July 2, 2019

According to a recent survey, pizza is America’s favorite food. Consisting of round baked dough topped with sauce, cheese, meat and veggies, it’s an incredibly versatile dish that can be prepared in countless ways. However, you’ll need two things to cook delicious pizza likes the pros: a pizza and oven and the right wood. Once you’ve mastered the art of using a wood-fired pizza oven, you’ll be able to professional-quality pizza from the comfort of your home.

What Is a Pizza Oven?

Also known as a masonry or stone oven, a pizza oven is a special type of baking chamber that’s designed to cook large foods, including pizza, at high temperatures. Although they are designed in different ways, most feature a brick or clay construction with a half-dome baking chamber. You simply slide your pizza into the oven, at which point it will cook from the heat produced by the burning wood.

A pizza oven isn’t the same as a conventional kitchen oven. For starters, pizza ovens are typically heated using wood, whereas kitchen ovens are heated using electricity or gas. This alone can have a significant impact on the flavor and overall quality of your pizza. Since they use gas or electricity, kitchen ovens don’t offer the same flavor as their wood-fired counterparts. You can still cook pizza in a kitchen oven, but you shouldn’t set your expectations too high.

Kitchen ovens aren’t able to produce as much heat as a pizza oven, either. A typical kitchen oven has a maximum temperature of about 500 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. While this is more than enough heat to bake chicken, pork chops, casseroles and other dishes, it’s not enough to cook crispy pizza. When cooked in a kitchen oven, pizza dough will remain relatively soft. By cooking pizza in a pizza oven, on the other hand, the dough will turn to a golden brown color with a crispy texture. This is because pizza ovens can reach temperatures of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit or more.

Why the Right Wood Matters When Using a Pizza Oven

Unless you’re experienced with pizza ovens, you may assume that all wood is equal. After all, how much of a difference can wood really make when cooking pizza? Well, using the right wood matters for several reasons. It affects the amount of heat to which your pizza is exposed, the flavor of your pizza and more. If you’re looking to step up your pizza-cooking game, you need to use the right wood.

Choose Dry Cooking Wood

Always use dry cooking wood in your pizza oven. Burning wet or damp wood will result in a less-efficient combustion process. Once you light it– if you’re even able to light it — it will convert less organic wood matter into heat. Unfortunately, this means the temperature of your pizza oven will be too low to create a crispy crust. At the same time, the wet or damp wood will release high concentrations of particulate matter into the air, some of which will land on your pizza.

Don’t assume that a piece of wood is dry just because it doesn’t feel wet or damp. All wood has at least some moisture embedded within its pores. But the amount of moisture in wood varies depending on whether it was seasoned. Seasoning simply refers to the process of drying wood. There are different ways to season wood, the most common of which include air drying and kiln drying. Of those two seasoning methods, though, kiln drying is able to create the driest cooking wood, making it ideal for use in a pizza oven.

Choose Logs Over Chips or Chunks

While wood chips and chunks are ideal for smoking meats and veggies, they don’t work well in pizza ovens. Wood chips and chunks are significantly smaller than wood logs. And because of their small size, they’ll burn to ash more quickly than wood logs. For the longest burn time and hottest temperatures, it’s recommended that you use pizza-cut cooking wood.

Available for sale here at Cutting Edge Firewood, pizza-cut cooking wood lives up to its namesake by featuring the perfect size and shape for pizza ovens. Each pizza-cut log is approximately 16 inches long. At this length, pizza-cut cooking wood burns hot and long. You can experiment with other types of cooking wood, but you’ll probably discover that pizza-cut cooking offers the best performance when using a pizza oven.

Choose a Flavorful Variety

For the best-tasting pizza, choose a flavorful variety of wood to use in your pizza oven. The variety of cooking wood refers to the tree species from which it was harvested. Research suggests that there are over 60,000 species of trees in the world, each of which has unique qualities that affect its performance when using as a cooking wood. For pizza ovens, oak is a popular variety of cooking wood that excels in several ways.

