When we say a wood-fired oven, our minds almost exclusively picture pizza. So, you would be forgiven to think that pizza is the only dish you can cook in it. Your wood-fired oven is suited to an array of recipes including stews, bread, pork, grilled shrimp, roasted veggies, soups, stir-fried mutton, and so much more.
As a pitmaster and big fan of backyard barbecue, I insist that the signature smokey notes imparted by wood fire cooking are simply, a chef’s kiss. What’s better is that you can get those same notes imparted to other dishes thanks to the versatility of a wood-fired oven.
This post is a collection of my go-to recipes whenever I take my wood-fired oven for a spin. I will also give you some tips that will elevate your pizza oven experience. Shall we?
Wood Fired Oven | Baking Recipes
The wood-fired oven, also referred to as a brick oven dates as far back as most bread and dessert recipes so don’t be surprised that you can bake in your wood-fired pizza oven.
Crispy Focaccia Bread With Cherry Tomato and Rosemary Topping
Focaccia is an Italian bread renowned for its fluffy texture. I love this recipe because it is super easy to make and is a great way to use your leftover pizza dough in style. Here’s what you need:
250g pizza dough
5 cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp olive oil
3 rosemary sprigs
A pinch of salt
Start by preparing your pizza dough if you do not have any leftover. This classic pizza dough recipe is rock solid.
Preheat your pizza oven to 500°F.
As the oven comes up to temp, dice your cherry tomatoes and finely chop the garlic cloves.
Next, dust your pizza peel using a little bit of flour. Roll out your pizza dough and lay it out on your pizza peel.
Now go in with your fingers or a pastry brush and lightly spread the olive oil all through the surface of the dough.
Sprinkle the salt evenly on the dough.
Last but not least is the toppings. Lay the tomato slices, garlic, and rosemary.
Slide the focaccia off the pizza peel into the preheated oven. Bake for around 2-3 minutes, making sure to turn it approximately every 30-40 seconds. This ensures the edges of the bread cook evenly.
Focaccia bread pairs well with a variety of sides. If you are feeling fancy, serve alongside pan-seared steak or keep it simple with a dip, soup, or salad.
Fresh Strawberry Cobbler
Fresh strawberry cobbler is a tender classic dessert filled with mouthwatering strawberries. Here’s how you go about it:
2 lbs fresh strawberries
½ tsp lemon juice
1 cup brown sugar
3 tsp baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
8 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream
½ tsp kosher salt
Hull your strawberries. To do this effectively, insert the sharp tip of a small blade into the strawberry at an angle and slowly twist the berry until you dislodge the stem. Pull it out and toss it. Repeat this process with all the strawberries.
In a mixing bowl, mix the strawberries, lemon juice, and brown sugar. Set aside for around 30 minutes to macerate. This refers to softening fruit in a fluid medium to enhance the flavor.
Preheat the pizza oven to 500°F.
Place the unsalted butter in a baking dish and melt it in the oven.
Meanwhile, measure your dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and then add your whipping cream, followed by vanilla extract. Whisk until well blended.
Gently take your baking dish out of the pizza oven when your butter is fully melted. Pour in the batter.
Scoop the macerated strawberries and slowly spoon them over the batter being careful not to spill the extra liquid at the bottom of the bowl.
Put it back in the pizza oven for 1 hour until golden brown. At this point, the strawberry juice can be seen bubbling on the surface of the cobbler.
Rest it for around 20 minutes. I find this pairs divinely with vanilla ice cream.
Wood Fired Oven | Grilling Recipes
Next up, let’s grill in our wood-fired oven starting with herb-grilled spatchcock chicken.
Garlic and Herb Grilled Spatchcock Chicken
Any barbecue guru worth his salt knows that the best poultry recipes keep it simple. Here we go:
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
¼ cup olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 crushed garlic cloves
1 tsp dried thyme
1 whole chicken
Take your bird out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. This makes it easier for the spices to penetrate the meat.
Using a pair of kitchen shears, spatchcock the chicken by cutting out the backbone. Do not throw it away, it makes a mean chicken broth.
Turn the bird over, the breast side up, and using your palms, press down on the breastbone to flatten it. Pat it dry.
Generously brush the chicken with olive oil. The oil acts as a binder which helps the spices stick to the meat.
Next, mix the lemon zest, black pepper, salt, thyme, garlic, and rosemary.
Sprinkle this spice mix evenly on the bird making sure to cover every nook and cranny including the underside of the bird.
Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before grilling. For best results, I recommend resting it overnight.
As the bird absorbs the spices, preheat the pizza oven to 350°F.
Once it comes up to temp, lay your spiced spatchcocked bird on a cast iron pan, and into the oven, it goes.
Turn your bird every 45 minutes to ensure all sides cook evenly. I also suggest basting your chicken with its drippings every time you turn it to keep the crust flavorful.
Using a meat probe, check the temperature of the breast meat. At an internal temp of 165°F, take it out of the pizza oven.
