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How to Choose the Best Pizza Oven for Your Backyard

By Greg Palmer August 28, 2019

There are a lot of reasons why you would want a pizza oven in your backyard, like the ability to cook anything, the taste it adds to your food, and the wow factor when guests see it in action. Not to mention the decorative curb appeal. The look of a pizza oven is probably one of the biggest reasons why you might want to get a pizza oven. There are many different styles from the ultra-authentic to the ultra-modern. That being said, there are several things you want to consider when choosing a pizza oven and here are three things in particular you should look at.

Stationary or Portable

Pizza ovens come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. With the variety comes a difference in weight and portability. Some pizza ovens are made to be built into a structure typically showcasing the door to the oven and the chimney. If you’re looking for something that is going to be a centerpiece of your backyard you’re going to want to get an oven that stays put and will be a focal point of the yard or patio. Be aware that these ovens are very heavy (1,000 pounds and up) and will need special considerations for building a structure to hold and showcase your pizza oven.

Ooni Pro Pizza Oven
If you want to have a pizza oven for the backyard or have the flexibility to take it to a park or social event, then you want a pizza oven that is light enough to carry with one or two people. The Ooni pizza ovens and the Maximus Arena Authentic Pizza Oven are perfect examples of portability. These types of ovens can go on a counter top in your backyard kitchen or can be hauled to a remote location in the trunk of your car. The nice part about these ovens is that you don’t need electricity to power them so they really can be used anywhere that fuel can be burned. With portability comes a cost. The size of the pizza oven is smaller so you sacrifice oven space thus limiting the size of pizza or dish that can be cooked in the oven.

Authentic Pizza Ovens Maximus Prime Pizza Oven
There is another class of pizza oven that is semi-portable. The Maximus Prime Authentic Pizza Oven weighs in a 300 pounds so it’s a bit much for one person to handle, but two to four strong people could muscle it around to a truck or car with a big trunk. This oven looks great too so you could build it in a nice kitchen niche. (Special consideration would have to be made for the vent when getting it in and out of place.) With this type of oven you get the portability while maintaining the interior oven space to cook bigger pizzas or other larger dishes.

Fuel

All ovens operate on fuel or a power source and a pizza oven is no different. If you’re looking for an authentic experience and the unique, enticing flavors that only real smoke can deliver, then you are going to want a wood fired oven. Cooking with wood is more work than just turning on a dial, but once you get the pizza oven to the correct temperature maintaining the fire is as simple as adding wood when necessary. Having an infrared thermometer gun can really come in handy here for reaching and maintaining the right temperature.

There are some ovens that can operate with wood pellets. The wood pellets still need to be started as well and require the use of a butane torch (trust me a torch is necessary). Once the pellets are started the pellets automatically feed and you simply need to monitor that the pellets don’t run out or get jammed.

There are other ovens that have the option of operating on multiple types of fuel like wood and propane, or wood, propane, pellets and charcoal. The benefit of having options for fuel is obvious. If you want to fire up the oven but don’t want to have to start a fire and want the liberty of not having to babysit the fire while you entertain, then having propane is a must. With a pizza oven that operates on wood pellets you get the best of both worlds by having wood fired smoke and automatic fuel feeding for constant temperature.

Initial Price and Overall Cost

Let’s not beat around the bush here. Most people do not have an unlimited budget. The price of the oven shouldn’t necessarily be the deciding factor on what you get, though. You should first consider the desired features as discussed earlier in this article and then look at what meets your budget. If you just buy the least expensive oven because you’re frugal, but you don’t get the look or functionality you want, then maybe consider saving up until you have enough money to get the pizza oven you want. Conversely if you have all the money in the world, but the most expensive ovens don’t suit your needs, get something that does.

Another thing to consider is the cost of hiring a contractor to build a pizza oven niche. Even if you think you can tackle it on your own you will need to buy materials and possibly pay a crane service to set it in place. There are counter top pizza ovens that will look great sitting on your outdoor kitchen counter. If you decide you want to build it in later that may be an option as well. Some pizza ovens come in DIY kits that will only look good if you fully encase it with a structure.

Now that you know the things to look for when buying a pizza oven, here are some suggestions based on the different criteria for selecting an oven laid out in this article.

Portable, versatile, and budget friendly

The Ooni Pro with either the optional pellet burner and/or gas burner
The Ooni Pro is a very versatile oven that is also fairly budget friendly. The base oven comes ready to burn charcoal or wood. To cook with pellets you will need to add the pellet burner and to cook with gas you need to buy the gas burner. Again, when using pellets you need a butane torch to light them.

Authentic look, medium priced, multiple set up options

Pizzaioli Authentic Pizza Oven

The Pizzaioli Authentic Pizza Oven is a beautiful and authentic looking oven. Using time tested construction methods, this oven is made in Portugal and comes with a ceramic baking dish also from Portugal. This can be set up on your counter top or built into a structure. You can also purchase with a terracotta arch, stone arch, or completely covered in stone. The outside can be painted to match your home or clad in brick or stone to match your home.

Built-in Attractive Versatility

Chicago Brick Ovens 500 or 750 Hybrid

If you want to build in an oven that’s got the authenticity of wood fired as well as the option to cook with propane then you should look at the Chicago Brick Oven CBO-500 Hybrid or the CBO-750 Hybrid

Pizza Oven and Smoker

Tuscan Chef GX-CM Wood Fired Oven

The Tuscan Chef pizza ovens are more than just a pizza oven.They have two chambers, a firebox and a cooking chamber. This makes it easy to set up as a smoker as well. The cooking chamber has two levels of cooking and with the optional second pizza stone you can cook two pizzas at one time. Or if you remove the second rack you can fit an entire turkey. You can get the Tuscan Chef GX-CM ready to put on a counter top or to be built in or with a cart.


 Hopefully this information is helpful in guiding you to your final decision. Whatever you choose you will be enjoying cooking outside and serving up piping hot delicious dishes fresh from your very own pizza oven.


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