Oak is a relatively mild variety of wood, so it won’t produce an overbearing flavor that masks the natural flavor of your pizza and its topping. Since it’s a hardwood rather than a softwood, oak also produces lots of heat and stays lit for a long period of time. And while it has a mild flavor, oak wood is still flavorful. When you cook pizza using oak wood, some of the oak’s flavorful compounds will be absorbed by the dough and toppings.

Tips on Using a Pizza Oven

Along with using the right cooking wood, follow these tips to cook delicious pizza in a pizza oven:

  • Aim for an internal temperature of 700 to 800 degrees Fahrenheit in your pizza oven. You can raise the temperature of your pizza oven by adding more cooking wood.
  • Build a fire in the center of your pizza oven, and when you’re ready to add the pizza, use a metal scraper to move the coals to the back of the oven.
  • Clean any remaining wood or ash out of your pizza oven after each use.
  • Avoid using dough with a high sugar content. Sugar-based dough is fine when cooking pizza is a conventional kitchen oven. When used in a wood-fired pizza oven, though, it causes the crust to cook unevenly.
  • Don’t leave your pizza sitting in the oven for too long. Assuming your pizza oven has reached a temperature of 700 to 800 degrees Fahrenheit, it should only take one to two minutes to fully cook a pizza. Allowing it to cook for longer than two minutes may result in the crust or toppings burning.
  • Use caution when adding and removing your pizza to protect against burns.
  • Remember, while it’s called a “pizza oven,” you can cook other types of foods in it, some of which include potatoes, bread, fish, hamburgers and more.

Don’t limit your pizza-cooking activities to a conventional kitchen oven. Using a pizza oven with the right wood will help you create better-tasting pizza that simply can’t be achieved with a kitchen oven. And once you get the hang of it, you can use it to cook other foods.

Find the best deals on premium smoking chunks by visiting our online store today. Cutting Edge Firewood offers a variety of high-quality smoking chunks, including white oak, hickory, cherry, pecan and whiskey, all of which will allow you to smoke delicious meat.

July 1, 2019

When using your fireplace, you’ll need to take precautions to prevent creosote buildup. A fireplace is an invaluable feature that can offset the need for central heating in your home. Statistics show, however, that there are roughly 25,000 chimney fires each year in the United States, many of which are caused by creosote buildup. By taking a few basic precautions, you can prevent creosote buildup in your chimney.

What Is Creosote?

Creosote is a byproduct produced from the incomplete burning of wood or fossil fuel. Consisting of carbonaceous chemicals, creosote forms from the distillation of tar. When wood or fossil fuel is burned, the tar within the wood or fossil fuel distills to create creosote.

If wood is burned completely, meaning that all its organic matter is converted into heat, no creosote is created. Unfortunately, wood never burns completely. Some of its energy will be lost through moisture evaporation, resulting in the creation of creosote that sticks to the insides of your chimney’s walls. Small amounts of creosote aren’t a concern. As the creosote builds up, though, it can pose a serious risk to you and your family’s well-being.

The Dangers of Creosote Buildup

Creosote buildup is dangerous for several reasons. First, creosote is extremely flammable. You may build a fire inside your fireplace, only for the creosote to ignite and trigger an explosion. It’s a relatively common problem that’s responsible for countless house fires each year in the United States.

Second, using a creosote-caked chimney increases the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 2,200 people in the United States lost their lives from carbon monoxide poisoning from 2010 to 2015. Of course, carbon monoxide is also a byproduct that’s produced from the burning of wood or fossil fuel. So, how does creosote buildup cause carbon monoxide exactly? If the inside of your chimney’s walls are coated with creosote, carbon monoxide won’t be able to escape the flue. It will remain trapped inside, allowing carbon monoxide to fill your living room and the surrounding space.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) recently published a report detailing the health effects of creosote exposure. In its report, the ATSDR explains that creosote is potentially carcinogenic. People who are exposed to creosote over a long period of time are more likely to develop cancer than their counterparts who aren’t exposed to the black, tarry substance.

