Clayton Blog

7 Ideas For Fall Outdoor Cooking

Summer seems to claim all the glory for outdoor cooking, as we all tend to think of grilling burgers and hot dogs for a barbecue in July. But realistically, the fall months are the prime time to enjoy the great outdoors! Cool weather, the warmth of a bonfire, spending time with good friends and eating delicious food, it’s the best way to spend a fall weekend.


A group of people socializing outside while they wait for food to be grilled.


With all the fall outdoor activities you can do, like yard games, hayrides and do it yourself fall crafts, who wants to stay inside to cook? Here are some classic outdoor cooking ideas to help you and your friends discover your favorite way to enjoy this autumn.

1. The Grill

A burger being taken off a grill at an outdoor get together.


Think outside the normal “grill foods”. Sure, you can grill some burgers and hot dogs, but don't stop there. Throw on some seasonal vegetables, grill some chicken or even barbecue a rack of ribs! The fall offers so many flavors that can help you mix up your grilling routine!

There are plenty of resources to find tasty recipes, start perusing through your favorite fall inspired cookbooks or cooking websites to find some delicious fall recipes the whole family will love. You can even check out the reviews to see what worked and what didn't.


Quick Tip: It’s easier to brush the debris off your grill if you do it while it’s still hot.

2. Over The Fire

A family outside roasting marshmallows over a fire by the lake.


Nothing beats a backyard fire when the weather gets cool. There’s no greater fall vibe than a group of friends and family gathered around a fire sharing stories and cooking hot dogs and s’mores over an open flame. If you have a fire pit in your backyard, use it to break out from your family’s normal dining experience.

Quick Tip: Try cooking with an elevated grate. It will open up plenty of options like shish kabobs, stews and desserts.

In The Fire

Fish wrapped in tin foil with fresh vegetables and spices ready to be cooked 


There’s a pretty big difference in cooking over the fire and cooking in the fire. Cooking in the fire means placing the ingredients into a tinfoil pouch and cooking it under the coals. With this style you can cook anything from chicken to venison to fish, and even chocolate cake. Check out some of the recipes we’ve pinned on our Cookin’ with Clayton board for inspiration.


Quick Tip: Cook your vegetables inside the foil with the protein for added flavor and easy meal preparation.

4. Dutch Oven

Dutch Oven being heated over an open flame 

Once you’ve successfully made a meal in a Dutch oven, you can officially call yourself a master of outdoor cooking. A meal cooked in cast iron on an open flame is both satisfying and delicious. This method can take a bit of practice to get right, but it's worth it.

Dutch ovens can cook almost anything, which is why it was the cooking method of choice for American pioneers. I’d recommend looking up some beginner recipes online to get started. Also, make sure you research how to properly clean and season your Dutch oven, so you can keep using it for years to come.


Quick Tip: Pay close attention to how much heat you are applying above and beneath the oven, it will have a huge impact on how your food is cooked.

5. Smoking

Rack of ribs being smoked as a form of food preparation 

Now we’re getting into a more advanced method. Smoking can be a simple concept, but getting started requires investing in equipment. If you want to save a few bucks and don't mind the time commitment, then you may want to consider building your own smoker

Smokers are perfect for barbecue, but there's no limit to the possibilities for smoking food. You can get creative with fish and vegetables too! 


Quick Tip: It may take longer, but the slower the better when it comes to smoking barbecue, trust me, you’ll appreciate it.

6. Pizza Oven

Outdoor wood burning oven with firewood being stored underneath and surrounded by lush foliage


Brick wood-burning ovens cook amazing pizzas you can enjoy year-round. You could always use this method to cook Dutch oven recipes, casserole dishes or baked goods too, but really, it's all about the pizza. Plus, it’s a great way to put a twist on a build-your-own pizza party that the whole family can enjoy.


Quick Tip: When you’re cooking pizza, remember to keep turning the pizza to make sure that the pizza is evenly cooked.

7. Pit Cooking

This last method is ancient in the cooking world. Pit cooking is a lot of work, but the results can be worth it. Pit cooking is a form of cooking underground that allows you to use natural resources to slowly cook your food. This is essentially done by:


  • Digging a pit
  • Building a fire and letting it burn to create embers
  • Place your food above the hot embers
  • Cover up the pit until the food is done cooking


If you're willing to put in the time, this method is great for barbecuing for a large group of people.


Quick Tip: While you’re waiting for the fire to burn out, you can use that time to prep your meat so that it’s ready to go once you have a layer of hot embers.


A man serving a plate full of hot dogs and burgers.

Now that you have all of these outdoor cooking ideas, you’re going to need the perfect patio layout like this one from the Madison M112X!


Outdoor patio featuring an island and a fireplace.


No matter which outdoor cooking method you choose, it’s important to remember to always take proper safety precautions. Are you going to be cooking over a fire pit this fall? Learn how to make sure you and your family are safe as you enjoy your fire pit.




See 5 P's of Pit Safety

Topics Lifestyle