HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese? Get great advice
TELL US

any pro and con of woodfired oven pizzas not only in terms of taste and convenience but also in terms of some possible health concerns like some cases of either grilled or smoked meats (at least for some) as opposed to any pro and con of oven baking??

h
hae young Jun 27, 2010 02:30 AM

any pro and con of woodfired oven pizza not only in matter of taste and (in-?)convenience but also in some possible health concerns like some cases of either grilled or smoked meats at least for some as opposed to any pro and con of oven baking??
and how about the cost($) for (but not for building the woodfired type ovens in bakcyard ) baking those pizzas as opposed to one method another such as the cost($) of woods vs gas to be burnt as fuels???

  1. tommy Jun 27, 2010 06:10 AM

    Like the old saying goes, if you have to ask how much it is, you can't afford it.

    If cost is a concern, I wouldn't be considering building or buying a wood-fired oven.

    1. monku Jun 27, 2010 06:42 AM

      I think it's a matter of personal preference.

      Must be more expensive to "wood fire" pizza....California Pizza Kitchen's started out with wood fired ovens and now I notice their ovens "look" like a wood fire oven but they are gas.

      Maybe the "health concerns" about smoked meats you have are being confused with "cured" meats which are made with "nitrites" as a preservative and to prevent botulism?

      1. hotoynoodle Jun 27, 2010 07:48 AM

        due to safety concerns, many cities don't allow restaurants to build wood-fired ovens anymore. they require gas as fuel. in a private home the cost would be very high unless you rigged something in your existing fireplace.

        wood or gas fired commercial ovens get dramatically hotter than a home stove ever would. commercial pizza ovens, for example, can get up to 800 degrees, but to do that they are insulated like crazy. if you've had that kind of pizza you can surely taste the difference between that and one you've made at home, right?

        or maybe i don't understand this question?

        3 Replies
        1. re: hotoynoodle
          h
          hae young Jun 28, 2010 05:52 AM

          my oven from german brand with covenction function( but i dont know how much is this effective as usual convection oven ) in the kitchen seems to reach up to about 536( 280 c) f degrees.
          how about if i turn covection after preheating the oven with baking tiles inside up to 536 for about an hour? could it rise significantly even though it is still far form 800 degrees?

          1. re: hae young
            hotoynoodle Jun 29, 2010 10:42 AM

            the tiles won't make the oven hotter per se, they simply convey the existing heat differently.

            1. re: hotoynoodle
              h
              hae young Jun 29, 2010 08:31 PM

              if so, how about convection function and baking stone rather than baking tiles?

        2. hannaone Jun 27, 2010 08:07 AM

          Wood fire adds a smoky quality to whatever is cooked with it that gas doesn't quite match.

          I personally think that the health concerns of eating smoked/charred foods are a bit overblown.

          I can't answer as to the operating cost of wood vs gas in one of these ovens.

          1 Reply
          1. re: hannaone
            m
            Mestralle Jun 29, 2010 12:10 PM

            I really can't imagine that of all the crap that we eat/drink/inhale/absorb, it's charred meat that's going to harm you.

            I remember what an old friend once said in regard to the stories/rumors about how much worse menthol cigarettes were than non-menthol: So there are about 1,000 chemicals in a cigarette, but it's the one that gives it that minty fresh flavor that's going to kill you?

          2. Shane Greenwood Jun 27, 2010 09:10 AM

            I saw a guy (The Pizza Hacker) in San Francisco who converted a weber grill into a domed wood-burning pizza oven. Brilliant design and a cheaper alternative to building a whole oven. There are also some temporary designs on Makezine.

            Here's a link to some info

            http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2010...

            4 Replies
            1. re: Shane Greenwood
              Bada Bing Jun 27, 2010 10:08 AM

              Very cool link, Shane. Thanks!

              1. re: Bada Bing
                ipsedixit Jun 27, 2010 10:42 AM

                Here's another link about a home wood fired oven.
                http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001...

                Good luck with it.

                1. re: ipsedixit
                  l
                  lidia Jun 27, 2010 03:44 PM

                  Kind of an over-the-top article for the mega-rich there in the WSJ. You can build a small outdoor oven yourself for a few hundred bucks; you don't need to spend $10k. Plus, we DO have plenty of pineapple in Italy. (It's a little irritating reading stories with non-native millionaires making ex-cathedra pronouncements.)

                  Not to put too fine a point on it, but a number of places here (in Italy) offer canned corn on pizza. In my town (southern Tuscany) there are at least two pizzerias that offer canned beans on pizza. You all have NO idea: sliced hot dogs on pizza? Mayonnaise on pizza? UHT cream or besciamella? I have seen it here. Mind you, it's not universal, but... ugh.

