Receiving your Arteflame
Here are some tips to help you get started with your new Arteflame.
Every Arteflame is shipped via ground freight and delivered by truck that has a lowering tailgate. In most cases, the delivery truck driver will put your Arteflame where you want it and help unpack. They usually take away the packaging and the pallet for you as well.
Before first use you need to "season" the cooktop. Any oxidation on the cook top should be wiped off with a rag and a light coat of flaxseed, safflower, or sunflower cooking oil. With use and light oiling while the surface is hot the cooktop will season and blacken like a cast iron skillet. The cooktop should be cared for as you would a cast iron skillet; avoiding harsh cleaners or scrubbing. A properly seasoned cooktop will develop a deep black finish that’s virtually maintenance free.
Cooking oils bake into the cooktop developing a water repellant and stick-free surface. Oxidation on the cook top, should any occur, can be removed with a Brillo pad, steel wool or fine sand paper. We recommend lightly coating the cooktop with flaxseed, safflower, or sunflower oil when not in use.
Every Arteflame is designed with CORTEN steel otherwise known as "weathering steel" that develops a natural patina over time. We start the weathering process at the factory and it will continue to developed after it arrives. We use US CORTEN steel specifically because of the maintenance free beautiful patina it develops. This natural patina changes with the weather and moisture in the atmosphere and provides an attractive, ever changing look. CORTEN steel is the same type of steel often used in high-end outdoor sculptures and architectural installations.
As every Arteflame is manufactured from CORTEN steel, they can be quite heavy. We recommend using two people to assemble, disassemble or move your Arteflame.
Only place the Arteflame on a non flammable surface as hot embers can fall through the drain hole(s) in the bottom.
Make sure the Arteflame is always a safe distance away from any flammable or heat-sensitive object. Note that lightly colored surfaces, such as sand stone, might be subject to stains caused by heat, cooking and rainwater run-off. Periodically move the Arteflame to check and remove any ashes or unburnt wood pieces that can accumulate in the base.
After assembly, make sure the Arteflame is level by adjusting the leveling feet and using a level on the cooktop. The Classic / Euro Arteflame can also be leveled by moving the fire bowl on the base. For leveling the cooktop we recommend any of the free smartphone bubble level apps available from the app store or a traditional carpenter level. Keep in mind while leveling the cooktop that the surface has about a 6 degree incline – therefore to ensure the entire surface is level either use a carpenter’s level long enough to extend across the entire Arteflame surface or placing your cellphone with bubble level in the center of the grill grate. Make sure your Arteflame is level before use and check the level every few months or after the Arteflame is moved or jostled. Having the cooktop level ensures that all the juices drain to the center and into the fire.
Virtually zero maintenance
After using your Arteflame, either extinguish the fire or supervise it until the wood or charcoal is burned out. Water or ice cubes can be used to extinguish the fire but BEWARE of excessive smoke, ash and steam when doing so. The Arteflame will be very hot while the fire is burning itself out and can remain hot for hours.
Once your Arteflame has cooled down and the fire is out, it can be cleaned. Simply scoop out the ashes and dispose of them. A plastic cup and garbage bag make this quick and easy. Make sure all ashes and unburned wood pieces are completely cold. Leave any unburnt wood or charcoal in your Arteflame for future use.
While grilling on the Arteflame it is best to use a griddle scraper with a straight edge to push excess oils and food into the fire. After you are done grilling on the Arteflame, it is a good practice to wipe the cook top down with linseed or flaxseed oil while it is hot. The hot oil will absorb into the pores of the steel as the steel cools, “seasoning” the cook top. Seasoning with flaxseed oil protects your cook top from oxidation and prepares your Arteflame for its next use. Regular applications of flaxseed oil on the cook top, in addition to normal use, prevents oxidation from forming.
It is not necessary to store your Arteflame indoors. Your Arteflame can be left outside year round. When left outside, make sure the cook top is properly seasoned with flaxseed oil to avoid oxidation. Debris like leaves, twigs or snow can accumulate in it so make sure to clean out your Arteflame before using it. To avoid debris from getting into your Arteflame, we manufacture optional stainless steel lids and vinyl covers.
When the Arteflame is not being used for longer periods of time, make sure there is a slight film of flaxseed oil on the cooktop to avoid oxidation. If surface oxidation does occur, it can easily be removed with a Brillo pad, steel wool or sand paper, leaving the cook top like new again. With use, cooking oils are absorbed into the cook top, “seasoning” it and preventing oxidation from forming. The best way to avoid oxidation is using your Arteflame regularly! “Seasoning” your Arteflame is simply done by applying cooking oil to the cook top every time the surface is hot.
Periodically check for debris inside your grill to ensure the drain holes are open and the cooking surface is still level.
To start a fire, we suggest using a chimney starter or a Bison Airlighter with charcoal. Another way of lighting your Arteflame is by using Lighter Cubes or Matchlight charcoal. Lighter cubes and charcoal may be found at stores like Home Depot or any local grocery, hardware or garden supply store. After the charcoal is lit, stack dry firewood in a log cabin or teepee style over the starter fire. Using these methods, the cook top will be hot enough to cook on within 30 minutes. For faster heat build up, use more charcoal and wood but do not over fill the Arteflame as it will diminish the airflow and cause smoke.
The best wood to use for cooking on your Arteflame are hardwoods like oak, mesquite, cherry, apple, hickory, maple, ash, peach, pear, pecan or plum. Soft woods like spruce, pine or fir, should not be used as they can contain large amounts of sap.
Never use wood from furniture, shipping pallets or any other materials (e.g. manufacturers fire logs) that can contain chemicals, veneer or paint.
When using your Arteflame for the first time, build a fire and rub the surface with an oiled rag (see tip below on oil choices). This will start the season process of the cooktop. The oil bonds with the carbon steel cooktop as it heats up and cools down. Keep the fire burning hot for at least one hour before placing any food on the cook top. The operating temperature of the cook top depends on the amount of wood or lump charcoal used.
As a guideline, expect the inner edge of the cook top to reach 425F and the outer edge 250F. 425F is about the ideal temperature to sear steaks while 250F is perfect for vegetables. The differences in temperature are ideal for cooking a wide variety of foods simultaneously.