An outdoor pizza oven makes a great addition to your outside entertaining space, especially if you live in London where we're blessed with some of the best weather in the UK. However, choosing the optimum type of wood and curing it properly is vital to ensuring the best results. Using the wrong kind of wood could damage your pizza oven and adversely affect its performance.
So, how do you make sure you get it right?
The kind of wood that you use in your pizza oven will depend to an extent on what’s locally available to you.
Hard and medium-hard woods like oak or poplar make good fuel as they burn ‘hot’ and slowly, meaning that your oven will be provided with a good level of heat for a long period of time, without you having to continually top it up to maintain the temperature. Fruit woods such as apple, cherry or pear are nice to use in the pizza oven as they not only burn well but are also very fragrant.
Oily woods or those with high sap content, such as pine, should be avoided. This is because the sap and oil in these types of woods can turn to creosote when burned, leaving a nasty coating on the inside of the pizza oven that’s hard to remove. Stray sparks could also ignite the creosote deposits, posing a fire hazard. This type of wood also creates a lot of oily smoke and can give your food an unpleasant flavour.
Although you can burn off-cuts of construction timber or pallets in your pizza oven, you should ensure that the wood hasn’t been treated with chemicals, is unpainted and does not have glue on it. The fumes given off by these products when they burn can be toxic or even explosive.
In order for your logs to burn well and produce enough heat for your pizza oven, it must be properly ‘cured’. This means that you need to dry the wood out and ‘age’ it for at least six months so that
it’s completely free of moisture and sap.
Green wood that’s not been properly cured won’t burn properly and will give off a lot of smoke which will form sooty deposits inside your oven. In addition, if the wood is damp, it won’t burn hot enough for your oven to function properly.
It’s also worth noting that split wood burns more easily and more brightly than whole logs.
Getting the best logs for your pizza oven
If the pizza oven in your London garden is to function at its best, you must choose the right wood with which to fuel it and cure the logs properly. Use this helpful guide to make sure that all you have to worry about on pizza nights is what toppings to serve!