Grilling Techniques

Roasting Chestnuts on an Open Fire

roasting chestnuts on an open fire

Roasting Chestnuts on an open charcoal grill or fire pit is a delicious snack that can add great fun to your holiday. In this post you will know all there is to know about roasting chestnuts on an open fire – from the tools needed and a delicious recipe this simple guide will make you a holiday hero.

Fresh Chestnuts are harvested in North America in late autumn and add great fun to the holiday season. Probably new chestnuts will be in stores until the end of December.

Where to buy chestnuts

Fresh chestnuts used well for roasting include shell and are usually found in the production section of the grocer. Farmers’ markets may also have them.

Tools needed

When using the oven, the key tool needed for roasted chestnuts is a cast iron pan. When using fire, which we highly recommend there most important tools for making frying are easy and safe.

  1. High heat welding style Gloves – This is important to avoid burning hands when the fire and heat are several hundred degrees. Protect your hands!
  2. Cast Iron Pan – A cast iron pan can handle the heat.
  3. Open Fire Pit or Grill or fire pit.
  4. Sharp Paring or Serrated Knife – The key to successfully frying chestnuts to get nuts, a serrated knife makes this a lot easier.
Preparing chestnuts for roasting

Soft nut chestnuts surrounded by a hard shell. The nuts have the right amount of moisture and steam when cooking. It’s always best to the prepare chestnuts for cooking on an open fire to avoid it from exploding. One side of the shell is always flat and the other is round. Make sure the nuts are fresh and not cut when you buy.

Insert the points on the flat side of the chestnut with a sharp knife to make an X pattern. The cut is shallow to reveal just the inside of the case. This will allow the steam to escape. Only one side needs to score. As the chestnuts roast, the shell will expand, making the X larger and more likely to cause the nut to come out of the shell and burn in the pan. Avoid that.

How do you roast chestnuts on a fire?

Start with hot lump charcoal or a good bed of hot embers in an open fire pit.

  1. Place enough charcoal that the cast iron pan will set to be placed over the embers, but not the handle. Setting up a large grill for indirect cooking is the easiest way to do this.
  2. Score the chestnuts.
  3. Using a cast iron pan, just arrange the chestnuts enough to cover the pan. The scored sides should face up as this will allow the shell to absorb all the heat.
  4. Place the pan on the coals. Allow the metal pan to heat the chestnuts in the pan.
  5. After 5 minutes in a pan over the coals, start stirring the chestnuts.
  6. Stir occasionally for another 5 – 7 minutes.
  7. Remove from the fire. When cool enough to handle, remove the hard outer shell, and serve warm.
How long to roast chestnuts

On top of the fire, sweet chestnuts will cook for 10 – 12 minutes when the shell is on and faster when the shell is off. When roasting over a fire we recommend that the shell be used as a buffer to obtain heat.

What do roasted chestnuts taste like

Roasted Chestnuts will be soft, buttery, and lightly nutty. These sweet, nuts are very moist and make for a nice chewy bite. Finish with good quality salt for extra flavor, or some melted butter.

How to serve and store chestnuts

After roasting chestnuts, they are best served on the same day as roasting. Simply place them in a bowl and have guests remove the shell and eat. Have an empty container to collect the shells. The presentation is part of the experience of roasted chestnut.

If not eaten at all, keep in an airtight baggie and warm gently over low heat with butter or oil for two days. Because the moisture is cooked during the roasting process, it does not re-heat properly.

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