important (and challenging); after that, burnt logs produce coals that are hot enough to keep the fire ablaze. Apply additional wood sporadically but in a controlled manner, in a crisscross pattern with adequate ventilation for the oxygen that serves as fuel. Aim for a stack no greater than three logs high; piling them too high in a fireplace can lead to cracks in the chimney that can start a structural fire. “More logs do not always equate to a bigger, more even fire,” Foley points out.
This story originally appeared in the January issue as part of the Winter Wonderland feature. For more stories like this, subscribe to our monthly magazine.