What’s the Best Pizza Oven for Your Back Patio?
There’s absolutely nothing quite like the taste of the authentic flatbread-style pizzas that you can get in a restaurant. However, many pizza lovers have successfully duplicated that same taste and quality right in their own backyard using an outdoor pizza oven. Over the past few years, these ovens have taken the world by storm, and it’s no wonder!
There are so many great options from which you can choose! Whether you have a small patio or a larger outdoor area, there is a pizza oven to meet your needs. You can also heat your oven in various ways. Many people prefer wood-fired pizza, but great options exist for using propane or coal as well.
Keep reading to learn how to select the best pizza oven for your backyard or patio.
Do I Really Have Enough Space for a Pizza Oven?
The answer is “yes!” With so many different configurations and options on the market, a pizza oven will fit practically any space, even the smallest of back patios. Many of the options are smaller than a small gas grill and are portable and lightweight as well, allowing you to move them around your outdoor space easily or even bring them inside to use on a countertop.
For example, WPPO™ pizza ovens offer a portable option called the Lil Luigi that allows you to easily take it wherever you’d need to make a pizza—even tailgating! In addition, it has a removable chimney so that you can even store it easily when it’s not in use.
The brand Artisan offers a space-saving countertop model as well, and most of the models we carry can be separated from their base and placed on virtually any countertop that's deep enough.
So don’t let the size of your patio space deter you from purchasing a pizza oven. There really is an option out there for every kind of lifestyle and living situation.
Wood-Fired vs. Propane/Gas vs. Coal—Which is better?
As we mentioned, various options exist for heating your pizza oven, including wood-fired, propane/gas, and coal. The option you choose mostly depends on your personal preference and lifestyle. Let’s look at some of the characteristics of each.
Wood-fired pizza is extremely popular because its taste is unmistakable, and there’s almost nothing like a pizza that comes out of this type of oven.
Since wood heats the oven, you need to build a fire and wait for it to reach the proper temperature for cooking the pizza. The length of time that this heating process takes varies depending on the overall size of your oven (typically 10-12 minutes with most of our pizza ovens). However, once your oven heats up, it will cook the pizza very quickly (in as little as 2-3 minutes) and give it a delicious tasty crust.
This option is excellent for hosting a backyard pizza party when you want to cook a bunch of different pizzas in a short amount of time. Keep in mind that you can only use certain types of wood (preferably hardwood and not chemically treated) with these ovens, so you’ll need to consider the cost of the wood and where you will store it so that you can have it on hand when you need it.
You’ll find an excellent selection of wood-fired ovens through WPPO and KoKoMo Pizza ovens.
Propane/gas makes the easiest option for heating your pizza oven. Pretty much all you have to do to get started is turn it on like you would a gas grill. An external thermostat will help you keep track of the temperature and get it just right. These ovens cook at about 700-1000 degrees Fahrenheit and can also cook your pizzas in just a few minutes (typically 5-7). The hot air in the oven circulates evenly, allowing you to cook pizzas perfectly every time. Gas pizza ovens use a pizza stone for cooking the pizza. This option works great for home pizza lovers who want consistent pizzas every time with little effort. You can either use a propane tank with these or connect them directly to a gas line on your patio. The cost of operating them is about the same as for a gas grill.
If you’re looking for top-of-the-line gas ovens, you’ll want to check out our Artisan pizza ovens and Alfresco pizza ovens.
If you like the taste of traditional NY Style pizza, a coal oven might be the right choice for you. Coal-fired pizzas cook very quickly, as the temperature inside of the oven can reach up to 1100 degrees Fahrenheit. This high temperature also ensures that the crust’s outside retains a crispy texture, and the inside remains nice and soft. Coal ovens can be a little more challenging to use than wood-fired or propane-gas-powered ones because you need to take the time to heat the coals to the right temperature. It also takes practice to recognize when the coal has reached the proper temperature and when it is the right time to put the pizza in the oven. If you are new to pizza making, you might have more limited success with a coal pizza oven than with the other types.
Are Pizza Ovens High-Maintenance?
Once you’ve invested in an outdoor pizza oven, you’ll want to keep it functioning and in good condition for many years. In general, you will have to perform some regular cleaning for your pizza oven, but it’s definitely not overwhelming. Proper cleaning is essential if your oven uses charcoal or wood pellets. If you don’t perform the regular cleaning, your oven will build up soot, affecting the taste of your pizza. It may also affect how your oven operates, such as the length of time it takes to heat up.
Gas/Propane powered ovens do not require as much maintenance as they don’t create soot build-up during use. The one thing you will have to maintain with these ovens is the pizza stone that comes with them. The stone should be cleaned after every use to prevent build-up. The pizza oven manufacturer will provide specific instructions for properly cleaning the stone and the inside of the oven.
You should also take care to wipe down the outside of your pizza oven after every use to prevent exterior stains. In most cases, this cleaning only requires wiping down with soap and water or a solution of dishwashing soap or vinegar.
Your pizza oven will give you years of delicious pizza with the proper maintenance!
I’m Ready To Make the Investment! What Else Should I Know?
That’s great! Surely your pizza oven will bring you much enjoyment and many delicious meals. At Sabra Pizza™ we are happy to help you find just the right one to meet your preferences and outdoor space.
Here are some other frequent questions that we hear about pizza ovens.
Can I Use My Pizza Oven to Cook Anything Else?
Yes! Your pizza oven is a versatile tool to add to your collection. Besides pizza, you can cook various foods, including steaks, vegetables, ribs, bread, fish (like salmon), and even a turkey or chicken. A quick search of recipes will show that you can find practically endless other ways to use your oven.
What’s The Largest Size Pizza I Can Cook in My Oven?
The size of the pizza really depends on the size of your oven. A larger oven will allow more internal space for you to cook larger-sized pizzas. On the other hand, a countertop or portable model may only allow for one individual-sized pizza at a time. However, since the pizzas cook quickly in the oven, even smaller ones allow you to feed a good amount of people in a short amount of time. Typically, you should be able to cook a 12” to 16” pizza in the oven, depending on your brand and size.
Is There a Pizza Oven in My Price Range?
There are so many pizza ovens on the market today that you are sure to find one that fits your budget. For less than $1,000, you can find some good WPPO pizza ovens, like the Le Peppe or Lil Luigi. If you want to go a bit higher WPPO pizza ovens and KoKoMo both offer great models for less than $3,000. If you’re looking for the best-of-the-best, Artisan and Alfresco brand pizza ovens provide the ultimate high-end gas ovens. There are also many other brands on the market with various price points.
If I Purchase a Gas Pizza Oven, Can I Use Wood Chips in it As Well?
If you purchase a gas-only pizza oven, you should not use wood chips inside it as it could ruin the oven’s interior. Most of these ovens are not built to handle the residue from cooking with wood. However, there are some options on the market that allow for multiple-fuel options, and these you can use as either a gas-burning oven or a wood/charcoal-burning oven. If you’re looking for versatility, this option may be the best one for you.
We hope we have answered some of your top questions about outdoor pizza ovens. We know that it is an investment that requires a lot of research and comparison shopping. At Sabra Pizza™, we know that you’ll be satisfied with our selection of authentic-style pizza ovens. We also offer a “lowest price guarantee” on the ovens we sell, so you can be sure that you’re getting the best pizza oven that you can for your money. Join our email list for special offers, or contact us today if you need help deciding which oven is best for you!