Whether you’re watching a flickering candle or are mesmerized by a crackling campfire, our natural instincts draw us to hearths of all kinds. Our ancestors used fire for warmth and light, and even for protection.
Later, hearths in family homes were central to frontier life. Picture those huge cauldrons of soups and stews simmering over open flames, lending to the expression to “keep the home fires burning.” Today’s families still gather in their kitchens and around their firepits. We inherently gravitate to this heart of our home.
And then came the outdoor pizza oven! A beautiful, brick structure, they make you feel cozy in the great outdoors of your backyard. If you’re not ready to commit to a stone-faced behemoth, there are plenty of options for portable pizza ovens.
Best Portable Pizza Ovens
The eclectic team at Wired put together a nice list of the best portable pizza ovens and say, “In times of trouble, our nation turns to carbs. We picked our favorite portable pizza ovens for backyards, countertops, or camping.”
From Amazon to Williams Sonoma to Walmart you can find just the right fit to add these slices of heaven to your menu. Whether topped with rich marinara, creamy cheeses, earthy mushrooms, tangy arugula, zesty sausage, or all of the above, there are millions of ways to customize this hand-held meal.
Building a Pizza Oven
The gurus at HGTV offer a nice step-by-step guide if you’re looking to make this a DIY project. Because it’s a phased process and there are about 20 days of cure time, this is not, however, something you can start on a Wednesday to be ready for Saturday night.
The list of materials needed may seem a bit intimidating for a DIY, but it still might be the kind of project you want to take on in time for the fall and early winter months.
To add even more flavor to the setting, you can create a dimensional experience with a flagstone path leading from the oven to a pavered patio boasting comfy chairs and some occasional tables. Define the space with tiki torches or pathway lighting. While you can pump in some music to add to the ambiance, you will already have plenty of aromatherapy to go around when that pizza starts bubbling!
Americans have embraced outdoor living as it provides a freedom you can’t find in a family room. Beside a shimmering backyard pool and welcoming deck, you can have the makings of a rustic resort that welcomes friends and other loved ones to drink in your atmospheric setting. Pairing a lovely Pinot Noir or Merlot with those crusty pies is not a bad idea either!
What Else Can You Make in a Pizza Oven?
Although most of us could rip through a nice slice of pizza just about any time, you do want flexibility when it comes to making improvements to your outdoor space. In other words, can you use that brick oven for other foods?
The chimney and masonry experts at American say yes!
There’s nothing like comfort food, but even that diet should be offset with some crunchy goodness! Veggies are naturally low in fat and calories, plus they are a super source for the nutrients that fuel you, like potassium, folic acid, and vitamins A and C.
However, since they are often submerged and boiled in water, the flavor and even the healthiness can be simmered out. Frozen vegetables that you steam in the microwave can also come across as tepid.
Esquire says, “One of your oven’s hidden superpowers is the smoldering coals that its fire leaves behind, which can be turned into the perfect bed for vegetables seasoned with choices like dill, salt and pepper, thyme, garlic, and countless other variations wrapped in foil and placed in the red-hot.”
This vegetable recipe offers up “smoky, sweetened flavor and complements it with soft cheese and toasted sunflower seeds.”
We eat with our eyes as much as we do with our senses of smell and taste. If you can capitalize on the natural color palette of vegetables, you can create something with visual sizzle!
Considered among the healthiest foods on the planet, fish is “loaded with important nutrients, such as protein and vitamin D. Fish is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are incredibly important for your body and brain.”
American recommends cooking salmon on cedar wood in your pizza oven:
- Start by warming the oven for about 40 minutes.
- Get two slabs of cedar wood after adding a splash of orange, sea salt and black pepper to the fish.
- Slide the slabs of wood into the oven and wait about four to five minutes to finish.
- Let the fish settle at the mouth of the oven for about five minutes and add another sprinkling of orange juice to extract more flavor.
Add the salmon to your platter of crispy vegetables and you’ll have a guilt-free meal that can precede a decadent dessert! (See below…)
The steak is even simpler. American suggests:
- Find a rack to hold the steaks directly over the flame.
- Drizzle a little oil on both sides of the steak, and flavor with salt and pepper.
- Add a couple of hickory nuts to add smoky flavor to the meat.
- Cook the meat to your preference.
Or how about this succulent Baby Back Rib recipe courtesy of Patio & Pizza?
Check out this Basque burnt cheesecake from Bon Appetit. They call it “the cheesecake your pizza oven was made for. Though this recipe is a little more involved, it is certainly worth it; the smoky flavors of your oven and the unparalleled ability of open flame to create perfect charring will mean this cheesecake might steal the spotlight from the pizza at your next party.”
Once you start digging for great recipes, you’ll find them! From shrimp to stone crab frittatas to peach cherry cobblers, you’ll find a host of recipes to suit your outdoor oven from Patio and Pizza.
Nothing can replace the singular flavors of a coal fire pizza, but now you can look at your backyard pizza oven through a different set of savory lenses to plan some surprise recipes for your next party. Or for whatever day next week you come home from work and wish to dine al fresco!
Providing pool and home improvement loans since 1979, Lyon Financial loves pizza… and the versatility an outdoor pizza oven provides! We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about creating your ideal backyard oasis.