I have the Grande and I’m wondering what size split you’d recommend for wood. I’m already frustrated with the quality of the “seasoned” wood I’ve found, so I’m looking at some kiln dried options. I found some oak that’s 3.5”x3.5”x14” and wondering if that’s a good size. Obviously, if I put enough in, it will work. I realize there are a ton of variables, but are there any recommended dimensions?
You need a variety of sizes. The smaller sizes, like you mention in your post, are good for getting the fire started and maintaining the flame while cooking. I tend to add 2-3 of the smaller pieces after a few pizzas to keep the heat up and the fire going.
I use big pieces (5-6") to build the base of the fire and then during the initial soak to get the oven up to temp. I usually have to add more big pieces before my oven is up to temp. Sometimes I’ll even add more before pushing the fire to the back.
I find that every fire is a little differnet and it takes practice before you get consistent results.
Kiln dried is best but can be pricey.
Every fire is different for sure. I have found using all kiln dried makes a great hot fire but it also burns quickly. Finding good quality seasoned hardwood has proven to work the best for me. I also use a combination of sizes, small (3-4") to keep the flames up and larger (5-7")to keep the heat consistent. Oak so far has been my go to but it has to be very well seasoned.
I bought seasoned wood from a fairly known place and it was terrible to get lit. The moisture content was so high that it didn’t just sizzle, you could see the water boiling out of the ends of the wood. I’m in western PA and I was late on ordering wood because the oven just got finished. There aren’t too many places around that have seasoned wood. I’ll continue looking for it and may order some that I’ll let finish seasoning at my house.
I ended up getting kiln dried and it is night and day. I still put some seasoned logs in the back of the oven to dry out during the initial firing and they do catch rather quickly and burn well once they catch. I will also add them to the top of my fort when lighting the oven. I’ve only cooked using the kiln dried once, but this process seemed to work.
That’s the way to go. I ordered late in my first season because the oven wasn’t ready to fire up until the beginning of September. It was just okay, not great, but of course I got it all stacked and over the winter it continued to season. I anticipated a lot of trouble in the spring, but it burned dry and hot (in other words, as advertised).
Ideally, if you have room, you’d order a cord of dry cooking firewood over this winter to be delivered once snow is gone, stack it, and not look at it again until next year. The stuff you have now will get much better by the time major cooking season starts. The kiln-dried wood will tide you over in the meantime.
Once your firewood is fully seasoned, you’re going to get the fast-lighting benefits of the kiln-dried splits combined with the long-lasting heat potential of split logs.
Matt those steaks look amazing if you ever get east in Pa near Philly let me know