Wood-fired pizza ovens can handle a lot of heat, but can you interchange wood with charcoal, or can you use charcoal in a wood-fired pizza oven?
Charcoal would be an interesting fuel option for a wood-fired pizza oven but using it to make pizzas and how well they turn out is still a question.
As the name suggests, wood-fired pizza ovens use wood to create as much heat as needed to cook the pizzas you want in just 90 seconds, sometimes even in just 60 seconds.
The wood used as fuel can produce more heat than gas or electric pizza ovens. They also emit smoke, which adds a unique BBQ flavor to the pizza and makes it more delicious.
The importance of wood as fuel is the heat that it can produce. Another alternative for wood that can produce as much heat but without the smoke is charcoal.
So I was wondering whether or not you can substitute wood with charcoal and if you can, does it work just as well? That is what we will be talking about and see how your pizza will be.
I also have some of the best wood-fired pizza ovens on this post where you can use both charcoal and wood as fuel for you to choose from if you want to make authentic pizzas.
Can You Use Charcoal In A Wood-fired Pizza Oven?
There is no sure way to tell whether or not can you use charcoal in your wood-fired pizza oven. So you will need to ask the pizza oven manufacturer if it can handle charcoal as a fuel.
Some manufacturers say the pizza ovens they produce are capable of producing heat both with wood and charcoal. So make sure that you have those kinds of pizza ovens.
Charcoal does not produce as much flame as wood but the heat from charcoal is somehow more intense. That means that you have to be concerned about the surface it touches.
You need to make sure that the firebox of your pizza oven can handle the intense and direct heat from the charcoal. That way, it will not break or melt when you use charcoal as fuel.
Some steel or other materials used in the firebox of pizzas tend to crack with direct heat. So make sure that the wood-fired pizza oven has enough insulating material inside it.
Insulation is an important part of a pizza oven as it helps ensure that the pizza oven does not release too much heat. It also protects the outer parts of the pizza oven from too much heat.
What Kind Of Charcoal Can I Use In A Wood-fired Pizza Oven?
Lump charcoal is the best charcoal to use in a wood-fired pizza oven. It is made from a solid, slow-growing tree that makes sure that it lasts for a long time when burning.
Birch trees are the most common types of trees used to make charcoal. Lump charcoal is a type of charcoal that is denser, therefore, lasting longer in cooking.
They are ideal for fast and hot cooking processes like on the grill. Using them in a wood-fired pizza oven is also effective for many batches of pizzas since they burn for a longer period.
Lump charcoal are the best charcoal for Ooni pizza ovens as well, if you have them.
However, you need to make sure that the charcoal is stored in a warm dry place to keep both its density and firepower. There is also another type of charcoal that is used widely in pizza ovens.
Pizzerias often order anthracite charcoal which is a type of charcoal that has a higher carbon content. That means that it lasts longer than most types of charcoal even in high temperatures.
Anthracite charcoal also has fewer impurities than common types of charcoal which means that it burns cleaner. It adds fewer nitrates and nitrites to the food that can be harmful at a certain amount.
Compared to regular charcoal, anthracite charcoal also has a longer burning time. You do not have to cook for a very long time for pizza, but you can use it for multiple batches.
Pizza Ovens That Use Both Charcoal And Wood As Fuel
As I have mentioned, some manufacturers produce pizza ovens that use not only wood but also charcoal. So we will take a look at these types of pizza ovens for you to choose from.
There is no such thing as a pizza oven that uses only charcoal as its main fuel since most pizza ovens still rely on wood. There are, however, that can produce as much heat when using both.
This is a shortlist of pizza ovens that can cook perfect pizzas using either charcoal or wood. I will be explaining how each pizza oven can make cooking pizzas a lot easier no matter the fuel.
Brick ovens, although using wood as the main fuel, can use charcoal. These are the original ovens used when pizza was first made back in Italy hundreds of years ago.
They produce and maintain a lot of heat, which means that even if the wood has turned into coal, they can still cook pizzas and other recipes for hours from the heat they have absorbed.
These are well-insulated which means that it can maintain as much heat as possible and make the heat inside them evenly distributed. That is true even if it is cold outside.
Brick ovens often have dome shapes which is an effective feature that balances the heat inside. They are easy to use but you can also easily burn the pizza if you are not careful.
There are some amazing quality wood-fired pizza ovens that you can check out if you want a nice pizza oven installed in your backayrd.
Now to the more specific models…
Ooni Karu 16
Ooni is one of the leading companies and manufacturers of portable pizza ovens. They have a lot of portable pizza ovens but they are slowly making larger pizza ovens during the past years.
Ooni Karu 16 answers the question of can you use charcoal in a wood-fired pizza oven
You can use charcoal with the Ooni Karu 16 pizza oven and it is an affordable, portable option for multi-fuel pizza ovens.
The Karu 16 is a pizza oven based on a smaller model. It is the newest release from Ooni and it uses both wood and charcoal as fuel to cook the most amazing pizzas in just 90 seconds.
Whether you use charcoal or wood on the Karu 16, the pizza oven will be able to reach a maximum temperature of 950 degrees Fahrenheit in just 15 to 20 minutes of preheating time.
It has features such as the new ViewFlame technology that allows you to close the door and keep the heat inside while also giving you a full view of the interior of the pizza oven.
The Karu 16 also has a thermometer, which means that you can keep track of its temperature. This is important when you use wood and suddenly switch to charcoal.
They do have different temperature control or intensity so the thermometer is a huge help. Charcoal works great with the Karu 16 since it has great insulation and a closed environment for cooking.
Ooni Karu 12
Karu 12 is the smaller pizza oven model of the Karu 16. It can cook smaller 12-inch pizzas than the 16-inch width of the Karu 16, serving fewer people.
The Karu or Ooni Karu 12 pizza oven is your go-to pizza oven if you want to cook pizzas anywhere you want. It is lightweight, portable, and powerful for its size to cook pizzas in just 90 seconds.
It can also reach a maximum temperature of 950 degrees Fahrenheit in just 15 minutes. It does not have a door, but it can keep the temperature even and balanced inside with a stooping doorway.
Using charcoal with Ooni Karu 12 pizza oven is good but I still find wood better for its fuel.
Wood produces more flames and you need a lot of flames for a pizza oven that does not have a door.
Wood also gives a nice flavor to the pizza which is not possible with the charcoal.
I prefer using charcoal while cooking meat inside these pizza ovens.
Ooni Pro 16
Ooni Pro is one of the larger pizza ovens from Ooni as you can cook 16-inch pizzas in just 90 seconds. It is a multi-fueled pizza oven so you can use both wood and charcoal with it.
Ooni Pro 16 pizza oven can easily work with charcoal and wood but as I said earlier, I would prefer wood for making pizzas, but you should try charcoal with meat and steaks.
Aside from the two fuel types mentioned above, the Ooni Pro can also use gas and pellets as fuel. So you will never run out of options for the fuel you can use to cook in the Ooni Pro.
It has an insulated steel body which means that even if the coals do not produce too many flames, the pizza oven can still maintain the heat inside to cook the pizzas evenly and quickly.
It does have a door with a wooden handle and a post-box type entry to allow you to look inside and see how your pizza cooks. Along with the door is the built-in thermometer as well.
So, if you have anything else to add to this burning question on can you use charcoal in a wood-fired pizza oven then leave them in the comments below!
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