What is a Kotlich Set? (And Why You Need One)

We’ve been cooking outside with our kotlich set for years now, and they’re a versatile and highly portable addition to your outdoor kitchen kit.

Kotlich is a Serbo-Croat name (also known as bogracs in Hungarian), and a kotlich set consists of an enamel cooking pot and circular grill that hangs from an adjustable portable tripod over a fire or fire pit. 

You can cook a wide variety of foods with your kotlich, and we’ve set up ours on the beach, in the mountains and at home in the garden.

kotlich set

The Components of a Kotlich Set

There are three pieces that make up a kotlich set, a lightweight metal tripod with hanging chain, an enamel cooking pot with lid, and a circular metal grill.

For the sake of clarity here, we’re talking about a completely different thing than the larger ‘kotlich fire pits’ you can install on your patio. Let’s look at the all these elements in more detail.

Metal Tripod

The lightweight metal tripod is easy to carry around, stow in the trunk of the car and keep in the shed. It hardly takes up any space at all but is durable and doesn’t weigh anything.

The wider you set the three legs apart over your fire, the more you can regulate the cooking heat; closer together for lower heat and wider apart for higher heat.

The tripod also has a metal chain hanging down in the middle of it, with a small metal hook-shaped handle at the top so you can turn the chain round.

This means when it’s attached to either the enamel cooking pot or the circular grill, you can also regulate the temperature by turning them round to distribute heat more evenly around the cooking food.

The chain has a metal hook on the end for either the pot or the grill – and you can further regulate temperature by hooking the chain back on itself to lower or higher each one. 

Enamel Cooking Pot

The enamel cooking pot is usually black on the outside with a lovely colored design inside (ours is greyish blue), and comes with a handle to hook over the chain hook.

These pots are very well made and have a quality feel, and are very versatile when it comes to cooking stews, soups and any sauce-based recipe over the fire.

Whilst you do have to be vigilant and constantly attend to your pot while your food is cooking, due to the multiple ways you can regulate heat even over a roaring fire – you’ll find it surprisingly easy to control the cooking temperature quite minutely.

In this context stews are the best. Once you’ve found a good simmering height you can simply open a brew and sit by the fire enjoying being outside – especially if you have a great view.

Circular Grill

The round metal grill is also black, and comes with three metal chains attached at the top – so you easily hand it from the hook on the tripod. We usually always double up the tripod chain when using the grill otherwise it hangs to low in the fire.

Again, this piece of kit is extremely versatile, and acts just like a traditional BBQ grill. You can use it for all the family favorites including sausages, burgers, steaks and ribs. We also like to cook fresh fish wrapped in wet newspaper on ours (just be careful to have a pot of water on hand to keep the paper moist and keep turning it).

In my opinion though, where the kotich grill is better than a BBQ grill is in your ability to lower it and higher it easily – plus spin it round with the handle on the tripod. This means it’s easier to get a uniform cooking temperature over your food, and everything gets its turn in any hot spots.

Cooking fish on our kotlich in the mountains

Cooking fish on our kotlich in the mountains

How To Cook With a Kotlich Set

As mentioned, what you want to cook will determine whether you choose the enamel pot or the grill. However, both are easy to cook with.

Simply get your fire or fire pit up to heat – preferably with glowing coals like a BBQ rather than roaring flames, then add you food as you would with any traditional BBQ grill or outdoor kitchen cooking pot.

You can control the height of the tripod by putting the legs either closer together or further apart – and by the length of chain you attach your hanging pot or grill to.

You’ll need you BBQ tongues and all the usual cooking utensils for cooking outside, but will be pleasantly surprised by the temperature control versatility afforded by the rotating handle found on top of the tripod.

Just make sure you keep the fire burning underneath, which will mean having a stock of dry wood nearby, and you’ll also need an oven mitt of sorts in case you need to move the hot tripod and reposition the kotlich as the fire burns its way round.

Apart from that, cooking with a kotlich set follows the same rules as any outdoor BBQ would – but I think it’s a little more fun!

What Can I Cook With a Kotlich Set?

What you want to cook will determine whether you set up your kotlich with the enamel pot or the grill. Let’s look a few types of food you can cook on each.

Kotlich Pot Foods

You can let your imagination run wild here – and all these dishes are quite easy to make too. You can simply put all the ingredients in the pot and let them simmer away while you kick back and relax with a glass of something refreshing:

  • Stew
  • Soup
  • Goulash
  • Curry
  • Hotpot
  • Chilli Con Carne
  • Provencal
  • Pasta
  • Risotto
  • Paella
  • Jambalaya
  • Casserole

Kotlich Grill Foods

Think BBQ grill standards here, including all the family favorites such as:

  • Chicken
  • Steak
  • Burgers
  • Veggie burgers
  • Sausages
  • Bacon
  • Sliced vegetables
  • Beef mushrooms
  • Fish
  • Ribs
  • Kebabs

In fact, just about the only things you can’t cook on your versatile kotlich include eggs, pancakes, pizza and beans for a fry up (although you could do the latter in the pot and the rest using a griddle pan on the fire). 

kotlich set on the beach

Cooking with a kotlich set on the beach

How To Clean a Kotlich Set

The good news is that your kotlich set is easy to clean too. We only give out tripod a wipe down with a damp cloth after using it, and wash the enamel cooking pot as you would normally with washing up liquid and hot water.

The only difference comes with how we clean the circular grill. Once this has cooled off we usually give it a quick brush down with a rough brush to remove any larger pieces of burnt on food and black sooty stuff. We then wash it lightly with hot water whilst rubbing it with a washing up brush to get all the finer stuff off. 

After that we make sure to burn off he grill for a few minutes over the fire when we next use it. This way we don’t damage the grill surface too much by using detergents and rubbing it too hard – and then let the heat of the grill make sure it’s hygenic and ready to cook on again.

Conclusion

Like I said at the start of this article, our family has owned a kotlich set for several years after my sister gave it to us one Christmas – and we’ve since used it dozens and dozens of times.

Cooking with a kotlich set not only produces delicious stews and BBQ food, but is also a very sociable thing to do. When we set it up, our friends and family always ask loads of questions about it and how to use it – and everyone then usually stands around the pot talking and taking turns stirring or flipping the burgers.

So if you like cooking outside in your backyard, or taking camping trips in the great outdoors, then I’d definitely recommend investing in a kotlich set. They’re not expensive, are highly portable and very easy and versatile to cook with.