I first experienced live-fire cooking as a Boy Scout. Each of us scouts wrapped potatoes in aluminum foil before the scoutmaster nestled our lunch into the hot coals of a bonfire. Or what we thought were hot coals. An hour later, we had 20 raw potatoes and an equal number of hungry scouts. Since then, I've always felt that live-fire cooking was best left to the experts.
Our associate commerce editor, Grace Kelly, was equally intimidated by live-fire cooking until she reviewed the Solo Stove Bonfire and the accompanying Grill Top and Hub. She says: "I was mighty impressed with how easy the Solo Stove was to set up and light—no fiddling with fanning the flames required. Oh, and the lamb chops I grilled on it using the accompanying grill top and hub were phenomenal. If you want to show off some live-fire cooking skills (or just toast a few marshmallows with friends), the Bonfire makes it easy." I’m not quite as brave as Grace, but I did find another use for my Solo Stove: keeping guests warm while I make pizzas in my outdoor pizza oven. I’m a bit of a pizza-making fiend and the only reason my friends tolerate sitting outside on a crisp Wisconsin spring evening with me as I sling pies is 1. Free pizza and 2. The toasty bonfire in my Solo Stove (okay, and they’re my friends, so I suppose that has something to do with it, too).
The Solo Stove’s great because it kicks out excellent radiant heat without the heavy smoke of a traditional firepit—even my dog approves: typically, the pops, crackles, and bursts of smoke kept him cowering indoors. But with the virtually silent and smokeless Solo Stove, he doesn’t mind hanging out by our feet for the chance of nabbing a stray piece of pepperoni.
The stove’s portability is also a big selling point. Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm, our senior commerce editor, says, "I've influenced my whole family to buy Solo Stoves after they saw mine in action during our annual Cape Cod trip. It retains heat wonderfully and burns for an exceptionally long time. I also love its carrying case (thank you, handles!), which makes it easily portable and storable."
Whether you’re looking to cut your teeth at live-fire cooking, enjoy hosting outdoor gatherings, or want to bring your own campfire along on a camping adventure, the Solo Stove Bonfire is a versatile fire pit that goes above and beyond just providing flames.
To buy: Solo Stove Bonfire was $400, now $260 at solostove.com, Solo Stove Bonfire Grill Top and Hub was $325, now $220 at solostove.com
Good to Know:
Solo Stove Bonfire 2
- Diameter: 19.5 in
- Height: 14 in
- Weight: 23.3 lbs
- Materials: Stainless steel
Solo Stove Bonfire Grill Top and Hub
- Cooking surface diameter: 17.5 in
- Hub base diameter: 18.75 in
- Combined height: 9.5 in
- Weight: 20 lbs
- Materials: Stainless steel hub, cast iron grill top
Are Solo Stove fire pits worth it?
We think so. They’re portable, effectively smokeless, and made from durable stainless steel, which is rust- and weather-resistant (as long as you keep it dry). And with accessories like the grill top and hub, you can also use them to cook over a live fire.
Is it safe to use a Solo Stove on a wooden deck?
Yep—as long as you place the Solo Stove fire pit on top of the stand, it’s safe to set up on wood surfaces. Because the sides are made from dual-wall steel, it radiates heat more gently than open-sided fire pits, which can get too hot to place on flammable surfaces.