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Fire Position in Barrel Vault Oven?

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  • Fire Position in Barrel Vault Oven?

    I'm sorry if this has been discussed before, but I have failed to find an answer. Where should I position the main "heat up" fire, and then afterwards, the embers/low fire?

    Picture of my oven attached. It has an internal floor area of 90cm (36") square. The stainless chimney is not fitted in the photo, but will live in the entrance arch (it is at the optimum 64% of main dome height)

    I know that for initial burnings the centre is optimal, but after that I am informed by a friend that towards the back is optimum for the main burn. I have been burning in the centre, with the logic of having hot embers heating where my pizza will cook. He tells me at the back for correct air flow, and then pull some embers forward to heat the floor in the middle ahead of pizza cooking.

    I know that for igloo domes the embers tend to be pushed to the sides. Should I be doing that too?

    As you can see, I am very much in need some good advice! Thank you in advance :-)

    Attached Files

  • #2
    I would PM Karangi Dude, he has a very nice barrel and he does a ton of cooking various dishes in his oven. If you have not seen his build look at his thread.
    Google Photo Album []


    • #3
      Thank you. I have found his build thread, and will ask... This feels like it should be common knowledge here, but apparently isn't! :-)


      • #4
        Most oven are Pompeii and not barrels so fire placement is based on Pompeiis
        Google Photo Album []


        • #5
          Hi Jim,

          I light my fire right in the entrance directly under the flue chamber, 2 reasons to get the flue nice and hot (that will help with the draw) and secondly when you have a big oven it is pretty hard to build a stack in the middle of the oven.

          After I light the fire I leave it for a few minutes and when it is fully going I push it to the centre or slightly back of centre and leave it that position until the ceiling is clear, you will find at this stage the back wall and the ceiling at the back is still not clear so I then push the fire almost to the back for the last of the heating process.

          (TIP: place a couple of larger logs right at the back wall before you light the fire they wont burn until you push the fire to the back but when they catch on they will help to get the back of the oven nice and hot)

          To make pizza; wait until the oven is clear and then rake the fire to one side a bit back of centre and load it up so you can get a good fire going with flames licking the ceiling and radiating down on to the cooking surface where you cook your pizza's this takes about half an hour and gives the oven a chance to equalise, then sweep the cooking surface ready to start cooking.

          If you want to use a Tuscan grill leave the fire on the side but rake a few coals to the middle or wherever you want to place the grill this way you can access more coals if needed.

          If you want to cook dishes with the fire going leave the fire at the back doing so will give you the option of moving the pans closer to fire for high heat or closer to the entrance for lower heat.

          Jim, I hope I have answered your questions good luck and enjoy cooking in your WFO they are great way of cooking.

          Cheers Doug


          • #6

            This is not my oven but an oven I cooked in for a friend several years ago to show him how to set up the fire, notice the flames when at the back don't roll over the pizza but with the fire on the side they roll over the cooking area and an example of cooking in a pan with the fire at the back. The pictures are not great but you should get the idea.

            Cheers Doug


            • #7
              Hi Doug,

              Thank you so much for taking the time to provide such detailed and informative responses - they are VERY much appreciated. Thank you!

              Last edited by JimShortz; 04-29-2021, 02:48 AM.