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lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
9/28/20 10:16 a.m.

I'm looking for info on outdoor wood-fires pizza ovens. I've been doing LOTS of interwebs research and it seems like a huge rabbit hole that I'm going down, not that's it's much of a surprise with how I tend to do things. My initial plan was to build one myself using fire bricks, but after doing some pricing on all of the necessary components, I'm thinking it's easier to buy one already done to some point.

bentwrench
bentwrench SuperDork
9/28/20 10:34 a.m.

two words

 

Traeger Smoker

Trent (Generally supportive dude)
Trent (Generally supportive dude) PowerDork
9/28/20 11:12 a.m.

Can a smoker reliably hit 750F? I am of the understanding that they are built for low and slow and some are capable of getting hot enough for grilling.

 

 

lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
9/28/20 11:38 a.m.

I have a BULL grill already and will be building a Green Egg into the downstairs covered patio counter next spring, but I specifically want a pizza oven for out in the yard near the fire pit. I built the base, poured the concrete countertop, now I'm at the stage of figuring out the oven. 

bigdaddylee82
bigdaddylee82 UberDork
9/28/20 12:00 p.m.

I think my cousin and his wife have one of these (95% sure that's what they have).

I've had delicious pizzas out of it a few times.  As they've invited us over for build-your-own pizza parties.  The first few times I had pizza out of it, they were using charcoal, but most recently they've been using propane.   They claimed that wood/charcoal was too much extra work, harder to manage temperature, and they can't taste a difference.  Granted they were about 6 months apart, but I must admit, I really couldn't tell a difference between the charcoal and gas fired pizzas.

I've got an aunt and uncle who do pizzas on their Big Green Egg, smoker, and they're delicious too.

Placemotorsports
Placemotorsports Reader
9/28/20 12:08 p.m.

You can buy them but they aren't cheap

Dead_Sled
Dead_Sled HalfDork
9/28/20 12:15 p.m.

Pretty sure mke built one a while back in his Ferrari thread.

Dead_Sled
Dead_Sled HalfDork
9/28/20 12:17 p.m.
Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/28/20 1:19 p.m.

Sorta related... My dad has one of these things:


It's an Uuni pellet-fired pizza oven. They retail for around $300. It uses food-grade pellets much like a pellet-fired smoker does. It makes EXCELLENT pizza, and FAST. There's a bit of a learning curve to it, but once you get the hang of it, the thing will cook a pizza in a few minutes! The pizzas are roughly the size of a pub-style pizza (maybe 10-12"). I think my dad made something like 10 of the things in probably a half hour. laugh

akamcfly
akamcfly Dork
9/28/20 3:45 p.m.

I have a Green Mountain pellet smoker and GF bought me the pizza oven attachment. It makes excellent pizza and gets properly hot. Hot enough to do a pizza in 4-5 minutes. The stone is 14x16" so it makes an adequately sized pizza and cooks them faster than I can assemble the next one. 

lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
9/28/20 3:51 p.m.

Outdoor area I'm putting together. I used boulders and stone that I took from around the property. Kind of looks like Bedrock(Flintstones reference). Yabba Dabba Doo!

 

m4ff3w
m4ff3w UberDork
10/2/20 9:15 a.m.

That's beautiful.

ultraclyde (Forum Supporter)
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
10/2/20 11:24 a.m.

That's really cool. Love the boulders by the fire pit.  I'm building an outdoor kitchen type area for my grill, griddle, and eventually a smoker setup but mine will be a wooden, roofed arbor kind of thing. (or, at least I will be if the damn crew ever decides to start on the concrete patio it's based on.)

lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
11/22/20 9:47 p.m.

It's been a while since I've updated this thread, but it's getting close to being finished. I ended up buying a 3-piece cast concrete unit from a guy about 1-1/2 hours away who builds and sells them. Very nice design and basically the "easy button" when it comes to a wood burning oven. I could have spend a week miter cutting firebricks to make the dome, but I don't have that kind of time in life.


 


 

I could have left well enough alone and just put the damn oven on the countertop and been cooking delicious pizzas already, but no, that would have been too easy. While looking around on the interwebs, I found a wood fired pizza oven building forum. Yep, who knew! Turns out, building these things is a thing and a bigger thing than I would have ever imagined. What a rabbit hole I've gone down with this "weekend project"!

