An open flame allows families to sit, talk, and enjoy each others’ company, and they can prepare meals and snacks while they’re at it. Traditionally, fire pits used dry firewood as a primary fuel source.
With mechanical engineering and technological innovations, smokeless fire pits can now take advantage of varying fuel sources. For some time now, propane has been one of these fuel sources.
The first question that comes to people’s minds using propane for the first time is: “Can you roast marshmallows on a propane fire pit?” The short answer is yes, but some factors need careful consideration.
- What Is Propane?
- Firewood Vs. Propane
- Can You Roast Marshmallows on a Propane Fire Pit?
- Roasting Food Over a Propane Fire Pit
What Is Propane?
Propane is a gas with molecules comprising three carbon atoms and eight hydrogen atoms. While it is a gas at standard temperature and pressure, you can find it compressed and transportable in tanks and canisters in its liquid form.
Propane makes up the bulk component of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). It is non-toxic, colorless, and virtually odorless; the smell you get from it is just an identifying odor for easy detection.
You might not have noticed, but propane is the common fuel for heating and cooking. It also has growing applications in machine and vehicle fueling.
Firewood Vs. Propane
You may be on the verge of adding a fire pit in your backyard, but you need to understand which type to install. The first decision you have to make is about the type of fuel to burn; you can choose from wood, propane, and ethanol.
Ethanol is nice, as it is the most environmentally friendly option, burning completely clean and costing a little bit less than propane. It comes in liquid and gel forms, and it produces a beautiful flame with a soothing and relaxing ambiance.
However, ethanol is not a reliable fuel source for producing and maintaining heat, especially during cold and windy nights. Hence, it is not the most viable option, and we are left with firewood and propane.
Wood-Burning Fire Pit
Wood-burning fire pits use either seasoned wood or kiln-dried lumber. They are more affordable than propane fire pits and usually offer better, more natural experiences around an open flame.
However, burning wood can result in unclean emissions, including particles, fumes, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds.
Aside from effectively polluting the environment, burning wood also diminishes air quality and causes unwanted health hazards. Other disadvantages of using wood as a fuel source include the need for storage, the difficulty of ignition, and the high probability of fire accidents.
Wood-burning fire pits require more work for continuous burning and more extensive cleaning and maintenance practices.
Propane Fire Pit
Propane fire pits are usually more expensive than wood-burning fire pits and use gas lines that can be dangerous if not professionally installed. They also need a fuel tank, and the size of the tank determines how long you can use the fire pit continuously.
Like wood-burning fire pits, propane fire pits will require a space for their fuel source. Nevertheless, you can hide propane tanks and access them only during refilling, unlike firewood storage pens, which have to be accessible all the time.
In many cases, propane fire pits have a built-in compartment for their fuel tank.
The greatest advantage of propane over firewood is that it is more environmentally friendly as propane burns completely clean: no harmful byproducts whatsoever.
Can You Roast Marshmallows on a Propane Fire Pit?
Absolutely, yes. Still, there are some factors you need to be wary about if you want your fire pit to last a lifetime.
The following list contains some simple guidelines for roasting marshmallows and enjoying s’mores around an open propane flame.
Why Do Makers Advice Against Cooking Over Propane Fire Pits?
When you buy a propane fire pit, manufacturers will always warn you against using them for cooking food. Depending on the design of the machine, a propane fire pit can easily have problems when used for cooking.
First and foremost is the mechanism. Unlike gas grills and smokers, propane fire pits do not undergo design and rigorous testing as cooking devices or appliances.
They are as simple as having a fuel source, an igniter, a metal pan deflector, and a burner. Usually, the burner does not have protective coverings for food spillage, unlike cooktops do, and grease drippings can clog the burner.
If you are 100 percent sure that nothing falls or drips into the propane fire pit burner while you’re cooking, go ahead and start roasting.
Are Propane Fire Pits Completely Safe?
Propane fire pits only take an instant to ignite; you need an open fuel valve and a matchstick or a lighter. Some models even have their own built-in igniters.
With a fuel valve or control system, switching off is much easier, and fire hazards are much fewer. Nonetheless, avoid roasting marshmallows over your propane fire pit when using it for the first time.
Give it a good run of several uses to get rid of accumulated compounds during its manufacture and transportation. Also, understand your device and know the type of fuel it burns.
It may be using gas fuel that is not 100 percent propane, including chemicals possibly harmful to human health.
Will Lava Rocks and Fire Glass Affect the Results?
Many commercially bought fire pits include burning media to improve heating and appear more natural. Aside from checking the exact type of fuel and its additives, it would be best also to know the different burning media.
Burning media may come in the form of lava rocks, fire glass, or any other material or object that covers the burner. These objects help disperse and distribute the heat from the flames so that the pit can produce balanced outputs all around.
Fire glass and lava rocks are usually very safe. However, it is still your responsibility to check whether these items have gone through some form of protective coating or chemical treatment.
As previously mentioned, use your propane fire pit and its accompanying media several times before roasting marshmallows over it.
Do Marshmallows Taste Bad After Roasting Over a Propane Fire?
We all know now that LPG or propane is a clean-burning fuel; in fact, it burns cleaner than wood.
You will have a higher chance of getting a funny taste from a marshmallow roasted over firewood than one roasted over a propane fire. As long as the propane you use for your fire pit is the same fuel for gas-powered grills, it won’t alter food’s taste.
What Should I Do With Burnt Marshmallows?
For many people, a burnt marshmallow is a very delectable treat. However, toasting it to perfection is your best approach to keeping it healthy.
Slowly heating a marshmallow over a fire makes the sugar caramelize and produce a brown color and toasted flavor. When the sugar gets hot enough, the slow fire breaks down its molecules and allows them to react with one another.
You can get fruity, buttery, and nutty flavors from every bite. When a marshmallow becomes scorched black, a bitter, burnt taste can overpower the sweetness of the oozing insides.
While marshmallows are not healthy food, occasionally indulging in them won’t cause you too much harm. However, eating them burnt regularly can pose some health risks.
Remember that burned foods contain compounds linked to kidney problems, diabetes, and cancer.
Roasting Food Over a Propane Fire Pit
Can you roast marshmallows on a propane fire pit?
Yes, it is a fun activity that families and friends can enjoy over an open flame. Also, marshmallows are the only usual treats you can roast over a propane fire pit.
If you want to roast different types of meat, you’re better off installing a wood-burning fire pit or a gas grill. Foods other than marshmallows easily secrete juices and grease as they cook, and these substances can damage a propane fire pit.