WFO – Outdoor Entertaining
It has come that time of year again, to look at how we can spend more time outdoors, it might be building an outdoor wood fired oven, or just to create an outdoor entertainment area, let us look at what’s available.
Wood fired oven.
Ideal for impromptu outdoor entertaining family and friends, but most importantly it is a good way in which to share food and is extremely social. These are ideal for cooking anything from pizzas to steak! So let us look at the build.
Building a wood fired oven.
You must start off with a solid foundation, usually 6” deep and reinforced with steel mesh, ensuring it is level. So tamp it down with a wooden plank, then you need to decide upon the height of the opening of the outdoor oven, this dictates how how you need to build the supporting wall. Once the wall is build you have to put some steels in to support the oven floor, on top of the steels (these can be 4” x 2” hollow section put 1/2” thick marine plywood on top creating a pool effect, then fill this area with cement and put some reinforced steel in. Then start building your oven, an awesome resource is (http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/) Forno Bravo – we use this website for awesome tips and inspiration. There is nothing nicer than outdoor entertaining and sharing food with people you care for.
Firing the wood fired oven.
Over years of practice, we found that if you create a U shape with 3 logs on the base with the gap opening to the front of the oven, then put some newspaper in the opening. On top of the paper place some kindling (I find thin slivers of wood best, then on top of this place some thin twigs, then gradually get thicker up to 2” in diameter. Then all you need to so is light the newspaper and the rest just lights. Once the fire starts put thicker logs up to 10” in front of the fire to dry out, then when the fire is almost out, add them and the fire starts again.
Cooking temperatures for different food.
Pizza needs a fierce high temperature, but the diversity of the wood fired oven allows you to cook almost anything in there at low temperatures or as the temperature is falling. Ideal for cooking brisket or pulled pork. We have had our wood fired oven up to 999F (that is as high as our infra red thermometer goes to, cooked pizza and then let it lover to around 140F and put the oven door too, prepare the pulled pork, lamb tagine or brisket and put it in the oven so cook long and slow in the residual temperature of the wood fired oven.
What next for outdoor entertaining?
So the wood fired oven was complete, but we needed an area for family and friends to enjoy the food outdoors and the outdoor entertaining area, so we started building a seating area for them, but one thing was missing – how do we entertain them whilst they are waiting for their food? Two options came to mind, show a video but we would need a projector or to use a TV, the problem was in our area it rains a lot unfortunately, so any hardware like this would be ruined in the first rain shower.
The result was that our outdoor, backyard entertainment area is used every weekend, and when anyone wants a party, they know to call us and we will host it. One thing is for sure, installing the wood fired oven was the best thing we did and our family and friends love our outdoor entertaining experience.