Rest for 10-20 minutes before carving. This allows time for the juices to be redistributed throughout the meat resulting in a tender, juicy grilled chicken.
Basil and Butter Jumbo Shrimp
This wood-fired grilled shrimp recipe is impressive enough for date night, easy enough for a weeknight dinner, and fun enough for a backyard barbecue. I prefer serving it as an appetite teaser, get it?
1 lb shrimp (peeled and deveined)
2 tbsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup basil leaves
First things first, defrost, rinse, and pat the shrimp dry with a kitchen paper towel.
Place them in a small bowl. Add garlic powder, black pepper, and kosher salt. Toss to mix.
Preheat your pizza oven to 500°F. We are going to cook our shrimp for a short time under high temperatures for the best results.
Put the basil leaves and butter into a blender or food processor. Blend till well combined.
Place your cast iron skillet into the preheated oven for about a minute to get it hot.
Add your oil and in goes the shrimp. Push the cast iron skillet back into the pizza oven and cook for 3-4 minutes, mixing regularly.
Take it out of the oven and mix in the basil-garlic mixture until all the pieces are well coated.
Rest for around 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Wood Fired Oven | Roasting Recipes
Roasting describes cooking using dry heat where hot air engulfs the food, cooking it evenly so it goes without saying that a pizza oven can get the job done. Let’s roast some potatoes and then prepare a roasted veggie platter.
Roasted Garlic Potatoes
Roast potatoes are a staple in my home mainly because they are very forgiving and hands-off. Try it out:
3lbs red potatoes
2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp black pepper
6 cloves crushed garlic
Preheat the pizza oven to 400°F
As it heat, parboil your potatoes over medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes depending on the size. To know exactly when they are ready, simply take a closer look. The outside of the potato will be soft while the inside will be firm and raw. They are ready to roast.
Drain the excess water and set them aside to cool.
When cool, season with salt, pepper, and garlic. Toss to evenly season the potatoes.
Drizzle a little bit of oil onto a roasting pan and heat it in the preheated oven for about a minute.
Once the oil is hot, pour the seasoned potatoes into the roasting pan.
Cook for about half an hour or until they start browning, stirring regularly.
With a fork or knife, cut into one potato to test if it is cooked through. If not, cover the pan with aluminum foil and let it cook a little longer. The foil keeps the exterior of the potatoes from getting scorched while the rest of it cooks.
When fully roasted, top up with salt and a touch of pepper. Easy peasy!
Roasted Veggie Platter
Fewer things are as colorful and inviting as roasted vegetables especially when threaded on skewers. This recipe is a wonderful accompaniment for beef and chicken roasts, and stews. You can also have it as a light meal on its own.
The best thing about a roasted veggie tray is that it is all about you. It is easy to make it your own by using your favorite vegetables and doing away with those you don’t like. You cannot go wrong.
2 medium-sized zucchini
5 baby carrots
1 medium-sized pumpkin
4 red onions
1 medium red capsicum
1 medium yellow capsicum
5 cherry tomatoes
6 minced garlic cloves
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
Roughly chop your vegetables into your preferred sizes. If you like them huge, chop them into chunks. If you find smaller pieces more toothsome, go ahead and slice the chunks into smaller bits. What’s important is that they are all roughly the same size so they take the same amount of time to cook.
Set your wood-fired oven to 200°F. I prefer roasting vegetables at lower temperatures to one, preserve their juices, and two, to avoid scorching them.
Season the platter with salt, paprika, and balsamic vinegar for a tangy twist.
Drizzle in some oil and pop it into the preheated oven.
The roasting time totally depends on how you like your vegetables. For a crunchy platter, 15-20 minutes in the oven will do. However, if you like them soft, allow a roasting time of 40-50 minutes.
Wood-Fired Oven | Slow-Cooking Recipes
As I mentioned earlier, your pizza oven is a versatile piece of equipment that can whip up a lot of family classics, among them, slow cooking recipes. From hearty pot roasts to scrumptious soups, and stews, it’s got you covered. Below are slow-cooking recipes you have to put on your schedule:
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
For this recipe, we will be using a Dutch oven. Dutch ovens have a thick base and thick walls and are fitted with tight heavy lids. These features enable them to maintain high internal temperatures and cook for long hours with little to no heat loss which is exactly what we need for slow-cooking recipes like pulled pork. Let’s get to it:
Place the boneless pork into the Dutch oven and add beef broth until at least three-quarters of the pork is covered in liquid.
Once the oven is ready, carefully put your Dutch oven and cook for about 8 hours. At an internal temperature of 195°F, the pork is fork tender.
Transfer the meat onto a plate and shred using a fork or meat claws.
Place the shredded pork back into the Dutch oven. Add black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic, salt, and your favorite bbq sauce. I love Killer Hogs The BBQ Sauce because it pairs well with the bold taste of beef.
Cover and put it back into the pizza oven. Cook for 30 minutes, uncover, and cook for another half hour.
