The wood used to burn in your outdoor pizza oven is often an overlooked subject but will have a huge effect on the meal.
Your pizza will be cooking close to your chosen wood so it can have an affect on the taste of your pizza.
There are advantages to choosing the right wood to burn specifically for taste, smell, and maximum temperature.
The best type of woods to use is hardwoods. These woods burn hotter, longer and cleaner. This will help your food cook faster and improve the taste.
The most popular hardwood to use is oak.
Oak is a popular choice as it’s easily accessible, reasonably priced and burns hotter than other woods will.
Apple wood also burns hotter than most woods and it can add an beautiful fragrance to your cooking.
Apple wood slightly harder to come by than oak and as a result comes at a slightly higher cost.
Maple and ash are also very popular despite ash being softer than the other hardwoods.
Bear in mind that the type of wood you choose to burn in your outdoor oven will depend on the availability in your area.
Which materials are best to use to light your outdoor pizza oven?
Lighting Your Pizza OvenTo get your fire started a little easier you may want to consider these options.
Paper is a common material used so use enough to create a flame under the wood when necessary.
A popular technique here is to build a pyramid of wood and kindling over the paper.
If you have a smaller outdoor pizza oven you may also be able to use wood chips and pellets as kindling.
Can you use firelighters in your outdoor pizza oven?
In addition to paper and kindling you can use firelighters. They must be natural firelighters to avoid releasing any unwanted chemicals.
Avoid wax and sawdust firelighters they leave an excess amount of ash and dust. That can leave an unwanted taste and texture to your pizza.
When using firelighters remember that these establish your fire.
Use in company with your kindling as firelighters will not keep a sustained fire alone.
What size wood should I use in my outdoor wood fired oven?
Once you’ve got your fire going keep adding kindling for about 10 minutes. Get your fire up to a heat hot enough to burn the larger logs.
After about 10 minutes move the fire away from the center of the oven. Push towards the back and side of your oven using the pizza rake, and then place two or three larger logs on the fire.
The logs need to burn for around 15-20 minutes before your oven is hot enough for cooking the best possible pizza.
Depending on the size of your oven wood can be about 12-18 inches in length and 2-4 inches in diameter.
Can you use gasoline in an outdoor pizza oven?
Another cooking material that should be avoided is charcoal.
Charcoal may seem like a good choice as it does burn hotter that firewood. This heat does not transfer well to the inside of your oven. And that is key.
The charcoal does not produce a flame when it burns. your outdoor pizza oven will retain heat in three main ways. Hot coal transfer, thermal equilibrium, and flame reaction.
Without producing a flame your oven will be losing out on a key source of retaining heat. This means it won’t be able to reach a high enough temperature for cooking your pizza.
Charcoal also produces high levels of carbon monoxide.
As with most stages of cooking with your outdoor pizza oven—experimentation is key.
But be sure to follow these basic steps—
Hardwoods burn hotter, longer and cleaner than softwoods.
Don’t overlook fruit woods as they add flavors to compliment your cooking.
Stay away from wood with any form of chemicals, paints or glues and do not use gasoline.