You discovered a pizza oven for sale and are eager to get it going! You’re excited to make delectable wood-fired pizza dishes like almond wood smoked chicken and spinach pizza.
Wait, but you don’t know what wood to use or how to choose wood for a wood-fired or brick pizza oven!
Choosing the proper wood for your oven may significantly impact the cooking process, taste, texture, and cooking time of your pizza.
However, if you have the greatest wood to utilize in your oven, this does not have to be the case.
While there is lots of information available about smoking woods, many people overlook the wood they use to cook a delicious pizza.
This article will teach you all you need to know about selecting the right wood for your pizza oven.
Hopefully, after reading this piece, you’ll understand the dos and don’ts of utilizing wood in a pizza oven.
How to choose wood for a pizza oven
Which type of wood is best for cooking pizza? Ideally, you’ll want one that is strong enough to withstand high heat but also light enough to allow it to burn well without emitting heavy smoke.
There are many kinds of wood that can be used in a pizza oven, but the one you choose will depend on your prosomal preferences.
Cooking pizza requires an extremely hot oven. This is the primary reason for selecting certain firewood for your oven. Only solid, dry hardwood can deliver the heat required to cook your pizza to perfection.
The type, as well as the quality, of wood you use in your pizza oven, affects multiple factors:
Build a good coal bank and utilize hardwood splits to keep the fire going throughout the cook in your pizza oven to get the screaming hot temperature.
Wood-fired outdoor pizza ovens cook pizza at extremely high temperatures. You need dry, dense wood to create that level of heat.
Aside from heat, there are a number of additional considerations that make selecting the ideal wood for your pizza oven a no-brainer.
Choosing the right flavor
Firstly, you have the way the wood impacts the pizza’s flavor.
The type of wood you burn can influence the taste of your pizza, so it’s important to ensure your wood gives out the right kinds of flavors.
Unsuitable wood leaves harsh, bitter notes that could even put a confirmed pizza lover off.
The right fuel will allow your pizza oven to maintain a consistent temperature, which results in the most evenly cooked perfect pizzas. Wood that is wet or that burns too quickly will cause the temperature inside your oven to drop.
Choosing the right wood for your pizza oven means less time spent getting it to light. High-quality, dry, dense wood will light quickly and easily.
Ease of use
Second, using the proper wood for your pizza oven will make it much easier to get it lighted and ready to cook. Unsuitable wood will be more difficult to ignite and might make starting a fire a lengthy procedure.
Even if you get to have your wood-burning, if it’s not thick enough to burn extremely hot, you’ll have a long wait until your oven finally builds up to 800-900°F… if it ever does.
Best Woods to Use in Your Pizza Oven for smoking
Wood-fired ovens give food a flavor that a gas oven can’t match. It does feel like a more traditional way to cook. So if you want to add more flavors to your pizza parties, these are the best firewood for pizza ovens that ensures optimal temperatures:
Fruitwood is also great for cooking because it imparts more fruity flavor into your food. This type of wood comes from numerous fruit-bearing trees like apple, plum, cherry, almond, maple, hickory, pecan, chestnut, mesquite, alder, apricot, avocado, and nectarine.
Seasoned and Dried Hardwoods
Seasoned and dried hardwoods are the best woods to use in your pizza oven.
Hardwoods are great for cooking because they are typically cleaner and burn for longer than softwoods. The most popular types of hardwood used in cooking are oak, maple, hickory, ash, birch, walnut, and beech. This wood is perfect to use with the wood-fired Ooni ovens.
Firewood Moisture Content
An important factor to consider when choosing which type of wood to use in your pizza oven is the moisture content. Wood with too much moisture forces your oven to use its heat to dry the wood, rather than heat the oven.
Wood with a high sap content should also be avoided since it might soften the pizza dough and prevent it from cooking uniformly. You also want to avoid using wood that is too dry. To ensure your oven heats properly, use wood with less than 20% moisture.
What type of wood is ideal for pizza ovens?
Here’s a deeper look at some of the most popular oven firewoods.
