publickman

Portable outdoor pizza oven

Lars
4 months ago

We want to buy an outdoor pizza oven (probably Ooni) for our patio in Cathedral City, but I am not sure which one to get. At first I thought I wanted a wood pellet one, which would give more of a wood-fired flavor, but some reviews said that the pellets do not work that well; i.e., that you have to add three boxes of pellets and that they do not stay hot very long. So I am reconsidering the gas fired Ooni Koda 16, which would be easier to control.

What experience do you have with outdoor pizza ovens? Should we just attempt to build one ourselves from a kit? We could possibly build it on this wall, since we have moved this gas BBQ to a different location:

Unfortunately, we would have a view of the neighbor's ugly back yard from that location, and I've been considering building a higher wall here to block that view.

Here's a video of someone cooking a pizza on the gas-powered Ooni:

This will accommodate a 16" pizza, and I think the pellet oven would only cook a 13" pizza, which would not be acceptable, but I'm not sure about this.

Comments (28)

  • plllog
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    I can't help with the oven, but a note on the view: There's probably a maximum height for the wall, which has to do with emergency response, but you can probably grow trees (hedges) higher. Check the local ordinances, also what will live well there.

    Re the wood fired flavor, can't you just add a few wood chips to the cooking floor?

    ETA: Does this run on a propane tank? Does it need an attachment to the house gas line? I can't find where it says (I didn't watch the video).

    Lars thanked plllog
  • Lars
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    This video shows how it is connected:

    As for the wall height, it is very inconsistent, and so the wall at the other end of the patio is two feet higher. I do not think there would be a problem with raising the height of the wall (or at least part of it) to match the other wall. As it is now, the little girl next door can peer over the wall into my pool area, but she has not done this lately, except when she climbed a tree to pick fruit. If I wanted to plant a hedge there, I would have to remove some concrete from the patio, but I might look into that as well. This is not a forever house. When Kevin retires, we will sell both houses and buy a large house in Palm Springs.

  • agmss15
    4 months ago

    I have a decidedly more rustic wood fired oven. They are great fun. I was wondering why not just buy another Egg as you are already familiar with it?

    Lars thanked agmss15
  • foodonastump
    4 months ago

    Sorry OT but the whole wall thing is just so foreign to me. Is that common on the west coast or a local thing? I see it on HGTV too.

  • party_music50
    4 months ago

    Sorry, can't help on your outdoor pizza oven. Re the wall, why is it one course shorter along part of both of those walls? I'd definitely want to block out someone else's ugly yard. You have such a nice area to entertain. :)

    Lars thanked party_music50
  • dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m
    4 months ago

    "Lars

    -------At first I thought I wanted a wood pellet one, which would give more of a wood-fired flavor, but some reviews said that the pellets do not work that well; i.e., that you have to add three boxes of pellets and that they do not stay hot very long.----"

    Get a pellet smoker tube to put in your oven. Many models to pick from. Or make one yourself.

    dcarch

  • plllog
    4 months ago

    FOAS and PM, yes, it's common in SoCal to have block walls or fences between all the houses. I think walls are more common in newer construction. Saves the squabbling over maintenance between neighbors. :) The rule in most places is that they can't be more than 5-6’ high from the ground, which is based on ease of emergency response access. Sometimes, you see that kind of partial run on top where the ground slopes, and rather than grading, they just step the wall to be in code. I don’t know if that's the case for Lars’s house, or if they were trying to get away with a little more between houses, or if the local ordinance has a different height standard for between close houses, vs, gardens, or something else. Or the builder was saving on blocks (which would imply that Lars can add to the level in the garden).

    i get weirded out In movies and TV when I see established neighborhoods, usually in places where it snows, with no fences at all. I always figured it had something to do with the snow accumulation or frozen ground. There's an expression: Good fences make good neighbors. Bad fences mean your roommate's (college) dog can slither under the fence and kill your neighbor’s bunnies.

  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    4 months ago

    We don't have fences but different environment. Split rail is fine. Solid fence backyard is fine especially with a pool. Never minded seeing close together communities with solid fences. Like NYC with backyards. The neighbors on either side could be slobs. We had nosey neighbors for a couple years but that game is over. Our worst neighbor moved, phew. He was desperate to be friends with DH. All good now. Great neighbors. Privacy respected.

    I like the Ooni Lars. I've been familiar with the brand for some time. Maybe is was a Kickstarter. ? I do like the larger dual fuel with the wood, charcoal, gas options. Large enough to bake bread and roast other meats and accommodates cast iron pans.

    But like dcarch mentioned, small tubes with chips can add smoke or even a small foil packet.

    Surprised they are backordered. Well not really as so many home comfort well designed products are out-of-stock.

