1. Ooni Karu 12 Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven
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What We Like
- Capable of baking a pizza in one minute or less
- Puts out a flame using wood or charcoal briquettes
- Compatible with gas adapters
What We Don’t Like
- Costs a Fair Amount
- fuel use higher than expected
- Preparation requires close monitoring
As a Result
It’s a blast to fire up the Ooni Karu 12 Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven and the pizzas come out perfectly cooked in a fraction of the time it takes with other ovens.
So that our reviewer could put the Ooni Karu 12 Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven through its paces in her own kitchen, we went out and bought one. If you want to know more about this product, read on.
A crunchy, cheesy pizza is the best food ever. Although other ovens may make great pizzas, a pizza oven is the only way to get that authentic cheesy, crunchy, and ooey pizza flavor. Pizza ovens have become a popular kitchen appliance because of their ability to rapidly heat up to the high temperature required to bake a delicious pizza.
I’ve dabbled in pizza making before, so I was excited to test out the Ooni Karu 12 Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven. I made several batches of my go-to crust and had enough of toppings on hand. I heated it up and began making pizzas after notifying the neighbors that delivery was impending. I also experimented with a couple additional options. Read on for my closing comments.
Look at that adorable robot!
I thought the Ooni looked like a strange, long-necked, three-legged robot dog when I first took it out of the package and began figuring out where the components went. I felt it still deserved a pat on the back after taking it outside, but it didn’t take long for it to transform into a fire-breathing, heat-emitting monster pizza.
The oven is made mostly of stainless steel, making it seem modern and glossy upon delivery but I had my doubts that this would last. Soon enough the inside was completely blackened by smoke and heat, and the region surrounding the firebox and chimney had begun to brown in the same way. Even the pizza stone was beginning to age and show signs of patina.
Considering its probable outdoor location, this oven will also develop a patina with time; nonetheless, it should be OK in the rain or snow. Even after being left outdoors in the snow, there was no condensation in mine. A dryness pervaded even my charred coal. Normal weather shouldn’t be a problem unless you’re in the path of a hailstorm or a tornado, but strong gusts during a downpour may force rain into the oven, so protecting it is a good idea.
My 11.5-inch wooden peel fit perfectly in the oven’s aperture, which is approximately 12 inches wide and 4.25 inches high. In this oven, you can only cook things that don’t need much height, since the hole is rather small and the flames dance over the top.
Although Ooni has cast iron equipment designed for their oven, I was able to use my own cast iron pots and pans to bake cornbread and roast hot dogs with great success.
Procedure for Establishment: Simple
It was easy to put together. It’s simple to unfold the legs, attach or remove the smokestack, and place the cap on top. The firebox may be removed and replaced with a sliding in tray that collects the ash. As an added bonus, a pizza stone may be stored inside. There is a door on the rear that provides access to the firebox for reloading wood or coal. A wind deflector is mounted at the rear of the vehicle. Mine already had the deflector on, however the instructions did explain how to put it there. To create place for the adapter that burns propane, which is sold separately, the deflector may be removed with the provided Allen wrench.
And preparing the oven for use is a breeze. The smokestack’s baffle has been left unplugged and the cap removed. The firebox is then loaded with wood, coal, or both, and lighted. Alternatively, if you have a torch on hand, you may use it to light the oven fire.
Effectiveness: Stunning, lightning-fast pizza in a flash
The day I first used the oven was also the coldest of the year. It might have been possible to wait for the weather to clear, but I was hungry and anxious. Though I had no trouble getting the fire going, it took some time to get the oven’s interior up to cooking temperature from its initial sub-freezing state. Due of my uncertainty as to the duration of this process, I continued opening the door to collect readings with my infrared thermometer.
I grew better at controlling the fire and the pizza dough as I made more. Lump charcoal was my go-to since it burned for longer, but I also used wood to make the flames that danced over the top of the oven. I tossed it on before putting the pizza in the oven.
Preheating the oven takes 15–25 minutes, depending on the weather, and I usually had to cook on chilly, windy, or overcast days. I would estimate 15 minutes for the preheating process on a hot summer day. Thanks to its high level of insulation, the oven was able to maintain its heat for a long period of time.
