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The Best Wood For A Pizza Oven

It is worth putting a little thought into the choice of your firewood for your wood fired pizza oven. By doing so you are going to avoid a lot of problems like not being able to get your oven up to temperature. Or making a mess of the oven that is going to demand a lot more cleaning. Plus, with the right firewood whatever you are cooking is going to have the very best of flavor.

What’s The Best Wood To Use For A Wood Fired Pizza Oven?

The good news is that you have a lot of choices when it comes to the best firewood. Although not all of them may be readily available in your area. Still there should be some good choices of hardwood to use in your wood fired oven. You want to refrain from bringing in wood from other regions. This is because the wood could be diseased as a result of insects, and you do not want to import these into your area.

You want to use hardwood as it is the best fuel for pizza oven cooking. It is a heavier wood and it burns longer compared to softwood. Hardwood can also be categorized by the amount of heat it can produce.

High Heat


This can be either white or red oak, It tends to burn slowly and produces high heat

Sugar Maple (Hard)

It can be difficult to split but produces less smoke compared to the others.


This hardwood doesn’t need to be cured as long as some of the other hardwood. It also burns slower compared to others.

American Beech:

Much like the sugar Maple it can be hard to split but it provides a steady burn.

Medium Heat

Although this category does not burn as hot as those in the high heat category there are a lot of wood burning pizza cooks that do use them. It just may mean using more of it to maintain the oven temperature.

Red Maple:

Burns faster compared to the sugar maple

White Birch:

This hardwood burns fast but the bark is great to use for kindle

If you ask several different pros who cook with a wood burning pizza oven which is the best, they will probably all give you a different answer. You may want to experiment with a few of these to see which is your preference before you buy a large quantity of it. In general, Oak is widely used because it is easy to find and it is one that can be counted on to burn hot.

Aromatic Woods

There are those who like the wood they are using to add some extra flavor to the foods they are cooking. They each have their own levels of heat production and the amount of smoke they produce, as well as the quality of the embers.

The flavor that the food picks up from the wood comes from the smoke. However, many that are cooking with the wood burning pizza ovens don’t want to deal with a lot of smoke. So minimal smoke is only going to provide a minor taste to the foods.

High Energy

Apple: also produces excellent embers

Hickory: Excellent ember production

Maple: Excellent embers

Mesquite: Embers are excellent

Oaks: Excellent embers

Pecan: good embers

Pear: embers are fair

Walnut: embers are good

High Smoke

Mesquite: strong tangy odor

Hickory: has a sweet and savory odor

Walnut: Medium Energy. Smells a little like furniture polish

Peach: embers are fair. When burning clean it has a sweet odor

Medium Smoke

Apple: has a light odor similar to the fruit

Oaks: Most think it has a pungent odor to it like vinegar

Pear: Has a tangy odor

Mild Smoke

Alder: But provides low energy and fairly good embers. Has an odor similar to oak

Maple: some think it smells like maple syrup, while others think it is more like wintergreen

Why Is the Fire Wood So Important for the Pizza Oven?



If the right wood is not used in the outdoor pizza oven is not used it can affect the many benefits this has to offer. Food that is cooked with the wood burning pizza oven retains its freshness because it is cooked so fast at a high heat. For example, with pizza the toppings retain their texture. Whereas with standard cooking the toppings tend to dry out. The bottom will cook crisp while the rest of the crust has a chewy and pleasant texture to it when cooked in a wood burning pizza oven. All of this is only possible when the right wood is used so the pizza oven can be brought up to temperature

 Using other sources as fuel may not be recommended and could damage the oven, or be dangerous.

Why Do You Need To Season The Firewood?

Besides making sure that you are buying hardwood for your pizza oven you want to be sure that it is seasoned or cured

What is seasoned Wood?

Seasoned wood is green wood (freshly cut) wood that is left to dry for a long period of time. Most will say that it needs to be left to dry out for at least twelve months. This removes all the moisture that the wood contains when freshly cut.

Why Does It Have To Be Seasoned For The Wood Fired Pizza Oven?

Properly season wood burns hotter and it is easier to ignite. It burns clean so it won’t create a lot of soot or excessive smoke. Seasoned wood is also lighter in weight.

How To Know You Are Buying Good Quality Seasoned Wood



Most experts will say that the best seasoned wood is that which has a moisture content of 15% but never higher than 18%.

Ask your firewood provider how long the wood you are buying has been seasoned for.

The appearance of the wood

 All wood has different appearances according to their species. However, if wood is green it will usually have yellow or green patches. There may be some faint cracks in the surface but none that are prominent. You won’t be able to see the grow rings easily and the wood will probably still have its bark.

Wood that has been seasoned properly will have deep cracks and a dark grey or brown color to it. The bark falls off easily and you can really see the grow rings. There should be no signs of rotting or mold or mushroom growth.

The odor

When it comes to smell seasoned wood will have very little odor. Green wood will have a strong odor.

Feel of the wood

If you touch the ends of the wood that has been seasoned it will feel dry and warm. Green wood will be the opposite.

The sound

Tap two pieces of the wood together. Seasoned wood will create a clear sound. Green wood will not.

Seasoning Wood

In order to properly season wood it has to be stacked in a dry place away from the elements and allowed to dry for at least a year. Some woods take longer to season compared to others.

Kiln Dried Firewood

There are some wood burning pizza oven users that believe in investing in the best firewood. For them this is wood that has been dried in a kiln. This is wood that is dried in a kiln and sold in small batches. It is more expensive but there are some that believe it is worth it.

The Size of the Wood

The size of the wood you need to use will partially depend on the model of your pizza oven. On average the wood pieces should be two to three inches round and between fourteen to eighteen inches long.

Storing Your Wood

It is important to store the wood for your pizza oven in a dry area and off the ground. It needs to be protected from the weather.


This does not necessarily have to be wood. However, there are many pros that use wood burning pizza ovens that insist on using wood for their kindling. If so, often the wood supplier will sell bags of these. Or if you are pruning tree branches you may want to keep these and dry them out if they are an appropriate species. You can also buy compressed wood fire starters.

To Sum It Up

There are plenty of options when it comes to the types of wood that you can use. There are also some that you should not use. Those which have a high sap content are not a good choice. Avoid using pine, redwoods and cedar. Never use any type of treated woods or laminates, plywood, particle board or any wood that has paint on it. These can contain hazardous chemicals that can be released into the oven and can be harmful to your health. 

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