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Old 08-22-2011, 10:32 PM
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Default charcoal briquettes in wfo

Hi Everyone
We need advice on whether a wfo can get hot enough using charcoal briquettes as we have just been informed that there is no outside burning allowed in our city. The fire department were called out when we had our last firing ( we've had the oven for a couple of years now). They advised us that although they are not familiar with wfo's they cant see why briquettes wouldn't work and that at least we would not be fined. Of course we just want to enjoy our oven without the stress so please share your thoughts. Thanks
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  #2  
Old 08-23-2011, 03:11 PM
GianniFocaccia's Avatar
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Default Re: charcoal briquettes in wfo

Sorry to hear of your unfortunate circumstances. Your situation has been previously voiced here and it is borne out of unfamiliarity/ignorance of wood-fired oven dymanics. I believe others may have been successful in getting their local fire department to recognize that a WFO does not act entirely like an open fire, but more like a barbecue.

The calories stored in charcoal briquettes are not sufficient to heat a WFO to pizza temperatures. It may be kind of expensive, but if you got a really big pile of briquettes you could, over time, heat your oven enough to maybe do a slow roast.
What I would do is get an ample pile of briquettes humming and peridically augment that pile with medium-sized pieces of wood. This way wood smoke would be minimized/undetectable and you could get the calories you need to heat the oven.
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Old 08-23-2011, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: charcoal briquettes in wfo

Thank you so much for your advice. We have tried unsuccessfully to explain the dynamics of the wfo to the city as well as the fire department, (in fact anyone that will listen) but to no avail. Whilst the majority of our neighbours love our oven there seems to be one who takes pleasure in calling the FD at any whiff of burning. Our oven is efficient and stops smoking usually within 15 mins. We have stocked up on briquettes now and will definitely be taking you advice and slipping the odd log in when no ones looking. Our first test is tonight so we will let you know how it goes. Thanks again!!!
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Old 08-23-2011, 05:50 PM
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Default Re: charcoal briquettes in wfo

Boozer,

Not sure where in Canada you are, Im in Muskokas, Ontario and checked out my local bylaws.
https://bracebridge.civicweb.net/Doc...t.aspx?ID=2639

important part for me is definition 1.1 and exception 6.1
"1.1. Barbecue - means a masonry constructed unit or a commercially manufactured metal
frame unit for cooking food."
"6. The provisions of this by-law shall not apply to:
6.1. A fire wholly contained within a barbecue used for the preparation of food for human
consumption."

got this up my sleave incase the fire department does show up, so far so good but only been cooking for a month now, and the fact i can see the back of the fire station from my oven.... hopefully ill have no trouble.

not sure if this helps you, check your local bylaws (i found them online, google search "*your town* open burn bylaws") maybe there is something similar to give you a leg to stand on.

cheers,
matt
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Old 08-23-2011, 05:51 PM
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Default Re: charcoal briquettes in wfo

Charcoal burns fairly hot with no smoke, not pizza temps but close, its A$15 per bag here and 1 to 2 bags would take my oven to around pizza temps.

Like GianniFocaccia said throw a few sticks in now and again, once the oven is hot the wood will hardly smoke anyway.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:44 PM
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Default Re: charcoal briquettes in wfo

Thank you John, Matt and Al for your tips. I am really please to report that we fired up the oven tonight and were skepicle but really pleasantly surprised that it worked a treat. We basically used a 15lb bag of charcoal with the help of a few thin chopstick sized slivers. Little smoke and after approximately one hour of stoking and moving the coals tried our first pizza. BRILLIANT, no usual first pizza burnt base and really great. Although the pizza did not cook as quickly, it took approximately 3 mins per pizza and we made a total of 6 pizzas. Our kids say that it was BETTER than usual, well I don't know about better but certainly no worse!! Hopefully this will give hope to a few other wfo lovers who have had to face our unfortunate predicament. Check out the pictures!!
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:53 PM
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Default Re: charcoal briquettes in wfo

Beautiful coals and good to hear that the problem may be solved, there is always someone wanting to spoil the fun, I have neighbours that play loud music, have low although nice music going ALL day, two stroke motorbikes, etc.

But I am betting Im the one they will dob in for smoke.....
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Last edited by brickie in oz; 08-23-2011 at 11:55 PM.
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:10 AM
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Default Re: charcoal briquettes in wfo

Thanks Al

Unfortunately when you live in a residential area there are always busybodies with nothing better to do. Carl thinks that sometimes its just the green eyed monster, who knows. Checked out your website and pics, awesome. Carl worked in Australia for a year in the 80s (he is a brickie) and he loved it. We emigrated from the UK to Canada 6 years ago thinking it would be more relaxed. Don't get me wrong, we love it here in BC, however there do seem to be more restrictions!! Price you pay for living the dream.

Penny and Carl
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:25 AM
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Default Re: charcoal briquettes in wfo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boozer View Post
We emigrated from the UK
Figured that by the moniker.
Im from Manchester.
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Old 08-24-2011, 08:29 AM
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Default Re: charcoal briquettes in wfo

Thanks for the glowing report and especially the pics, Penny and Carl. That's a beautiful oven you have. It's nice to see the occasional pics of the folks behind the peels instead of just bricks and mortar.

John
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