Nothing makes a pizza tastier than a smoky flavor, so I prefer cooking pizza with pellet ovens. But, choosing one is not always the easiest thing; you need to consider the pellets you can use, and using a pellet pizza oven takes some time to learn before you get the perfect pizza. So, if you want the best pellet pizza oven, I've got you covered with my review of four I have loved using so far.
What Is a Pellet Pizza Oven?
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A pellet pizza oven cooks pizza using wood pellets that burn in a dedicated firebox. It is a better alternative to an electric-powered pizza oven or a propane-powered pizza oven. The pellet type is also called an outdoor pizza oven because the wood pellets release smoke, so it is safe to use them outdoors with ample air circulation. If you want to use this variation, do not forget that wood pellets can cause toxic smoke poisoning.
When buying a pellet pizza oven, I advise considering a few things, the most important being the type of wood you can use. Throughout my pizza-cooking journey, I have discovered better results using seasoned hardwood pellets than green or softwood pellets.
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As you know, wood pellets are made by compressing sawdust, so picking the best type of wood is so crucial. I think pellets made from hardwoods like hickory, birch, oak, and maple provide better cooking temperatures and last a long time before you refuel.
Softwoods, like pine, burn quicker without generating good temperatures, not to mention the sticky sap they contain that releases too much smoke. So while you want to achieve a smoky pizza flavor, too much smoke can overshadow your ingredients, thus destroying your recipe.
Finally, I also recommend not getting green wood pellets. Green wood means the pellets will not be dried or seasoned enough. As a result, these pellets will take longer to heat up, and when they do, they will not offer the best heat distribution. They also release quite a lot of smoke, so there is a possibility they will affect the taste.
Now that you know more about a pellet pizza oven and the types of wood you can use, I want to tell you the best ovens to try before sharing a detailed buying guide, plus how to use the oven. So, let's get started with my top picks.
1. Ooni Fyra 12 Wood-Fired Outdoor Pizza Oven
Ooni is arguably the biggest brand name I can think of in pizza ovens, so I have included the Ooni Fyra 12 as my best pellet pizza oven. As the name suggests, this outdoor pizza oven is designed to cook a 12-inch pizza, but there are more features you will love about it.
To begin with, you want a pizza oven that heats up nicely and can contain consistent heat until your pizza is cooked. This Ooni Fyra 12 model does just that; it reaches massive 950°F (500 °C) cooking temperatures in less than 15 minutes and maintains the heat to cook many recipes. For example, according to the manufacturer, it can cook a Neapolitan-style pizza in a minute, and I'm happy to report this is true.
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For a pizza oven to maintain consistent cooking temperatures, I look at how it's made, specifically the body's materials. This Ooni comes with two clever design features that guarantee good heating. The first is an insulated carbon steel body, plus a chimney that pulls heat from the burning pellets.
Furthermore, the pizza oven allows enough air circulation to keep pellets burning, and the hot air travels through all surfaces, including the baking stones that guarantee a pizza cooks perfectly from the bottom. So, I highly recommend getting this pizza oven if you want a crispy crust.
Finally, the Ooni Fyra 12 is an affordable, portable, and easy-to-use model. I found it easy to regulate heat through the pellet firebox at the back. So, I could add or remove pellets if I thought my pizza would burn. Unfortunately, you will need patience in learning to use it, and you also need to purchase hardwood pellets and a carry bag separately.
2. Big Horn Outdoors Wood Pellet Pizza Oven
When buying the best outdoor pizza ovens, I always look for durable, easy-to-clean, and easy-to-store models that maintain good cooking temperatures for all my recipes. If that is what you want also, this Big Horn outdoor pizza oven is a good fit.
Pre-heating the oven is a breeze; you only need to add pellets, light them up, and wait 18 minutes for the oven to reach 860°F (460°C) temperatures. I suggest lining your dough for cooking a bit earlier, maybe after heating for 14 minutes, to give your recipe a nice, smoky flavor.
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This well-designed and insulated stainless steel pizza oven will retain heat and can cook a tasty pizza in about two minutes. For example, I could cook a small pizza in about 60 seconds while leaving enough heat to roast beef steak.
Besides cooking, I loved how easy it was to clean and store this oven, thanks to its design. It has folding legs that do not require much effort to assemble or disassemble. So when it's time for cleaning, I only need to disassemble the legs, then take out the pizza stone, fuel tray, ashtray, and poker. Then, when clean, I store these parts in a cabinet until the next time I want to bake.
I advise you to use hardwood pellets with the oven and remember to keep turning your pizza to prevent burning. Unfortunately, while it comes with an easily accessible wood pellet fire, it still takes a learning curve to guess the right times to add more fuel. Plus, it is a remarkably good wood pellet pizza oven, but it does not come with a pizza peel or oven cover.
