Gas or Wood Fired Pizza Ovens – Learn the Basics
When you have decided that making pizza in your home oven just doesn’t cut for you, now you have to consider an Outdoor Pizza Oven that will make the most sense. Besides, the usual considerations of build or buy, size and budget, you need to consider the heat source options.
There are two basic types of fuel. The choices are Solid organic fuel, such as wood and coal, and gas fuel, such as propane or natural gas.
This is a primer on the considerations that go into the decision of heat source. If you are leaning toward a real wood fired pizza oven, which provides both heat and flavor to your cooking, then you have to consider the following:
WOOD or COAL
1 – You are going to need a reliable source of the proper type, size and dryness of wood to fit your requirements.
2 – You will need a place to store your wood to make sure you have enough on hand and a place to keep it dry.
3 – You may need additional tools to cut, handle and help start and maintain a steady fire, even heating and clean floor.
4 – You will require smaller pieces of kindling and perhaps fire starter assistance in order to get you fire going.
5 - You may have periods where smoke and soot are expelled due to incomplete combustion. Technique and proper dried wood are important to prevent this from happening.
NATURAL GAS vs PROPANE
Obviously, you would have to have a supply of natural gas for this to happen. I had natural gas in my home, and utilized it for a gas barbeque. It was very convenient. I needed to add wood chips to impart flavor, but in the end, it served me well. Natural gas differs from propane in a very import way. Natural gas is lighter than air, while propane is not. That means that excess natural gas will flow upwards and dissipate into the air, while propane will sink towards the ground. If you have a basement in the proximity of a propane gas leak, there is a chance that it could seep into the basement and stay there until a spark could cause an explosion. I am aware of this because I owned a sailboat. If propane is used to BBQ, then you have to be careful as propane will seep into the cabin and never escape unless blown out with non-sparking electrical blowers.
If you do choose gas, keep in mind that the getting an gas pizza oven to temperature requires a lot of energy. Bottles of propane are not cheap, or convenient to keep on hand. Unless you have a large underground propane tank, you will find yourself driving to the store were propane is sold. The advantage of gas is that it is quick to start the process , burns cleanly and once the oven comes to temperature, you can control the amount of flame. That is to say, you would increase the flame as the pie is being introduced into the oven.
I have seen people very happy with small propane ovens that require continuous heating. They achieve a hot oven in a relatively short time, but have to deal with a limited size to accommodate only one pie at a time.
There are commercial ovens that are gas driven, and have an endless source of gas to control the environment. If executed properly, fabulous results can be obtained.
HEATING ADVANTAGES of Coal and Wood Fired Pizza Ovens
When wood and coal are used in an oven, you have the advantage of spreading out the hot coals and embers throughout the entire cooking surface in order to soak the oven floor with sufficient temperature to ensure uniform cooking of both the top and the bottom of the pizza.
Gas ovens; tend to rely on heating from the top, unless they are sophisticated enough to provide flame below the floor as well.
The choice is yours and you have now been exposed to some of the reasons that will help you decide. Either way, we hope you enjoy your oven for years to come.