Choosing the Right Fuel for Your Woody Oven: Hints, Tips, and Tricks

Choosing the Right Fuel for Your Woody Oven: Hints, Tips, and Tricks

Written by: Laura Kingford

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Time to read 14 min

One of the questions that we’re most often asked here at Woody, is which fuel to choose. We understand that the heart of a great meal lies in making the most informed choice. Whether you're a wood kindling purist, a convenient gas user, a fan of the rich smokiness of wood pellets, or a lover of traditional coal-fired cooking, your choice of fuel is about to transform your cooking experience. 

 

Whether you're already a proud Woody Oven owner or still considering your options, one thing's for sure – the Woody Oven is all about versatility and adaptability.

 

In this guide, we'll delve into each fuel choice, examining their advantages and disadvantages, to help you choose wisely. From cost-effectiveness to flavour profiles, we'll break down the crucial factors in selecting the perfect fuel for your Woody Oven, and share our best hints and tips on how to get the most out of them. Get ready to fire up the oven and kickstart your outdoor cooking adventure!
 

Which Fuel Is Right for Your Woody Oven? Factors to Consider

Cost

 

So, first things first, let's talk money. Picking the right fuel for your Woody Oven involves some essential financial thinking. Check out what's available in your area - it can vary. It's worth ringing up local suppliers and doing a little online window shopping. Don't forget about shipping costs if you're ordering online. Cost-wise, some fuels may hit your wallet harder than others.

 

Flavour and Aroma

 

Now, let's dive into the tasty part - flavour and aroma. Did you know that what you throw in your oven can influence the deliciousness of your dishes? For example, cooking with wood-fired heat gives things a smoky, earthy, slightly sweet vibe. Perfect for hearty dishes like Neapolitan Pizza and juicy grilled steaks. Gas ovens bring quick and even heat, ideal for the crispy Margherita Pizza and grilled seafood. Coal, though, has its own smoky, charred charm, perfect for things like smoky sausages or a foldable yet crispy New York Style Pizza.

 

Convenience

 

Convenience is another factor. Some fuels, like gas, are like your trusty microwave - quick and easy. Others, like wood pellets or kindling, might require a bit more prep. Consider how much time and effort you're willing to put in, especially if you're cooking for a crowd.

 

Eco-Friendliness

 

Here at Woody Oven, sustainability remains one of our top priorities through each and every process which is why we source our wood fuels from sustainable forests and plant one tree in return for every pack we sell, through our partnership with Earthly.

 

Some fuels, like wood pellets or natural gas, are considered more eco-friendly than others. For example, our natural firelighters are made from recycled waste materials at a local saw mill. Choose a fuel that aligns with your sustainability goals. 

 

Skill Level

 

You may wish to consider your experience level with different fuels. Some fuels might require more skill and experience to handle effectively. By carefully assessing these factors, you can confidently select the fuel that aligns with your cooking goals and practical considerations. Whilst our customer support team are always on hand to help you get the most out of your Woody Oven, it’s important to bear in mind that there can be a learning curve with each fuel type.

 

When selecting the right fuel for your Woody oven, consider your heat requirements for various dishes; different fuels offer varying heat levels, which is crucial for high-temperature cooking or extended cooking times. Additionally, be aware of any local regulations or restrictions that might pertain to specific fuel types, such as rules concerning open fires, emissions, or safety standards.

 

Lastly, ensure your Woody oven is compatible with your chosen fuel source; for example, if you choose gas, make sure to have the required gas attachment. These factors will guide your choice for the most suitable fuel source, aligning it with your cooking needs and any regulatory requirements.

 

Building the Perfect Fire

In the world of outdoor cooking with your Woody Oven, one crucial aspect often overlooked is the art of fire-building. It might not be as glamorous as selecting ingredients or deciding on recipes, but, surprisingly, it's the very first step where many culinary adventures stumble. In countless troubleshooting discussions with our valued customers, it's become evident that mastering the skill of building a fire is the foundation of successful and delicious cooking in your Woody Oven. Let's dive into this essential first step that sets the stage for your outdoor culinary journey.

