This is our top seven tips to cooking the perfect wood-fired pizza on your Flare Outdoor Fireplace.
The first tip is to warm up your fireplace. It seems a bit obvious but if you’re going cook inside in your oven, you’re going get that warm before you put your food in. It’s the same thing with your outdoor fireplace. Flare Fires have got the solid concrete structure that you want to warm, and what you want to do is have it that hot to touch before you start cooking, and that way you know your fireplace is hot and that you know you’re good to go.
Our second tip is to have a good ember base. What you want to do is have embers on one side and you want to also keep your fireplace running on the other side. So, if you’re cooking a bunch of pizzas, you can keep creating the embers and also keep everyone warm at the same time. And the great thing is in step one, in creating a warm fire, as you would’ve also created a bunch of embers. So that’s tip two, to create a good ember base and to drag those embers in using the ember poker underneath your pizza hood and your stones and if you haven’t got enough embers there yet, drag a few more in before I start cooking.
I want to say just a quick bit about the firewood, and firewood selection. So I started my fire using this really light, I think it’s like a casuarina wood and it’s great for heat but really doesn’t ember up. It doesn’t really create any embers. At the end of the end of the day when the wood burns down, there’s nothing left. So I’ve got it warm using this stuff and now I’ve put on some black wattle on there, which really embers up nice and creates a bunch of hot embers. I don’t want to recommend specific firewood for you, but I just want you to think about what wood you’re using and just sort of watch what it does when it embers. And if it’s not creating enough embers for you, go and try some other firewood. Be careful not to use tanalised off-cuts of from construction, that tanalised stuff is full of arsenic and you don’t want to cook over that. You want to use natural untreated firewood and create a good ember base.
Tip number three is to make sure your pizza hood is dry. What we mean by that is if you are storing your pizza hood outside in the rain where it’s getting wet, it can soak up the moisture and there’s an insulation layer in there that can just full up with water. You can spend half your time trying to cook pizzas when in reality, you’re heating the water out of your pizza hood. So if it’s got wet, stick it in, let it warm up and just dry out, and you’ll see steam coming out of it. Then in the future, just make sure you store it in a dry place but once it’s dry, you’re good to go.
Tip number four is to warm up your pizza hood. We’ve talked about warming up your fire but you actually want to make sure you also warm this up (pizza hood). And so once you’ve put it into place, you want to give it some time for the temperature gauge to come up. I like to cook my pizzas around the 250-300°C. That can get very hot, very fast. The great thing with pizza is you can cook it hot and fast and it tastes amazing. But you want to give it the time for it to warm up and again, depend on how many embers you’ve got in there and how hot your fire is, that could take 10 or 15 minutes. So give it the time it needs, and once it’s up to temperature, then go for it.
Tip number five is great for those people that have been struggling with burning the bases on their pizzas, and it’s to use two pizza stones. You’ll see here in this video I’m using two of them. Again, it just provides a bit more space between your embers and your pizza and helps to reduce the amount of burning on your base. Sometimes these pizza stones crack and that’s fine, you can put the cracked one at the bottom or whatever and put another one on top but double stones to help stop burning the bases.
Tip number six is to use pizza crispers. These are a cool little things supplied with your pizza hood, and they provide just an additional surface between the pizza and the flame and embers and just stop your pizza from burning. It’s also a teflon surface, so the pizza won’t stick to it. As you’re cooking directly on the stone, your pizza might actually stick to the pizza stone. This is a really neat way, not just to limit the amount of blackness on the bottom of your pizza, but also to prepare your pizza on. In our case, my family we will prepare the pizza on one crisper and they hand that to me and I will have the other one already in the fire with a pizza on it. And so we’re just rotating these through. It’s a really convenient way to cook, so I recommend running with two pizza crispers.
This last tip, tip number seven, is if you’re running a grill underneath your pizza stones, which is fine. I’ve done a lot of pizzas with a grill, but if you’re still having troubles getting it just right, you might want to consider changing that out to a hot plate. Just a solid plate provides a bit more thermal gap between your pizzas and your ember base and might just help you cook the perfect pizza.
But you know what? I love Wood-fire Pizza because it’s touched by smoke and flame and it just has that incredible flavour that you can’t get inside in your oven. Here’s to cooking amazing pizza at home. Engage the family, get them making it with you, and keep your fire going so everyone’s staying warm. And if you have any questions, just yell out. We’d love to see how we can help. Cheers.
*Transcript of above video