Pizza is one of the most popular dishes all over the world, and having the perfect outdoor pizza oven can bring your pizza experience to a whole new level. Outdoor pizza ovens not only provide you with delicious pizzas but also add a unique touch to your backyard. With so many outdoor pizza oven options in the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the best one. In this guide, we will take you through key factors to consider when selecting an outdoor pizza oven for your home.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Outdoor Pizza Oven
1. Size and Capacity
Before purchasing an outdoor pizza oven, it’s essential to consider its size and capacity. Firstly, you should think about the amount of space you have in your backyard to accommodate the oven. Also, you need to decide how many people you want to serve, such as your family or guests. If you have a large family or regularly host gatherings, you will probably need a bigger oven to cater to your pizza needs. When choosing oven size, you’ll also want to consider the oven’s weight, as some ovens can weigh up to thousands of pounds, making it hard to move around or make structural adjustments to your patio or backyard.
2. Type of Fuel
The type of fuel you choose has a significant impact on your pizza’s taste and quality. The most popular fuel types for outdoor pizza ovens are wood, gas, and pellet. Wood is the traditional fuel source and provides a unique smoky flavor to the pizza. It’s also eco-friendly, affordable, and widely available. Gas ovens, on the other hand, are convenient and easy to use. With a gas-powered oven, there is no need to chop wood, and you can start cooking your pizza within minutes. Pellet ovens are electric wood-fired ovens that use wood pellets, which are more environmentally friendly than wood or gas. They provide a smoky flavor similar to wood, but with more convenience.
3. Construction Material
Outdoor pizza ovens come in various materials, such as brick, stone, clay, and metal. The material you choose should be able to withstand high temperatures and last long enough to provide value for money. Brick ovens are a popular choice and provide an authentic traditional look. However, they require more maintenance than other materials, such as cleaning, seasoning, and insulation. Stone ovens are long-lasting and heat evenly, making them ideal for baking pizzas. Clay ovens are also great for pizza making, but they require more time to preheat and cook the pizza. Metal ovens are light, easy to maneuver, and durable for outdoor use.
4. Temperature and Heat Distribution
The ideal temperature for a pizza oven is between 700°F and 800°F. Therefore, it’s important to choose an outdoor pizza oven that can reach and maintain these high temperatures. Equally important is even heat distribution, ensuring that your pizza cooks evenly, with no hot or cold spots. Some ovens come with insulation, which keeps the heat in, allowing the oven to reach the desired temperature faster and keep it there for longer.
5. Additional Features
Finally, you should consider any additional features that come with the outdoor pizza oven. Some ovens come with cooking accessories, such as pizza peels, which make it easier to slide the pizza in and out of the oven. Others have built-in thermometers, which allow you to monitor the oven’s temperature without opening the door. Some pizza ovens come with a stand or base that raises the oven off the ground, which can make it easier to use and provide better cooking outcomes.
Types of Outdoor Pizza Ovens
1. Traditional Wood-Fired Pizza Ovens
Wood-fired pizza ovens are the most popular type of oven and are preferred by many pizza enthusiasts due to their rustic quality, smoky flavor, and quick cook time. A wood-fired oven uses wood as fuel and can reach temperatures up to 800°F. It usually takes 2-3 hours to heat the oven to the required temperature. However, the oven will retain the heat for several hours, allowing you to cook multiple pizzas consecutively.
2. Gas Pizza Ovens
Gas pizza ovens are an excellent option for those who are looking for convenience and speed. These ovens heat up quickly and are easy to use. They also require minimal maintenance compared to traditional wood-fired ovens. With gas ovens, there is no need for chopping wood or starting a fire, and there is no ash or smoke to clean up. While gas ovens don’t provide a smoky flavor like wood-fired ovens, they still bake delicious pizzas with a perfectly crispy pizza crust.
3. Pellet Pizza Ovens
Pellet pizza ovens use compressed sawdust pellets to create a consistent fire that produces the perfect pizza every time. These ovens are electric, and the pellets ignite automatically with the push of a button. Temperature control is easy since the oven comes with a built-in digital thermostat which makes it easier to cook your pizza to perfection.
4. Electric Pizza Ovens
Electric pizza ovens are easy to use and can be used indoors or outdoors. These ovens come with a heating element that ensures the heat is consistent, and the oven heats up quickly. Electric pizza ovens are best suited for people who want convenience over authenticity.
Care and Maintenance
Once you have purchased an outdoor pizza oven, it is essential to carry out regular maintenance to ensure it lasts for years to come. Here are some maintenance tips to keep your oven in great condition:
1. Cleaning the Pizza Oven
Many outdoor pizza ovens are made of porous materials such as brick or stone, which means they can accumulate oil and grease over time. Therefore, cleaning your pizza oven regularly, after every use, is essential. Begin by removing any remaining ash, leftover food debris, and grease using a brush. You can use a mild detergent or warm soapy water to wash the oven walls and floor. Avoid harsh chemicals or high-pressure washers, as they can damage the oven’s material.
2. Seasoning the Oven
Seasoning an outdoor pizza oven involves heating the oven to a high temperature (around 600°F). During this process, the oven will produce some smoke, hence the name “seasoning.” The smoke eliminates bacteria and excess moisture, eliminating the chance of mold forming inside the oven. This process also prepares the oven for pizza baking, and it’s therefore recommended to season your oven after installation, and every time you clean it.
3. Protecting the Oven from the Elements
Protecting your outdoor pizza oven from the elements is essential, especially during the cold and rainy seasons. Invest in a weatherproof cover that fits your oven, and cover it when not in use. This will protect the oven from moisture damage and help to preserve it for longer.
Investing in an outdoor pizza oven is a fantastic way to enjoy delicious, homemade pizza with family and friends. When choosing the right oven, it’s important to consider factors such as size, fuel type, construction material, heat distribution, and additional features. Once you have your oven, it’s important to maintain it to ensure it lasts for years to come.
Q. What is the best type of fuel for an outdoor pizza oven?
A. The best type of fuel for an outdoor pizza oven depends on individual preferences. Wood-fired ovens provide a unique smoky flavor, while gas and pellet ovens offer convenience.
Q. How long does it take to heat an outdoor pizza oven?
A. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours to heat an outdoor pizza oven, depending on the type of oven and type of fuel used.
Q. How often do I need to clean my outdoor pizza oven?
A. It’s recommended to clean your oven immediately after every use. However, if you use your oven frequently, it’s best to clean it once a week.
Q. Can I use my outdoor pizza oven to cook other types of food?
A. Yes, outdoor pizza ovens can be used to cook a variety of different foods, such as bread, meat, vegetables, and fish.
Q. Are outdoor pizza ovens portable?
A. Some outdoor pizza ovens are portable, while others are built-in, meaning they cannot be moved from one place to another. It’s important to consider the oven’s weight and portability when choosing an outdoor pizza oven.