 

Firewood Selection

 

Start your fire-building journey by selecting the right type of firewood. For optimum results, hardwoods like oak, hickory, or cherry are excellent choices. Avoid using softwoods, as they tend to produce excessive smoke.

 

Kindling

 

To ignite your main firewood, begin with kindling. These are small, dry pieces of wood or firelighters that you place at the bottom of your fuel tray. Check out our suggested supply of natural firelighters, which make this process even easier. Simply pop a couple of firelighters among your wood kindling and let the flames do the rest!

 

Creating the Fire Lay

 

Your choice of a fire lay style is crucial for how your fire develops. Two popular options are the teepee and log cabin styles. The teepee style involves leaning firewood pieces against each other in a cone shape, with kindling at the centre. In the log cabin style, you stack wood in a square formation, leaving an opening in the centre for the kindling to ignite.

 

Lighting the Fire

 

Ignite the kindling at the centre of your chosen fire lay. As it begins to burn, it will gradually set the larger firewood pieces ablaze. 

 

Adding Firewood

 

As the fire grows, introduce larger pieces of hardwood into the fire to sustain the desired cooking temperature. It's crucial to ensure proper airflow by not overloading the fuel tray.

 

Fire Management

 

To ensure even heat distribution in your Woody Oven, move larger pieces of wood to the side after the fire is established.

 

Preheating Your Oven

 

To guarantee that your oven reaches the desired cooking temperature and retains heat evenly, preheat it for at least 30-60 minutes before cooking.

 

Monitoring the Fire

 

Throughout the cooking process, keep a close eye on your fire. Depending on the dish and your desired temperature, add smaller pieces of wood as needed to maintain the desired heat.

 

Experiment and Practice

 

Outdoor cooking with a wood fire can be a unique experience each time. Factors such as wind and the type of wood you use can influence the cooking process. Don't hesitate to experiment and practice to become more familiar with your Woody Oven and the behaviour of your fire.

 

By mastering the art of fire-building, you'll be well-prepared to create delicious dishes with the distinctive wood-fired flavour that your Woody Oven is renowned for.

 

Cooking with Wood Kindling: Hints and Tips

One of our best loved features of the Woody Oven is the ease of use with the fuel tray, which is the biggest in its class. This means that not only can you keep your oven topped up with ease, but when used correctly, you will burn through less wood and have more control over the heat produced by the flames.

 

You’ll want to ensure you have researched the wood you use for your kindling. Ensure you are using dry and seasoned wood, as green or damp wood can cause uneven heating and excessive smoke. The best type to use is hardwood, such as oak, hickory, maple, cherry and apple. These woods provide a more steady and even heat and do not impart undesirable tastes to your food like you would get with pine or cedar. Don’t forget to check out our carefully selected kindling, as we’ve curated the finest, yet sustainable option as the perfect partner to the Woody. 

 

When cooking with wood, it’s best to preheat the pizza stone for as long as you possibly can for a quick cook, however the oven can be ready to use in as little as 15 minutes if fuel is monitored.

 

A smart way to handle the fire is to push the wood to one side after it's lit, ensuring heat spreads evenly. Toss in smaller bits as needed to keep your temp in check. Don't overload the fuel tray, though. It might seem tempting, but it'll just make things harder. Sure, you'll need to add wood more often, but your heat stays nice and high. Safety first, though - get some long-handled tongs and fire safety gear, especially if you're keeping a close eye on your fuel.  This method is ideal for shorter, faster cooks for a smaller group, delivering that fantastic taste and aroma at its peak. 

 

Your oven's got different temperature zones - the back's the hottest, perfect for quick cooking. The sides are a bit cooler, and the middle's all about that even cooking. So when you're baking up pizzas, remember to rotate them. Play with the amount of wood to tweak the temp - more wood for more heat, less wood for less. And always keep that oven floor clean from ashes to allow for the right heat reflection.

 

We’re often asked whether it’s best to cook with the door on or off for wood-fired cooking. Our best suggestion is to experiment and find what works for you! You'll discover that this is a key aspect of mastering your Woody Oven, as no two cooking experiences are ever identical. 