 

It turns out that not only can you make pizza in them, but if built properly, they can retain heat for days for baking. It's pretty impressive and apparently quite scientific. So, I did LOTS of reading on how to properly build, insulate, enclose and finish an efficient oven. Along with all of that comes the hours of time and considerable expense to do it, do it only once and do it correctly. 
 

First was calculating the proper height for the opening of the oven. It's kind of important since things cook so quickly you really have to keep an eye on them. If the oven were at countertop height, you would be hunched over constantly to check on the progress. Next was beginning construction of the enclosure, which was done with metal studs due to the heat exposure. That part was pretty easy, just some tin snips and self-tappers. Then the science comes into play. I installed 4" of calcium silicate heat insulation board under the oven base. This allows heat to be retained in the oven bottom and not soak into the countertop. I then had some friends help carry the 3 pieces of the casting and set them into place. Once the 3 pieces were mortared together, the whole dome was wrapped in 2" of ceramic blanket insulation which is heat resistant to 2300*. The insulation isn't cheap, but if you're going to do it right, it's a must. 
 


 


 


 

After this, it's time to enclose the structure in 1/4" Hardie Backer Board(cement board) and figure out how to finish the exterior.

 


 


 


 

After the entire thing was "glued and screwed" together, I asked questions to the pizza building forum gods and they suggested that filling the void with loose insulation would help even more with heat retention. So, out comes the saw to cut a few holes in the roof. I bought a few bags of Perlite and proceeded to fill the entire cavity as much as was possible.



 

Now it's time to make it look good. Since the traditional ovens were made of brick, I wanted that look. I found and bought a pallet of "vintage" reclaimed bricks.  They came from the Lehigh Railroad repair garage in Sayre, PA that was built in 1903. 


 

Here comes the fun part. It's time to try my hand again at masonary work. This won't be pretty I can assure you, but will look "vintage".

 


 


 

The weather was nice yesterday and we got most of the brick work was completed. I forgot to take pix and it was dark by the time I finished. Hopefully we get some decent weather tomorrow and Tuesday and there's an outside chance I can get the masonary work done. Fingers crossed.

 

m4ff3w
m4ff3w UberDork
11/30/20 3:11 p.m.

Have you more updates?

lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
11/30/20 5:06 p.m.

Yep, done, done and done!

With the limited window of good dry weather, I was getting as much done as I could but knew I wasn't going to get it done. I called at least a dozen friends, business acquaintances and local contractors looking for a mason. It was Friday afternoon at 1pm and I needed someone to show up the next morning to work. Yea, good luck with that I figured. That was until the last phone call when a local masonary contractor said he had 2 young bricklayers on a job site who might be willing. He made a call and to my surprise Alex called me back and was available to work all day Saturday. We worked well together and were able to get all of the horizontal brick work done by dark. The next day I finished the stonework on the front and the first row of fieldstone roof tiles. It took until this past Friday to get another good day to finish the roof and point the stone facia. I spent yesterday doing the stone chimney, cap, damper and vent. By the end of yesterday it was completely done and the whole area cleaned up. 
 

Unfortunately I don't know if I'm going to have enough good weather to do the initial curing/firing. It takes 5 days to do correctly and I don't know if there will be a string of 5 nice days to get it done. I'm happy that it's done and I would be fine with just building a wooden frame, covering it with some EPDM rubber roofing and letting it sit under cover until spring. We shall see what happens, but the difficult, time consuming and unexpectedly expensive project is done at this point.

It actually looks better than I had planned. When I bought the 3-piece casting, my plan was to just cover it with fieldstone and being done with it. Turns out there is a whole lot of science and physics that goes into these ovens. Who knew?!? After doing a lot of reading, insulating the dome both above and below is the key to these ovens retaining heat. Since I wanted to only do this one and do it right, the whole direction of the build had to change. That's how I ended up with a "dog house" over the insulated dome.

 

Its probably boring to most, but I've learned a bunch building this, so if anyone is thinking about doing one, let me know if you have questions. Maybe I can point you in a direction or to a forum where you can ask questions.


Last pic is the view from in front of the oven.

 


 


 


 

m4ff3w
m4ff3w UberDork
11/30/20 7:56 p.m.

