If you are a pizza lover (and who isn’t!) you may not have realized how easy it is to make fresh, pizzeria style pizza right in your own backyard. Using an outdoor pizza oven is the secret.
Your next pizza party will be a smash when you serve fresh baked, wood fired pizza to your friends and family. After they ask “Did you make this?!” the next question they will ask is “where did you buy that oven?”
This guide will help explain the types of ovens available and how to go about making the best choice for your needs when purchasing.
What is a Wood Fired Pizza Oven?
Have you ever wondered why pizza from real Italian pizzerias tastes so good? Especially when compared to those made in a traditional electric oven? It has a lot of it has to do with the cooking method. Traditionally pizza is cooked in a large brick oven heated with a real wood fire.
High heat resulting in a quick bake time is one of the benefits of wood fired ovens. The flavour is enhanced by the wood smoke. This gives the pizza that amazing taste so prized by pizza lovers.
The pizza is cooked on a baking stone or pizza stone which holds the heat evenly, ensuring a thoroughly cooked pizza.
Until now the only option to cook this type of pizza at home was to build a complete pizza oven yourself from scratch! In this guide I will explain the multitude of options now available to pizza lovers for baking delicious pizza in their own homes.
We can classify outdoor pizza ovens into two categories, full-sized and portable. Both types are easy to use and have high quality baking stones as a cooking surface. Both types make great pizza quickly!
Which one is right for you depends on your needs.
Full Sized Pizza Ovens
Full sized ovens allow for wood to be put right onto the cooking surface, just like in the traditional style oven pictured at the top of this page.
As the name suggests they are large and perfect for making full-sized pizzas. Size-wise these could be compared to your full sized BBQ in that once you set them up you generally will not move them.
Starting your fire is similar to the process of starting a fire in your wood stove. Start with some newspaper and kindling. Once you have a nice base going then begin adding larger pieces.
It takes about 30 minutes for the oven to reach full heat, which is about 800°F. The baking stone temperature can be easily checked using a temperature gun.
BONUS TIP: You can cook a lot more than just pizza in your wood fired oven!
Portable ovens on the other hand can be set up quickly and brought to a picnic or friend’s house quite easily. This is not to say that one type if better than the other, they both meet different requirements.
Due to their smaller size portables will get up to temperature quicker than their larger counterparts. Pizzas will cook completely in around 60 ~ 90 seconds.
Portables make smaller pizzas but as a result it’s easy experiment with toppings. It’s easy to try many variations as well as give everyone a chance to try making their own pizza!
Ooni Pizza Ovens
Wood Fired, Pellet Fired, Propane too!
Ooni’s range of portable pizza ovens are easy to use and very popular. Initially started as a kickstarter campaign with a small pellet fuelled oven, they have now expanded to produce a full line of pellet, wood, and even gas fired ovens.
Here are a few examples from our own staff of the delicious pizzas that can be made with Ooni Ovens.
Ooni Fyra Pizzas – desert pizza too!
Ooni Fyra Pizzas
Other Pizza Options
Owners of Green Mountain Grill Pellet Smokers have another great option for pizza. The GMG Pizza Attachment sits right inside your smoker, the firebox gets up to 900°F. It includes a high quality baking stone for even heat distribution and quick cooking.
The larger size fits the Daniel Boone / Ledge and Jim Bowie / Peak grills. A smaller size is available for the Davy Crocket / Trek portable smoker.
If you’re not quite ready to purchase an oven you can still cook great pizza on your existing BBQ. The secret to a well cooked pizza is a high quality baking stone. Simply purchase a pizza stone and put it on your gas or charcoal grill and you’re well on your way.
I just want to mention the last and possibly most important acccessory you will need for your pizza. The pizza peel. This simple accessory allows you to insert and retrieve your pizza from the oven quickly, and in one piece!
Once you begin experimenting with cooking pizzas in high temperature ovens you’ll quickly realize that need to get the pizza off quickly when it’s ready. 15 seconds can mean the difference between a perfectly baked pizza, and one that’s burned and crunchy!
Sharing delicious home-baked pizza with friends and loved ones is satisfying. Making pizzas together is great fun, and eating them is even better. Whether your lifestyle dictates a full-sized, portable, or both sizes – one thing is certain. Your home will become known as the place to go for pizza!
If you have questions, comments, recipes, pictures, etc. please post them in the comments below!