NOW LIVE: A Never Before Seen Interview with Sports Legend Michael Jordan

Ring of Fire

There’s a tribal pull to a firepit: Friends gather, conversation flows, the smoke of your cigar blends with the cinders. It’s magnetic, like the kitchen in your home. So why would you put a Sub Zero and a Wolf stove inside and not build anything but an investment grade centerpiece for the backyard?

“This is something you’ll pass down to your children,” says Mike Bertelsen, the creator of the Cowboy Cauldron, a suspended firepit that—like the Big Green Egg and other “heirloom grade” hard goods—has inspired devotion. “It suits your most primal instinct. Around a circle, face to face, not looking at it like a screen.”

Bertelsen, a D.C. lobbyist, says the Cauldron idea sprung from a visit to George Washington’s Mount Vernon. “They had a couple of braziers hanging to keep the onlookers warm, and it just clicked for me. I had a guy make one out of steel and next thing you know I had people opening up about their personal lives, which is a rare thing in Washington, D.C.” 

The Cauldron lifestyle soon spread among seemingly unconnected customers. The Prince of Qatar has nine of them. Meadowood Restaurant in Napa, the Four Seasons, Mayacamas Vineyards and Blue Smoke all have one (or more). With names like the Urban Cowboy, the Wrangler and the Ranch Boss, they range in price from $1,695 to $2,995.

Today, the units are stamped out of American steel by a ball-field-sized press in Ohio. Functionally, the alloy is formulated to stretch into the half-sphere structure, which allows it to radiate evenly to your legs and feet while concentrating the heat inside the grill. The Cauldron can also be a cooking surface with the addition of a grate, made in Indiana. 

But the Cauldron would be a failure if it were only a cook top or social catalyst. It works because it’s a damn good pit to stand around. “The warmth is closer to your core, while the smoke is already accelerating past your head as it rises,” says Bertelsen. “It’s beautiful, functional, practical.”

Just about the only thing wrong with the Cauldron? Getting one. “We don’t have trouble selling cauldrons, we have trouble making them,” says Bertelsen. 

Visit cowboycauldron.com

Tools

More in The Good Life

See all
Complete Michael Jordan Video Interview to Debut July 30 at 7 p.m.

Complete Michael Jordan Video Interview to Debut July 30 at 7 p.m.

On Thursday, July 30 at 7 p.m., we will be posting on CigarAficionado.com a special, uncut version of …

Jul 23, 2020
Countdown to Ecstasy

Countdown to Ecstasy

At the 2019 Big Smoke Las Vegas last November, Doug Halcomb and his Cigar Raiders crew were on a …

Jul 10, 2020
The Most Luxurious Golf Course in Las Vegas

The Most Luxurious Golf Course in Las Vegas

When it comes to the most luxurious round of golf in Vegas, it is undoubtedly the relatively new …

Jun 19, 2020
Cigar Aficionado’s 2020 Father’s Day Gift Guide

Cigar Aficionado’s 2020 Father’s Day Gift Guide

Buying dad the perfect gift for Father’s Day is a breeze if you know what he wants. To help shop for …

Jun 9, 2020
A Cigar-Lover Gets Creative During the Time of Covid

A Cigar-Lover Gets Creative During the Time of Covid

People have used their newly found downtime to learn new skills or improve on existing hobbies. For …

Jun 5, 2020
The Last Dance Review: The Final Episodes

The Last Dance Review: The Final Episodes

We all knew how this story would end, but no matter how well we thought we knew this team, surprises …

May 18, 2020