Ooni pizza ovens have gained popularity among home cooking enthusiasts. Unfortunately, most first-timers making pizza with these ovens find it challenging to choose the best wood.
The choice of wood can make or break your pizza-making experience. You’ll want to use wood to cook a Neapolitan-style pizza with a clean, smoky aroma. But you don’t have to try every available wood to single out the best option for your Ooni pizza oven.
We will help you choose suitable wood for Ooni pizza oven to wow your family with the best homemade pizza. But first, let’s look into what to consider when selecting wood for your Ooni pizza oven.
What to Look for When Choosing Wood for Ooni Pizza Oven
- Size of Ooni pizza oven: Ooni pizza ovens are available in different sizes. Smaller ovens will work best with wood pellets or charcoal, while larger ovens are ideal for wood chunks.
- Wood density: Dense wood produces enough heat needed to cook pizzas. Since Ooni pizza ovens require wood reaching temperatures of up to 950°F, choosing a dense wood is advisable.
- Sap content: Choose wood with low sap content. Wood with high sap content increases moisture while reducing heat. These types of wood can also emit lots of smoke.
- Aroma and flavor: Your choice of wood should complement the aromas and flavors in your pizza. Go for wood whose smoke gives your pizza a clean, smoky aroma.
- Consistency: When choosing a dense wood, look for one that can burn for an extended period. A dense and dry hardwood should be your top pick.
Best Wood for Your Ooni Pizza Oven
You now know what to consider when selecting wood for your Ooni pizza oven. So, which type of wood should you go for?
Oak is a staple wood for many home cooking enthusiasts. It’s a dense hardwood that burns hot and for a long time. This wood can maintain burning temperatures between 800 to 950°F and last 2-3 hours. Depending on the size of your Ooni pizza oven, you can use oak chunks, pellets, or chips.
Oak is available in two types: white and red oak. If you’re a beginner, use white oak to achieve the familiar taste of pizza. If you want pizza with more nuanced flavors, use red oak.
Some of the best oak wood to buy include the following:
- Ooni Premium Assorted Oak Pack
- Smoak Kiln Dried Red Oak Cooking Logs
Ooni Premium Assorted Oak Pack is best suited for Ooni Karu 16. You’ll enjoy using kiln-dried wood that results in a slow, dry cook.
If you have an Ooni multi-fuel pizza oven, go for Smoak Kiln Dried Red Oak Cooking Logs. These logs guarantee a clean, hot burn.
Alternatively, you can buy seasoned oak logs in your local store and split them into smaller chunks.
Hickory is a reliable wood for the Ooni pizza oven. It’s one of the most popular dense wood used for barbecue and smoking meat.
Like oak, hickory burns at higher temperatures and can complement your pizza with unique flavors. However, this wood is heavier than oak and offers stronger flavors.
Hickory chunks will burn for up to four hours and maintain temperatures between 800-950°F. You can, therefore, use this wood to cook a large, thick-crusted pizza.
Hickory’s smoke adds bolder flavors to your pizza. And thanks to its long-lasting heat, your pizza will have crispy and charred spots around the crust. Hickory in your Ooni pizza oven will add an intense flavor to your pizza toppings. As a result, your pizza’s spicy, tangy flavor will be more distinctive and linger on the palate.
Do you prefer pizza with fruity flavors and pleasant aromas? Cherry wood is a fruitwood used in Ooni pizza ovens to impart pizzas with a hint of fruitiness. It’s a hardwood that can be seasoned or kiln-dried to offer a slow, dry cook.
Cherry chunks will burn for over three hours and retain a temperature of more than 800°F. You can buy cherry in chunks, logs, or pellets from local stores.
One of the best available cherry wood on the market is the Hot Box 6” Kiln-Dried Cherry Pizza Oven Wood. This wood can fit in your portable Ooni pizza oven, producing a hot and clean burn. The box contains enough wood for cooking up to 20 pizzas.
The wood gives off a mellow smoke, adding a pleasant aroma to your pizzas. It also adds sweetness to pizzas with tangy toppings.
Maple is another reliable hardwood you can use in your Ooni pizza oven. The wood comes in two types, soft and hard maple. Soft maple includes species like red and silver maple. Hard maple has two species, black and sugar maple.
You can use soft maple varieties to cook pizzas with a thinner crust. A good example of such pizza is the Margherita-style pizza.
For hard maple varieties, use them to cook pizzas with a thicker crust. This wood is ideal for pizza with white meat toppings like chicken, turkey, or pork.
Maple can burn for up to 4 hours with light smoke. It also provides a subtle sweetness to create a modest taste in your pizzas.
If you’re looking for a cherry wood alternative for your Ooni pizza oven, go for apple wood. This wood burns slowly for over five hours, generating enough heat to cook your pizzas.
Like cherry wood, Applewood burns to elicit a sweet fruity flavor. It also gives off mild smoke, making it ideal for smoking meat. And thanks to its fruity flavor with mild smoke, this wood is common among pizza chefs in pizzerias.
The smoke can enhance flavors in various pizza toppings like pineapple and cheese. While most woods will alter your cheese taste, apple wood for Ooni pizza oven does not. This wood is common in the U.S. and available in your local stores.
Best Wood Pellets for Ooni Pizza Oven
Wood pellets can be your best bet if you own the Ooni Karu 12 or cook a thin-crusted pizza with your Ooni Karu 16. Wood pellets allow for a hassle-free cooking experience and burn at high temperatures. These woods reach their optimum temperatures faster.
Some of the most popular wood pellets for Ooni pizza oven are:
- Ooni Premium Hardwood Pellets. These pellets are 100% oak and offer a clean burn. The bag has enough pellets to fuel your Ooni pizza oven for up to 12 hours.
- Pit Boss Fruitwood Blend Hardwood Pellets: These pellets are made of a blend of fruitwood to add a subtle sweetness to pizzas. You can use the pellets in all Ooni pizza ovens.
- Z GRILLS 100% All-Natural Flavor American Oak Pellets. These pellets are made from 100% oak and offer a clean burn. They can fuel your Ooni pizza oven for up to 10 hours.
Is Charcoal Ideal for Ooni Pizza Oven?
If you cannot access wood chunks or pellets, you can utilize charcoal in your Ooni pizza oven. However, charcoal leaves your homemade pizzas with a peculiar “hamburger flavor.” Charcoal can also leave a thick, black residue in the oven that can be hard to remove.
When choosing clean burning charcoal for your Ooni pizza oven, consider the following options:
- Ooni Premium Lumpwood Charcoal. You can use this charcoal with your Ooni multi-fuel pizza ovens. It’s also a great option if you’re looking for a foundation layer when burning wood logs.
- Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal. This charcoal works best in all Ooni pizza ovens. You can also use it to bake handmade bread in your pizza oven.
When making pizza at home with your Ooni pizza oven, choose the wood that burns long, produces more heat, and enhances the best aromas and flavors. You can find the right wood for Ooni pizza oven in your local store. Ensure you pick suitable wood chunks, logs, or pellets for your oven. Alternatively, opt for clean charcoal for Ooni pizza oven to make delectable pizzas.