I just finished my curing fires, which took a lot longer each day than I envisioned.
I have considerable soot/creosote on the face of my pretty oven. Much more than I anticipated. Is this because of the “low and slow” curing process? And, now that I’m ready to cook pizza, I won’t get as much?
Tips, trucks, criticisms, and words of advice welcome.
I’ve found that soot on the face of the oven is unavoidable, and that’s OK. Part of the charm of the oven is the open wood fire and a little smoke.
The single best thing you can do to minimize the amount of smoke and soot on the face of the oven is to use very dry, fully cured hardwood that is not past its prime (not starting to get spongy because it’s so old).
I do take the time to occasionally clean it with a mason jar of Dawn dishwashing liquid and a small soft bristle brush, and a hose. I put down a plastic bag at the entrance to keep the hearth dry. In fact I just finished cleaning it; you won’t get 100% off, but most of the soot comes off quite easily.
I also added a 3ft extension to my chimney stack to improve the draft. It helped, but some smoke still escapes from the front of the oven.
Yes, as @CMG says, totally normal and unavoidable on the oven face.
Inside the oven you will find it’s a different story. When you build a pizza-grade fire one of the ways you’ll know it’s ready is that all that soot will be combusted and your brick will look clean again. Cooler burns will result in soot. I find that’s true, for example, when I used the Tuscan grill because I pull the embers forward.
The only way you would totally avoid this is if you converted your oven to LP or natural gas firing and avoided burning wood altogether. Some of our builders do this, but even there it’s as a supplement to burning wood at the same time.
The periodic cleaning tip works well, and thanks for that as well, @CMG !
Interesting. I’m assuming you kept the damper on the bottom? And connected the chimney stack? And then the chimney top?
Yes, that’s correct. I am using the DuraTech system so it was very easy to add the 3ft extension to the existing damper pipe and then put the existing cap on the new 3ft section. The improvement in smoke reduction is modest, but it looks very nice in my opinion.
I have posted before about the draft issues I had (and still have), despite 4’ chimney extension. I have soot on the bricks all the time (Baking Soda is a great cleaner)
However, the best thing I did to eliminate the worst of the smoke is to purchase an air duster. I, carefully, point this on the wood when lighting or adding wood and it blasts into flames very quickly releasing much less smoke. Fire loves oxygen. Charges via USB. Well worth it.
I notice it’s out of stock at Amazon but I’m sure some it or something similar would be easy to find.