To protect yourself and your family from these problems, you must take the necessary precautions to prevent creosote buildup in your chimney. You can still build fires year-round using your fireplace, but it’s recommended that you follow these tips to minimize and prevent creosote buildup.

Tip #1) Use Kiln-Dried Firewood

One of the most effective ways to prevent creosote buildup is to use kiln-dried firewood. Available for sale here at Cutting Edge Firewood, kiln-dried firewood isn’t the same as conventional air-dried firewood. Air-dried firewood is dried using a rudimentary drying technique in which the wood is left outdoors for a period of up to six months. During this, moisture within the firewood will evaporate.

Kiln-dried firewood, on the other hand, is a more advanced drying technique in which the wood is placed in a drying oven known as a kiln. Not only is kiln drying faster than air drying; it’s also more effective at removing moisture. According to the U.S. Forest Service, air-dried firewood has an average moisture content of 20% to 25%. In other words, about one-quarter of the total weight of air-dried firewood comes from moisture. In comparison, kiln-dried firewood has an average moisture content of about 10% — sometimes even less. And with a lower moisture content, kiln-dried firewood burns more cleanly than air-dried firewood, resulting in less creosote.

The exceptionally dry properties of kiln-dried firewood allow it to convert more organic wood matter into heat, so it produces significantly less creosote than green, fresh and air-dried firewood. Furthermore, kiln-dried firewood offers a greater value because of its high performance. You’ll use less kiln-dried firewood to maintain a hot fire than you would using other types of firewood with a higher moisture content. Whether you’re using your fireplace to warm your home or simply create a relaxing atmosphere, stick with kiln-dried firewood.

Tip #2) Open the Flue Damper Completely

In addition to using kiln-dried firewood, make sure the flue damper is completely open when building fires in your fireplace. Some homeowners only open the flue damper partially, believing this will keep more heat inside their home. If the flue damper isn’t completely open, though, it will actually result in less heat being produced by your fire. The partially closed flue damper will restrict the amount of oxygen your fire receives. And with less oxygen, your fire will produce less heat.

With the flue damper only partially open, your fires won’t get as hot. You can still build fires inside your fireplace if the flue damper is only partially open, but the lack of heat will promote creosote. More creosote will be created as a byproduct from the lack of heat. Therefore, you should only build fires with the flue damper open completely. If your flue damper is stuck closed, refrain from using your fireplace until it’s been repaired or replaced.

Tip #3) Don’t Smother Your Fire

When arranging your kiln-dried firewood inside your fireplace, use caution to avoid smothering your fire. Going back to the basics of fire-building 101, fires need oxygen to stay lit and produce heat. The more oxygen a fire has, the more heat it will produce. If you smother a fire by arranging the firewood so that it can’t breathe, it won’t receive an adequate amount of oxygen. The lack of oxygen will then cause your fire to produce more creosote as a byproduct.

To ensure your fire can breathe, and thus minimize creosote buildup, arrange the logs with an opening in the middle. Don’t just stack the logs side by side. Rather, arrange them so that there’s an open space in the middle where air can easily flow through. By promoting airflow, you’ll build hotter, safer fires that produce less creosote.

Tip #4) Get Your Chimney Inspected Once a Year

Even if you use kiln-dried firewood, open the flue damper completely and avoid smothering your fire, you should still get your chimney inspected at least once a year. During an inspection, a worker known as a chimney sweep will climb into your chimney to look for creosote buildup and other potential problems. If the chimney sweeps detects high levels of creosote, he or she may recommend a cleaning service.

There are several chimney sweeping logs available on the market, but you shouldn’t use them as a substitute for a professional chimney inspection. Chimney sweeping logs contain a blend of chemicals that are designed to prevent creosote buildup. Even when used on a regular basis, though, though won’t prevent creosote from accumulating in your chimney. By hiring a professional chimney sweep to inspect your chimney, you’ll know exactly how much creosote has built up and whether or not it requires cleaning.

Find the best deals on premium kiln-dried firewood by visiting our online store today. Cutting Edge Firewood offers a variety of kiln-dried firewood, including white oak, hickory, cherry, pecan and whiskey, all of which will allow you to smoke delicious meat.

