A Must-Have In Your Backyard – Outdoor Pizza Oven

pizza oven

description: Pros and cons of wood-fired pizza ovens ➢ What food can you prepare in outdoor pizza ovens  ➢ For what occasions a pizza oven will come in handy? Useful info. Check it out!

Outdoor pizza oven – a must-have in your backyard

           Backyard outdoor cooking is really booming — almost every house has its own grill nowadays. But grills are just one of the options for outdoor cooking. Every fan of home-made food should consider adding a pizza oven to his yard. Don’t be fooled by the pizza in its name — it’s a versatile cooking tool which can be used to prepare a wide variety of baked and roasted meals. What exactly can you make and what are the pros and cons of outdoor pizza ovens? Read the below text and find out.

What is an outdoor pizza oven?

           It’s rather simple — it’s a type of flat floored oven with a domed cooking chamber. The shape of the dome might differ, depending on region and user’s preferences, but it’s most commonly circular or barrel-shaped. The dome is typically made of bricks, ceramics or thick layers of clay — this maximises the heat retention, creating a very high-temperature cooking environment. Pizza ovens can be built in or freestanding, and they can be powered by gas, charcoal or, most commonly, wood.

You can buy it (e.g. in easy to assemble kits) or build your own pizza oven.

pizza oven

Where can you place outdoor pizza ovens?

           To be honest, there are only two rules regarding placement of outdoor ovens:

  1. It mustn’t be put near fuel storage.
  2. It shouldn’t be exposed to strong winds.

Other than that, they can be placed rather freely. Pizza ovens can be set up in backyards, gardens, even on patios and terraces. There are also compact-sized portable pizza ovens, which can be moved around and placed almost anywhere.

Pros and cons of wood-fired pizza ovens

           In general, any wood-fired oven is a great boon for home-made food enthusiasts, but as any other device, it also has some cons. Here’s a summary of advantages and disadvantages of three types of pizza ovens — masonry, modular and portable. You can also buy an already assembled pizza oven, which shares the pros of a modular one and can be used practically from the get go, but is quite costly, hard to set up in places with limited access and doesn’t give you any exterior customisation options.

Masonry pizza oven

           Considered by pizza lovers worldwide as the best way to cook outdoor oven pizza, an oven made from refractory bricks and clay gives you a lot of customisation options. Masonry ovens can get really hot, making your pizza nice and crispy. They’re also popular among DIY enthusiasts, as they can be made from the ground up all by yourself — there’s a lot of plans and methods circling around on the Internet. Unfortunately, setting up one of those ovens can be really time-consuming — e.g. a DIY one made from clay and bricks will be ready to work in about a month, depending on the weather.

Pros:

  • Near unlimited design possibilities.
  • Can be set up in places with limited access.
  • Able to reach very high temperatures (even above 500°C).
  • Perfect for low-temperature and slow cooking.
  • DIY versions can be cheaper, depending on the materials used.

 Cons:

  • Require quite some space.
  • Takes relatively long to heat up.
  • Can be highly fuel consuming (depending on size and desired temperature).
  • Takes a lot of time to build.
  • Building a DIY version requires some skill and can be risky.
  • Can’t be moved after setting up.

Modular pizza oven

           Ovens made from prefabricated elements (produced from refractory materials) sold in kits, varying in shapes and sizes. This makes them rather reliable and easy to set up. Although the main parts are prefabricated, there’s still a lot of freedom in designing the exterior. Domes of modular ovens are about half as thick as traditional masonry, which makes them heat up faster. A typical oven kit consists of:

  • Prefabricated elements for the dome, cooking floor, and arch.
  • Ceramic fibre insulation (blankets for dome and boards for floor).
  • Most of the models include metal doors with thermometer.

Pros:

  • Can be placed on limited access paces.
  • Relatively quick to install (compared to masonry pizza oven).
  • Many exterior options.
  • Optimised thermal mass (great balance between temperature stability and heat-up time).
  • Shorter heat-up time and lower fuel consumption (compared to a traditional oven).
  • Can reach very high temperatures (about 485°C and up).

Cons:

  • DIY versions can be risky (depending on skills).
  • Can’t be moved after installation.

Portable pizza oven

           Smaller versions of pizza ovens, which can be moved around the garden and fit even in tight spaces. They’re delivered practically ready to use, as they are already assembled and insulated (some models even have stainless steel chimney). Portable ovens can be single (direct combustion) or dual chambered (indirect combustion). The first ones work just like the traditional pizza oven — you set up the fire directly in the cooking chamber. The second ones have a dedicated combustion chamber (located below the cooking one) and work more like traditional wood-fired cookers.

Pros:

  • Can be set up and used almost anywhere.
  • Ability to move around.
  • Short heat up time and low fuel consumption.
  • Delivered almost ready to use.
  • Dual chambered models give effortless temperature controls (which makes long-term cooking easier) and are very versatile.

Cons:

  • Temperature control in single chambered models is quite demanding.
  • Single chambered models can’t cook in low heat quite well.
  • Dual chambered models can’t heat up as much as other ovens (430°C), so you can’t make traditional Neapolitan pizzas with them (and other pizzas won’t get as crispy).

What food can you prepare in outdoor pizza ovens?

           As we mentioned before, pizzas are just one of the options. Outdoor ovens can be used for preparing anything that can be grilled, roasted or baked. Starting from the most obvious options like skewers, barbecued meat, grilled cheese, steaks, through grilled seafood and roasted fish, to bread and pies. Of course those are just the usual dishes, which are quite obvious, when you think about it. But not everyone knows that pizza ovens can also be used for desserts (everything from tarts, cinnamon rolls and brownies to even s’mores and meringues) and any type of gratins or stews. You can even make toasts with it, if you so fancy. In general, you can venture a bet that any meal that can be named, can be most probably cooked in a pizza oven.

That’s not all though — the leftover heat can be used long after the main cooking is done, as it is slowly radiated from the oven’s walls. What exactly can you make with it? For starters, it’s great for drying fruit, vegetables and mushrooms, reheating meals and keeping drinks warm. It can also be used to prepare anything that requires lower temperatures and needs to be cooked slowly.

For what occasions a pizza oven will come in handy?

           As it is a very versatile tool, a pizza oven can be used for any occasion that includes outdoor dining. That can be anything from family dinners, garden parties, meetups with friends, birthday parties, anniversaries, small receptions, baptism parties, graduation celebrations etc. Bigger models can also be used commercially for festivals, rallies, concerts, local celebrations and many more.

Conclusion

           Outdoor pizza ovens are very versatile tools, enabling you to cook a vast variety of dishes, both on a personal and commercial level. This makes them a true must-have for any pizza lover and anyone else that owns his own garden or backyard.

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