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Author Topic: Pellet ovens - softwood VS hardwood pellets  (Read 524 times)

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Offline NoBSpizza

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Pellet ovens - softwood VS hardwood pellets
« on: August 05, 2022, 02:39:25 PM »
I bought an Ooni Fyra style pellet oven for 80 bucks. It works alright, but Iīd like it to be a bit hotter. Iīve been using softwood pellets so far and have been wondering if hardwood pellets might create more heat. Has anyone here had the change to compare the two types of pellets and their heat output? Thanks!
« Last Edit: August 05, 2022, 02:41:11 PM by NoBSpizza »
Friday morning. You had a hard week and the day ahead of you is long. But then you remember: you're going to make and eat pizza tonight. This is going to be a good day.

Offline ira

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Re: Pellet ovens - softwood VS hardwood pellets
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2022, 02:58:18 PM »
I've never seen a Frya, but on my Pro, there is a screw on the pellet feeder to adjust the speed at which pellets are fed. If you have that, a simple adjustment might do what you want.


Offline NoBSpizza

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Re: Pellet ovens - softwood VS hardwood pellets
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2022, 03:15:21 PM »
https://energex.com/resources/hardwood-vs-softwood/#:~:text=While%20the%20densities%20for%20hardwood,the%20higher%20concentration%20of%20lignins.
Thanks. Thatīs interesting. So according to that link softwood burns hotter. I wonder why Ooni recommends using hartwood then. Any ideas?
Friday morning. You had a hard week and the day ahead of you is long. But then you remember: you're going to make and eat pizza tonight. This is going to be a good day.

Offline NoBSpizza

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Re: Pellet ovens - softwood VS hardwood pellets
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2022, 03:16:41 PM »
I've never seen a Frya, but on my Pro, there is a screw on the pellet feeder to adjust the speed at which pellets are fed. If you have that, a simple adjustment might do what you want.
Itīs only a Frya style, not a real Frya, but a budget version for 80 bucks. It doesnīt have a screw to adjust the pellet-feeding rate.
Friday morning. You had a hard week and the day ahead of you is long. But then you remember: you're going to make and eat pizza tonight. This is going to be a good day.

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Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: Pellet ovens - softwood VS hardwood pellets
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2022, 03:38:26 PM »
Thanks. Thatīs interesting. So according to that link softwood burns hotter. I wonder why Ooni recommends using hartwood then. Any ideas?
Maybe they have a different option. It seems to be a hotly debated topic.

Offline foobar34

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Re: Pellet ovens - softwood VS hardwood pellets
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2022, 05:51:23 PM »
Thanks. Thatīs interesting. So according to that link softwood burns hotter. I wonder why Ooni recommends using hartwood then. Any ideas?
When it comes to standard wood pieces, hardwood has much higher BTU per cord than softwood. I wonder if the pelletization process changes things

According to at least one source https://shawresources.ca/blog/2019/04/23/softwood-pellets-preferred-choice/, softwoods have higher BTU because they contain more resins (which makes sense). Alas, resins are a bad thing when cooking pizza, not only because they cause omre soot, but also can create unpleasant flavors.

My guess is that if you plan to burn pellets in a stove designed for hotter combustion (and secondary gases post-combustion), softwood pellets are better. In a pizza oven where only primary combustion happens, I would stick with hardwood myself
« Last Edit: August 06, 2022, 02:41:19 PM by foobar34 »

Offline 02ebz06

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Re: Pellet ovens - softwood VS hardwood pellets
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2022, 09:00:23 AM »
You want to get BBQ pellets, not pellets for heating.
BBQ pellets are more expensive, but made strictly from trees, where the heating pellets can be made from any scrap wood as well as trees.
Bruce here... My cooking toys --> FGM 800-B Pizza Oven, Pellet Grill, Pellet Smoker, Propane Griddle, Propane Grill

Offline Timpanogos Slim

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Re: Pellet ovens - softwood VS hardwood pellets
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2022, 06:11:37 PM »
Though you'd hope that it's set up for a gasifying / secondary burn, you don't really want the products of the resins in your food.

