What is the Best Wood to Use for a Wood-Fired Pizza Oven?
If you think you can just use any kind of wood for your pizza oven, think again! The choice of wood you burn in your wood fired oven makes all the difference between a pizza, and a perfect amazingly delicious pizza.
If you use the wrong wood, it could affect how your oven can get up to your desired temperature or mess that would need a lot more cleaning and effort. You need a very hot oven to cook pizza. This is basically the main reason why you need a specific firewood for your pizza oven.
Putting more thought into choosing your wood, you avoid wasting time, effort and money and you’ll enhance your pizza with the best flavors.
So, what is the best wood to use for a wood fired oven pizza?
Hardwood is the best choice to use for your wood fire pizza oven. Only dense, dry hardwood can provide that kind of heat that you will need to cook the perfect pizza. Hardwood is heavier and burns longer compared to softwood.
There are many choices for hardwood but use the one that is available in your area. You don’t want to bring wood from other places because wood could be contaminated. It could potentially be diseased as a result from insects, so believe us and use the wood that is locally available in your area.
Oak and maple are both popular and safe choices, but read on first for our list of approved wood choices.
There are a variety of hardwood and are categorized based on how much heat it can produce, flavor, how easy it is to split, and meal pairings.
If you’re going to replicate an authentic pizza taste at home, applewood is your top list of fuels for your pizza ovens. Many pizzaiolos swear by applewood because of its hot burning temperature and its aroma and flavor-enhancing abilities.
With a slightly sweet, fruity flavor, applewood goes with almost every topping. The downside is that it pops easily which could drop a little ash on your pizza if you have a small oven.
Because applewood is a popular choice, it can be difficult to get a hold of and can be pricey.
- It burns longer and set temperatures high
- Great for salmon, pork, game birds, poultry and almost every topping
- Can be difficult to split
- Hard to get one
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Ash trees are native to central and eastern America.
It is comparable to how oak burns hot and has a mild, neutral flavor, making it an excellent choice for your pizza oven.
It burns long and consistently making it easy and nice to use, easy to light, leaving you to enjoy a hassle-free pizza night without having to constantly keep an eye on the fire.
Ash wood is perfect when cooking fish and red meats in your very own pizza oven. It burns clean without smoke and can be seasoned in about 6 months.
Be careful with ash wood because it can rot easily when damp or in contact with the ground. To get the highest quality ash wood, store them properly so you can cook delicious food.
- It burns long and consistent
- It splits easily
- Easily available
- Seasons fast
- Less durable and rot easily when damp or in contact with the ground
Beech wood is an excellent choice to use in your wood fire oven when cooking fish, poultry, and vegies. Its high-water levels makes this wood require longer time for seasoning than other types of cooking wood. It takes a minimum of 1 year to season American beech, but we recommend 2 years for lesser smoke and optimal BTU performance. This wood gives off a slightly nutty and mild aroma.
- Has high heat capacity
- Readily available
- Has a pleasant aroma
- Takes a longer time to season than other wood
Hickory gives off a stronger flavor than oak, but not as strong as the mesquite wood. This is one of the most popular cooking wood and also one of the hottest burning hardwood. Hickory is a very popular choice because it has a unique flavor that is similar to bacon. This wood is perfect for cooking meats such as sausages, bacon, beef and ham.
Be careful to using too much of this because you’ll end up with a bitter taste. We recommend that you mix it with a milder wood such as pecan or oak. Hickory wood can be hard to split. You should allow it to dry before cutting.
Hickory wood takes about 1 year to season and to guarantee a low smoke content.
- Burns hot
- Has a unique flavor similar to bacon
- Hard to split
- Can have a bitter flavor if using too much
This is one of the most popular choices of high heat hardwood to use since it is typically available in many areas. It burns slowly and emits a mild flavor, producing little smoke and just perfect for cooking pizza, seafood, lamb, beef, vegetables and more. If you are unsure about which type of wood to start with in your wood fire pizza oven, go for oak wood and you won’t be disappointed.
Oak is very heavy and dense wood, ideally best for high temperatures needed by pizza ovens.
Red oak has a more pronounced flavor with more intense smoke.
- Burns hot and long
- Produce very little smoke
- Versatile in cooking a variety of food
- Available in many areas
- Not suitable for specialty cooking because of it being an “all-purpose” cooking wood
Maple wood is the perfect wood for cooking because of its high heat capacity and mild sweet aroma. While this wood is difficult to split, the mild sweet flavor is worth it. There are a variety of things you can cook with maple wood. The most popular are vegetables, poultry and pork. When cooking, make sure to use more of this wood because of its lower density.
- It burns hot
- Has a mild flavor and sweet aroma
- It’s difficult to split
- Need to use a lot more wood because of its lower density
Why is using the right firewood important for the pizza oven?
When you use the wrong wood, you miss the many benefits of cooking in a wood fire pizza oven. Because of its high heat and fast cooking, you get more of the nutrients and antioxidants of the fruits and vegetables cooked in your wood fire oven versus cooking them for a longer time in traditional ovens.
For this reason, your choice of wood will make the most impact. For pizzas, the toppings will retain their texture when cooked at higher temperatures. Standard cooking will make those toppings dry out. Your pizza crust will have a chewy and pleasant texture, and the bottom crisp when cooked at high temperatures.
What not to use in a wood fire oven
While it is important to know which kind of wood to use in your fire wood pizza oven, it is also important which ones not to use. These are:
- Woods that have high sap content because they release creosote (toxic by-product of wood combustion) which can build up in the pizza oven over time
- Woods with high moisture content because they create a lot of smoke and low heat
- Woods that are too dry because they create excess smoke
- Treated woods because they can contain chemicals
Wrapping it up
When it comes to pizza ovens, heat is the be-all and end-all, so seasoned and dried hardwoods make an excellent choice because of their dense composition that gives a long, high burn. Again, if you’re unsure where to start, oakwood is a safe choice. In short, HARD woods are the best and you want to stay away from softwoods like Pine, Juniper, Spruce etc.
Now that you know about wood for your wood fire pizza oven, time to make some insanely good pizzas!
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