I don’t mind if pizza remains a popular food item forever. Due to their ability to attain temperatures of up to 900 degrees, significantly higher than home ovens, lightweight, portable pizza ovens with insulated walls and a heat-absorbing stone have revolutionized home pizza baking. Because of this, you may produce a Neapolitan-style pizza with a scorched, chewy crust, oozing cheese, and crisp toppings. Plus, pies may be ready in just a few minutes, making them a convenient option for last-minute dinner preparations or special occasions. Even though I had my pizza-making routine down down with my indoor oven, I sometimes find myself wondering whether it would be worth it to invest on an outdoor tabletop oven like the Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven. The judge or jury ultimately decided that this was true. Continue reading to find out everything I’m thinking.
Stylish and sturdily constructed
The Camp Italia Artisan Pizza Oven is built with a strong rectangular stainless steel body and a beautiful, almost aerodynamic, domed top. Because of the double-walled ceiling, the feet are large and short and made of rubber, making for a solid platform and a robust overall appearance. Specifically, a traditional brick oven served as inspiration for the design. The oven’s interior is designed to allow for the circulation of heat thanks to a detachable, perforated door. Propane canisters of 1 pound capacity, or a hose of up to 5 feet in length, may be screwed into a regulator on the rear of the oven.
Because the burners run along the side of the unit and across the middle under the cordierite pizza stone, the cooking surface takes longer to heat up than the air inside the oven, but then becomes hotter; the gas flame valve is controlled by a large, red, plastic knob on the front right of the oven, and a large, easy-to-read thermometer is inset into the top of the unit.
Simple to Setup
The instruction manual’s illustration was all I needed for the easy setup. While the oven’s burners and heat deflector were already in place when I opened the package, I did have to set up the door, handle, shelf, thermometer, and gas line regulator.
Some bumps delayed me down, but I eventually worked out where the user mistakes were. Initially, I worried that the ceramic pizza stone would be too big to fit on the oven deck, but it turned out to be a perfect fit. In the end, however, I managed to squeeze everything in. As soon as the door wouldn’t fully shut, I noticed I had switched the handle to the incorrect side.
Following assembly, I took the oven to the backyard. Avoid using the oven within 10 feet of any combustible material, as per the manufacturer’s instructions. So that I wouldn’t have to go too low to the earth, I found a metal patio table that would serve as a stable, fireproof base for it. You can put your equipment and pies on a tiny side table and be good to go. A rolling stainless steel cart has proven useful for other users.
Features: Hot and heavy
The oven is not light, but nonetheless portable, at 47 pounds with the stone inside. It’s not too heavy for one person to lift, however it will be difficult due to the unit’s diameter unless they are really muscular. A 12-inch pizza can be cooked in the oven in roughly 3 minutes thanks to the 17,000 BTU technology. A temperature of 650 degrees may be reached in approximately 20 minutes, which is great for a cold day, and the oven continues to heat up fast, reaching 750 degrees after another 10 minutes. The oven’s consistent heat was maintained by keeping the door closed.
The pizza stone is composed of the same material used in pottery kilns and has great heat retention, which produces a crispy and slightly burnt crust with a little experience. The infrared thermometer reading showed that the stone was 50 to 150 degrees hotter than the air in the oven, which might lead to uneven cooking if care is not taken.
Cooking instructions and various recipes, such as ones for handmade dough, red and white sauces, and focaccia, are included in the oven’s user manual. Intriguingly, the manual recommends looking online for novel ways to utilize the oven, such as cooking fish on a wood board or making calzones.
Performed with increasing ferocity
Compared to preparing pizza in the kitchen oven, the Camp Chef cooks up pies quicker and crispier, and it doesn’t take as long to either pre-heat or reheat between pizzas as a home oven does. I generally heat my kitchen oven to 550 degrees for about an hour, and it gets very warm in the summer, so I was pleased to transfer to the outside oven.
It turned out that I was missing a few key components to properly use the oven. The use of an infrared thermometer to monitor the stone’s temperature is required. Two 11.75-inch-wide bamboo peels, a 14-inch-long rolling pizza cutter, and a long-handled stainless steel pizza spatula were included in the accessories set that I purchased (see at Camp Chef). With two pizzas loaded and ready to go at once, the peels are a must.