I didn't see whether you are in the US or what region before i hit reply - as a pellet grill guy my advice is to check the dealer locator at bbqlumberjack.com to see if there is somewhere near you that sells Lumberjack bbq pellets and pick up a bag of their 100% oak. The 20lb bag is sold at $10 several places near me, and I've not seen it advertised higher than $13. And these are premium grade pellets - they are just a smaller operation without major distribution deals.

Also check craigslist / fb marketplace / etc -- there are a large number of pellet smoker enthusiasts who buy the stuff by the pallet and sell out of their own sheds.

I specifically don't recommend Traeger pellets. They are among the worst available.

Most other brands are fine.

Offline 02ebz06

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Re: Pellet ovens - softwood VS hardwood pellets
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2022, 09:58:18 AM »
Though you'd hope that it's set up for a gasifying / secondary burn, you don't really want the products of the resins in your food.

I didn't see whether you are in the US or what region before i hit reply - as a pellet grill guy my advice is to check the dealer locator at bbqlumberjack.com to see if there is somewhere near you that sells Lumberjack bbq pellets and pick up a bag of their 100% oak. The 20lb bag is sold at $10 several places near me, and I've not seen it advertised higher than $13. And these are premium grade pellets - they are just a smaller operation without major distribution deals.

Also check craigslist / fb marketplace / etc -- there are a large number of pellet smoker enthusiasts who buy the stuff by the pallet and sell out of their own sheds.

I specifically don't recommend Traeger pellets. They are among the worst available.

Most other brands are fine.

I'm with you on Traeger being bad.  They use flavored oils.
I get Lumberjack by the pallet.  Last one was 1.2 tons. Split with my son and a friend.
Would be overkill for a pizza oven.
I have not seen Lumberjack locally, but Lowes sells Bear Mountain pellets and Walmart sells Pit Boss pellets.  I think Home Depot is even getting into pellet grill market.

Bruce here... My cooking toys --> FGM 800-B Pizza Oven, Pellet Grill, Pellet Smoker, Propane Griddle, Propane Grill

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Offline wotavidone

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Re: Pellet ovens - softwood VS hardwood pellets
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2022, 12:02:49 PM »
It seems to me that hardwood BBQ pellets are suited to smokers.
I've gained the impression that smokers are all about low and slow.
So, not quite right for a pizza oven you might want to use for Neapolitan style.
Mick

Offline Timpanogos Slim

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Re: Pellet ovens - softwood VS hardwood pellets
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2022, 01:10:51 PM »
I'm with you on Traeger being bad.  They use flavored oils.
I get Lumberjack by the pallet.  Last one was 1.2 tons. Split with my son and a friend.
Would be overkill for a pizza oven.
I have not seen Lumberjack locally, but Lowes sells Bear Mountain pellets and Walmart sells Pit Boss pellets.  I think Home Depot is even getting into pellet grill market.

Yeah, anything but Traeger. Also because their pellets just don't hold together very well. People who offer repair services for pellet grills say that jammed augers that weren't directly related to rain getting into the hopper are almost invariably filled with Traeger.

I just figured that LJ oak, if bought at the low end of the price spectrum, would be one really solid recommendation, considering that plenty of stores are asking higher than $1/lb for lesser pellets. But the Kirkland pellets at, what, $13 for 40lb, would be a solid choice too.

Winco grocery stores in the western US have Li'l devil pellets for $6.75/20lb and Bear Mountain Gourmet for $7.50/20lb and those are good too, unless you don't care for all the alder flavor in the LD pellets. I only like alder on fish.

Kingsford pure maple is worth the $16/20lb ordered via walmart to me because i like maple smoke. Knotty Wood almond or plum ordered via home depot or lowes at $20 for 20lb bags is worth it too. I hear good things about some of the green mountain grills blends but at $1.35/lb i can't imagine they are worth it.

