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Would you agree with this table? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Would you agree with this table?

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  • Would you agree with this table?

    I came across this table that shows Australian Pine as the best fire wood, is this true?

    Is it true that no matter what wood you use, it will never impact the flavor of the pizza?

    Common Name Density-lbs/cu.ft. Pounds/cd. (green) Million BTUs/cd. Coaling
    Australian Pine 50 5,120 32.9 Best
    Black locust 44 4,616 27.9 Excellent
    Beech 41 27.5 Excellent
    White oak 44 5,573 29.1 Excellent
    Red oak 41 4,888 24.6 Excellent
    Sugar maple 42 4,685 25.5 Excellent
    Cherry 33 3,696 20.4 Excellent
    Elm 35 4,456 20.0 Excellent
    Silver maple 32 3,904 19.0 Excellent
    Hickory 50 4,327 27.7 Good
    White ash 40 3,952 24.2 Good
    Black walnut 35 4,584 22.2 Good
    Yellow birch 42 4,312 20.8 Good
    Sycamore 34 5,096 19.5 Good
    Hemlock 27 19.3 Good
    Aspen 25 18.2 Good
    Cottonwood 27 4,640 15.8 Good
    Eastern Red Cedar 31 2,950 18.2 Poor
    Willow 35 4,320 17.6 Poor
    White pine 23 15.9 Poor
    Basswood 25 4,404 13.8 Poor
    Ponderosa Pine 3600 16.2 Fair

  • #2
    Re: Would you agree with this table?

    All things Australian are the best! Didn't you already know that?

    Deficio est nusquam tamen vicis ut satus iterum
    (Failure is nothing but the opportunity to start again)


    • #3
      Re: Would you agree with this table?

      I keep hearing to go for hardwood, that sappy woods like pine are amongst the worst...although I a bit unclear as to the reasoning. At any rate, I'm burning up a half cord of fir this spring. Sometime next fall I'll switch to a half cord of maple I'm currently drying out.

      I admit, it would be nice to have something kinda sappy in there to get the fires started, but maybe it isn't worth the mess.

      Website: http://keithwiley.com
      WFO Webpage: http://keithwiley.com/brickPizzaOven.shtml
      Thread: http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f21/...ttle-7878.html


      • #4
        Re: Would you agree with this table?

        Man, I wish we had access to a good hard wood!

        In our area of Oregon, the common and available woods are Juniper, and Pine (Ponderosa and Lodge Pole). So we mostly burn these two, and most of what I can get is the pine.

        It is a bit of a hassle to cook 'in the oven' foods with the pine because it pops and crackles, sending chunks of wood on top of the cooking food. With a bit of experience, you can minimize this issue. The wood burns pretty fast (when it is good and dry), so I have to feed the fire very regularly to maintain heat. Both of these issues would be less of a problem with a good hard wood. Occasionally I get cherry and appreciate the benefit of the harder wood. When it is time to heat the oven for baking or slow cooking; and the fire is out of the oven; any wood will work, some will just require stoking the fire more or less.

        But hardwood isn't readily available here, so we burn what we have.

        It works.

        With a quick cooking food like pizza, I don't find the wood adds any appreciable flavor to the food. The ingredients overpower any flavor I might notice from the wood burning in the oven (most of the smoke is vented to the top of the oven and out the stack). Some folks have more sensitive pallets than I do and they choose wood that will add a flavor they like to the pizza, slight as it might be.

        You can slow the fire down, and turn the oven into a smoke generator for a slower cooking food and really flavor up the food with wood smoke. A matter of choice for the oven pilot!

        Hope these comments help...Good luck with your cooking!



        • #5
          Re: Would you agree with this table?

          With looking at this from a "Cooking food with the wood actively burning in the oven" standpoint.
          I could never condone conifer wood be used, conifers have a resinous sap, and the smoke from that wood can be poisonous, at the very least it will make your food taste horrible.
          I cook BBQ for a living, I plan in getting into a WFO as an addition to my business. That is why I am in this forum. So bear with me.

          Pound for pound, all species of wood have the same potential for producing heat,
          If you burn 10 pounds of pine, it will produce nearly the same BTU's of 10 pounds of Oak or Maple.
          Density is where it matters! Hardwood is way more dense than softwood species are. So a piece of hardwood that is the same physical size as a split of pine will turn out substantially more BTU's due to the higher density of hardwoods.
          I stole the following quote from here Best Fire Wood for Cooking, Fireplace and Fire Pits

          For cooking, avoid softwoods and highly resinous woods like pine or juniper. First of all, they burn quicker and cooler. Secondly, the resinous woods give off very potent resin aromas which are off-putting and don't work with food. Some can even be toxic so avoid these woods!

