There is nothing quite as rewarding as cooking using a real fire. In the modern world, we all tend to rely on gas appliances. However, if you are cooking pizza, using a wood burning stove or cooking over a campfire, there is something rewarding about using real firewood. So, how do you choose the right firewood for cooking?

Why it is important to choose the right firewood

While gathering your own firewood in the woods can be a fun and adventurous experience, it is important to consider the moisture content of the wood you collect. Wet or green wood, which has a high moisture content, will create a significant amount of smoke when burned and will not generate as much heat as dry, seasoned firewood. This can make it difficult to perfectly cook food over the fire.

On the other hand, dry, seasoned firewood has a low moisture content and will burn cleanly with minimal smoke. This not only reduces the number of pollutants released into the air, but also ensures that the fire generates enough heat to thoroughly cook food. Additionally, dry, seasoned firewood is also less likely to produce sparks, which can be a fire hazard.

To ensure a safe and efficient fire, it is recommended to purchase dry, seasoned firewood from a reputable supplier. These firewood logs have been properly dried and stored, ensuring they are ready to burn and will provide a hot, clean fire.

Consider the location of your fire

It is not always a simple case to start a fire anywhere, but you have two options – cooking indoors or outdoors.

Cook over a campfire with confidence when you choose the right wood.

Cook over a campfire with confidence when you choose the right wood.

Cooking indoors

If you are cooking indoors then you are going to use a cooking appliance that has been designed to use firewood for cooking. This will mean that it has been designed to protect the wood, provide the right ventilation, and help your device to fire up. As a result, you will have no problem getting your fire going, although you still need to use the right firewood for cooking.

Cooking outdoors

Should you be cooking outdoors, location is everything! If you are cooking outdoors, then you should be mindful of the location.

Choose a safe location

When starting a fire, it is important to choose a safe and appropriate location. The ideal spot for a fire would be on dry soil or sand, while a solid surface is also a good option. For most of us, when cooking outdoors, we have to simply find the best surface or spot that is available. So, find a place that is dry and away from flammable materials such as leaves, twigs, or dry grass.

If you are using a fire pit, you have a bit more flexibility in terms of location, as the fire pit will contain the fire and prevent it from spreading. However, it is still important to choose a spot protected from the wind that does not increase the risk of trees catching fire from stray sparks that are blown away from the fire.

Should you find yourself at a campsite, there might be ready-made firepits. These areas are designated as safe for fires and will also prevent damage to the surrounding environment.

Always be mindful of local fire regulations and weather conditions before starting a fire. It is also important to have a means of putting out the fire close by, such as a bucket of water or a shovel, so you can extinguish the fire quickly if necessary.

The types of firewood for cooking to consider

Oak firewood

When it comes to selecting firewood for cooking, oak is a top choice. This hardwood is known for its density and weight, making it perfect for the hot temperatures necessary to cook delicious food evenly. Oak wood is also relatively easy to find and burns at a high temperature, providing a clean option that lasts.

Cook Pizza with Firewood

Cook Pizza with Firewood

If you are cooking on an open fire and prefer a stronger smoky flavour, consider using red oak instead of white oak as your firewood for cooking. This type of oak has a more intense smoke and a more pronounced flavour, adding a unique touch to anything you cook.

Oak wood can be used on its own or combined with small amounts of fruitwood for a more complex flavour. Fruitwood such as apple, cherry, and peach are known for their mild smoke and sweet aroma that adds a subtle sweetness, especially if you are cooking using a pizza oven.

Overall, oak is a versatile and reliable option for cooking. Whether you are a seasoned pro or a first timer, you cannot go wrong with choosing oak firewood.

Ash firewood

Ash trees are a common sight, and their wood is highly sought after for its unique properties. Ashwood is known for its ability to burn hot and produce a mild, neutral flavour, making it a great option for pizza ovens and cooking outdoors. However, it is also a suitable option for cooking on wood stoves making it a versatile firewood for cooking.

 You can cook using firewood both indoors and outdoors.

You can cook using firewood both indoors and outdoors.

Compared to other types of wood, Ash wood has a long and consistent burn, which means you will not have to constantly feed the fire to keep it going. Additionally, it is easy to light, so you can spend more time enjoying cooking, whether that is BBQ food, pizza or any other kind of food cooked over a fire.

For a more distinctive smoky flavour, you can mix in a few chunks of mesquite wood with your Ash wood. Mesquite wood is known for its strong and bold smoky flavour that adds a unique touch to your pizza. If you prefer a sweeter taste, you can also mix in some apple or Plum wood. These types of wood have a mild smoke and a sweet aroma that adds a subtle sweetness to your food

Overall, ash wood is a great option for pizza ovens and campfires, and its versatility makes it easy to customize the flavour that your food takes on.

Maple firewood

Maple wood is an excellent choice for cooking because it burns hot and has a consistent burn, making it easy to control the temperature. Its mild, slightly sweet flavour also makes it a versatile wood that pairs well with a wide variety of meats, vegetables, and fruits.

This firewood for cooking has a low smoke point, which means it will create less smoke and more heat, which is perfect for cooking. Additionally, maple wood has a high heat output and a long burn time, which makes it a smart choice for slow-cooking meats and smoking.

It also has a consistent density throughout the log, which makes it easy to split and stack, and burns evenly, making it a great choice for cooking. Maple wood is also widely available and is considered a sustainable option, making it easy to find and a responsible choice for those who want to make an environmentally friendly decision.

Hickory firewood

Hickory is a highly sought-after wood for cooking, known for its high burning temperature and strong, distinctive flavour. This hardwood is native to the eastern states of America and is readily available due to its popularity. When used in a pizza oven, it can reach extremely high temperatures, making it a perfect choice for cooking pizzas to perfection.

One of the unique characteristics of hickory is its intensely smoky flavour, which is stronger than oak but still clean burning. This makes it a great choice for those who enjoy a stronger smoky flavour in their food.

To enhance the flavour of your food even more, hickory can be paired with oak wood. This combination of woods creates a balance of flavour and burn rate, as hickory burns hot and oak burns long, providing a consistent heat source. Together, they create a more complex and distinctive flavour that is perfect for a variety of foods such as meats, poultry, and fish.

It is also a good option for smoking or barbecuing, as it will impart a strong, smoky flavour to your food. When using hickory, it is important to use it in moderation as it has a strong flavour, so it is best to mix it with other milder woods like Oak or Maple.

Choosing the best wood for your fire will enable you to create delicious meals!

Choosing the best wood for your fire will enable you to create delicious meals!

Get firewood for cooking right and reap the rewards!

It is clear to see that firewood for cooking must be right. There are many different options available to choose from which gives you the opportunity to select the right firewood for cooking based on your needs. Whether it’s barbecuing, wood stoves or campfires, with the right wood, you can add flavour, keep your fire burning and cook food that tastes sensational.

Contact Cozilogs

If you have questions about the effects of firewood moisture content on burning performance, please contact Cozilogs at [email protected]. Our experts are here to provide you with detailed information and answer any questions you may have. We also offer educational resources on our website about firewood moisture content and tips for improving your firewood burning performance. Alternative contact methods include completing our web contact form or call us at (01905) 954 736.