About Chef Brad
Chef Brad is “America’s Grain Guy” and has been a friend of ours since way back when he was a leader in our Boy Scout troop. Other troops would make tin foil dinners with a hamburger patty and frozen veggies, while ours had stuffed bell peppers and other creative cuisines. The first time I ever liked fish was when he showed us how to prepare them properly while on a campout. He taught us what sorbet is, and how to decorate a plate before putting a cheesecake on it for maximum “wow”. Chef Brad taught us to cook so that we wouldn’t just survive when we went out on our own – but so that we would enjoy food and the process of preparing it.
More than 20 years later we started Yardity to share our love of cooking and good food with everyone. Ever since we started our pizza oven business, Chef Brad has been so encouraging and helpful. So, when he recently moved to a new home, we wanted to help him find just the right pizza oven to accent his backyard and allow him to share even more cooking experiences with those around him.
We interviewed Chef Brad to narrow down his choices to find the pizza oven right for him.
Yardity: Are you looking to put the pizza oven inside your house or in your backyard?
Chef Brad: I have a beautiful set-up at my house with a patio right outside that would be perfect for a pizza oven.
Yardity: You have a patio. Do you already have counter space or are you looking to build counter space and put a pizza oven on top? Or are you wanting to build a pizza oven into the wall of an outdoor kitchen?
Chef Brad: Either way. My wife is pretty good with construction and we are looking to build something out there. I want to build an outdoor kitchen area that also incorporates my smoker and outdoor griddle – so I want to build that out as an outdoor kitchen area.
Yardity: What kind of activities do you plan using your pizza oven for?
Chef Brad: We actually already started doing neighborhood parties at our house. The other night we had 40 people here for a dinner party. Our backyard opens up to a nice green space so it is great for hosting get-togethers. Also, my new house is better set up to host cooking classes, so I can also use it for those.
Yardity: Are you planning on cooking pizza only? Or cooking a variety of foods out in your oven?
Chef Brad: I would love to have an oven that could do bread. I do a sourdough bread, and that would just be amazing to come out of a wood-fired oven like that. It would be really cool! I could probably even just bake and sell the bread and pay for the oven just with that.
Yardity: When you build your outdoor kitchen, are you planning on running gas out to it? Would you want a dual-fuel option that would allow you to cook with gas and wood?
Chef Brad: I think dual-fuel would be really cool!
We further discussed options with Chef Brad for pizza ovens that use Natural Gas, Whole Home Propane, or Propane cylinders. These are the benefits of a true dual-fuel option:
- Gas can keep the internal temperature at a more consistent heat for a longer period of time.
- Wood is used in tandem with the gas to provide the “wood-fired’ taste as well as get the temperature higher than what you can do in some gas ovens.
If choosing a dual-fuel gas/wood pizza oven, Chef Brad decided that he would run gas out to his outdoor kitchen to ensure that he would have continuous fuel for breads and other foods that require longer cooking times – and not have to worry about swapping out propane tanks partway through.
Chicago Brick Oven CBO-750 Hybrid
We walked Chef Brad through the dual-fuel benefits and options of the CBO-750 Hybrid from Chicago Brick Ovens. These ovens are made in the USA, are certified for either commercial or residential use, and they have various ovens that are either wood-fired only, or dual-fuel gas and wood.
The CBO-750 Hybrid uses a two-burner gas system to keep the temperature consistent up to 650 degrees. The infrared burner heats the stone from underneath while the flame burner in the back provides heat to the main chamber. Wood is typically added to get the oven up to the 750-900 degree range for cooking pizza. Wood is also used at any temperature range to give food the wood-fired taste people love.
The CBO-750 has a cooking surface of 38.25 inches deep and 28 inches wide – easily cooking at least 2 large or 3 small pizzas as time. The 9.5-inch doorway and 12.5-inch dome offer a patented “Flame Roll” design that pushes the flames perfectly along the top of your pizzas for perfect cooking.
The CBO-750 Hybrid is available in models that can be placed on a countertop, built into a countertop, or fully built into an outdoor kitchen.
