What to Cook in a Pizza Oven that Will Make You the Best Chef!

Including Recipes, Tips, and the Equipment You Need

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So, you just bought a pizza oven or are considering it, and now you are wondering what to cook in a pizza oven besides pizza. 

The good news is that you can take a wide variety of delicious dishes to the next level with wood fire. 

Not only can an outdoor pizza oven add flavor, but it can also unleash your creativity when cooking. If you are still unsure about getting an outdoor pizza oven or want to ensure you are giving it the appropriate use, keep reading our essential guide. 

Here, we include some of our favorite recipes together with some tips that might help you become the next best cook on the block.

Let’s get started!

Cooking in an Outdoor Pizza Oven

Clay or brick ovens are among the oldest cooking methods. No wonder they are so versatile! 

With an outdoor pizza oven, you can be sure your barbecues will never be the same. As with most things, there are some things to consider when cooking in an outdoor pizza oven.

For starters, cooking in a pizza oven is different from using other appliances at home. You cannot set a specific temperature by turning a knob. 

Instead, the heat and the temperature will depend on how much energy the wood-burning releases. 

Don’t forget that these ovens reach temperatures higher than your traditional appliances. While this isn’t necessarily a drawback, you must be careful. 

Indeed, getting to high temperatures so quickly might make the bottom of your food (or pizza) darker than the top, which may cause smoke.

To prevent uneven cooking, you must spread the fire evenly. So do not focus on the center only. Also, you’ll have to know the appropriate temperature for different dishes or cooking methods (more on that later). 

Additionally, remember to check for irregularities in your oven’s surface to smooth out any eventual bump that might affect efficiency.

If all this information scares you, do not worry. The good news is that after a few times of practicing, you’ll master the skill of wood-firing!

Plus, a considerable advantage of using a pizza oven is the possibility to add scented wood chips to create a smokey flavor and slightly alter the taste of your meal. 

Think of all the possible combinations for creative dishes you’ll be able to make at home!

Once you’ve mastered your outdoor pizza oven, here’s what to cook in a pizza oven:

  • Steak
  • Poultry – Chicken or Turkey
  • Pork – Ribs 
  • Roasted Vegetables
  • Seafood – Fish, Shrimp, and Lobster
  • Loaves of freshly made bread
  • Stews
  • Casseroles
  • Desserts – Cakes, cookies, and brownies

Just make sure you have the perfect cooking surfaces to cook all these delicious foods, like a cast-iron skillet, roasting pan, and a wire rack.

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Temperature Scales for Wood-Fired Pizza Ovens

You’ll need to reach different temperatures depending on what you want to cook. 

As mentioned, the amount of wood you’ll load in the oven will determine how hot it will get. You can check the temperature with an infrared thermometer to ensure you cook your dishes perfectly. 

To help you get an understanding of what to expect, here are our suggested oven temperature scales:

  • To Keep Your Oven Warm – You may want to keep your outdoor pizza oven in the lowest setting. Doing so will maintain moisture and reduce drying in your food. Your thermometer should show an oven temperature ranging from 150°F to 160° F.
  • Slow Cook – To slow roast your dishes as you would on the stove, but with a twist, you can use your outdoor pizza oven. You can make pulled pork, stews, and even beans if you maintain the temperature between 200°F and 250°F.
  • Bread Baking – This oven will help you make bread that will be your new favorite! Keep your wood-fired pizza oven between 400°F and 450°F for this purpose.
  • Roasting or Grilling – As you’ll see in the following sections, you can do wonders with this type of oven. Roasting and grilling require temperatures between 500°F and 550°F. However, because of the high temperatures, your food will brown faster. 

You just need to be careful, that’s it. Chances are, you’ll have a lot of fun barbecuing.

  • Making Pizza –You may already know this, but for reference, you’ll need to heat your oven to more than 700°F to bake pizza. Cooking pizza requires the highest temperature.

However, this ensures your pizzas will be ready in a few minutes.

Here’s a quick summary of cooking temperature and time according to what you are cooking.

Cooking MethodOven TemperatureWhat to Cook
Slow Cooking200° – 250° F (95° – 120° C)Beef, Pork
General Baking255° – 400° F (125° – 200° C)Vegetables & Desserts
Baking Bread405° – 450° F (205° – 230° C)French Bread, Sourdough & Focaccia
Roasting455° – 550° F (235° – 285° C)Poultry, Potatoes
Grilling555° – 600° F (290° – 315° C)Steak, Seafood
Pizza605°F + (320°C + )Neapolitan, New-York Style

What to Cook in a Pizza Oven?

Now that you know how to make the most out of your pizza oven, it is time to get familiar with some of our favorite dishes that you can easily recreate in your backyard. 

So, are you ready to dig in?

The Ultimate Juicy Pulled Pork

Have you ever wondered how certain restaurants reach the right consistency for their pulled pork dishes? With your outdoor pizza oven, you’ll be able to recreate your favorite dishes with little effort (and lots of fun).

Our favorite recipe for moist yet deliciously crunchy pulled pork is surprisingly simple. Chances are, you already have all of the ingredients at home. 

It is a bit time-consuming, but if you have the patience to wait for some hours for your meat to reach the perfect conditions, this will most likely become your new favorite dish.

All you need is some pork shoulder, salt, brown sugar, onion, garlic, hot peppers, a couple of beer cans, and some herbs. 

Make a brine by combining all of the ingredients in a pot and bringing it to a boil. Marinate your meat in the brine overnight. 

Make a delicious pig rub by mixing salt, brown sugar, ground coffee, chipotle, and chilis. After marinating the meat, apply the rub over it and slow roast your pork in the oven. 