March 19, 2019

Become a maser fire-builder using Cutting Edge Firewood’s signature kiln-dried firewood. Whether you’re looking to build fires for heat, relaxation, cooking or just for fun, there’s no substitution for kiln-dried firewood. And with our Delivery Artisan service, you can have kiln-dried firewood shipped straight to your Athens home, allowing you and your family to enjoy brighter fires.

About Athens, GA

Athens-Clarke County, or what’s more commonly known by Georgians as just “Athens,” is a heavily populated city and county in Georgia. It’s located northeast of Atlanta and is the home of the University of Georgia (UGA).

The origins of Athens can be traced back to the late 1700s, during which it trading posts were established along the Oconee River. In 1785, developer Abraham Baldwin was granted a charter by state lawmakers for the construction of UGA. Reports show that the first schools and buildings on the campus were made almost entirely out of wooden logs. Today, UGA is one of the nation’s top colleges, attracting roughly 25,000 applications each year from high school graduates looking to attend.

The Benefits of Burning Kiln-Dried Firewood at Your Athens, GA Home

Using kiln-dried firewood at your Athens home offers several benefits. First, it produces more heat than other types of firewood. The low moisture content of kiln-dried firewood — usually 10% or less – means it burns more efficiently, resulting in greater heat. Second, kiln-dried firewood produces little or no smoke. This is particularly important when building fires in a fireplace, as too much smoke can lead to creosote buildup in your chimney while also setting off your smoke alarm. Third, kiln-dried firewood is safer to burn than other types of firewood. Because of its superior dryness, it doesn’t pop like fresh or wet firewood.

Where to Find Kiln-Dried Firewood in Athens, GA

With a popular of over 125,000, local firewood sells quickly in Athens. And even if you’re able to find a roadside vendor selling firewood, it probably won’t be kiln-dried. Very few roadside vendors sell kiln-dried firewood. Instead, they sell air-dried firewood that’s been left to dry. Air-dried firewood is better than fresh or green firewood, but it doesn’t come close to achieving the same level of performance as kiln-dried firewood.

The good news is that you can still buy kiln-dried firewood for your Athens home by ordering it from Cutting Edge Firewood. For over five years, we’ve been delivering premium kiln-dried firewood, cooking wood and other fire-building accessories to residents throughout the Southeast, including Athens.

Can I Use Other Types of Firewood at My Athens, GA Home?

It’s fine to use certain types of other firewood to build fires at your Athens home, but there are a few things you should know. Do not use fresh or green firewood. The terms “fresh” and “green” refer to firewood that was recently harvested from a tree and hasn’t been dried. Coincidentally, a report published by UGA notes that a single cord of fresh oak firewood contains up to 55 gallons of water. Not only does this make it difficult to light, but the high moisture content of fresh firewood restricts the amount of heat it produces. Instead, burn either air-dried or kiln-dried firewood, the latter of which is recommended since it contains about half the moisture content as its air-dried counterpart.

You can also use cooking wood at your Athens home. Cooking wood comes from many of the same varieties as kiln-dried firewood, such as oak. But its smaller size makes it ideal for grilling and smoking foods.

Cooking With Firewood: Mistakes to Avoid

Using a flavorful variety of firewood can help you can cook delicious meats and veggies. Unfortunately, some people make one or more mistakes when using firewood to grill or smoke foods. One common mistake to avoid is dousing firewood with lighter fluid. While firewood is certainly easier to ignite when doused in a flammable substance, you have to consider how it affects your food. When lit, chemicals from the lighter fluid will turn to smoke that rises into your food while leaving behind a harsh chemical taste. To prevent this from happening, never use lighter fluid or any other flammable liquid on your firewood.

Another mistake to avoid when cooking with firewood is using too much heat. Heat is necessary to release the flavorful compounds from the wood. If you use too much heat, however, it will cause your wood to quickly burn and, subsequently, prevent you from slow-cooking your food. You can control the amount of heat produced by your fires by placing the wood next to the charcoal. For example, you can create one stack of charcoal and another stack of wood chips or chunks. By placing the wood next to the charcoal, it will burn more slowly.

