Key Takeaways

Use hardwoods like oak, maple, and hickory, which are known for their high heat output and long burning times.

  • Health & Safety: Ensure the wood is properly seasoned with under 20% moisture content to minimize smoke and avoid the production of harmful compounds.
  • Efficiency: Preheat your pizza oven fully before adding the pizza to ensure a consistent cooking temperature. Use woods that are known for their mild smokiness, such as beech, to complement rather than overpower your pizza’s flavors.
  • Proper Storage: Keep your wood in a dry area to maintain optimal moisture content for quality burning.

Best Woods to Use for Pizza Oven

Choosing the right wood for your pizza oven can greatly enhance the flavor of your pizza while ensuring a high heat output for a perfect, crispy crust. It's essential to use woods that have a low moisture content to promote efficient combustion and avoid the build-up of creosote.

The following table will help you determine which kind of firewood suits your needs:

Firewood

Heat Output

Burn Time

Flavor

Availability

Smoke

Embers

Oak

Very high

Long

Mild

Widely available

Medium

Excellent, long-lasting

Apple

High

Moderate

Sweet,  fruity

Moderate

Light

Good

Ash

High

Moderate

Mild

Widely available

Light

Good

Beech

High

Long

Mild

Moderate

Light

Excellent

Hickory

Very high

Long

Strong, smoky

Widely available

Heavy

Excellent, long-lasting

Maple

High

Moderate

Sweet, subtle

Widely available

Medium

Good

Alder

Moderate

Fast

Light, sweet

Limited

Light

Fair

Mesquite

Very high

Fast

Strong, earthy

Limited

Heavy

Good, but fast-burning

Peach

High

Fast

Sweet, fruity

Limited

Light

Fair

Pear

High

Moderate

Sweet, subtle

Limited

Light

Good

Walnut

High

Moderate

Strong, nutty

Moderate

Heavy

Good

Some key points about smoke and embers:

  • Hardwoods like oak, hickory, and beech produce excellent long-lasting embers, ideal for maintaining consistent heat in a pizza oven. They also impart a medium to heavy smoke flavor.
  • Fruitwoods like apple, peach, and pear give off a lighter, sweeter smoke but burn more quickly and produce less long-lasting embers.
  • Mesquite and walnut produce a lot of smoke with a strong distinctive flavor but burn quickly. Use them sparingly.
  • Alder burns fast with light smoke, producing only fair embers, so it's best mixed with longer-burning woods.

Different Woods Bring You Different Tastes

When crafting the perfect pizza, the wood you choose for your oven can influence the taste of your final product. The subtle nuances in the flavor profile of the wood transfer to your pizza, infusing it with distinct aromatic accents. Here is a table summarizing the flavor profiles of different wood types for smoking and grilling, organized into hardwoods, fruitwoods, and other woods. You may refer to this for your reference:

Wood Type

Flavor Profile

Best Used For

Hardwoods

Oak

Medium, robust, smoky

Beef, lamb, smoked cheeses

Hickory

Strong, bacony, savory

Beef, pork, larger cuts

Maple

Sweet, subtle smokiness

Vegetables, bacon, desserts

Pecan

Rich, nutty, buttery

Pork, poultry, desserts

Ash

Very mild, clean

Delicate foods like fish, veggies

Mesquite

Very strong, earthy

Beef, lamb - use sparingly

Fruitwoods

Apple

Sweet, fruity, mild

Chicken, turkey, pork

Cherry

Sweet, slightly tart

Poultry, pork, fish

Peach/Pear

Delicate, sweet, fruity

Poultry, pork

Other Woods

Alder

Light, sweet smokiness

Fish, pork, poultry

Walnut

Rich, nutty, bold

Beef, pork, game meats

The choice depends on the protein, desired flavor intensity, and your personal taste preferences. Mixing wood types is recommended to achieve a balanced, multi-dimensional smokiness.

What Not to Use as Firewood

Green or Unseasoned Wood
Green wood that has been freshly cut contains a high moisture content and sap. It is difficult to light, burns inefficiently, and produces a lot of smoke and creosote buildup in the chimney. Wood needs to be properly seasoned or kiln-dried for at least 6-9 months before burning.

Soft Woods (Pine, Fir, etc.)
Softwoods like pine are resinous and produce a lot of soot, creosote, and sparks when burned. They also burn more quickly than hardwoods. The exception is kiln-dried softwoods, which can be used but are not ideal.

Treated or Painted Wood
Any wood that has been chemically treated (like pressure-treated lumber) or painted should never be burned, as it can release toxic chemicals into the air. This includes construction wood, furniture wood, and wood pallets. 

Driftwood
Driftwood has a high salt content from the ocean, so burning it releases dioxins, which are carcinogenic. 

Moldy or Rotten Wood
Rotten or moldy wood has a high moisture content, burns poorly, and can release toxic fumes. 

