best outdoor cast iron chiminea

Best Outdoor Chimeneas for Cooking and Entertaining

Whether you are looking to simply have an outdoor chimenea fireplace or a chimenea for cooking we tested the top chimeneas for sale and broke down all of their strength and weaknesses. Dating back 400 years the chimenea, sometimes spelled chiminea, was once the centerpiece of the Mexican household. Now it is used more like a wood burning fire pit for entertaining. However, people are starting to notice the fun times that can be had cooking traditional meals and not so traditional (pizza anyone?) with their outdoor chimeneas!

Editor’s note: We broke down the best chimineas into their respective categories as it is hard to compare clay chimeneas to cast iron chimeneas. Both have their advantages and disadvantages as you will see below. After that we picked the best overall chimenea and the best chiminea for cooking and entertaining.

Best Overall Chimenea

The Blue Rooster Co. Casita Style Cast Iron Wood Burning Chiminea in Charcoal

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Blue Rooster Co. is probably the most famous chiminea maker on the market today. If we really wanted to we could make a top ten list just of Blue Rooster. They are that good! In fact, of the units we tested they were easily the most quality in build and were up there in design.

The is particular Casita Style Cast Iron chimenea produced a ton of heat for it’s size. This made it perfect for both an outdoor wood burning fire pit and as a wood burning grill. We cooked up some tasty BBQ chicken. The smoke flavor was not at all overpowering and is easy to control with the right tools.

The Blue Rooster Co. Casita Style Cast Iron Wood Burning Chiminea Specs:

Size – 22W x 18D x 49H

Weight – 230 Lbs

Material – Cast Iron

Pros:

Great Styling

Durable Cast Iron

Cons:

Heavy

Bottomline: The Blue Rooster Co. chimenea was the overall top pick for both my wife and I. The quality difference is easy to see and the unit functioned perfectly.

Best Cast Iron Chiminea

Oakland Living Hummingbird Chimenea Antique Pewter

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Oakland Living’s Chimenea has intricate detailing and a solid cast iron build. This chimenea will last a long time and look great while warming you up on those cold winter nights. The attention to detail is truly remarkable. The chimenea can easily fit 3-5 wood logs so you can enjoy the dancing flames with a great conversation piece.

Due to its cast iron construction you can safely use this for grilling. Simply add charcoal to the bowl and add a cast iron grate. We recommend keeping this cast iron chimenea covered when not in use to avoid rusting. Other than that this is a great option for any backyard needing a centerpiece design element.

Oakland Living Hummingbird Chimenea Antique Pewter Specs:

Size – 20 x 23 x 53 inches

Weight – 168 pounds

Material – Cast Iron

Pros:

Durable Cast Iron Construction

Intricate carving

Cons:

Can rust over time

Bottomline: The Oakland Living Hummingbird Chimenea has world class construction coupled with beautiful design. If you are looking for something that is both functional and pretty than this is your best bet.

Best Chimenea for Cooking

Deeco DM-0039-IA-C Aztec Allure Cast Iron Pizza Oven Chiminea

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The Deeco Aztec Allure Cast Iron Pizza Oven Chiminea is by far the most feature packed unit we tested. In fact, this is the chimenea we use personally. We love being able to fire this up and enjoy the warmth and ambiance along with being able to cook dinner at the same time. The pizzas come out crispy and the grill is a great option when the weather is nice.

The overall design is a perfect match for most backyards. The durable cast iron construction has held up over the past few seasons with no problems. We make sure to use the specific cover for tight fit.

Deeco DM-0039-IA-C Aztec Allure Cast Iron Pizza Oven Chiminea Specs:

Size – 16 x 18.5 x 44 inches

Weight – 230 pounds

Material – Cast Iron

Pros:

All in one

Cast Iron

Cons:

Large

Bottomline: If you are looking for an all in one package than this is by far the best option on the chimenea market today. Just imagine the flexibility this unit offers for smaller backyards or patios. You don’t need to have separate units that will only cost more in total and probably have guests crammed in or tripping over each other.

Best Mexican Chimenea Clay

Fired Up Designs 41.5-inch Sunfire Clay Chiminea

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The Fired Up Sunfire Clay Chiminea is a true Mexican design. Made from TerraCotta clay this chiminea is both durable and beautiful. TerraCotta is the traditional material used to make chimeneas in Mexico. They are extremely durable but do require more maintenance than cast iron.

Whether you are looking for a place to toast your tortillas or a conversation piece to toast your loved ones this is a great option. The thick walls provide great insulation for cooking but also produce a good deal of heat to keep you warm. The heat radius should be about 10 feet from the opening and 5 feet on the opposite side. We tested this chimenea primarily for cooking and it worked flawlessly.

Fired Up Designs 41.5-inch Sunfire Clay Chiminea Specs:

Size – Height w/ Stand: 40″ Width: 20″

Weight – 93 lbs

Material – Terracotta Clay

Pros:

Traditional Design

Great for cooking

Cons:

We recommend using a cover at all times when not in use.

Bottomline: While the Fired UP Designs Sunfire Clay Chiminea is a true classic we found that it did not provide all that much heat when not faced towards the desired direction. However, it was a great chimenea for cooking. If you are looking for traditional styling and live in a warm area this is a great option.

Best Chiminea for Entertaining

CASTLECREEK Cabin-Style Cooking Chiminea

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The CastleCreek Cabin-Style Cooking Chiminea is a popular option for those looking for a non traditional but fully functional chimenea. The styling resembles that of a cabin and that is obviously the target market for this chimenea. If we owned a cabin and wanted an inexpensive chiminea to keep when we are not there this would be our pick.

This chimenea was not as thick nor as well constructed as the other units we tested but it was much lighter. Hauling a regular chimenea back and forth to a cabin would be a major headache. The CastleCreek also performed pretty well as an outdoor grill. We had limited wood with us when testing so we used charcoal and it worked perfectly.

Cabin-Style Cooking Chiminea Specs:

Size – 20″ x 25″ x 43″h

Weight – 28.5 lbs

Material – Steel

Pros:

Lightweight

Cons:

Not as well built

Bottomline: If you are looking for a portable chimenea than this is your best bet. However, with that added portability comes less durable building materials so this may not last a lifetime like some of the other cast iron chimineas.

Best Outdoor Chimenea Buying Guide

Clay vs. Cast Iron Chimenea

The first thing you want to consider when purchasing any chimenea is the building materials. The cheap chimeneas will be built with steel and perform more like wood burning fire pits. They will not provide enough insulation to heat and grill food evenly.

Traditional clay chimeneas are perfect for cooking as the have great insulation and are easy to clean. Unfortunately we found the clay chimeneas we tested to be more fragile and probably not a lifetime buy compared to cast iron chimeneas.

Cast Iron Chimeneas seem to built to last and also have a tremendous amount of craftsmanship and artistry options. The most detailed offerings available today were cast iron chimeneas. We would recommend cast iron chimeneas for entertaining and as a solid cooking option.

How Much Do Chimeneas Cost?

The average cost of the chimeneas we tested was around $400, about the same as propane fire pit tables. The build material (besides the cheap steel options) did not seem to affect the pricing. Rather, the detail in carvings and the overall size of the chimenea made a huge difference in price. While I would not recommend the cheap chimenea it would be an acceptable option if you make sure to use the cover and vigilantly clean the unit after each use.

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