How to Make Cooking Wood

Do you know what is better than splitting wood? A savory and smoky wood fire pizza that you made with your firewood after a long day of work.

Ok, you may not like pizza, but there are a plethora of meals that you can make with cooking wood.

However, not all firewood is cooking wood just because it can burn. There are specific kinds of wood and certain dimensions that separate a split log from cooking wood.

So, how do you make cooking wood?

What Kind of Wood Should I Use?

First, you will need to choose the species of wood you plan to use. While preferences in flavor differentiate between grill masters alike, it is widely agreed upon that hard wood should be used for cooking wood.

Leroy Hite, the owner and CEO of Cutting Edge Firewood, explains the shortcomings of soft wood used for cooking:

The problem with grilling or smoking foods with softwood cooking wood is that it exposes your foods to resin-saturated smoke. Many softwood trees, such as pines, contain high concentrations of resin. When used as a fuel inside a grill or smoker, the wood’s resin will be released as smoke, which is absorbed into your foods to create a bitter and unpleasant flavor.

So, what kinds of wood are “hard wood?” Hite lists Pecan, Hickory, Cherry, Oak, Maple, and Apple as popular hard woods used for cooking. No matter what species you decided to use, ensure the wood is dry with a moisture content of around 10% or lower. Else you will get a short and weak burn with more smoke than fire.

You are probably familiar with hickory-smoked meats, and if you are, you know how delicious they can be. But before the wood is tossed in the fire, how is it made? Where does it come from? Does it grow on trees? Well, yes, actually


How Do I Split Firewood for Cooking?

You have picked out the hard wood you plan to use in your fire. Now what?

You can opt for an axe but will only get oddly-sized, fraying pieces of wood that either won’t burn for long or won’t fit in the oven.

Or, you can use a box wedge log splitter, like the Timberwolf Alpha Series splitters. A few other log splitters on the market offer a box wedge option, but Timberwolf’s Alpha log splitters are made to be box wedge splitters, plus Timberwolf offers box wedges in three different sizes.

Timberwolf’s 2.5” box wedge is designed specifically for outputting cooking/campfire wood. 

Wood split into 2-3 inch pieces is the best size for cooking. Larger pieces will burn hotter and for longer, but the 2-3 inch size is perfect for those cooking at the 400-800 degrees Fahrenheit range.

For a longer and hotter burn, use a 3.5” or 4.5” box wedge to output larger pieces.

Kindling can be used to speed up the process of getting your wood burning. Kindling can be easily obtained when splitting logs; simply pick up the small pieces of wood that fall to the ground and toss them in the fire.


How Much Firewood Do I Need for Cooking?

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be the second coming of Paul Bunyan to get your wood fire stove burning. 5-10 2-3 inch pieces of wood, 14-18 inches in length, will suffice for cooking.

Note that it is typically easier to start a fire with small pieces of wood - like kindling - before adding larger pieces of wood.

You will have to feed a few pieces of wood into the oven each hour in order to keep the temperature up.

So, grab your log splitter and a recipe, and get ready to enjoy.


Hite, L. (2022a). What Kind of Cooking Wood Should I Use? Cutting Edge Firewood.

Hite, L. (2022b). Hardwood vs Softwood for Cooking: Which Is Best? Cutting Edge Firewood.

Rachael. (2021). What Wood Do You Need For Wood Fired Oven Cooking. Easy Peasy Meals.,with%20smaller%20pieces%20of%20wood 

Tips for Properly Seasoning Firewood – Mother Earth News. (2023, May 11). 


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