The firm makes the unbelievable claim that pizzas can be baked in one minute by rotating them every 15 seconds. Rather than fiddle with a timer, I decided to see how well I could judge speed by counting “one Mississippi, two Mississippi.” I worked on my counting skills until I was confident in my ability to keep accurate count.
After mastering the standard cheese pizza with red sauce, I moved on to more creative variations. The more toppings I put on the pizza, the more difficult it was to cook, but by rotating the pie every 15 seconds, I could easily monitor its development and make adjustments as needed.
The pizzas took 45 seconds to cook when I put them in the oven’s rear, closest to the fire, although I did risk scorching the crust. Those were just right for the cheese pizzas we ordered. I found that 60 seconds in the oven was ideal for the topped pizzas when I placed them in the middle. The pizzas only took 90 seconds to cook when I moved them closer to the front.
Our Test Results for the Top Pizza Peels
Vegetable toppings were cooked in so little amount of time but yet had some crunch. The outcome satisfied my expectations, but I think that steamed veggies would work just as well. I added some sausage, but I made sure to precook it so I could use bigger chunks without worrying about the insides being raw.
The smokestack’s baffle may be used for temperature regulation in addition to the front-to-back food revolving door. When the oven door is fully ajar, the fire burns with maximum speed and efficiency. When the baffle is closed, the cooking process is slowed down and more smoke is produced.
In addition, the fuel used is critical. Only using lump charcoal (regular charcoal isn’t advised) will prevent the top of the oven from catching fire. Even without the extreme top heat, there is still enough heat within to cook.
Pizza may be cooked in a variety of ways depending on the fuel and airflow used, but the best results come from cooking it quickly and at a high temperature.
Convenient portability: it aches to get down
There’s no need to worry about damaging the oven in any way by moving it, since it’s lightweight and can be carried without the front door, fuel door, or chimney. The baking stone may be taken out as well, saving some weight.
You may get a cover/carrying case for the oven to make it more easier to transport.
How to Maintain: Put it away like a grill
As for pizza, tostadas, and quesadillas, I found that 730 to 850 degrees in the center of the stone was approximately right. I utilized a lower temperature while making cornbread in a cast iron pan. The cornbread cooked beautifully, albeit the top was darker than I’m used to seeing. If I want a lighter topping next time, I may try covering it with foil.
The oven will certainly show signs of usage after some time, but I wasn’t too worried about that since it’s an outdoor oven and not a decorative item. In the inside, little upkeep is necessary between usage. The gasoline box must be removed, drained, and reinstalled after it has cooled down. The pizza stone may be swept clean of any debris before using it for another baking session. Ooni suggests scraping the stone clean of any food residue left behind from dripping cheese or sauce, then letting the oven burn at high heat to incinerate what’s left. For me, it was an effective solution.
It is recommended that soap not be used while rinsing the stone, although the stone may be removed for a more thorough cleaning. If there’s a lot of accumulated smoke and ash on the interior, you may scour it clean.
It is recommended that the oven be brought inside if it is going to sit idle for an extended period of time, but I think this is more to prevent insects from creating a home in the oven than to keep it safe from the weather.
The Cost is rather high but not outrageous
Pricing for the Ooni Karu 12 Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven is close to $349. A brick oven may be costly to install, so this is a great alternative. However, it’s an extravagant purchase for something with so little use. Personally, I still believe it’s a worthwhile investment for pizza enthusiasts who make the dish often at home.
Pizza ovens: Camp Chef Artisan vs. Ooni Karu 12 Multi-Fuel
The Camp Chef Artisan Pizza Oven, which retails for roughly $152, is an affordable alternative to the Ooni that can cook a pizza up to 50% bigger. It is designed to be used with Camp Chef barbecues, although some users have reported success using it with grills of other manufacturers. The Ooni Karu is a portable and self-contained oven, which is just what I was looking for. So long as the Ooni approves, that’s good enough for me.
A luxurious pizza oven that lives up to its name.
Pizzas produced in the Ooni Karu 12 Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven were the best I’ve ever made. The pizzas came out well, but the best part was starting and maintaining the flames. It’s a bit of an investment, but it’s well worth it in my opinion.