Before checking out your local availability, go through and select the ones most interesting to you. These are all highly suggested pizza firewoods, so don’t be scared to experiment with different sorts and mixes.
As a dense and strong hardwood, this one provides excellent heat while maintaining excellent flavor. As one of the longest burning woods, it will burn for around 3-4 hours.
Due to oak’s characteristics as a hardwood, it produces less ash than other woods, so your oven will require less cleaning.
When it comes to creating a great smoky flavor, this hardwood is one of the most popular options, which makes it perfect for pizzas with thick crusts or lots of cheese.
This strong flavor won’t overpower the other flavors in the meal but instead will add just enough spice without overpowering everything else.
Hickory should only be used as the main fuel source, since using up to 50 percent of it can make your food taste bitter if you burn it too long or at too high a temperature.
Bland pizza is the worst! You can get it at any local hardware store or supermarket for a very reasonable price. This is not a particularly dense type of best wood pizza oven. You should be prepared for a longer burning time of around 2-3 hours.
Another great option for portable pizza ovens is maple. It can be burned alone or in conjunction with oak or applewood.
Maple has a mellow, delicately sweet flavor that complements a wide range of toppings, including pork, chicken, and most vegetables.
Over 100 distinct maple species exist, with the so-called “soft maples,” red maple, silver maple, and boxelder maple giving some of the best tastes and even burning.
You should use applewood to give your homemade pizza a subtly sweet flavor. Cooking indoors or outdoors isn’t a problem because it burns slowly and does not produce a lot of smoke.
In comparison with other types of wood, it can be quite expensive.
Pecan is a kind of hickory, but it has a much more delicate flavor with a hint of nuttiness that works well with pizza. While it is a solid, sturdy hardwood, it does not burn as long as other hickory or oak woods.
As a result, using pecan alone in your pizza oven may be difficult. It is, nevertheless, a good complement to other higher burning, complimentary tasting woods like oak, plum, or apple.
As a result, using pecan alone in your pizza oven may be difficult. It is, nevertheless, a good complement to other higher burning, complimentary tasting woods like oak, plum, or apple.
Mesquite has a unique, pungent flavor and is one of the most abundant timbers found in Texas, where it is highly appreciated.
It creates a huge quantity of smoke and is high in lignin (a complex organic polymer that keeps plants stiff), making it arguably the smokiest of all the most often used cooking woods.
And, because mesquite is one of the hottest burning woods, you should have no trouble attaining temperatures suitable for grilling a crispy crust. Simply combine it with milder-flavored wood or pair it with some of your most flavorful toppings that may take on its deep, earthy taste.
Peach trees are indigenous to Northwest China. The genus Prunus comprises the plum, apricot, almond, cherry trees, and peach trees.
Peach adds a fruity and somewhat sweet flavor to white meats, shellfish, and fish, making it a popular ingredient among competition Pitmasters. When cooking beef, poultry, or pork, it is frequently paired with Oak or Hickory. It’s frequently used to smoke game birds.
Walnut trees may grow to be exceedingly tall, with several reaching 131 feet in height. China produces half of the world’s total amount of walnuts.
Walnut is an excellent complement to fruits and vegetables. It enhances the flavors of vegetables and fruits, particularly mushrooms and potatoes. If you like your meal to smell good, this is the wood to use!
Ash trees are indigenous to eastern and central North America.
Like oak, ashwood burns hot and has a mild, neutral taste, making it a good choice for your pizza oven.
It not only burns hot, but it also burns long and reliably, making it convenient to use. It is also rather simple to light, allowing for a stress-free pizza night without needing to keep a constant check on your fire.
Mix in a few pieces of mesquite for a deeper smokey taste or apple or plum wood for a hint of sweetness.
Plum Plum has a high heat output, making it an excellent choice for your pizza oven.
Slightly sweet and mild in flavor, blend it with oak or pecan and allow its modest flavor to give depth.
Plumwood is frequently matched with chicken, but it is also a fantastic choice with vegetarian toppings and pig. It is also an excellent choice for wood-fired pizza ovens.
Which kind of wood should be avoided in pizza ovens?
