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Outdoor Pizza Oven

I'm currently looking into installing a woodburning pizza oven outside on my patio. Any hounds have one? If so I'd just like to get your thoughts, how you like it, what you would have done differently, if anything? Any pitfalls you may have encountered along the way.

Thanks!

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  1. After much research on Chowhound Cookware and on various online sites I purchased the BIG GREEN EGG. Check out BIGGREENEGG.COM and read the customer feedback...I've never read such great reviews about a product. It's based on ancient Japanese clay oven technology and on it's predessor; the Kamodo Egg. Some Egg owners have had them since world war II. The Green Egg is made of thick ceramic so it maintains even heat for hours and hours. It's a grill, smoker, pizza oven, pastry oven, wok, etc. etc. It uses readily available natural lump charcoal for fuel.

    3 Replies
    1. re: amoncada

      Did you get it yet? and use it? Does it do all that stuff? I've been wondering about them. Are you suggesting a Big Green Egg in stead of an outdoor oven?

      1. re: yayadave

        Yeah, the Egg is pretty unbelievable. It's as good as they say. I'm a smokin (that is meat smokin) and grillin fool! I'm just as curious as you about the outdoor woodburing ovens. I havn't picked up my baking stone for my Egg yet. The Big Green Egg forum has a lot of positive feedback on baking pizza's. The BIG GREEN EGG ceramic design and the even cooking temperature offers a good alternative to buying a woodburning oven. The Green Egg can do sooo much so, if you're curious about slow smoking/barbcueing, then The Big Green Egg is worth a look. I'm watching this post closely for the Outdoor Brick Oven feedback!

        1. re: amoncada

          And you can get Birkenstocks in colors to match you BGE! I'd rather have the oven.

    2. There's a lot of good info on the web, I've been looking into building one for myself. My wife says I can go ahead as part of a back yard makeover, I just want the oven.

      Google wood burning oven for a start, there's an organization that even gives DIY classes.

      1. I read a piece about a year ago about building your own outdoor pizza oven. I have not done it, but the author said the weekend it was supposed to take took two. Still not bad.

        I'm talking real pizza oven - like 800 degrees. He said it made great pizza. Somewhere around here I have a book with plans in it, and I probably (maybe) have the mag too I read it in. All of which means you could probably find plans for it for free too. They're around.

        1. I built one a few years ago in my small, city backyard. I bought a book of plans from Alan Scott at ovencrafters.net and he was very helpful. Know that if you build it yourself, it is no small endeavor. I worked on the weekends with a friend or two, and it took months and months and months to get it done. Alan may also know some one in your area who can build it for you.

          I use it pretty much every weekend. Firing it takes some planning, and it gets quite hot -- well over 800 degrees if I tend it carefully. The first night I do pizzas or something else that requires high heat. (I've been meaning to use it as a tandoor but haven't yet.) The next night is a roast bird or something that requires lower heat, as the oven remains pretty hot after 24 hours -- perhaps about 300 degrees or so.

          It takes a good deal of hard wood to fire the thing, and it seems like a waste to do it for one meal. I also tend to have people over, sometimes uninvited neighbors who smell the smoke and show up with a cast iron pan and the evening's ingredients. Ovens of this sort were often built by communities for community use, as the construction is complicated, time consuming and expensive. You might see if you have interested neighbors.

          The food that comes out of the oven is fantastic, but cooking with real fire is tricky. There is a serious bit of learning and experimentation, but there are a few good books on the subject. I particularly enjoy roasted vegetables, pizza, roasted fruit, flat breads, ...

          Good luck if you decide to go down this road.

            1. Thanks for the replies and info everyone! While I'd like to think I could build one myself, I haven't got the patience for such a project, not to mention not knowing where to start. But I located a marble/granite supply company an hour from me in New Haven that sells outdoor ovens made in Italy (DiFiore), that come in three sizes. I'm looking at the middle size. I've got calls in to two masons who I'll be meeting with over the next couple of days to get an idea for the cost of the project, but I'm pretty hyped to get this thing done.
              Here is the link to the place in New Haven where I'll be purchasing the oven: http://www.tuscanyfire.com/

              1. I saw one at Spanish Table that looked really nice. I think it was this brand:

                http://www.fornobravo.com/residential...

                1. Hmmm. Very intriguing! Thanks for the info from MagnumW and RobertL.

                  1. We have a woodoven from Mugnaini in Watsonville, CA. Pizza takes alot of experimentation and alot of prep time - especially if you don't use the oven regularly. It takes about 4-5 hours of fire maintaining. Getting the perfect crust is an art. I've known people who have built their own with great results - but it is a time consuming process and requires lots of hands.

                    http://www.mugnaini.com/

                    1. Well after much thought, I decided to take the plunge and go for the outdoor oven. I will be getting the oven from Tuscany Fire in New Haven CT. Construction will commence the beginning of October. I will report back to let you know how it all works out. Thanks again for all the info you provided.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: MagnumWino

                        How long is the installation supposed to take, start to finish?

                        1. re: yayadave

                          yayadave, not exactly sure yet. I hired a mason to do the whole thing, i.e. build the base for it, assemble the oven onto the base, then face it with stonework all around. The mason is coming up in about a week to go over the project one more time, I will get an answer then.

                      2. Thank you. It sounds like a great project. I was sorta wondering if you'd get to use it before winter sets in.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: yayadave

                          That much I am sure of. I would think it will be complete by the end of October, early November latest.