                  For the oven, I would consult these links:
                  http://www.fuocoelegna.it/ (in Italian, use Google Translate) You can see some rough schemes here:http://www.fuocoelegna.it/costruzione.php
                  An excellent book is http://www.ilfornoalegna.it/home.html
                  http://www.fornobravo.com/
                  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/inde...

                  "Convenience" is right out, obviously. Building a fire and clearing out ashes is not convenient.

                  As to whether, once it is built, it is economical or not, I can't say. I can say that we rented a house with a wood oven, built around 1600. The oven was more than 5 feet in diameter, and took more than three days of firings to get up to anywhere near a decent cooking temperature. It depends on whether you have an inexpensive source of firewood or not.

                  You will have to calculate the size of the oven you would like, then the thermal mass you are willing and able cost-wise to bring up to temperature, the frequency of firing, and the quantity of food you'd like to cook during one firing.

                  If, like societies long ago, you fire up the oven once every so often, and everyone in the town then makes use of it, you have recipes that use the stale bread left over and so forth.. it's fairly efficient. As a caprice for two pizzas every so often, not so much.

                  Taste is awesome. Did a Thanksgiving turkey in the 5' oven above and it came out the best I ever ate. Too bad that even after 3 days of firing the oven cooled down too rapidly to then cook all the other stuff I had planned for the final hour (pies, potatoes, other sides) that I was forced to finish off in the miniscule 'regular' oven.

              2. re: Shane Greenwood
                Coogles Jun 29, 2010 05:01 PM

                I use this on a Weber grill and get pretty good results...

                http://www.2stonepg.com/2stone-pizza-...

                It'd be cool to build an actual wood (or coal) fired oven in the back yard, but I don't actually have a yard to build one in at the moment and if I did I'd probably wait until I was sure I wouldn't have to move for a LONG time.

              3. al b. darned Jun 27, 2010 02:51 PM

                I think this qualifies as the longest title for a topic.

                1. Foodielicious Jun 29, 2010 09:27 PM

                  I have a wood-fired pizza oven on my back patio. I got it a couple of years ago from Forno Bravo (the Primavera beehive model) as an anniversary present. The total cost was right around 4.5K including accessories, delivery, set-up, and the quarter-cord of red oak I had delivered and stacked. Since you (and I) already have a normal oven, and probably a charcoal or gas grill, there's no reasonable argument to be made for 'economy' with such a purchase. You can make good pizza in a regular home oven. You can make good pizza on a charcoal grill. You can take a trip to Italy and eat good pizza for days on end all for less money than you'd spend on purchasing a wood-fired oven.

                  Also, making your own wood-oven pizzas takes a good deal of time. You need two hours to properly fire the oven, apart from the time it takes to make the dough, prep the toppings, and do all the prep/clean-up you'd do for making pizza at home in a normal oven. It makes a mess outside by the oven (smoke, ashes, flour all over the patio, the pizza that inevitably slides off your peel and lands cheese-side-down on the driveway, etc.). So time/convenience are not good arguments for owning a wood-fired oven either.

                  The best argument FOR owning a wood-fired oven is the absolutely sublime pizzas it produces. They're just the most delicious thing ever and worth every penny (particularly over time- once you make the investment, the price per pie diminishes over time). Plus, you can completely control the ingredients - no hfcs or industrial dough conditioners in your dough, no growth hormones in your cheese, no pesticides in your produce, and meats that meet your dietary requirements, whatever those may be.

                  So, for me - totally worth it.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Foodielicious
                    bushwickgirl Jun 29, 2010 10:36 PM

                    Pizza baked on a stone in a home oven, great; pizza baked in a wood-fired patio pizza oven, priceless. Nice post, Foodielicious.

                    1. re: Foodielicious
                      tommy Jun 30, 2010 06:09 AM

                      "The best argument FOR owning a wood-fired oven is the absolutely sublime pizzas it produces. They're just the most delicious thing ever and worth every penny (particularly over time- once you make the investment, the price per pie diminishes over time). Plus, you can completely control the ingredients - no hfcs or industrial dough conditioners in your dough, no growth hormones in your cheese, no pesticides in your produce, and meats that meet your dietary requirements, whatever those may be.

                      So, for me - totally worth it."

                      Presumably one has these advantages of control over ingredients even without a wood-fired oven.

                      It's interesting that people are claiming that a wood-fired oven magically makes pizza better. Pizza is all about the dough and the process. Not about the heat source. One can make very mediocre pizza in a wood-burning oven. Only if the person is at the point where he/she is making great pizza in a standard oven would a wood-burning oven bring it to the next level. It won't just magically do it. This reminds me of the Big Green Egg phenomenon.

                    2. pdxgastro Jun 30, 2010 11:14 AM

                      Hae Young, I think you win the award for Longest Post Title! :-)

                      Show Hidden Posts