One of the most useful yet neglected tools for wood fired cooking is the log grate. Utilizing a log grate will enable wood placed on top of the fire to burn quickly and efficiently through enhanced airflow. Every oven at the Mugnaini Cooking School is equipped with one and your pizza oven should have one too!
Similar to a fireplace grate, a log grate is a simple steel structure that elevates the logs above the coal bed. In the case of a wood burning pizza oven, we want a bed of red-hot coals and one or two pieces of wood fully engulfed in flame. Using a log grate will make this easier to maintain.
Is this really a problem in an oven that is already heated to 700 degrees on the floor?
You would think not, but in practice you will find that even in a hot oven, if wood is added and not allowed access to combustion air it will just sit there and smolder for a few minutes or longer before catching fire. And since we need a live flame to both evenly bake a pizza and see inside the oven, a log grate becomes essential.
The Mugnaini log grate is easy to use. Place it within an arm’s reach of the oven’s entrance and set it approximately perpendicular to the oven wall on the side where the fire lives. The taller side with two legs should be aimed at the center of the oven to keep logs from rolling into the cooking area. This makes it a convenient target to quickly reach into the oven and place a piece of wood right over the fire without interrupting your cooking.
Wood placed on the log grate will be elevated over a bed of red hot coals with enough space to allow combustion air to do its job and get the wood burning in a matter of seconds. Feeding the fire and managing your wood fired pizza oven will now be a simpler and more effective task.
We stock two sizes of log grates: a lighter, smaller one for home ovens and a larger, thicker one for commercial ovens sized 48″(120cm) or larger.
TIP: when firing your oven, just leave the log grate in place. When you are ready to bank your fire simply push the coals underneath and place wood on top.