RECEIVING THE 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. Your Arteflame freight is prepaid and includes delivery on a truck using a lowering tailgate. lf no truck with lowering tailgate is available, your Arteflame can be unloaded by two people.
Before first use you need to "season" the cooktop. Any oxidation on the cook top should be wiped off with a rag and some cooking oil. With use and light oiling while the surface is hot the commercial grade cooktop will season and blacken like a cast iron skillet – and should be cared for as you would a cast iron skillet – avoiding harsh cleansers and scrubbing. A properly seasoned Arteflame cooktop will develop a nice blackened finish that’s virtually maintenance free as the oil bakes 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.
When your Arteflame arrives, you should expect some oxidation on the base and cone as this oxidation provides both a protective surface layer as well as a naturally maintenance–free aesthetic beauty. Every Arteflame base is designed with CORTEN steel otherwise known as "weathering steel" that develops a natural patina over time. We chose CORTEN steel specifically because of the maintenance free beautiful patina it develops. This natural patina changes with the moisture in the atmosphere and weather 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 highly 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.
Position the base on level ground so that the circular opening of the base faces up. 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.
Once a suitable place has been selected for the base, lower the cook top onto the circular opening in the top of the base.
After assembly, make sure the Arteflame is level by using the leveling feet and a level on the cooktop. The “Classic” Arteflame can also be leveled by moving the fire bowl on on the base. For leveling the cooktop we recommend any of the free cell-phone bubble level apps available from the app stores through your smartphone or a traditional level from your local hardware store. Keep in mind while leveling the cooktop that the surface has a 2-5 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 heating, never rest anything flammable on a hot Arteflame, and make sure to 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 of the Arteflame.
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 also be used to extinguish the fire. BEWARE of excessive smoke, ash and steam when using water to extinguish the Arteflame. 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. Make sure all ashes and unburned wood pieces are completely cold. Any unburnt wood or charcoal can remain in your Arteflame and used the next time.
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 cooking oil while it is warm. The hot oil will absorb into the pores of the steel “seasoning” the cook top. Seasoning with oil protects your cook top from oxidation and prepares your Arteflame for its next use. Regular applications of 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 to avoid oxidation. Debris like leaves, twigs or snow can accumulate in it so make sure to clean out your Arteflame before using it.
When the Arteflame is not being used for longer periods of time, oxidation can form on the cook top if it has not been seasoned properly. This surface oxidation 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 by using your Arteflame regularly! “Seasoning” your Arteflame is simply done by applying cooking oil to the cook top every time the surface is hot.
We recommend periodic checks for debris to ensure drain holes remain open and the cook surface level.
To start a fire, we suggest using a chimney starter or a Bison Airlighter with charcoal. After the charcoal is lit, stack dry, hardwood on top of it. Never use soft woods like pine, or manufactured logs like Duraflame as neither is a good choice for cooking and both will leave residue in the firebowl. Another way of lighting your Arteflame is by using lighter cube fire starters or Matchlight charcoal. Once lit stack dry firewood in a log cabin or teepee style over the starter fire. Lighter cubes and charcoal may be found at stores like Home Depot or any local grocery, hardware or garden supply store. Using these methods, the cook top is hot enough to cook on within 30 minutes. For faster heat build up, use more charcoal and wood.
The best wood to use for cooking on your Arteflame are hardwoods like oak, mesquite, cherry, apple, hickory, maple, alder ash, peach, pear, pecan or plum. Soft woods like spruce, redwood, sycamore, cedar, cypress, elm, pine, fir, and eucalyptus should not be used as they can contain large amounts of sap. Never use wood from furniture, 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, it is good practice to build a larger fire than you would normally build for grilling. After 20 minutes, rub the surface with an oiled rag (see tip below on oil choices) and repeat every 20 minutes for the first hour. This will help season the cooking surface - blackening it in the process as the oil bonds with the carbon steel cooktop. Keep the fire burning hot for at least one hour before placing any food on the cook top.
Only use cooking oils such as sunflower, canola, coconut, olive oil or any blended cooking oil. DO NOT USE oil unfit for human consumption. Properly seasoning your new Arteflame cooktop with cooking oil will hasten development of a low maintenance, non-stick cooking surface as the oil penetrates and bonds with the high-carbon steel. Over time, oil and heat will turn the cook top a deep dark color and prevent oxidation from forming. We recommend the use of olive or avocado oil. When the Arteflame is not being used for longer periods of time, oxidation can form on the cook top if it has not been properly seasoned. Should any oxidation occur a light rubbing with steel wool and re-oiling of the cook top will bring the surface back to full seasoning. The more your Arteflame is used, the better protected the cook top will be and the more flavorful your food will taste! The best way to avoid oxidation is by using the Arteflame regularly! “Seasoning” your Arteflame is simply done by applying cooking oil to the cook top every time the surface is hot.
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.
While grilling on the Arteflame it is best to use a griddle scraper with a straight edge to scrape 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 cooking oil while it is hot. The hot oil will be absorbed into the pores of the steel further “seasoning” the cook top. Seasoning it with oil protects the cook top from oxidation and prepares your Arteflame for its next use. Regular, light applications of cooking oil on the cook top prevent oxidation from forming when the cooktop is not in use.
Finally, we recommend periodic checks for debris to ensure drain holes remain open and emptying cold ash from the fire bowl regularly.