Outdoor Pizza Oven – Build It Yourself Or Buy One?

Outdoor cooking is experiencing a true renaissance these days — almost every backyard or garden has its own grill. But that’s not all — outdoors pizza ovens are also a popular option for backyard kitchens. Despite pizza in their name, they’re versatile cooking tools which can be used to prepare a wide variety of baked and roasted meals. What are the benefits of owning one of those? What kind of a pizza oven can you get and what are the pros and cons of those types?

Why is a pizza oven worth owning?

As a flat floored oven with domed cooking chamber made from fire bricks, ceramics or thick layers of clay, a pizza oven can accumulate a lot of heat, which allows it to get really hot (even above 500°C). This means that it can be used not only for crispy pizzas, but also anything that can be baked, cooked, grilled or roasted. For example, barbecued meat, grilled cheese, steaks, grilled seafood, roasted fish, bread and pies. The accumulated heat radiates for a long time, allowing for slow cooking even after the main dish is done. While the oven is cooling down, the leftover heat can be also used for low-temperature cooking. Pizza oven can be gas, charcoal or wood-fired. As you can see, it’s way more versatile than simple grills.

You can build your own oven or buy one (e.g. in easy to assemble oven kit). Pizza oven kits or ready-made pizza ovens can be bought in specialised shops, which can be easily found on the Internet. Which is cheaper? The cost of building one from scratch is rather comparable with buying a pizza oven kit. Unfortunately, buying an already assembled one is the most expensive, although the most convenient, option.

Pros and cons of building/buying pizza oven

There’s no doubt that any pizza oven is a great boon for every fan of home-made food. The real dilemma is building or buying one. Here’s a summary of pros and cons of both options.

Building a pizza oven

This option is especially popular among DIY enthusiasts, as they can make their own designs practically all by themselves. These traditional, masonry constructions are widely considered as the best way to cook pizza, as it enables you to get it really crispy. Unfortunately, it has one major setback — setting up one of those can be very time-consuming (e.g. clay and bricks wood-fired pizza oven will need about a month, depending on the weather).

Pros:

  • Almost unlimited design possibilities.
  • Can be set up even in places with limited access.
  • Able to reach very high temperatures (even above 500°C).
  • Ideal for low-temperature and slow cooking.
  • DIY versions may be cheaper, depending on the materials used.
  • Traditional masonry ovens are considered best for cooking pizza.
  • Building one yourself can bring you a lot of satisfaction.

Cons:

  • Requires quite some space.
  • Relatively long heat up time.
  • Can be highly fuel-consuming (depending on size and desired temperature).
  • Takes a lot of time to set up properly.
  • Doing a DIY version may be risky and require some skill.

Buying a Pizza Oven

Prefabricated modules (made from refractory, heat-resistant materials) found in an oven kit are easy to assemble. Although the interior is fixed, there’s still a lot of freedom in exterior design. Domes of those modular ovens are about half as thick as traditional masonry ones, which makes them heat up faster. Buying already assembled one is the quickest way to set up an outdoor oven in your backyard, but they don’t give any customisation options and can’t be easily put in places with limited access. They’re also quite costly.

Pros:

  • Quick installation (especially already assembled ones).
  • Many exterior options (oven kit ones).
  • Great balance between temperature stability and heat-up time.
  • Lower fuel consumption and shorter heat-up time (compared to traditional ovens).
  • Can reach very high temperatures (about 485°C and up).
  • Way more convenient than building.

Cons:

  • DIY oven kit versions can be risky (depending on skills).
  • Can’t be moved after installation.
  • Already assembled ones are costly.

Outdoor wood-fired oven – Building or buying?

In general, it’s mostly a matter of personal preferences and convenience. If you simply want to enjoy the benefits of owning a pizza oven, buying is a more viable option. But if you have a knack for DIY projects and want to do everything yourself, you should consider building it, based on your own personal project. No matter which path you take, owning a wood-fired pizza oven will bring you tasty food and a large dose of satisfaction.