    We have an Italian stacking bee hive grill that has a rotisserie but wood fired or coal only.

    Lars thanked sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
  • Lars
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    To get a BGE (or Kamado Joe) with an 18" diameter grill (minimum size for my pizza screens), it would cost $1,200, which is a lot more expensive than the portable pizza and takes up a lot more space. It would probably be nice to have, but I really want to try a dedicated pizza oven that will bake at 935° and cook a pizza in 5 minutes or less.

    As for the walls, we have six foot walls around our back yard in L.A., but I am sure that the low part of our wall in CC is about 4'-6". It is necessary to have a wall surrounding a patio with a pool, and close to 50% of houses in Palm Springs/Cathedral City/Rancho Mirage/Palm Desert have pools. Palm Springs has more pools per capita than any other city in the country - and for good reason.

    I do think the builder was saving on block when my house was built, and there is no reason why I cannot raise it to six feet, which would be nine cinder blocks high.

    Looks like I should get the Ooni Pro Multi-Fuel oven, based on Sleevendog's recommendation.

  • Lars thanked Elmer J Fudd
  • sheilajoyce_gw
    4 months ago

    We were watching today's Saturday morning CBS news show, and they interviewed a professional cook at her home. She made a pizza and cooked it in her outdoor pizza oven--in ONE minute. That oven heats to 900 degrees. It was a stainless steel free standing pizza oven. I am totally impressed with a one minute pizza.

    Lars thanked sheilajoyce_gw
  • agmss15
    4 months ago

    Oh yeah - I can get my WFO really really hot. In pre pandemic days my mom SO would like running the oven for gatherings. He likes infernos. I have cooked pizzas in anywhere from 60 seconds to 15 minutes. 2-3 minute is my happy spot. Pita bread is even trickier although fun to watch. I have made a lot of crackers. There are seconds between bread and crisp...

    Enjoy whatever you get.

    Lars thanked agmss15
  • Lars
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    Here are some more options:

    They rate Ooni Karu at #1, but it only has a 13" cooking surface, which I think is too small. I think I probably want the Ooni Pro, but since it won't be available until mid September, I have some time to decide.

  • Compumom11
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    On the topic of fences, how do you keep your pets from wandering away if you don't have a fenced yard? I'm a Calif gal who is always had fences. I think you must have at least a 6 ft fence if you have a pool.

    Lars thanked Compumom11
  • sheilajoyce_gw
    4 months ago

    I am curious. What is the price range of these 6 recommendations?

    Lars thanked sheilajoyce_gw
  • foodonastump
    4 months ago

    Compumom - I’m sorry I went tangential but to answer your question I was asking about block walls, not fences. It’s just a very uncomfortable look to me, but surely only because I’m not accustomed to it.

    Lars thanked foodonastump
  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    4 months ago

    When we were smitten by the Ooni, I did have issue with the small size. The larger pro made the most sense. Portability is a great feature. We were considering a long road trip across country. Ideal for that.

    Then last spring I was looking at side fire box grill/smokers. Ours is about 25 years old but still fine. (made better back in the day). Never pulled the trigger.Fine with what we have this season.

    Reviews seem to imply those with the larger pro have upgraded after having the smaller one for a while. They did in the past offer a bundle package with extras as well as the gas hook-up. Not sure what that means 'out of stock' with the add-ons. Don't think the gas box comes with the back order. A shame to not have that immediately with the pre-order...

    Lars thanked sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
  • Lars
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    It's difficult to know price ranges for these ovens, since the only one in inventory that I have found is the Alfa One Pizza Oven, at $1,200.

    I did go to the Ooni web site to find the Ooni Karu wood & charcoal oven listed at $329, but it is not available until mid October, and only has a 13" cooking space.

    The Ooni Pro is $600, and has a 16" cooking surface, available in September. It has an optional gas burner, but that would cost extra. I'm sort of leaning toward this one.

    The Ooni Koda 16 gas-powered oven also has a 16" cooking surface and is $500. I wish this one had a door in the front. Kevin is okay with this one, as he does not think it is necessary to use wood, and gas would be easier. We might get this one when it becomes available in September.

    We will wait until late August before ordering anything, but it might be better to pre-order, to make sure that we will get one. I don't know how quickly they will sell out again - evidently these are very popular. They might not sell as fast in autumn, however, but we would use it more when it is not summer. We could always take it to L.A. for the next summer, if we get a portable one. We keep a propane tank here anyway, for the old gas fired grill that we have, which is more of an emergency cooker for earthquake preparedness.

  • Lars
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    FOAS, here are photos of my cinderblock wall in Los Angeles:

    I have desert landscaping in Cathedral City, and I would not want to have to water this many plants there. Also, it is too hot and sunny for a lot of these plants.