Non-Local Wood
Moving firewood over long distances can spread invasive insects and tree diseases that damage forests. It's best to only burn wood sourced locally. 

Poisonous Woods
Wood from poisonous trees and plants like poison ivy, oleander, etc., should never be burned as the smoke contains irritants that can cause severe health issues. 

A right wood choice will ensure a safer, cleaner burn and, ultimately, a better-tasting pizza. Choose wisely!

Tips for Choosing and Preparing Wood

Portable outdoor pizza oven with a visible fire, set on a wooden deck with trees and a glass door in the background.

Choosing the right wood for your pizza oven is crucial for achieving consistent high temperatures and avoiding contamination. Preparing the wood correctly ensures it burns effectively, providing the best possible heat distribution for cooking pizza.

Use Locally Sourced Wood to Avoid Contamination

In terms of selecting wood, choose locally sourced hardwoods to reduce the risk of introducing foreign pests or diseases that might be present in imported woods. Local woods are also more likely to be fresh and properly seasoned, maintaining the quality of your food.

Ensure Wood Is Properly Seasoned(Dried)

Seasoning(Dried)

  • Green or freshly cut wood has a very high moisture content and needs to be seasoned (dried) for 6-9 months before burning.
  • The ideal moisture content for firewood in a pizza oven is around 20% or less.
  • Signs that wood is properly seasoned include darkened/gray ends and small radial cracks. 

Kiln Drying

  • Kiln-dried hardwood firewood is ideal as it has been properly dried in a controlled environment to the right moisture levels.
  • Kiln drying ensures consistent, clean, high-heat burns with less smoke and ash compared to air-dried wood.

Split Wood into Smaller Pieces for Better Burning

Split your wood into smaller pieces—particularly if using denser hardwoods—to promote better combustion and heat distribution. Smaller pieces ignite faster and help maintain a consistent temperature, which is crucial for cooking pizza to perfection.

Splitting Guidelines:

  • Uniform size for even burning
  • Remove excess bark to minimize smoke

Find Your Beloved Pizza Oven First at Pizzello

Before selecting the best wood for your pizza oven, it's essential to choose an oven that suits your needs. At Pizzello, you can find a range of portable wood-fired pizza ovens that combine convenience with the authentic experience of wood-fired cooking.

Your pizza oven is an investment in many delicious pizzas to come. To guide your decision, here’s a simple pizza oven recommendation from Pizzello's offerings:

  1. Pizzello Gusto 4-in-1 Outdoor Pizza Oven
  • 12-inch/16-inch size
  • Fueled by wood, charcoal, or pellets
  • Compact and portable design with foldable legs and detachable chimney
  • Reaches temperatures up to 752°F (400°C)
  • Includes pizza stone, pizza peel, and grill grates
  • Versatile for cooking pizzas, meats, and vegetables
  1. Pizzello Forte Gas Outdoor Pizza Oven
  • 12-inch/16-inch size
  • Powered by propane gas or wood 
  • Sleek, modern design
  • Reaches temperatures up to 752°F (400°C)
  • Includes pizza stone, pizza peel, wood tray, carry bag, gas burner and gas hose.
  1. Pizzello Forte Outdoor Wood Fired Pizza Oven
  • 12-inch/16-inch size
  • Designed for wood-fired cooking
  • Stainless steel inner liner is easy to clean and keeps heat inside the outdoor ovens and directed at the food. 
  • The thermometer on the top of the oven allows you to make temperature management easily
  • Compact and portable with foldable legs and a detachable chimney
  • Reaches temperatures up to 752°F (400°C)
  • Includes pizza stone, pizza peel, wood tray, and waterproof carry bag
  1. Pizzello Grande Outdoor 2-Layer Pizza Oven
  • Unique 2-layer design for cooking two pizzas simultaneously or different dishes
  • Fueled by wood, pellets, or charcoal
  • Reaches temperatures up to 752°F (400°C)
  • Includes grill, pizza peel, pizza stone, and ash baffle
  1. Pizzello Molto-Outdoor Portable Pizza Oven Wood Camping Stove
  • The Pizzello Molto is a 29.1 x 12.4 x 26" outdoor portable pizza oven designed for cooking with wood.
  • features a unique pot holder design that allows you to cook a side dish or additional food item along with your pizza.
  • The oven has a heat-resistant coating for long-lasting performance.
  • Can reach temperatures up to 752°F (400°C), allowing you to cook authentic wood-fired pizzas in just 60 seconds.
  • The Pizzello Molto comes equipped with a pizza stone for baking pizzas and a steel pizza peel for easy handling.
  • With its compact and portable design, including foldable legs and a detachable chimney, the Molto oven is easy to transport and set up for outdoor cooking.
  • Offers a combination of versatility, performance, durability, and convenience, making it an excellent choice for outdoor pizza enthusiasts and camping trips.

Once you have your Pizzello pizza oven, you will be ready to choose the right type of wood to get the best flavor from your cooking.


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