Ooni 3 – Maintaining the fire:
When you are cooking on pellets it takes a particular knack or routine to manage the fire to maintain the heat and keep the flames blowing.
Once the fire is up and running and you are either cooking or ready to start cooking first top up the pellets up the point of the screw on the back of the hopper (below).
I find if you fill the hopper beyond this point it tends to smother the fire a bit, the fire dies down and you get smoke.
What I have done in the past is top up to the screw then make the first pizza. By the time I am ready to cook the pizza the fire should be kicking out plenty of flames and the stone should be hot enough. Once you take that pizza off top up the pellets to the screw again then make the next pizza. Again, by the time it’s ready to launch the fire should be throwing out flames and the stone hot enough to cook on again.
Takes a bit of trial and error to maintain the fire and it’s definitely easier if you can get a breeze blowing from behind the Ooni to help get some oxygen into the fire and help it stay hot.
To make things a bit easier there are two fairly cheap items you can buy to help: The Jam Funnel and a Fan.
This works for the 2S and the 3. Maintaining the fire in the Ooni takes a bit of concentration, you need to keep track of the pellet line, check the fire, check your stone temperatures and keep topping up. Sometimes, making and cooking the pizza takes a lot of concentration as well which can cause you to forget about the pellets and that leads to a temperature drop. The best way I have found to avoid this is to buy a Jam Funnel, add it on the pellet funnel and fill it with pellets. It keeps the fire roaring and you can see at a glance if it needs topping up or not. The beauty is it holds so many more pellets you don’t need to top up so often.
Using the Jam Funnel and the Looftlighter allows you to get up to temperature in record time. From lighting the flamer to having the stone at 550c is under 10 minutes.
Quite a few people on the Ooni community page are using fans to add a bit of oomph to their fire. I have been using my Looftlighter but they come with a fairly hefty outlay which can be justified if you are cooking on a number of different bits of kit but most folk might not want to lay out £50 for one. The fan I picked is rechargeable over USB, had good reviews and was pretty cheap. When it arrived it was fully charged ready to go. On and Off buttons plus a power button with 3 speed settings.
The fire was lit in my usual way, tray full of pellets, 1 lit “flamer“, tray back in and left for 5 minutes. The fan was lurking, waiting to be called upon!
A quick blast of the fan (30 seconds) before putting the Jam Funnel on.
With the Jam Funnel filled with pellets it was time to set the fan on full power for a couple of minutes.
I had a quick look through the door. It looked pretty hot in there!
How hot exactly? I think this video explains it quite well!
You don’t need a jam funnel, fan or looftlighter to start cooking awesome pizzas but the jam funnel and fan certainly make things a lot easier and allow you to concentrate on making/cooking the pizzas rather than managing the fire.