Want to know how to light firewood safely and easily? Don’t use standard white firelighters as they contain chemicals that may get into the wood fired pizza oven floor and affect the flavour of your food. Never use lighter fluid to start or refresh a fire.
We recommend oak, ash, beech, cherry, apple, pear, hawthorn, olive or kiln dried hardwood with a moisture content of less than 20%. Hardwood achieves the desired pizza oven temperature and produces less ash. Softwood has an unpleasant smell, and painted or treated wood can give off toxic fumes.
The best wood for pizza oven cooking is smaller logs of approximate 30cm long and 4 to 6cm in diameter. The size of the logs is key to provide the oven with its optimum conditions for cooking.
It is the flame in the fire that warms the clay dome and builds the heat in your oven. A large fire with vigorous flames will not equate to higher internal temperatures and a better cooking result. You do not need a large flame or a large fire to build the heat in your oven. Add your wood logs one at a time, allowing the previous log to burn before you add the next one. This will allow you to have more control over the oven temperature. Prolonged large flames could damage the steel front of your oven. Overloading the oven can also cause excessive smoke.
1. Place a firelighter in the centre of the pizza oven floor
2. Stack small pieces of kindling around it to form a Jenga-style tower that’s five or six rows high (see picture below).
3. Place two small hardwood logs on the tower.
A fire too close to the front of the oven can cause a permanent separation of the metal.
5. If you need to, keep the oven door half opened. This will block any wind and stop the smoke from rolling out until the oven
6. Each Fuego wood fired pizza oven is a unique artisan piece with its own temperature points, which you will need to get used to.
Place your logs near the mouth of the wood oven a few minutes before you need to use them. This will warm and dry them which helps them to ignite quickly when you place them on the fire.
7. How hot should a pizza oven be? By general rule, you don’t need to add any more wood logs once the pizza oven temperature reaches 150℃ because your oven will carry on increasing in temperature even without any fire or flames.
8. Use a long-handled metal hook or brush to push the burning logs and hot coals to one side of the pizza oven. You can use whichever side you prefer but it’s a good idea to alternate after each use so that you get even wear. Moving the fire to one side allows the heat to circulate within the wood burning oven instead of escaping out the front. It is easier to move food around your home pizza oven and you can put a new log on the fire without having to lift it over your food. Place the logs together so they are overlapping, one on top of the other. If you have lost the flame, add another firelighter.
If you have lost the flame and there is insufficient burning material in the fire bed to light a new fuel charge, excessive smoke emission can occur. Refuelling must be carried out onto a sufficient quantity of glowing embers and ash that the wood logs will ignite in a reasonable period. If there are too few embers in the fire bed, add suitable kindling to prevent excessive smoke or add another firelighter.
9. Once the wood fired pizza oven has reached the ideal temperature, you will need to close the door and flue to ensure the oven heat is retained and then start cooking.
10. You can open the door during the cooking process to check on your food. If you are cooking for a longer period, you might need to add more wood logs to the burning coals to ensure you keep the required pizza oven temperature. The oven will keep the heat for several hours, gradually decreasing in temperature.
OLD SCHOOL TIP
Before thermometers existed, the way of knowing when a wood fired pizza oven has reached the ideal cooking temperature was by looking at the colour of the internal dome. When the oven is not in use or even when you start a fire, the dome and walls are black in colour. As the pizza oven temperature rises, the dome will turn grey at first and then white in colour, starting from the top of the dome towards the side walls. This is the key temperature point when you can stop adding wood logs, move the burning logs and coals to one side, close the door and flue and start cooking.
11. In the event that substantial smoke is observed during start-up from cold, the oven should be used with an authorised fuel or gas lance until the oven’s operating temperature is reached.
“Our Fuego wood oven has transformed our restaurant! As a piece of kit, it is extremely versatile and controllable, allowing us to roast all of our meats and vegetables in the wood burning oven as well as using it as a charcoal grill during service. The flavour of everything coming out of the Fuego clay pizza oven is incredible due to the amazing smoky, charred tones added to the smell and taste of everything that’s cooked in it. It is not expensive to run as all the kiln-dried wood we use heats the wood fired pizza oven pretty quickly and it retains its temperature really well, only needing to add logs to the fire a few times over the course of service.”
“We wanted a traditional wood oven that ticked lots of boxes, for us it had to be made of brick for the authentic feel, have amazing functionality and great quality. Our Fuego clay pizza oven ticks them all. Our pizza nights are such a fantastic feature for the guests that stay in our holiday cottages and it’s a great way of bringing friends and family together for making those special memories. Highly recommended”
“The traditional methods used within its construction and the unrivalled ability to retain heat have thoroughly impressed us. It has been a welcome addition to our BBQ and live music events. We cannot recommend the Fuego brand enough and it has been extremely popular with our chefs and customers alike.”