3. Bertello Outdoor Pizza Oven
Not only does this Bertello pizza oven look and feel well-built, but I also love how easy to use it is. It comes in black, and you can use it with pellets, wood chunks, charcoal, or a gas burner. While I found it a bit expensive, I had a very good pizza baking time because of the following design features.
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The oven comes with an easily accessible fire tray; you can remove it from the oven for cleaning or add fuel from the small door at the top of the oven body. I added hardwood pellets, lit them up, and closed the fire pit door to retain the heat. After about 15 minutes, the oven reached 930 °F (500°C), and all I needed was to load my pizza, which cooked in a few minutes.
The oven comes with a cordierite pizza stone, a pizza peel, and a pellet scoop. It is a lightweight and portable model made with insulated stainless steel for the best heat retention. I recommend getting it because you can always make pizza even if you don't have wood or wood pellets. After all, it is a great gas-powered pizza oven, but you need to buy the gas burner attachment separately.
4. Kevirice Portable Pizza Oven
Pizza making with most outdoor pizza ovens is a trial-and-error process, and the hardest thing is monitoring temperatures. Normally, you add wood pellets, let them burn, and estimate when it is hot enough to put your pizza in. So, if you have the challenge of maintaining good baking temperatures, I present this Kevirice wood pellet pizza oven that comes equipped with a thermometer on its body.
It is a sturdy stainless steel pizza oven with a temperature-resistant 11-inch pizza stone and firebox. Of all the outdoor ovens I have tried, this model is the easiest to use when burning wood pellets. The oven's firebox is located on the side of the oven, and it comes with a stay-cool handle so you can easily pull it out to add more fuel.
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I noticed it takes about 15 minutes to reach 572 °F (300 °C), which is hot enough to cook a smoky pizza in less than two minutes. The process is simple, load the pellets, light them up, then close the oven door to preserve the heat. When the temperature clocks to the desired level, slide in the pizza dough and give it two minutes to be ready. If the temperature dips, pull out the firebox and add more pellets.
Finally, this model is the most affordable I have tried, and I love that it has a sturdy carry handle for easy portability. The only deal breaker I found is that the temperature goes low when removing the firebox, but I recommend using hardwood pellets that will last longer to solve the issue.
Ultimate Wood Pellet Pizza Oven Buying Guide
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If you still can't decide on the best pellet pizza oven from my recommendations above, here are a few factors to consider to narrow your search to your ideal model.
A good pizza oven needs to be affordable for you. So, I recommend comparing the models above to see which fits your budget. As you do so, understand that the following factors may dictate the price of your best oven.
When buying pizza ovens, it is best to understand the size of pizzas you can make with each. Some models come with a large pizza stone that can accommodate up to a 16-inch pizza, while smaller models, like the ones above, can only cook 12-inch pizzas.
c) Maximum Temperature
The best pizza ovens heat up fast and maintain good cooking temperatures. So, as you buy, look for models designed with insulated bodies, as these maintain heat and don't force the pellets to burn too fast.
My recommendations above will pre-heat to maximum temperature within 15-20 minutes, after which you can slide in your pizzas for cooking. However, if you want to maintain a smoky flavor, I recommend placing your pizza dough a bit earlier before the pellets begin to burn clean.
Finally, my two recommendations for maintaining good cooking temperatures are to look for seasoned hardwood pellets that heat up fast to reach maximum temps and to look for ovens with easily accessible fireboxes so you can add more fuel when necessary.
d) Extra Accessories
A wood-fired oven is not easy to use, especially for beginners. I recommend looking for models that come with extra accessories like a pizza cutter, thermometer, or pizza peel. The pizza peel makes pizza retrieval easy and safe, so you don't burn your hands.
In addition, ensure your model comes with a compatible pizza stone, an easy-to-clean firebox, and a removable chimney. The chimney makes heat distribution a breeze.
How to Use Pellet Pizza Ovens
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Now that you know which model to get, it's only fair I share a few pizza-making tips, so you start making tasty pizzas as soon as possible. So, here is how to use a pellet oven easily, even if you've never baked pizza before:
Open the chimney cap and ensure the oven door remains open with the pizza stone inside before adding pellets.
Add pellets to the firebox and light them up.
Wait for five minutes before topping up the pellets (if necessary), then close the oven door. It is best to wait a few minutes before closing the door to release most of the smoke.
When the pellets start burning cleanly and the oven reaches maximum temperature, scoop your pizza dough with a lightly dusted pizza peel, place it on the pizza stone, and close the oven door. I advise checking the internal oven temperature and the stone temperature before sliding in the pizza; this will help you ensure your pizza will cook evenly. The best pizza cooking temperature is about 660°F.
Turn the pizza 180° after 30-40 seconds to guarantee even cooking, then close the oven door. Rotate the pizza twice more before removing it from the oven.
It is better to leave the oven door open after a minute of cooking so the pizza will be exposed to colder temperatures before removing it from the oven. After all, leaving the door open will prevent your pizza crust from cracking when you are done cooking.
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