          Now if you are just heating your oven, and you will be cooking with the stored heat energy from the mass of the oven, I could understand using woods other than hardwoods if that is all you had access to, But I would make sure I had every speck of ember & ash out of there, and try to get any residue off the cooking deck that may touch the food. I still think the smell from burning pine in the oven at any time would affect your food, and I would advise avoiding conifers at all costs for that reason.

          you may also require 3-4 times the volume of softwoods to reach your optimum cooking temperature than if you used hardwoods. again, I would be very concerned about the flavor of the food cooked in there, Pine can leave a nasty smell for days after it is burned, and you might have trouble getting that pine smell & taste out of your oven in the future due to the porosity of the materials used to make WFO's. It is not a glazed surface that can be easily cleaned.

          I'll try to add more to this discussion later,


          • #6
            Re: Would you agree with this table?

            Guys, the Australian Pine is NOT a conifer. It was only given the name because it resembles a pine tree and bares a fruit the is similar to an undeveloped pinecone. Belongs to the sheoak family, another popular name is ironwood.

            Native to Australia, southast Asia, and islands. Now considered an invasive species here in FL. They literally grow like weeds even near the beach....but due to shallow roots they blow over easily causing soil erosion.

            I have yet to try it as firewood, everything I have read and everyone I have talked to says it is very dense, hard and burns extremely hot. I know my firewood supplier has it, last year he gave me a big log that I use as a chopping block. My axe barely penetrates it, I would not want to split this stuff by hand.

            iNetForce - Several months ago I remember finding a Miami based firewood supplier on google that specializes in supplying all of the south FL wood burning restaurants and BBQ houses.......they specialize in supplying high volumes of Australian Pine. I found their web site quite informative.



            • #8
              Re: Would you agree with this table?

              "Is it true that no matter what wood you use, it will never impact the flavor of the pizza?"

              I have some problems believing the "never" part of this statement. I have seen recipes where they want one to toss twigs and small branches of rosemary on the fire for flavor. And I would expect that throwing a green piece of myrtle wood on a fire might have some effect on the taste (myrtle being aka California Laurel) or perhaps green branches or leaves. True one isn't using the wood for generating the heat and perhaps by the time the WFO is full heat most of the volatile oils in the wood would be gone.

              As for the list of woods with BTUs etc. Obviously it is abreviated but I notice that alder was left off (yet it is a common wood for cooking and smoking in the Western US from California to Alaska and thru western Canada.) Hickory is common in the East and Midwest of the US but rare west of the Rockies. Not much in the way of elm in the US either (at least not since Dutch elm disease and the elm bark beetle). I could go on but essentially, that list might be perfect for Australia but perhaps not as useful to those in North America.

              I would suggest that one burn what one can get economically and locally.

              And as for resinous wood being totally unsatisfactory and even dangerous...don't tell the Greeks that it cannot be used for wine casks. Yet I'm sure there are lots of people who would swear that wine has to be put up in oak.
              Retsina - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

              Or the Chinese not to drink lapsang souchong tea which is smoked over pine wood fires.
              Lapsang souchong - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

              Note: I've tried both and came to the conclusion that they are an acquired taste. I have a hard time believing that our WFOs get hot enough to self clean and somehow are hot enough to burn out sap and other pine/fir resins.

              Just some thoughts and personal opinions. Remember Galettes Bretonne came about because wheat didn't grow as well in NW France but buckwheat did. Use local, buy local; don't try to duplicate, instead originate.



              • #9
                Re: Would you agree with this table?

                My experience with less than desirable woods (mainly swamp oak and poplar) is that your 'nose' gets in the way when it comes time to taste. The acrid smell of both of these woods burning seems to get burned into my nostrils and everything I taste for the next 2-3 days tastes like these woods smell (I hope I said that right).
                I still use the poplar (I have a ton of it, millwork shop cuttoffs I use for starting fires) since it isn't awful, just not pleasant and very smokey. The swamp oak is worse than burning garbage or dare I say, burned flesh.
                On the other hand, I love the smell of all of the normal oaks, hickory, pecan, apple and have never attributed the wood as the source of any off taste in foods cooked with these woods.



                • #10
                  Re: Would you agree with this table?

                  Originally posted by iNetForce View Post
                  I came across this table that shows Australian Pine as the best fire wood, is this true?
                  If its this tree you are referring to its not a pine but a close relative to the Acacia family.

                  Attention landscapers: Australian Pine Tree - Tree World

                  All Acacias burn really hot, I mean really, really hot, so does Sheoaks which is the common name for that tree over here.
                  The English language was invented by people who couldnt spell.

                  My Build.



                  • #11
                    Re: Would you agree with this table?

                    Originally posted by Alter ego View Post
                    All things Australian are the best! Didn't you already know that?
                    Shhhh keep it under your hat, we dont to many foreign buggers here......
                    The English language was invented by people who couldnt spell.

                    My Build.



                    • #12
                      Re: Would you agree with this table?

                      Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my post!

                      I will try the australian pine as soon as possible. I will let you guys know how it works for me.

                      Again, thank you all for your messages.


                      • #13
                        Re: Would you agree with this table?

                        That's a beautiful tree, wish I had some here in RP. It's easy to see how it could be mistaken for a Pine. We have Acacias here and yes they burn very hot and long.
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