The key to working with any wood-fired oven or grill is giving it ample time to get up to temperature. These cooking systems get very hot – upwards of 750°F to 900°F – so patience is required. Yet once it's to temp, cooking happens rapidly. I personally like to create a base heat with coals and then add wood to build the fire, but some of these grills and ovens have taken the guesswork out for you by using wood pellets. Before you fire up one of these cookers, though, invest in a set of cast-iron pans if you don’t already own them – they are essential for wood-fired cooking at home.
Amanda Elliott is the chef at Peachtree Catering in Columbia, Missouri, and authors the website rusticsupper.com, where she shares recipes centered on the idea of the communal table and embracing the heritage of food through travel.