Chef Brad loved everything about the dual-fuel CBO-750 by Chicago Brick Oven – finding it to be the perfect blend of baking all sorts of foods with consistent results. At a price point of $5,699, those that want the best, and can afford it, should definitely consider the CBO-750. At the same time, Chef Brad understands that many of his students and followers on social media would not be able to afford it. He wanted to get an oven that would be more affordable to the students he is teaching to use it.
Authentic Pizza Oven Pizzaioli or Lisboa
For this, Chef Brad turned to the Authentic Pizza Oven line of pizza ovens. Authentic Pizza Ovens are handmade in Portugal by people that have been perfecting the art of building pizza ovens for generations.
While you can see the entire line of Authentic Pizza Ovens here, Chef Brad wanted a pizza oven with the traditional Terracotta brick face. This narrowed down his choices to either the Pizzaioli or Lisboa pizza ovens. Both ovens have a cooking surface Diameter of 30 inches and a tall traditional dome for cooking 2 large pizzas or 3 small pizzas at a time.
In the end, Chef Brad chose the Lisboa because of its 13-inch tall, split double door – compared to the 10.6-inch single door on the Pizzaioli. He liked the better access to the inside provided by the taller door allowing him to cook a wider variety of foods. ‘I can do breads, or dutch oven – I even have a friend that after he’s done cooking pizza he’ll put a roast in a dutch oven and leave it in the pizza oven overnight and it is perfect in the morning.’ The triple-insulated walls of the Lisboa will definitely retain heat for a long time after the pizza is done.
The Lisboa and Pizzaioli ovens can also be used on the countertop to show off their rustic beauty or built into a kitchen wall unit.
Authentic Pizza Ovens Maximus Prime and Arena
A funny twist in the story is that Chef Brad is so excited to get a pizza oven but still must wait to design and build his outdoor kitchen area first. We didn’t think it right to keep our good friend waiting, so while he completes his outdoor kitchen area, he will use the Authentic Pizza Oven Maximus Prime pizza oven on a portable cart.
The Maximus Prime and its little brother the Maximus Arena are the perfect compromise for those that want a full-size pizza oven but don’t have outdoor counter space. At 300 lbs and 130 lbs respectively, the Maximus Prime and Arena ovens can also be taken on the road for catering events and other big cooking activities away from home.
The Maximus Prime boasts a massive cooking surface area of 35.4 x 35.4 inches – allowing for up to three 12-inch or two 16-inch pizzas at a time. The Maximus Arena has an impressive 23.5 x 23.5-inch cooking surface for up to two 10-inch pizzas at a time, or one really big one.
What comes with each oven?
The CBO-750 units come with a pizza peel, brush, and infrared thermometer gun. Unless building it in, we recommend buying a cover to protect your investment.
All Authentic Pizza Ovens of the traditional design come with a 6” stainless steel spout with flu/damper, thermometer, Portuguese ceramic baking dish, and a cement patch kit. If you are using your pizza oven on a countertop, you will want to get a cover for it. We also recommend a chimney cap and even a pipe extension – depending on how you want it to look. We have a variety of pizza peels and other accessories for your pizza oven as well.
The Maximus Prime and Maximus Arena ovens come with a stainless steel chimney and cap, pizza peel, thermometer, ashes/wood holder, and a Portuguese ceramic baking dish. We always recommend buying a cover to protect your oven.
What’s the right oven for you?
We hope that you can use this experience with Chef Brad as a guide for you to determine which pizza oven is right for you, however, everyone is different and we carry other brands besides those mentioned in this article. We would love to help you go through your own steps of picking the right pizza oven. Feel free to visit us at www.GoodLifePizzaOvens.com, email us at email@example.com, or call us at 480-939-1868 to get started. With just a few questions, we can help you narrow down your search for your perfect pizza oven.
If you are new to using pizza ovens, that’s ok – we were once there also. We are happy to help you get over that learning curve and are continually building up a knowledge base of blog posts and videos so you can learn through our experiences.
Want to know more about Chef Brad?
Learn more at www.ChefBrad.com or www.AmericasGrainGuy.com
You can follow Chef Brad on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.
Chef Brad has written multiple cookbooks, started his own line of spices, starred in a TV cooking show, is a public speaker, and puts on cooking events all over the country.
Thanks for reading!