  • foodonastump
    4 months ago

    Beautiful!

    Lars thanked foodonastump
  • Lars
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I ordered the Ooni pizza oven from Williams Sonoma, and it arrived yesterday in Cathedral City. I haven't set it up yet - we plan to have fish tonight (after we buy some at Gelson's), and then I will bake my first pizza here tomorrow.

    I also ordered a new pizza peel from Amazon, which was not cheap, but it is also essential. This was also delivered yesterday and I haven't assembled it yet either - we just got here late yesterday afternoon, and it takes a while to unpack, etc.

    We should probably do a video of the pizza oven. Kevin bought an additional tripod to use here - mostly for filming hummingbirds - and so we could set that up.

    We both have Covid hair now👩‍🦳👩‍🦰, as I have taken this opportunity to let my hair grow, and I haven't gotten around to restyling it.

    Forecasts for this week range from 105° to 109°, and so it may be a bit hot for cooking outdoors, but at least this oven bakes very quickly, and so it might be okay. No need to heat the pool, but the A/C (electric) bill for last month was over $400. I spend less to heat the pool in the winter, but I don't heat it that many days.

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Lars - I'm looking forward to your review on your new Ooni pizza oven and possible video. Some of the Ooni reviews I have read say that it takes a couple tries to get the hang of cooking in it. Most say that about 800 degrees for 2 minutes or so is easier than 1 minute at 900+. Do you have an infrared thermometer?

    I ordered the smaller propane fired Ooni Koda. I'm curious why you think it is too small. Since it cooks them so fast, my thought was that the size wouldn't matter much and one could cook several smaller pizzas with different toppings in a short amount of time when feeding a large gathering. I also think the smaller size will be an advantage when transporting it from home to the lake cabin.

    Lars thanked LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
  • Lars
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    My brother Kevin read the instructions for the oven, and they say that you must first season the oven by heating it for two hours on high to burn off any residues from manufacturing, and so he will be in charge of that. I am going to make a cover for it, but we will not be storing it outdoors, as that is also a no-no, and so it will stay in the garage here when we are not using it. I originally planned to make the cover today with Sunbrella fabric, but that is expensive and might not be necessary since we will not be leaving it outdoors. I think I have better uses for that fabric.

    I do have an infared thermometer here, as well one in L.A. At this point, we have duplicates of almost everything in both houses, and so you might want to consider getting two pizza ovens, so that you won't have to transport them back and forth.

    I tend to agree that 800° for two minutes would be easier than one minute at 900°, but I am also concerned about having to make multiple pizzas. I guess if they are small enough, that would be less of an issue.

    I'll try to make some this evening.

    Here's a video that I found helpful:

    You may have seen this one already.

  • barryv_gw
    2 months ago

    Lars, i have the 16, and if you make a large pie - say bigger than 14 inches, you need to watch the part of the pie closest to the rear left corner very closely, it can get charred very quickly , so as soon as it turns a light tan, I would suggest you turn it . For a smaller pie, like the one in that video, ( my guess is 10 to 12 inches ) that should not be an issue since it is much further from that corner.

    Lars thanked barryv_gw
  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    We plan to make our first pizza in it today. We've had the oven for a week now, but during that time it has been 110-111°👿, which is too hot for cooking outdoors, I think. Today the forecast is for 109°, and so we are going to try to do season it today and bake tomorrow, depending on how we can deal with the heat. It won't cool down to below 100° until next week-end😞

    I'll make a point of making smaller (~14" pizzas, but I think the peel I have is 12", and so I might have to make them that size. I have a 16" pizza screen here, and so I could bake one on that for 40 seconds, remove it from the screen, and then finish baking it without the peel.

  • Claudia W
    last month

    We made pizza, usually weekly, for years in the oven. My husband was itching to get a wood burning pizza oven, but I couldn't quite take the plunge. I bought him an inexpensive propane pizza oven as a gateway to the big league to see what he thought. Nope, it doesn't cook a pizza in 1min--maybe 4min? Great crust--LOL--we impress ourselves with the results! Very portable, have taken it on the road. Four years later we still use the "cheapie" for weekly pizza, and so far haven't looked back. This is perhaps a less expensive option ($100-150) if you aren't sure just how much you will use it. Just tossing that out there to offer another option. Good luck with the pizza!

    Lars thanked Claudia W
  • L M
    last month

    We have pizza out of the Ooni Koda once or twice a week. It’s got a learning curve (it gets so hot it’s easy to burn the pizzas if you don’t know what you’re doing) but once you get the hang of it it’s fantastic. We also have a Kamado Joe and prefer the Ooni for pizza.

    Lars thanked L M
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