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Using lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



I'm Peter Reinhart! Ask Me Anything! Monday, February 15, 2016 7:00-8:00 pm EST

To kick off our AMA feature, we have invited author, chef and master bread maker and host of Pizza Quest, Peter Reinhart, to be our first host! Peter will be in the Forum on Monday, February 15th, from 7:00 - 8:00 pm EST. If you are unable to be online during the live session, you can post your questions in the sticky post. Peter will answer those questions during the live session on February 15th. You can view Peter's answers to your questions as well as what happened during the live session in the session thread.

Ask Me Anything New Forum Feature

You will notice a new forum at the top of the main page called, "Ask Me Anything". This forum will be used for live one hour "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) sessions hosted by people who are knowledgeable in different areas pertaining to wood fired ovens. How it works:
- Each AMA will have a "sticky" thread where the community can post questions they would like answered during the live session. This will allow everyone to participate even if you can't be online for the live session. These questions will not be answered by the host until the live AMA; if you need an answer quickly, you should post it in the appropriate Forum area for the community to respond.
- Another thread will be posted for the live AMA. Registered users who are logged in during the live session can interact with the host by asking questions and receiving responses.
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We hope you enjoy this new feature! Please let us know if there is a topic that you'd like to have as an AMA and we'll look for a host!

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Using lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes

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  • Using lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes

    Is it okay to use oakwood lump charcoal or the BBQ briquettes in your wood fired oven? I have a primavera 60 that I have recently cured using banjo burner. I have avoided heating up the oven to more than 450 F using the propane burner for safety reasons and want to take it further using wood fire. I am having some trouble finding dry seasoned wood. I bought some red oak but could not light it up no matter what i do. I have non toxic fire starters, kindling but i guess my wood is not so dry. I was thinking of using lump charcoal mainly. I remember reading somehwere that you should not use the briquettes.

    Any suggestions will be appreciated.


  • #2
    Re: Using lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes

    "Is it okay to use oakwood lump charcoal or the BBQ briquettes in your wood fired oven? "

    Yes, but you will find that this is a fairly expensive source of fuel compared to ordinary firewood.


    • #3
      Re: Using lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes

      Asif, if the oak won't light due to moisture, try drying it out using the heat in your oven from the prior burn. I try to always stack a load of wood in the oven to dry if I'm done cooking.



      • #4
        Re: Using lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes

        But, if you can get it up to temp once with charcoal, after the pizza or whatever, when it cools down to 400 or a little less, you can load it up with your red oak and crack the door just a bit. A day in the oven like that should dry out the red oak. You can then use the dried, or coked wood the next time, rather than charcoal. Repeat after each firing.

        This works very well in my Casa110, which can be loaded with more wood than I need for one firing; not sure if the Primavera 60 would hold enough wood, and have enough thermal mass and insulation, to dry the wood out, but you might give it a try.



        • #5
          Re: Using lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes


          Our ovens are made to only to be used with dry seasoned wood. Using charcoal or the BBQ briquettes would void your warranty.

          We do not recommend gas fired ovens for homeowners for three reasons. First, there are some serious safety issues. Pizza ovens are small and enclosed, and even a small leak can leave enough gas in an oven to be unsafe and capable of exploding. Our commercial gas-fired ovens have very sophisticated burners, controls and shut-offs that minimize risk, but they cost $4,000 by themselves. The scope of the safety problem is very large, with the possibility of a life-threatening explosion.

          Second, commercial gas-fired ovens are operated in a commercial setting by professionals. We have concerns about a potentially dangerous gas-fired oven being operated by friends, neighbors or even children. Even if a problem were to never occur, the stress of worrying about oven safety would detract from the enjoyment of owning a pizza oven.

          Third, a gas fire has much less potential energy than a wood fire, so gas-fired ovens take a long time to heat up from scratch. Gas does a good job of holding a commercial oven at cooking temperature because those ovens never fully cool down. Still, it can take hours for a gas burner to heat up an oven from a cold start -- which is what homeowners do with their ovens. The Forno Bravo wood-fired ovens heat up in 20 to 45 minutes, which is why they are so popular.

          Please let me know if we can answer any other questions.



          • #6
            Re: Using lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes


            Thank you for the detailed response. The propane burner started with 2-300 F heat but once the oven dried, the same flame was taking the temperature to 400 +, thats when i stopped it. I was not so sure about using propane burner for anything more than curing heat (<300) but a little search last night and your current post makes it clear that it is not worth the risk

            I did put some oak to dry in the residual heat and will see how it works.



            • #7
              Re: Using lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes

              Good Morning Ck, i built a 36" and have a stucco finish. I use the oven about every other week, but there are occasions when it will sit for a month or so. i keep an old cast pizza pan that i put charcoal in and burn it in the oven just to help it stay dry.. probably about twice a month.. i have not cooked with charcoal.. i've got about 2 full cords of hardwood, a lot of it is oak and 1/3 of it is cherry.. i like the oak to get the oven up to temperature, but i like the smell (and taste) of the cherry much better when cooking..