January 26, 2021 4 min read

Once you start using your wood burning pizza oven, you will want to use it to its maximum potential. This means that you need to identify the signs that you may not be using this amazing cooking vessel the right way. This type of cooking should be a pleasant experience, and the food prepared in it should create a wow factor. These types of wood burning ovens can cook food that people just can’t stop talking about. If you are not using it properly, you are setting yourself up for unnecessary disappointment.

Why Does My Pizza Oven Smoke So Much?


Some smoke is to be expected when using this form of cooking method. However, you don’t want so much that it is uncontrollable. Or it is interfering with your cooking. Also, when using a wood burning oven indoor model, you don’t want to be dealing with a lot of smoke. If you are dealing with too much smoke, then this means you are doing something wrong, which could be a few things, such as:

You are not using the right type of wood for your pizza oven:

There are lots of choices of good wood to use for your wood burning oven outdoor cooking. You could be making the wrong choices, such as:

  • Using greenwood
  • Using wood that has too much sap or resin
  • Using softwood instead of hardwood
  • Using wood that has been treated or contains chemicals
  • Using wood that is known to be high smoke producers: Some fruit woods have this tendency   
  • Not removing the bark from the wood if it is the type of bark that tends to smoke a lot.
  • Adding too much wood at once: Some new cooks are overzealous and add too much wood or use too much kindling to start with. Or they don’t use the right kindling.

You are not building the fire correctly

Some different methods or techniques can be used when building the fire for your pizza oven. Some tend to produce more smoke than others. If you are using the teepee method, this can cause more smoke. A better alternative would be to use the top-down method. However, there are several other methods that work just as well.

Not curing your pizza oven correctly

Some models of pizza ovens may require you to cure the oven. When you are doing this, it will produce a lot of smoke at first. Once cured properly, this should not be an issue.

Why Am I Getting Soot Building Up In My Pizza Oven?

Another sign of a wood burning pizza oven not being used properly is too much build-up of soot. This can be as a result of:

  • Using the wrong wood
  • Not bringing the oven up to temperature
  • Improper use of the flute
  • Adding too much wood
  • Not cleaning the oven properly or when needed
  • If the soot is forming on the outside the fire is being built too close to the front of the oven floor.

Why is My Pizza Oven Not Coming Up To Temperature?


This is another common problem that some wood burning cooks may experience. It can happen with all types of pizza oven versions, including the pizza oven countertop model or even the portable pizza ovens. This could be as a result of:

You are not using the right wood of fuel

Using the wrong wood can cause smoke, but it may not be capable of bringing the oven up to temperature. In the case of some portable pizza ovens using wood pellets, you may not be using them correctly.

The fire has not been built properly

If the fire is not started correctly, it will not create the necessary heat to bring the pizza oven up to temperature.

The instructions for setting up the pizza oven have not been followed correctly

Every wood burning pizza oven comes with its own instructions. You may be tempted to skip some of these because you are anxious to get cooking. But every step is important. If they are not followed, it can cause problems with the oven temperature.

Not using the proper temperature gauge

Many quality wood burning pizza ovens come with a built-in temperature gauge. However, to ensure that your oven temperature is correct, you may want to check different areas of your oven, like the pizza floor, for example, where you will be doing your cooking. You may not be using the proper equipment for accurate temperature readings.

Why Is My Food Not Turning Out Great?

Everyone is filled with anticipation when expecting the food that will come from the wood burning pizza oven. If it isn’t up to the expectations, then there is a good chance, the oven is not being used properly. Some of these disappointments are as a result of:

  • Not bringing the oven up to temperature before cooking
  • Not maintaining the temperature that the specific food being cooked calls for
  • Not positioning the food correctly in the oven
  • Not moving the fire to the back or side to allow access to the cooking surface
  • Not using ingredients in the food that are compatible with this type of cooking. For example, the dough used for pizza should be compatible with this form of cooking.
  • Inconsistent baking is another problem. The flame height, as well as the temperature, is essential.

Final Thoughts

It takes some time to master cooking in a wood burning pizza oven. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a built-in model or a countertop version, the basics are the same. Part of getting the most from these types of ovens is not only how to use the oven properly but choosing the right foods to be cooked in them. The list of foods that can be cooked in this manner is long, but the recipes may have to be adjusted to accommodate the temperatures that these ovens can produce. However, one the proper way to use the oven has been learned, then the wood burning cook can have total control over the different temperatures needed for cooking all types of food.

Ryan Caswell
Ryan Caswell

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