 

Just a quick reminder: the thermometer on your Woody Oven's door measures the air temperature inside the oven, not the stone temperature. So, don't worry about minor temperature variations when you cook with the door on or off. For precise temperature monitoring, especially if you're new to wood-fired ovens, it's a great idea to use a dedicated oven thermometer. When you're just starting out, consider beginning with simple recipes like pizzas, bread, or roasted veggies. This will help you become more familiar with your oven's unique characteristics. If you're diving into the world of pizza, pay special attention to your dough's consistency – it's a key factor for getting the best results.

 

Numerous factors influence cooking speed and temperature maintenance. This variation is inevitable, but with practice, you'll become more adept at handling it. For instance, you might notice that wind conditions can either aid or hinder your cooking. A gentle wind blowing in the right direction can facilitate proper airflow within the oven, stoking the flames for faster cooking. Although this might consume fuel more quickly, the elevated stone temperature will cook your pizzas in record time.

 

So, cooking with a wood-fired oven is like a journey. It might take a bit to get everything spot on, but enjoy the ride. And don't forget, our support team is here for you, and our social media crew is all ears. We're building a community of wood-fired oven enthusiasts, so you can swap stories, grab more tips, and make the most of your cooking adventures. 🔥🍕

 

Cooking with Wood Pellets: Hints and Tips

Looking for something less fiddly than wood kindling? Consider trying out our fast and clean burning wood pellets. 

 

Wood pellets offer a convenient and efficient way to infuse your dishes with mouth-watering smoky flavours, without the learning curve that comes with using kindling alone. As with wood kindling, it’s essential to choose high-quality wood pellets which are designed for cooking as they will be free from chemicals or additives - ensuring a pure smoking experience. Wood pellets are essentially compacted sawdust that’s specifically manufactured for smoking and grilling and are often available in various wood types. 

 

To control the heat and pellet burn rate, keep an eye on the hopper, which feeds the fuel tray. This lets you fine-tune your cooking experience and lock in that steady temperature. Oh, and don't forget to light the pellets properly. Our natural firelighters are great for this job - they even add some extra flavour to the mix. And you've got options, different wood types for different flavours.

 

Ensure you have extra pellets on hand to prevent running out during a cooking session, as this can quickly lead to unwanted temperature fluctuations. With a steady rate of topping up over time, wood pellets generally offer a less hands on approach to wood fired smoking and can ease you into the benefits of cooking on a wood-fuelled flame. Ultimately, the choice between kindling or pellets is completely down to personal preference. If you’re still unsure, it’s worth considering that it’s entirely possible to use both kindling and wood pellets together! We recommend starting with kindling, as this can be arranged for optimal airflow, and then topping up with pellets to help you provide a consistent heat source. Kindling will provide the best of smoky flavours, whilst pellets help to maintain the temperature. With this combination method, you really can have the best of both worlds!

 

Cooking with Gas: Hints and Tips

Still not convinced about using wood? Cooking for a larger party with little time to think about wind direction? If you’re needing a speedy preheat to use up that leftover dough, our optional gas attachments make outdoor cooking effortless. Purchased as part of an optional bundle or as a stand alone upgrade later on down your Woody Oven journey, our sturdy gas attachment provides you with all the reliability, speed and ease that you need for a quick last minute cook up. 

 

When using the gas attachment for your Woody, the top priority should always be safety. Start by ensuring that the gas valve on the regulator is closed when the oven is not in use. Before igniting the flame, it's crucial to check for any gas leaks to prevent potential hazards. Customers should always follow proper safety guidelines when connecting or disconnecting the gas. In addition, the correct attachment of the gas setup is fundamental. Follow our instructions and guidelines, as correct attachment is the foundation for safe and efficient use.

 

We recommend always igniting your Woody with the gas attachment controls, ensuring that you stand at the rear of your oven. If the oven does not ignite within the first few attempts, leave the oven alone for the gas to disperse before trying again. 

 

Never ignite the gas attachment on the oven with the door on. 