You’ll have to wait up to six hours depending on how much meat you are making. But trust us, the final result will be worth the wait!

Mouthwatering Baked Camembert

This simple dish will blow your mind. And this is not an exaggeration. If you are a cheese fan (and who isn’t), you’ll fall in love with this mouthwatering appetizer.

All you need is some round camembert (or brie, if you don’t like its particular taste), a clove of garlic, some rosemary, a pinch of chili flakes, and, depending on your taste, some olive oil or some honey.

Imagine putting cheese in your wood-fired oven, slowly melting it, and dripping crusty bread.

Delicious!

Heat your oven to 350°F or check the residual heat after cooking any other item and place your cheese in a pot or a container that will resist the heat, create some diamond shape cuttings, and top it with the ingredients. 

If the camembert came in a wood container, leave it there. Drizzle with olive oil or honey. In less than 15 minutes, you’ll have a fantastic appetizer that will be your new craving!

Please avoid overcooking the cheese to prevent it from re-solidifying. Remember to serve immediately with some crusty bread.

Maple Glazed Salmon with Addictive Roasted Veggies

Cooking fish, especially salmon, in a wood-fired oven can take all the flavors to the next level. 

Our favorite recipe for a mouth-watering maple-glazed salmon includes a dry cure and pre-soaking a wooden plank to add extra smokiness and keep the inside moist but tasty.

Rub some demerara sugar and sea salt together with some of your favorite spices on your salmon. 

Leave it overnight to let the flavor soak the fish. 

Before putting your salmon in the oven, remember to wet your wooden plan with maple or honey (whichever you like most) to prevent it from burning. 

Set up your pizza oven to 400°F, and your salmon will be ready in 20 minutes or so. Yes, that’s how easy it is!

Of course, this dish will not be complete without some deliciously addictive roasted vegetables. 

Here, you can be creative and add whatever vegetables you have in your fridge. To make everything more interesting (and delicious), consider creating gratins by adding cheese and bread crumbs. 

The easiest veggies to make in a pizza oven include:

  • Potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Pumpkin
  • Eggplant
  • Asparagus
  • Corn

Don’t forget that different textures and densities will determine how much you’ll have to cook them. 

Peppers, potatoes, and whole eggplant can be exposed to heat directly. 

However, if you don’t feel comfortable with that idea, you can introduce pans in the oven. No matter what vegetables you select, you can rest assured that making them in a wood-fired oven will elevate their flavors and textures to a new level. 

Making side dishes was never more fun!

You can check any of these cookbooks for more recipes on what to cook in a pizza oven.

The Essential Wood Fired Pizza Cookbook: Recipes and Techniques From My Wood Fired Oven
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Ooni: Cooking with Fire Cookbook
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Tips for Cooking in a Pizza Oven

  • Choose the Right Wood for a Pizza Oven

Only use seasoned (air-dried) hardwoods for your fires – never pine or other conifers. Hardwoods that have been seasoned, such as oak, maple, beech, birch, hickory, ash, and walnut, burn at a higher temperature, allowing your oven to heat up faster. 

  • Keep the flames burning.

Once the fire has started, add a few pieces of hardwood at a time to keep the flame alive but not raging. During this time, keep the oven door open to allow plenty of oxygen to enter.

Use wood with a diameter of no more than two to three inches; it will burn more quickly and help the oven heat up more quickly. Keep the flames in the oven’s middle.

Depending on the sort of oven you have and how well it’s insulated, it might take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes to achieve the necessary temperature (usually 700 F).

Older ovens, those with poor insulation, or those constructed by hand with brick and mortar may take much longer.

  • Evenly distribute the heat.

The amount of wood you’ll need depends on how long you cook and how many pizzas you’ll make. Make sure there’s always at least a little flame to the fire — you don’t want just smoldering embers.

Push the burning wood and embers to the left or right side of the oven, or divide between both sides, and make sure there’s always at least a little flame to the fire — you don’t want just smoldering embers.

  • Bring down the temperature of the oven

If necessary, turn off the oven.

Your oven deck may be too hot to cook on at first. After you’ve moved the embers aside, give the surface a quick test by sprinkling a handful of flour on it. The surface is excessively hot and will burn your pizzas if the flour catches fire or burns black immediately.

Correct this by keeping the oven door open for about 20 minutes and then re-testing the flour. If your cooking surface cools too much, add another layer of embers to reheat it.

Here’s a video from Ooni for Tips on Cooking in a Pizza Oven.

What You Need to Cook in a Pizza Oven

To cook in a pizza oven, you need special tools to withstand the temperature.  It’s best to avoid using pans with plastic handles as these will melt in a second.  

Suitable pans will ensure that you get even cooking and that your food is perfectly cooked.  

For example, a cast-iron pan will give your meats the perfect crust, char, and smoky flavors.

A Must-Have
Etekcity Lasergrip 800 Digital Infrared Thermometer
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Ooni Dual-Sided Grizzler Plate
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Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
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The Last Slice

As you can see, you can do wonders with your pizza oven. Hopefully, this guide opened up your mind to a world of possibilities for creating flavorful and delicious dishes from the comfort of your backyard. 

Of course, you must be aware of some of the considerations we mentioned about temperature and become familiar with the notion that food will cook much quicker. Be careful when cooking and ensure your food cooks evenly.

If you already have a pizza oven, it is time for you to experiment with new pizza recipes and other delicious best recipes and unleash your creativity. 

If you don’t, chances are this guide convinced you that investing in a high-quality wood-fired oven may be worth the price. 

Don’t be afraid of trying new things! With the right attitude and open-mindedness, nothing will stop you from becoming an excellent pizza maker (and griller, and much more)!

Enjoy!

Not a PRO? Not a Problem!

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