Find the best deals on premium kiln-dried firewood for your Athens, GA home by visiting our online store today.

March 15, 2019

When preparing to take a trip in an RV, it’s important that you bring high-quality firewood. Renting a luxury RV from an industry-leading company like Gross RV will open the doors to a world of new outdoor adventures, some of which include sightseeing, camping and tailgating. Regardless of what RVing activities you have planned, though, premium firewood will create a more enjoyable and memorable trip.

You Can Easily Build Fires Using High-Quality Firewood

It’s frustrating when you finally pull up to your RV campground, only to discover that all the local wood is wet and soggy from a recent rainstorm. You may go through an entire box of matches trying to light it, all to no avail. But you can avoid this headache by bringing high-quality firewood. The kiln-dried firewood sold at Cutting Edge Firewood has been dried for 12 times longer than the kiln-drying standard created by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). As a result, it’s incredibly easy to light, often requiring just a single match with a small pile of tinder and kindling.

RV Campgrounds May Prohibit You From Gathering Local Wood

Even if you’re able to find dry wood at your RV campground, you may not be able to collect and use it. Many parks, campsites and RV campgrounds prohibit visitors from gathering local wood. If there’s an erosion problem at your campground, for example, officials may require you to bring your own firewood. Fallen tree limbs and branches protect against soil erosion by disrupting the flow of water. But if you collect and use this local wood, the soil will become susceptible to further erosion problems. By bringing your own firewood, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you can build fires at your RV campground or destination regardless of whether there’s a ban on collecting local wood.

You Can Build Hotter, Cleaner Fires

When you’re sitting around the fire in the evening, you’ll experience more warmth and less smoke by using high-quality firewood. The amount of heat and smoke produced by a fire is influenced by the quality of the firewood used. High-quality firewood produces more heat and less smoke than low-quality firewood because of its low moisture content. With its low moisture content – usually 10% to 20% – kiln-dried firewood produces a more efficient combustion process in which a greater amount of the wood is burned and converted into heat, making it ideal for RVing.

To make your fires even hotter, consider the following tips:

  • Only use kiln-dried firewood.
  • Arrange your firewood in a traditional tipi style, meaning the individual logs are placed in a circle as they lean into each other at the top.
  • Blow on your fire to fuel it with extra oxygen.
  • Build your fire in an open area so that wind can blow into and through it.
  • Keep your firewood dry by storing it in a safe, sheltered area until you are ready to use it.

You’ll Become the King of Grilling and Smoking Foods

Good food and RVing go hand in hand. After a long day of driving on the road, there’s no better way to unwind than by feasting a homemade meal in front of a fire. High-quality wood will allow you to grill and smoke more delicious foods by adding a unique flavor to whatever you cook. From chicken and fish to beef brisket, pork chops, ribs and steaks, you can use high-quality wood to enhance the flavor of your foods.

Unbeknownst to many people, different varieties of wood offer different flavors when used for cooking. Hickory wood offers a strong flavor that’s both smoky and sweet, whereas pecan wood offers a milder, nuttier flavor. Feel free to bring several types of high-quality cooking wood when RVing. You can then experiment with the different types to see which one works best.

High-Quality Firewood Completes the Tailgating Experience

There’s no substitution for high-quality wood when tailgating. When tailgating, you’ll need to bring two things to cook delicious food: a grill or smoker and the right wood. After driving up your tailgating destination, you can pull out your grill or smoker to begin the cooking festivities.

High-quality wood, especially cooking chunks or chips, will inject flavor-rich compounds into your food. You don’t have to rely strictly on wood when cooking at tailgating party. On the contrary, many tailgaters prefer a combination of both charcoal and wood. Just a handful of high-quality cooking wood chunks or chips will enhance the flavor of your food. Be warned, though, other tailgaters will likely venture towards you once they catch the aroma of your grill or smoker, so you may want to bring extra food just in case.

Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a month-long vacation, don’t forget to bring high-quality firewood when RVing. With its ability to burn hotter and cleaner, it outperforms locally gathered firewood in almost every way.

March 15, 2019

Whether you use a fire pit, chiminea, grill or smoker, a custom patio from Decksouth can enhance your outdoor fire-building activities in several ways. It offers the perfect environment in which to build fires, allowing you and your family to fully enjoy this outdoor extension of your home’s living space. As a homeowner, though, you might be hesitant to invest in a custom patio, believing it’s not worth the cost. But if you build fires outside your home on a regular basis, a custom patio will almost certainly pay off for the following reasons.

It Stabilizes Your Fires

A custom patio will provide a stable, even surface on which to build fires. It’s difficult to safely maintain a fire on uneven terrain. If you use a fire pit or grill on a sloped hill or uneven deck, for example, it may roll downhill or even topple over, neither of which is safe when burning wood or charcoal is involved. To protect against bodily injury – as well as potential damage to your property – you must build fires on an even surface.

With more than two decades of experience, the experts at Decksouth know how to build high-quality, even patios for your outdoor fire-building activities. Using one of their premium decks, you can safely build fires without worrying about your fire pit, grill or other fire-containing accessory rolling downhill or toppling over.

It Encourages You to Spend More Time Outdoors

You may find yourself spending more time outdoors after investing in a custom patio. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average person spends 93% of his or her life indoors. Why does this matter? Well, if you spend too much time indoors, your body won’t get the necessary amount of sun exposure it needs for vitamin D synthesis. As a result, you may experience symptoms of vitamin D deficiency like muscle pain, hair loss, fatigue and more frequent infections (due to a weakened immune system).

With a custom patio, however, you’ll want to spend more time outdoors. Rather than staying cooped up inside your home during the winter months, you can go outside to build fires on your custom patio. While lounging on your new patio, you’ll soak up the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays to increase your body’s vitamin D levels.

It Creates a More Comfortable and Relaxing Outdoor Living Space

Of course, a custom patio will create a more comfortable and relaxing outdoor living space. You can specify the size, materials, finish and other features according to your personal preferences. If your current patio is structurally worn or otherwise degraded, you may struggle to build and enjoy outdoor fires, but a simple solution is to invest in a custom patio.

When ordering a custom patio, determine where exactly you intend to build fires. Maybe it’s in the front or perhaps it’s on the side. Regardless, identifying this area is important because it will serve as the basis for your outdoor living space. Once your custom patio has been constructed, you can place your fire-containing accessory in the middle of this area while arranging chairs or other forms of seating around it.

It Makes Grilling and Smoking Foods a Little Easier

If you regularly grill or smoke foods outside your home, a custom patio can make your backyard culinary activities a little easier. It’s difficult to grill or smoke foods on an uneven or degraded patio. Your grill or smoker may tilt or slide around, which causes the food inside them to move around as well. To make your barbecues a little easier, you should purchase a custom patio.

Assuming it’s properly designed and constructed, a custom patio will offer a stable, easy-to-use environment for grilling and smoking foods. When weather permits, you can go outdoors to grill and smoke delicious foods, allowing you to maintain a clean and tidy kitchen inside your home. This is just one more way a custom patio can enhance your outdoor fire-building activities.

It Compliments the Appearance of Your Fire-Containing Accessory

A custom patio will compliment the appearance of your fire pit, grill, smoker or other fire-containing accessory to create a more aesthetically pleasing outdoor living space. You can invest in a premium fire-containing accessory, but it’s not going to improve your home’s exterior unless it’s used on a high-quality patio. The combination of a premium fire-containing accessory with a custom patio enhances the aesthetics of your outdoor living space.

By investing in a custom patio, you’ll have the freedom to create the perfect outdoor living space while enhancing the performance and enjoyment of your outdoor fires in the process. Don’t choose just any custom patio, though. To take advantage of these benefits, partner with a reputable company like Decksouth. Along with using high-quality firewood from Cutting Edge Firewood, it will take your outdoor fire-building activities to the next level.