Most people don’t realize how versatile cooking with a good wood-burning brick oven is. Pizza, bread, cakes, sausages, fish, steaks, turkey, chicken, cookies can all be done in the oven. Also, fruits, mushrooms, herbs can be dried to use on your next meal. Use a grill that goes over the coals and a drip pan under the meats to make some of the best hamburgers or hot dogs ever.
Also, use a grill or a campfire grate and drip pan to make the following dishes:
- Wood roasted vegetables like asparagus, beets, cauliﬂower, carrots, or potatoes – just season lightly
and drizzle with olive oil.
- Stuﬀed peppers
- Wood-fried meatballs
- Chicken wings
- Wood-fried chicken – just butterﬂy the chicken, season lightly and drizzle with good olive oil or put the chicken in a dutch oven with some braising liquid and root vegetables
- Cedar plank salmon or any good fish is delicious when prepared in a wood-burning oven.
- Wine-braised beef – use Chianti and a dutch oven for this delicious wood-fired dish
Cooking pizza to perfection means placing it on a very hot brick oven ﬂoor at a temperature of 650 -750° F. At this temperature pizza will take 3 minutes to be ready. At first, when the oven is around 800°F, make thin and crispy pizzas in 90 seconds. Thicker crusts make very nice pizzas around 600-700°F. These temperatures are still too hot for bread. When the temperature has dropped to around 450°F, then it is time to put big roasts and other large meals in. Bread goes in last so it doesn’t bake too fast on the outside.
At lower temperatures, you can bake garlic knots, calzones, pepperoni rolls, and garlic cheese sticks. For dessert cover a pizza pan with a dozen graham crackers and marshmallows, then top the cooked result with broken bits of chocolate.
Another novel way to cook in your oven is using cast-iron skillets and pots for braising meats and veggies, caramelizing onions, or roasting whole cloves of garlic. Mmmm! The aroma would drive your neighbors mad with hunger and envy. At lower temperatures, a soup can stay warm all day long. Imagine a cool autumn evening concluding with a glass of wine and a simmering chowder from your wood-fired oven!
In conclusion, there are dozens of uses for a wood-fired pizza oven to cook anything other than pizza. Finding your own personal favorites is just a matter of learning how to be creative and innovative with a new method of using heat and ﬂame!