Because of the oven’s mobility and the propane fire, I was able to consistently produce delicious pizzas. The thought of saving the day at future block celebrations by delivering handmade pizza from my patio crossed my mind as I moved the pie from the wood peel to the oven deck. In that little time, the crust around the edges browned and the cheese melted. The bottom of the pie and the crust were perfectly golden brown thanks to a rapid 180-degree rotation with a metal peel. In just three minutes, the pizzas were devoured.
I used advice from other users to bake pies without scorching the bottom. After preheating on high, it was recommended that the heat be reduced to medium, which proved to be the most useful. In addition, I invested in a metal pizza screen to place between the sizzling stone and the pie to reduce the rate of cooking for the bottom crust when the stone temperature is too high.
My hypothesis that the high heat would result in juicy burgers and perfectly cooked boneless chicken breasts was confirmed. To get a good sear on both sides, we warm a cast-iron pan for approximately 5 minutes before adding the proteins. It was also far less dirty than using a grill.
Attempting to utilize a disposable propane canister of 1 pound capacity (the sort used for camping) in the oven resulted in some complications. In the cold and wind, the canister froze up and ceased working when the gas ran out. Similar complaints were made by other customers; I suggest either using a full canister on a chilly day or upgrading to a bigger propane tank.
Simple to clean
It was simple to clean up. I let the oven stay on for another 15 minutes to fully scorch any stray crumbs of flour or cheese, and then I scraped away the charred remnants with a stainless steel bench scraper. I took a moist towel and cleaned the outside of the oven. The stone needed to cool for roughly an hour before it could be moved to storage.
Costing a pretty penny
The recommended retail price is close to $500, making this oven too expensive for most households. Pizza chefs in training with some disposable income would like it if they are prepared to experiment with different methods of regulating the oven’s heat. Pizza makers with modest expertise who possess an infrared thermometer should be able to master the procedure effortlessly.
Challenges in Competitive Heat and Design
Tabletop models are the way to go if you don’t want to spend thousands on a professional freestanding outdoor model or construct your own. There are other companies that provide cheaper ovens, but they have less room for cooking. Because they can’t get hot enough, the cheapest models produce limp pies.
Comparable ovens from Ooni and Gozney, for example, can go up to around 900 degrees Fahrenheit. The Camp Chef’s maximum temperature of 750 degrees was enough high for my needs, and I was able to successfully singe pizzas. It took about as long to bake a pie in the Camp Chef as it did in the hotter ovens, but I only had to flip them once throughout the whole cooking process.
If you’re going to be taking your pizza oven on the road a lot, it makes sense to choose a compact and lightweight model like the Ooni Koda 12 that I ranked highest. Compared to the Camp Chef, its weight of little over 20 pounds is a significant reduction of 27 pounds. It costs around $349 to buy this oven from a store.
The Ooni Koda 16, the bigger sibling of the Koda 12, is a gas-powered pizza oven that can bake pizzas up to 16 inches in diameter, along with other, more substantial foods like bread and roasts. Plus, at little over 40 pounds, it’s lighter than the Camp Chef. Just like the Camp Chef, this oven can be purchased for $499.
The Ooni Karu multi-fuel type, which can be powered by wood, charcoal, or propane, is still another choice. A word of caution, though: pizzas cook so rapidly that they don’t absorb much, if any, wood flavor, and the wood pieces need to be a precise and rather finicky size. You can buy this oven for $349.
Gozney Roccbox: Despite being a popular dual-fuel model, the Gozney Roccbox was deemed inadequate by our reviewer because to its expensive price and the reviewer’s inexperience with cooking with wood. The Roccbox’s long legs are stylish, but they don’t appear as sturdy as those of the Camp Chef. It retails for $499, making it comparably priced to the Camp Chef.
Verdict and Conclusion
For pizza lovers who want to entertain guests outside and have strong muscles, the Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven is well worth the price and weight.
What we like:
- Stylish, modern, and stainless
- Durable, short feet designed for traction
- Rapidly becomes hot
- Capable of accommodating a lot of people
What we don’t like:
- A better chef is required to practice.
Home chefs who enjoy making their own pizza will find the Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven to be well worth the price. This fast, sturdy, portable, propane-fueled pizza oven may be a bit heavy, and it may take a few tries to get the heat right, but the end result is a delicious pizza that is worth the effort.