It looks great.  I'd like to do something when we buy our house in 2ish years.

thedoc
thedoc Reader
11/30/20 8:20 p.m.

Wow.  The drive, intelligence and sheer ingenuity of this group is astonishing.  My first thought was that there is someone here who rents the grill.  You guys make me feel so lazy.

Pardon the pun, but well done, man.

lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
11/30/20 8:27 p.m.

Well, when I was doing the research for my oven build, I stumbled upon This wood fire pizza oven forum.

 

I knew that there was no way I was ever going to find the time to build a real brick oven. I cheated, hit the "a easy button" and bought a 3-piece kit. There were numerous builds that I just sat back and was in awe of. Check out what this guy put together.

 

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipNf5j0HlyZfvinMCjTE6zUZyZ0Wdqd_ppDKOWukUXOTQUbvWiWNeRGhvNtdgdSJyw?key=Q0hZdGh3eWw1bElWMDhKcTdEN2JneXVXc3hVNHd3
 

That's a lot of damn work!

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
11/30/20 9:39 p.m.

When my Dad was in his last year he had a feeding tube only and loved to talk about food especially pizzas and what's required to get those high temperatures.  

He would've loved to study up on the pizza oven forum.  

Placemotorsports
Placemotorsports Reader
12/11/20 7:45 a.m.

That is amazing, be super cool to have one of those but definitely looks like a lot of work

Grtechguy
Grtechguy MegaDork
8/19/21 5:12 a.m.

That is incredible and I may be a bit jealous of your property view

lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
1/9/22 12:24 p.m.

Well a bit of an update since I forgot about this thread until I rec'd a message about it. I got the oven finished/cured, the counter and masonary work completed and the yard/fencing/grass/lights all done. We were able to use it all summer and fall with great results. It's amazing how many of your family friends will show up to a weekend evening pizza party! It's pretty cool but certainly not easy. The oven takes 4 hours to get up to the proper cooking temperature of 650* on the floor and "a clear" the roof. It's a process of small fires and slowly building them so as not to crack the dome due to thermal expansion. Not fun to have to sit there and "babysit" the fire, but it is relaxing and a nice time to enjoy a few adult beverages. "IF" we ever move(unlikely), the next house will, with 100% certainty, have another outdoor wood fired oven. It's been a great experience and we will continue to learn how to use it for years to come. Now I need to start making my own pizza dough, which is another rabbit hole to go down eventually.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
1/9/22 1:10 p.m.

Great work. But how does it bake?  

lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
1/9/22 7:06 p.m.

It does pizza very well. Luckily I have several friends with Italian/pizza restaurants and a cousin with a wood-fired pizzeria, so I've had people to bounce questions off. I found that the Wegman's white pizza dough has the right hydration for the oven running at 650*+ and is our "go-to" crust . Figuring out the sauce flavor profile was just a bit of experimentation(tomatoes, seasonings, salt, sugar) but the cheese was difficult part. The store bought "bag 'o mozzarella cheese" doesn't work. I was told that it has some sort of "anti-caking" agent which doesn't allow it to melt, it just burns. I ended up at the local restaurant supply and getting a mozzarella/provolone/asiago blend that everyone liked. 
 

After the assembly and once it's in the oven you better be attentive. It only takes 2-1/2 to 3 minutes to cook and needs to be turned several times so the side toward the fire doesn't burn. Turning it 90* every 30 seconds seems to yield an evenly cooked pie. 
 

At the end of the night, if there's any dough left, I make cinnamon buns in a cast iron pan. Stretch the dough out very thin, spread melted butter on the whole thing, add a layer of sugar/cinnamon mix and roll it into a long tube. Slice it up, stack them in the pan, drizzle any remaining butter on top and slide it in the oven. 5-6 minutes later and you get a delicious hot dessert which actually goes pretty well with wine and beer. Who knew!

 

Supposedly these ovens bake wonderful breads and stuff. After the fire is out and with just the charcoal bed left inside, the whole oven is so well insulated that it will retain heat at a baking level for 24 hours! I haven't done any baking in it but will be trying it next season.

 

***** If there's anyone that ever makes it to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area, there's always an open invite to our place. If the weather cooperates, pizza and adult beverages on me! Seriously, reach out if local. *****

 

 

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