 

Once your flame is doing its thing, our gas attachment offers precise temperature control, a feature appreciated by many outdoor cooking enthusiasts. Make use of this built in temperature control dial to adjust the flame’s intensity according to your specific cooking requirements. Lower the flame for slow roasting or raise them for searing. 

 

Generally, due to the consistency of the flame, your Woody oven will reach the desired temperatures quicker when using gas. This also helps with time efficiency, if you are planning and preparing your party, opting to use the gas attachment can provide reassurance that your oven is doing it’s job to its fullest potential, whilst you socialise and show off your shiny Woody Oven and fantastic culinary skills!

 

Cooking with Coal: Hints and Tips

If you haven't quite warmed up to the idea of wood kindling, wood pellets, or gas as your primary fuel source in your Woody Oven, don't worry, there's one more fantastic option that brings its own unique charm to your outdoor cooking experience - cooking with coal. This isn't just about the delicious end results; it's a journey through time, traditions, and the exquisite flavours it imparts to your meals.

 

Coal brings an unmistakable smoky flavour to your dishes, whether you're grilling meat, baking potatoes, or cooking seafood. It's that extra oomph in taste and aroma.

 

But that's not all. Coal's superpower lies in its ability to crank up the heat. Perfect for searing, you'll get that mouthwatering crust on your meats while keeping them tender inside.

 

 

Where coal truly shines is in providing a consistent and long-lasting heat source. This is ideal for slow cooking and smoking. It's particularly well-suited for dishes like brisket and pork shoulder, which turn out with melt-in-your-mouth textures. In fact, coal's versatility knows no bounds - you can roast, grill, bake, or smoke to your heart's content, all within the same fuel source.

 

One of the lesser-known perks of cooking with coal is its capacity for precise temperature control. It's easy to execute various cooking techniques, making it an excellent choice for a three-course meal in your Woody Oven. When managed correctly, a coal fire consistently provides heat throughout the cooking process, leading to even and predictable outcomes. This reliability helps you achieve perfect dishes every time.

 

Now, onto the practical side. Coal might not win the eco-friendliness contest, but it's cost-effective, especially for those long outdoor cooking sessions. Plus, it carries a rich tradition in outdoor culinary gatherings. Cooking with coal has a touch of nostalgia that adds to the fun.

 

Besides its performance, coal also carries a rich culinary tradition. It's been an integral part of barbecues, slow-cooked dishes, and outdoor culinary gatherings for a long time. The nostalgia and sense of tradition add to the overall enjoyment of cooking with coal.

 

Now, onto the nitty-gritty. Coal does have its downsides to consider. It tends to produce more soot and ash compared to other fuels, which translates to extra post-cooking cleanup. Maintaining your Woody Oven with coal might require more frequent and thorough attention compared to other fuel sources. Additionally, you'll need to invest some time in preparing the coal. Occasionally, you may need to break down larger pieces to fit them efficiently into the fuel tray. It can be a tad labour-intensive and messy.

 

Some individuals may also raise environmental concerns about coal due to its emissions. If environmental sustainability is a priority for you, it's important to weigh these factors and explore alternatives.

 

All in all, coal cooking offers unique flavours, versatility, and a bit of tradition. But it's not without its quirks. It can be messy, needs more maintenance, and has environmental trade-offs. If you're up for the journey and the smoky flavours are calling your name, cooking with coal could be your Woody Oven's best buddy. 🔥🍖

So there you have it!

In a nutshell, your Woody Oven journey is as diverse as the dishes you'll whip up. It all starts with your choice of fuel, and that's where the fun begins! Think about what matters most to you, whether it's keeping things budget-friendly, adding unique flavours, or keeping things hassle-free.

 

But don't forget the basics! Before you become a culinary genius, you've got to master the art of fire-building. It's often overlooked, but it's the key to unlocking scrumptious outdoor meals. And here's the best part: your Woody Oven can dance to any tune, whether you're in the mood for wood kindling, wood pellets, gas, or coal.

 

So, start your fire, toss in your favourite fuel, and cook up a storm. Share your adventures with the Woody community and let's make every outdoor meal unforgettable. Cheers to tasty times with your Woody Oven! 🍕🔥