With so many great possibilities, you might be wondering which woods you should avoid burning in your pizza oven.
The quick solution is to avoid any hardwood that has not been kiln-dried. If it is not totally dry and hardwood, it will not burn hot enough to precisely cook your pizza.
Basically, if you keep drying hardwood, even if it isn’t the greatest wood for your pizza oven, you’ll get amazing results.
Let’s look at some of the woods you should certainly avoid using in your pizza oven:
Wood with high sap or moisture
Woods with a high sap content are not suitable for cooking since they emit creosote (a harmful byproduct of wood-burning) that can accumulate in the pizza oven over time.
If you must use softwood, seasoning and curing can help decrease the sap content and remove the bark.
It’s not a good idea to utilize the wood you saved in your pizza oven if it hasn’t completely dried out.
Because pizzas require a very short cooking time at a very high temperature, wood with a high moisture content just will not cut it, resulting in a soggy mess rather than a crisp foundation.
Burning damp wood produces a lot of smoke but just a little heat. Excessive smoke creates soot and creosote buildup in your oven.
Using a moisture meter, confirm that your home-seasoned wood has achieved the 20% moisture mark for optimal cooking results.
Excessively dry woods
On the other hand, you don’t want to use wood with a moisture content of less than 15%, as this is regarded as too dry for use in wood-fired ovens.
While less frequent than damp wood, too dry wood produces excessive smoke and creosote, as well as burning too quickly, resulting in a difficult-to-control fire.
If you have some offcuts that have become extremely dry after being stored in a hot spot, you might mix them in with your usual firewood, bit by little, to increase the moisture levels of the entire load.
This is an unequivocal no!
Laminated wood, treated wood, and wood containing residues of paint, glue, or chemicals should be discarded.
Not only will certain forms of treated wood burn in an unpredictable and frequently hazardous manner, but the particles released when they burn are poisonous.
If you are unsure about the provenance of any wood, it is recommended to avoid swallowing possibly dangerous poisons. Use only wood that you have gathered yourself or purchased from a reputable provider.
Any timber that appears to have been treated should be avoided at all costs.
Which wood is best for brick oven pizza?
Seasoned and dried hardwoods are the ideal timbers for brick oven pizza. Hardwoods, which have broad leaves on the trees, are a better choice than softwoods, which have needles and cones.
When burned, softwood emits an enormous quantity of smoke. Also, softwood burns faster because it is lighter in weight and less thick.
Hardwoods are cleaner and endure longer than softwoods, which makes them ideal for cooking in a brick pizza oven. Maple, oak, ash, hickory, walnut, birch, and beech are the finest hardwoods.
That isn’t all…
If you enjoy the fragrant influence that wood has on your cuisine, fruitwood is highly recommended and can have a significant impact on your supper. Fruitwood, as the name indicates, is derived from a variety of fruit-bearing plants.
Apple, cherry, plum, almond, pear, hickory, maple, pecan, mesquite, chestnut, avocado, alder, apricot, and nectarine are all examples of fruitwood. These woods may significantly enhance the flavor of your next meal!
Skip to Flavored Wood for Brick Pizza Oven if you want to learn about the many types of wood and the recipes that go with them.
Does Moisture Content Affect Wood Fired Cooking?
Because of the low moisture level, the wood is easy to ignite and burns with little smoke once lighted. Furthermore, the low moisture level of kiln-dried wood allows it to achieve even greater temperatures, making it ideal for wood-fired pizza ovens.
When your wood has too much moisture, your oven must spend more time drying it and less time heating it.
The recommended moisture percentage of the best wood for use in wood-burning ovens is less than 20%. This indicates that under-dried timber should be avoided. There should be a wonderful blend of not too dry wood and not too green wood.
Can Wood Be Too Dry For Cooking?
Absolutely! Wood products may be dried in a variety of ways, with the drying technique is chosen typically based on what the wood will be used for. Just because you buy wood chips, wood chunks, logs, or even smoke dust for cooking doesn’t imply the product was designed for that use.
Wood is frequently utilized for a principal industries, such as furniture production, hardwood flooring, or cabinet making. Only secondary wood is repurposed for culinary purposes, with a concentration on BBQ.