Remove from heat and rest for 30 minutes.
With that, split your buns and make your pulled pork sandwich. Enjoy.
Beef Stew in Red Wine
Is there anything more comforting than a bowl of mouthwatering stew? I think not. This beef in red wine sauce stands out because it has an intense mix of flavor and it stores well. This main dish can also be customized to your liking by using your preferred vegetables so let’s get cooking!
2 lbs beef
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 large chopped onion
6 sliced baby carrots
1 tbsp crushed garlic
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
1 cup red wine
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp dried thyme
4 bay leaves
Preheat the pizza oven to 500°F.
Take your meat out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Once your oven is ready, introduce your Dutch oven and let it get hot.
Brown the beef on each side and empty them onto a plate. Set aside.
Add oil to the hot Dutch oven followed by the onions, carrots, and garlic. Saute until the onions are cooked.
Pour in the broth, red wine, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
Add in the browned beef, cover the Dutch oven, and reduce the heat to 300°F. Bring to a simmer.
In a small cup, whisk the cornstarch and water into a smooth paste and pour this mixture into the simmering stew.
Let it simmer until it thickens and the liquid reduces by half.
Serve with a side of mashed or roast potatoes.
Wood-Fired Oven | Frying Recipes
Frying gives a huge boost to the flavor of food because of the fat content and the undeniable light crisp texture it imparts to food. So let’s fry mutton and later on, bacon and eggs in the pizza oven.
Fiery Stir-Fried Lamb
Lamb naturally has a strong flavor that should be savored and not smothered in heavy spices. This recipe uses lots of onions, green chilies for a fiery kick, and a dab of soy sauce. Start by gathering your ingredients in these portions:
1 lb lamb chopped into thin pieces
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 large onions, thinly sliced
8 split green chilies
2 tbsp olive oil
Preheat your pizza oven to 400°F
Place your chopped lamb in a wok. Woks are the best for stir-frying because their shape allows for better heat distribution. If you are browsing for one, consider Yosukata Flat Bottom Wok Pan. It is stable, has a secure grip, and is reasonably priced.
When the oven is ready, drizzle a bit of oil and sear the lamb strips to get that nice lightly crisp crust. This should take 2-3 minutes per side.
When golden brown, add the onions and green chilies. Reduce the heat to around 300°F and keep cooking for around 1 hour, tossing every 20 minutes.
Thin slices of lamb will cook and absorb spices and seasoning much faster than thick slices.
Lastly, add soy sauce and reduce the heat again to 200°F. Cook for an additional 20 minutes until the soy sauce is completely absorbed into the food and voila! Your fiery stir-fried lamb is done.
Rest for about 10 minutes. Serve.
Fried Bacon and Eggs
It is my opinion that the perfect breakfast features two fried eggs accompanied by crispy bacon strips and of course delicious buttered toast. This recipe delivers just that!
3 slices of bacon
salt and pepper
Preheat the pizza oven to 400°F
Drizzle the oil into a cast iron pan and lay your bacon strips.
Place the pan into the preheated oven. Once the oil starts sizzling, reduce the heat to 300 to avoid scorching the bacon. Cook until crispy. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Break your eggs directly on the hot pan and baste with the hot bacon grease to lightly cook the top of the eggs.
When done, remove from the oven and empty onto the same plate that has your bacon.
Butter the bread and serve.
Any Tips for Cooking With Pizza Ovens?
Here are 4 pointers to keep in mind if you want to get the best out of your wood-fired oven recipes:
First and foremost, always preheat your oven because some wood-fired ovens can take up to an hour to get to your desired temperature.
Two, it is important to rotate the pan you are cooking in. The heat in a wood-fired oven is mostly concentrated on one side so if you fail to rotate your food, one side will cook sooner than the other.
Three, get yourself a pizza peel. A pizza peel is basically a large spatula fitted with a long handle. This lets you slide your food into the hot oven without baking your fingers in the process. I like Splendr Pizza Turning Peel because it has an extra long handle which is also detachable.
Four, if you don’t already own one, it is essential to invest in a wood-fired oven thermometer to avoid having to eyeball the internal temp of your wood-fired oven. I am partial to Eteksity Infrared Thermometer simply because it is fast, accurate, and has a wide temperature range.
What is the Best Fuel For Wood-Fired Oven?
The best fuel for a wood-fired oven is dry, seasoned hardwood like maple, ash, and oak. Seasoned woods are those that have been dried out in the open. I recommend Carolina White Oak Cookwood.
As you can see, wood-fired ovens can conjure more than just dessert pizza. It can generate intense heat perfect for stir-frying as well as get low enough to slow cook. This collection of pizza oven recipes is just the tip of the iceberg.
They prove just how versatile your pizza oven is. Other recipes you can try include baked brie, corn on the cob, bbq ribs, roasted tomatoes, naan bread, cinnamon rolls, grilled salmon, oxtail soup, and many more.
By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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