We are often asked what is best type of firewood to use in an outdoor oven. The first answer is to choose wood that is as dry as possible. If you already have a stack of wood at home, you can use a moisture meter to determine how dry it is.

If you are buying wood we would always advise you look for kiln dried wood which typically has a moisture content of less than 30%, but less than 20% is ideal. This ensures your fire burns efficiently and will heat up your oven quickly, so you can start cooking without too much waiting around.

Different types of firewood from different trees have different merits, they can burn at different speeds and temperatures and produce different aromas. Your choice of wood may change depending on the dish you are preparing.

A photo of a man stoking the burning wood in a Morsø Forno Outdoor Oven

Which wood to use for outdoor ovens

Our suggestions of wood to use for outdoor ovens are all hardwoods. Hardwoods come from deciduous trees which are slower growing and consequently produce denser wood. The down side of course is that hardwood takes longer to produce, so is usually more expensive than softwood.

Olive

A wood which burns with a lovely aroma. Not widely available in this country, but imported to the UK by Green Olive Firewood and stocked by us. It burns for a long time and is our favourite fuel for pizza ovens. If you are a first time wood fired oven user and want a good wood to start, with this is the one we recommend. It’s sold in 22 litre sacks

Oak

The oak species consists of 600 types of tree and produces one of the hardest and strongest woods. It is one of the easiest firewoods to find and buy and it’s good for logburners as well as outdoor ovens. It burns slowly and produces good heat.

Alder

This wood seems to divide people, but has had a resurgence in popularity of the last few years. It burns clean but can produce less heat than other varieties of wood. It can be combined with olive or oak wood and also good for smoking.

Silver birch

Silver birch burns hot and fast and has an attractive and useful bark which can be used in place of, or in addition to kindling to light a fire. We advise you to combine it with other slow burning woods (like oak or olive) so it doesn’t burn through too quickly.

Morso Grill Forno with door closed

Smoking wood chips

Our Morsø Forno outdoor oven can also be used as smokers and in this capacity the type of woodchip you use to smoke with, opens up an array of different cooking options and flavours which you can infuse into the food.

The general rule is to choose wood from a tree that bears edible fruit or nuts, while Oak can also be used and offers a unique smokiness.

Wood chips need soaking before use and are placed over the hot embers of a fire so they can smoulder.

The Spruce Eats smoking chips guide

Graphic courtesy of The Spruce Eats

If you are new to smoking, we recommend trying hickory, apple, cherry, olive or orange woodchip. Each woodchip will be suited to different dishes and part of the fun of getting into smoking is experimenting and deciding which woodchip you like.