How Much Wood Do You Need for a Pizza Oven?
5-10 tiny pieces of wood to start your fire and heat your oven.
The standard length of wood used in a pizza oven for cooking is 14-18 inches. Smaller bits of wood are typically simpler to start a fire with before adding larger pieces.
Feed your oven a few pieces per hour to keep the temperature stable.
Length of wood for cooking in a pizza oven
Depending on the heat retention of your oven (for example, brick ovens retain heat better than stainless ovens), you may need to add a few more pieces of wood to maintain the temperature, or you may need to add a piece of wood as needed while cooking pizzas.
When buying huge quantities of wood, it is frequently offered as a “cord.” A complete cord is a wood stacked four feet high, four feet wide, and eight feet long (4 ft. x 4 ft. x 8 ft.).
Measurement for a cord of wood
The size of a cord of wood is determined by using a cord or string to measure it. The term “cord” dates back to the 1610s when timber was sold in bundles tied together with a cord. The wood pieces are often piled on a pallet in such a way that they are parallel, touching, and compact, occupying a volume of 128 cubic feet.
What wood or wood pellet is best for pizza?
Oak is the best all-around wood for your wood-fired pizza oven, and it may be used alone or in combination with modest amounts of fruitwood for a more subtle flavor.
Oak pellets fall right in the middle of the smokiness scale. Oak offers a mellow, nutty taste to fish and vegetables, as well as pizza and baked products, and is more robust than apple wood and lighter than hickory.
If you’re not sure which wood to use for your outdoor oven, go with oak. You won’t be disappointed.
Where should I store my wood?
Many people believe they need a large quantity of firewood to use it all year round, but a small bag is usually sufficient for most homeowners. It is especially true if you only cook with fuel occasionally rather than every day.
To put it another way, if you plan to cook outdoors frequently, you should buy enough firewood to last at least a couple of months, or more, depending on how often you plan to cook outdoors.
Consider getting a log splitter if you’re going away during the colder winter months so that you can keep enjoying your outdoor kitchen regardless of the weather.
What is the best wood to burn in a pizza oven?
Hardwoods are better than softwoods for wood-fired pizza ovens because they usually have broad leaves instead of needles and cones. Hardwoods are also cleaner and last longer. Sycamore, ash, birch, beech, and oak are the best types of hardwood.
What wood do Italians use for pizza?
In Italy, beech is the most commonly used wood in portable pizza ovens (or Fagus spp.) Europe beech is plentiful in Italy and is known as Faggio. Beech, like other hardwoods, requires a high temperature to ignite, but it does it rapidly and with a vigorous flame.
What kind of wood do you use to smoke pizza?
Hardwoods are ideal for smoking because they burn cleaner and last longer than softwoods. Oak, maple, hickory, ash, birch, walnut, and beech are the most common hardwoods used in cooking. This wood is ideal for outdoor pizza ovens.
The best bang for your buck is hickory or mesquite. If you want smokey wood-fired pizza, these intense smoking woods will deliver the greatest flavor in the shortest amount of time.
Because offset smokers generate an optimal quantity of delicious smoke, practically any hardwood, including fruitwood, may be used here. However, as usual, avoid wet, damp, or unseasoned wood.
When smoking pizza in a pellet grill, you want as much smokiness as possible to improve the flavor of the pizza during the brief 12-20 minute cook period.
I realize this sounds like a long time, but it takes time for your cooking surface to heat up.
As a result, the heavier smoking woods, such as hickory, mesquite, or oak, are ideal for smoking pizza on a pellet grill. With the little time you have, you want to make sure the smoke is continuous and the pellet grill is at temperature. This will increase the quantity of smoke flavor your pizza absorbs during cooking.
Always utilize indirect heating with a pizza stone and a few nice wood pieces or a mound of wood chips when using a charcoal smoker or grill.
What type of wood is used for Neapolitan pizza?
The finest woods are oak and birch. Because denser wood has more potential energy, it will heat the oven’s floor and the interior temperature, as opposed to light wood, which will generate a flame.