Can You Put Wood In The Oven? (Find Out Now!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

Oh, how I adore the smell of wood burning. How I love the smell of the smoky char that you get from a nice pile of wood that’s slowly cooking food on it. I have long tried to find a way to get that perfect campfire smell in my home. That led me to ask others, is it possible to put wood in the oven without setting the home on fire?

Wood can be placed in an oven to bake or dry as long as it is at a lower temperature. Wood kept at 200 to 300 degrees is unlikely to burn. Between 450 to 500 degrees, wood will start to dry, then char, then eventually it will ignite after several hours. Wood ignites immediately at 700 degrees Fahrenheit.

Obviously, this explains a lot about how wood works in an oven and why my mother’s salmon platter caught fire. (She forgot to remove the salmon for eight hours.) Let’s talk about this.

Before We Begin: A Word Of Caution

It’s important to remember that wood is very flammable and that you should always exercise caution when you are trying to do anything with wood in the kitchen. Do not leave wood in a hot oven unattended. Oh, and remember that certain woods can withstand heat for longer than others.

It is possible for wood to catch fire at temperatures as low as 200 to 300 degrees after years of exposure. The drier the wood, the more likely it is to ignite them. Proceed with caution.

Why Would You Put Wood In A Oven?

People put wood in an oven for a number of reasons.

  • The most common reason is that wood imparts a certain flavor in food or helps add structure to food. This is how we get delicious recipes like salmon a la plancha, or wood skewer shrimp. Yum! If you have this as your reason for putting wood in the oven, we suggest sticking to the recipe to minimize a chance of fire.
  • Others may choose to dry wood for a bonfire in an oven. This cuts down the drying process from a several months-long endeavor to a matter of several hours.
  • If you have a wood-burning oven or stove, then it should be obvious why you need to put wood inside. That’s going to be how you heat your food and warm your home. We do not suggest putting wood in the oven unless you want it to be fuel in this case, since it’s going to be exposed to an open flame.
  • Sometimes we’re just silly and forget a wooden tool in the casserole pot. It happens. I know it’s happened to me before.

How To Dry Wood In An Oven

Are you ready for a bonfire season ahead of you? Do you want to dry out some of the wood you just cut? Here’s what you need to know:

  • Set your oven to 218, or as close as you can get it to that temperature. That’s the ultimate drying temperature. You might have to alternate between 210 and 225 to get that temperature.
  • Lay out the wood on a baking sheet. Make sure that none of the wood touches other parts of the wood. It should be as evenly spread as possible. Place the wood on the center rack.
  • Cook the wood at 218 for an hour. Remove the wood and check the temperature and moisture level of the wood. It should be good by now.
  • If you need to continue to dry the wood, check it every 15 minutes. Usually, only two retests would be enough for it. If you need additional ones, it’s okay to do as many as you need to get the wood dried to an appropriate reading.

What Wood Is Best To Dry?

Honestly, this is up to you since you are going to be the one burning it later. A lot of people start to smell the wood as it starts to dry, so if you want a faint smell of pine or cherry maple in your home, this would be a great way to get that. (Personally, I prefer to just light pinon pine incense myself.)

Quick Safety Notes About Drying Wood In An Oven)

Drying wood is a risky endeavor, so you need to make sure that you do the following:

  • Clean up any wood scraps that fall in your oven as soon as you can. They can ignite later.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher close by, and know how to use it.
  • Do not put your wood in a broiler.
  • If you smell smoke, get the wood out of your oven immediately.
  • If you notice that your wood is turning brown or black, remove it from the oven immediately.
  • Do not try to cook your wood for more than two hours without serious testing.
  • Don’t do this with plywood.
  • Do not deviate from recipes that ask you to put wood in the oven.
  • Always wear heat-resistant gloves or oven mitts when you take anything out of the oven.

Related Questions

Can you place wood in an oven’s broiler?

No! Never put wood in an oven’s broiler. This can run the risk of causing the wood to hit its instant-ignition temperature, leading to a major fire in your home. Broilers generally expose foods to an open flame. This is like putting wood in a fireplace.

At what temperature does plywood ignite?

Plywood has a far lower flashpoint than regular wood, even though they look very similar. Due to the resins and other stuff in plywood, it can catch fire at temperatures as low as 202 to 328 degrees Fahrenheit. This is why you should never, ever put plywood in an oven—even if it is wet.

What types of wood give off the most heat when they are burned?

Hardwoods generally burn hotter than softwoods, which is partly due to the density that they have. If you want to have a hot, hot fire, choose beech, birch, red oak, sugar maple, or apple. Hickory burns extremely hot as well, and it also has that tasty smoky scent that people tend to associate with barbecues.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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