Using good quality firewood for cooking is the best way to enhance the flavor of your homemade pizza. Our guide aims to help you decide which wood combinations work best and what to avoid. From oak to hickory, these are the best woods for pizza ovens.
Pizza ovens are a wonderful addition to your outdoor kitchen and a delight at any BBQ or dinner party.
What makes the perfect pizza topping will generate much debate (anchovies and capers, FYI), but what’s often overlooked is the type of fuel you should use for your oven. What you may know is that the choice of wood can greatly affect the flavor and quality of your pizza.
If you get that and your toppings right, you’ll be considered a pizza guru.
You have already invested in a good pizza oven . What is also the best wood for pizza ovens?
My best choice: Oak
To get the best out of our pizza ovens we need to use high quality kiln dried hardwood. This is true whether you use outdoor pizza ovens at home or a commercial one.
The types of wood that work best are seasoned hardwoods such as oak and maple. Hardwoods are great for cooking because they’re heavier and denser, which means they burn hotter for longer.
As a side note, you can use softwood, but you have to be very careful to remove the sap and bark. I personally think this is more effort than it’s worth and still doesn’t guarantee as good results as with hardwood. I would omit softwood altogether.
What I like most about oak is that it is very easy to get and very reliable. It always delivers a strong but moderate amount of smoke to fuel your stove. It does this without overwhelming the flavor of your food, but still manages to carry a nice amount of smoke to your pizza.
I recommend: Try this Red Oak firewood on Amazon
If you want to try experimenting and branching out with oak, there are great options.
Hickory is similar to oak in that it produces a smoky aroma and allows the wood to burn for a long time, even at high temperatures.
However, hickory has a stronger flavor than oak, so it might be too smoky for some. It is best to think about which pizza toppings you use. If you’re using ingredients that naturally lend themselves well to smoky flavors, this could be an excellent combination. For example beef, jalapenos, pepperoni.
However, if you’re using slightly more delicate ingredients like fish or light cheese, chances are that using pure hickory will mask the flavor of your pizza.
Recommendation: Try this Weber Hickory firewood on Amazon
This might sound a bit strange, since the apple rarely (or in my case never) shows up as a pizza topping. However, as firewood, it is an excellent option for pizza ovens.
Fruitwoods such as apple are very popular for outdoor cooking, especially when smoking at the BBQ, as they burn at high temperatures and can carry a nuanced sweetness to food.
They go very well with pizza toppings that contain a lot of cheese, such as Quattro Stagioni.
I recommend you Try this Camerons Apple Firewood
This fruitwood is so similar to apple that it would have been my third choice.
The cherry wood also provides a sweet taste, but this time with a slightly deeper flavor. It goes with almost anything on pizza, but I especially like it with dark meat, like smoked pastrami or beef sausage.
Recommendation: Camerons Cherry Log
Another fruit wood but slightly lighter than cherry. I think it goes very well with poultry and pork better than darker meat. It’s a great option for dips like grilled chicken or ham.
I recommend: This beautiful maple firewood on Amazon
Even lighter, this time it goes well with fish and poultry. I recommend trying it with tuna or salmon (yes, some people have salmon on pizza).
Recommendation: Smokehouse alder firewood
Finally a nice sweet but dark smoke flavor that makes an interesting alternative to traditional pizza wood fuels. It’s not much different than hickory, but not as intense. I recommend trying it with dark meat pizzas, as well as classics like BBQ chicken or pepperoni.
Recommendation: Smoak pecan firewood logs
Here are 3 important things to keep in mind…
The reason pizza ovens have proven themselves in restaurants around the world is because they are a cooking method that brings out the best in food.
Its thick walls and arched shape allow smoke to pass cleanly through its interior, ensuring excellent heat distribution to ensure the best cooking quality for your pizza.
I say all this because if the wood you are using is cheap or boring, it will fail the entire firing process completely.
Whatever wood you choose, make sure it is pure hardwood and has no fillers. If a price seems too good to be true, I regret to say that it probably is.
Avoid added chemicals
Because pizza ovens attempt to conserve heat, it is imperative to avoid using fuel that has been chemically modified in any enhanced way.
These include glued laminated timber, plywood, glued timber or pressure-treated wood.
If you are unsure whether a piece of wood has been treated, it is best to throw it away.
Always buy purpose-made oak, hickory, or fruitwood that you know is pure hardwood.
Do not use charcoal
Although mostly natural, never use charcoal in your pizza oven. The level of carbon monoxide in the smoke from coal is much higher than that from wood, which is dangerous in stoves.
It may burn hotter and smell better, but pizza ovens aren’t designed to handle the heat or smoke that charcoal produces, and they just don’t work on pizza.
Not to mention that it will not be good for your health.