Can you use Charcoal in a wood fired pizza oven

Can you use charcoal in a wood fired brick pizza oven?

We are receiving this question more frequently… thanks for putting it on the forum!

No. I’m sorry, but you can not heat any of our ovens with charcoal. The 1000°+ heat radiating from the ceiling of a properly heated wood-fired oven is essential when baking low profile foods like pizza. And heat sources like charcoal just don’t put out enough BTU’s to properly heat a pizza oven.

Wood has a BTU / heat rating of about 13,000BTU. Propane is about 15,000BTU, while charcoal is around 9000BTU.

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Hi Wally and welcome to the BrickWood forum.

In a limited sense, you could do this. But when I say “limited,” I mean:

You would get almost no benefit from the oven structure that you built.

If you want to use your oven to host a Tuscan grill, which I do from time to time, you could choose to use charcoal. Even then, the heat would be entirely from below, rather than adding the radiated heat from above that the oven structure provides when it is flame-heated.

Another thought: charcoal is much harder to start than a wood fire, and so most users resort to petroleum based products to jump start their coals. You absolutely must not do that on a firebrick hearth, unless you never have any plans, now or in the future, to cook food directly on the hearth.

In short: not worth it.

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