It seems to me that hardwood BBQ pellets are suited to smokers.
I've gained the impression that smokers are all about low and slow.
So, not quite right for a pizza oven you might want to use for Neapolitan style.

You'd be mistaken. For one, Ooni does say to use hardwood pellets, and that means bbq pellets.

I don't have an Ooni so I don't really know much about them. Pellet smokers typically have forced induction and while low and slow is their original reason for being, taming the extreme heat from the firepot is a major part of the design.

Some pellet smokers have a trap door that lets you access the flame directly for searing.

I can get either of my pellet grills over 550F, but they are functionally more like a convection oven as originally configured. And people do bake bread and desserts in them.

I have Green Mountain Grills' pizza oven attachment and it can heat the stone well over 1000f. It does that by containing rather than dispersing the heat.

Another option is charcoal pellets. Royal Oak makes them, pretty sure you can get them at Walmart.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2022, 01:18:19 PM by Timpanogos Slim »

Offline wotavidone

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Re: Pellet ovens - softwood VS hardwood pellets
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2022, 07:32:03 PM »

You'd be mistaken. For one, Ooni does say to use hardwood pellets, and that means bbq pellets.

I don't have an Ooni so I don't really know much about them. Pellet smokers typically have forced induction and while low and slow is their original reason for being, taming the extreme heat from the firepot is a major part of the design.

Maybe Ooni is worried about creosote from pine?
I guess the small pellet ovens don't have forced induction. I imagine getting to 900F would be a lot harder without it.
Mick

Offline Timpanogos Slim

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Re: Pellet ovens - softwood VS hardwood pellets
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2022, 07:38:23 PM »
Maybe Ooni is worried about creosote from pine?
I guess the small pellet ovens don't have forced induction. I imagine getting to 900F would be a lot harder without it.

Could use "rocket stove" style tricks that use the rising heat to pull the wood gasses and additional fresh air through a nozzle for a secondary burn, though. If it's a smokeless flame, I'd guess that's how they pulled it off.

I have a small collapsible portable gasifying twig burner that i bought as a curiosity. Easy to boil water on it, and the flame when it gets going produces no smoke per se but plenty of black soot - so much so that you can't reasonably roast sausages over the flame directly without utterly blackening them.

I understand that the roccbox wood burner is a gasifying rocket stove type setup.


Offline wotavidone

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Re: Pellet ovens - softwood VS hardwood pellets
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2022, 08:23:42 PM »
Not sure where you are going there. All wood burns mostly by "gasification".
When the wood is heated pyrolysis occurs and the flammable gases that are given off burn.
Rocket stoves derive their high temperatures by increasing the things that matter;
They use insulation to ensure no heat is lost
They use small diameter wood - high surface area
They channel the combustion air so that the burn is never short of oxygen, etc.
Mick

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Offline Timpanogos Slim

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Re: Pellet ovens - softwood VS hardwood pellets
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2022, 03:38:28 PM »
Not sure where you are going there. All wood burns mostly by "gasification".
When the wood is heated pyrolysis occurs and the flammable gases that are given off burn.
Rocket stoves derive their high temperatures by increasing the things that matter;
They use insulation to ensure no heat is lost
They use small diameter wood - high surface area
They channel the combustion air so that the burn is never short of oxygen, etc.

I'm talking about a secondary burn, where what would usually be released as smoke is combusted.

I have one of these. I think they're more than $17 now.



You can see in the video that as it gets going, the white smoke gets sucked back inside, and after that you have a clean burn. It's pretty neat to watch in person.

At any rate, having now seen videos of the Fyra, there is no secondary burn happening. You can tell from the opaque smoke.

My friend has the 1st gen roccbox wood burning option, which has a similar secondary burn, and he says that while it does get hot enough, it's basically a full time job to keep feeding it more wood. The 2nd gen wood burner might be better.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2022, 03:43:35 PM by Timpanogos Slim »

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