How to Cook with Wood

With modern conveniences these days, many people are left wondering how to cook with wood. They understand the concept, but what practical ways are there for using wood as a fuel source in cooking? Wood burning cook stoves, used for for centuries all over the world, seem to be the most obvious method of cooking with wood, but they just aren’t common in modern houses. So what are some popular options in today’s day and age?

We’ll start with the most obvious: Cooking outdoors. Barbecue has remained a top method for cooking with wood for generations. There’s an entire culture of barbecue that has perfected the methods of controlling burning wood to the point that any fluctuation outside of a couple of degrees will cause a purist’s blood to boil.

Many books will help you navigate the tricky waters of barbecue and smoking meat. With words like “Manifesto” and “Bible” in the title (see below),  you know they take the subject seriously.

Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto by  Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay
The Barbecue! Bible by Steven Raichlen

To get even deeper down the rabbit hole, you can explore a whole world of cooking methods with just one cooker! For example, check out Weber’s Way to Grill: The Step-by-Step Guide to Expert Grilling by Jamie Purviance.

There are a million ways to cook with wood outside. And when the weather is warm and beautiful, there’s really no other way we prefer to cook. But the weather is not consistent year-round for most of the world. In some areas,  the winter will force many people to retreat indoors, wondering how to cook with wood inside.  But  that doesn’t mean you can’t keep cooking with wood.

Wood cook stoves are starting to make a comeback. With companies like La Nordica producing beauties like THESE, there’s no reason you can’t have your wood-fired cake and eat it too. An updated version of the wood cook stoves from generations past, these stoves are far more efficient and safe. They also have the added benefit of heating your house with wood while you cook (think renewable and less expensive than electricity and propane)!

One thing to note is that in many places, it’s local building code which dictates how these should be installed – not necessarily the manual. So be sure to consult with professionals before going off and just installing one of these.

Another method of cooking with wood inside is via the fire place. There are some simple yet effective accessories you can use to get that flame-licked taste in your meals. One of these is SpitJack’s Tuscan Fireplace Grill (HERE). With these, you can control how much heat is actually getting to your food by simply moving it further away or closer. It doesn’t get much simpler, but it gets the job done.

Or maybe you just have a wood stove. That’s yet another way to cook with wood inside. In fact, this method could potentially be free. This way you’re cooking the food without actually adding more fuel. And there are plenty of sources of information on how to do this – like THIS book by Jane Cooper.

In the end, if you’re wondering how to cook with wood, just take a look around. There are plenty of sources you can find that can guide you in any of these areas. And there are a million more methods not mentioned here. We hope this short little article just gets your juices flowing. As convenient as gas and electric stoves are, think about mixing wood into your arsenal of fuels. There’s an intangible yet very real feeling of satisfaction that creeps in when you learn how to cook with wood. Give it a try. You just might love it.

Get started cooking with wood! Below are just a few of the myriad of possibilities. The best way to learn is to just start somewhere.

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