                          1. re: MagnumWino

                            You are figuring on pizza. Would you be able to do bread? I doubt I'll ever do it, but I've been excited about this project ever since you posted it.

                            1. re: yayadave

                              Definately bread. Also, I know meats can be cooked in there as well, which I am planning on doing. There will definately be a learning curve involved but that will be part of the fun.

                        2. I am in the process. It is a long process, but a kick in the pants. http://myweb.facstaff.wwu.edu/chad/Fr... http://myweb.facstaff.wwu.edu/chad/Do...
                          http://myweb.facstaff.wwu.edu/chad/wa...
                          There are a few photos of it as it sits now, but I am making progress on it weekly. It is truly a labor of love and art.
                          Chad
                          PS You can do it quicker and easier, but why?

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Chad

                            Did you put some morter under that coffee mug?

                            1. re: yayadave

                              No I didn't, but that is an idea, once I get the counters in place...

                              1. re: Chad

                                I hate to use this kind of word, but that thing is marvelous!
                                Come to think of it, maybe the right word is "awesome."

                                1. re: yayadave

                                  Thanks yayadave, it is certainly a labor of love. I am having such a fun time of it. I am even making art for the wall with leftover mortar. This is Soul Man. http://myweb.facstaff.wwu.edu/chad/So... He is the product of a couple gallons of leftover mortar. If you want to follow the whole process you can go to http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/index...? Click on Brick Oven Photos and then Bellingham Bread oven. Thats me!

                          2. Hey there.

                            If you're interested in a cool outdoor pizza oven, check out the following posting I saw recently:

                            http://www.kitchencontraptions.com/ar....

                            I am interested in a pizza oven for our backyard, being it is a staple in our house.

                            1. We actually have an Earthstone gas/wood oven in our backyard. I HIGHLY recommend the gas feature. You'll use it 10x more than wood alone. We're in San Diego so year-round really is almost year-round.

                              Here's our initial blog on pizzamaking.com (great site with lots of resources):

                              http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/inde...

                              Also, if you haven't purchased your oven yet, we went through this site and saved about $1K. You have to register to use it though (Earthstone has been great with support regardless of where we purchased):

                              http://www.pizzaovens.com

                              Please let me know if we can be of any more assistance.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Paladar

                                Well, to follow up, I finally did get around to installing a pizza oven. Purchased the oven from Tuscanyfire.com and hired a mason to install it and the surrounding masonry. I've been very happy with it and the pizzas come out great! I'm extremely glad I did this. Thanks to everyone who responded with info and opinions, I truly appreciate it.

                                 
                                 
                                1. We are still in the planning stages since my hubby has a construction schedule for everything we want to do. While I was reading and viewing (Chad- you are a true artiste!) and clicking on links, I began wondering; am I to assume that all of the ovens displayed, made or for sale are wood burning or should I be specifically looking for wood burning? We want that distinctive smell, crunch and smoky flavour.
                                  P.S. Have you seen Jamie Oliver's new series, At Home with Jamie: the meat he roasts in his looks fabulous! (drooling)

                                  1. I am resurrecting this post - now we're serious about wanting one. Anyone have experience with one in the last year?

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: itryalot

                                      I did post last year --- we're now at 2-1/2 years with our Earthstone. Again, ours is a gas/wood combo which offers a huge amount of flexibility. With the gas you only need a few hours notice, with wood you really need a day, day & a half. Earthstone does make great wood-fired only ovens as well as a kit if you want to semi-build-your own. We actually visited Maurice and Jean Paul at their LA location and were very impressed with the quality and detail we saw.

                                      1. re: itryalot

                                        I just built one last summer, now I can't get rid of my nieghbours. I did go wood burning, a little more work to start cooking. You need only 2-3 hrs heat up time, but worth it!! I just got a web page going, it might give you some ideas.

                                        http://www.buccispizzaoven.mydiyweb.com

                                         
                                         
                                        1. re: sparky1321

                                          It's been 1-1/2 years since I've had my woodburning oven. It's the best thing I ever did, couldn't be happier. I've pretty much got a good comfort level as far as the pizza-making goes. I've recently expanded with lower temperature cooking having made lasagna, bread and roasted chicken in the oven. It's not rocket science by any means, just requires a little more finesse and attention, but the payoff is well worth it. You really appreciate the food that you cook so much more when it comes out of that oven. There's a big difference in turning a knob vs. building and maintaining a fire and cooking your food with it, both in satisfaction and superior taste.

                                          1. re: MagnumWino

                                            Someone somewhere told me that you are supposed to put all the firewood/heat source on one particular side (left I think) because of the rotation of the Earth. Heard that? I am off to check out sparky's website - looks good!

                                            1. re: MagnumWino

                                              Im in the process of purchasing an Portuguese Wood Burning Oven, and I was just wondering whether its better to buy an oven already made or to build one. I live in New York and I plan on having the oven outside in the open throughout the year and Im not sure whether the oven will withstand the cold weather.

                                              1. re: Nadse5

                                                If I can remember where, go to Serious EAts under their pizza tab. They have several pics and stories of people who have made their own. In fact, therle are many from your area. I am in the midwest and we are planning to make our own because of cost and because we want it to look a certain way. Apparently the can withstand. That's part of the allure for us....would love that smell in winter!