If you like pizza, it is a great moment to be alive. There have never been so many home pizza ovens on the market, yet none of them reach temperatures necessary for making true Neapolitan pies. If you ask around online, you’ll find that the Roccbox Portable Wood and Gas Pizza Oven is often considered to be the best of its kind. It looks wonderful on paper: the oven is sleek, produces extreme heat, and maintains and distributes that heat well. While the Roccbox’s performance is praised, the oven’s hefty $700 price tag causes some to gasp unpleasantly. We decided to buy a Roccbox and test it out by making some Neapolitan pies to see whether it was worth the money.
1. Roccbox Portable Wood and Gas Pizza Oven
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What We Like
- Flaming enough to cook a Neapolitan pizza
- Allows pizza to cook in two to three minutes
- Internal temperature gauge
- Excellent thermal efficiency and retention
What We Don’t Like
- It’s not realistic to use a wood-burning accessory.
- Exorbitantly priced
- Quite a load
A wonderful Neapolitan pizza can be made in the Roccbox Portable Wood and Gas Pizza Oven, but the presence of lighter, less costly alternatives may make you think twice.
Incredibly easy to set up
After taking it out of the box, the instructions are straightforward. Extend the collapsible legs, choose a fuel, hook up the right burner, and turn it on. Wood fires are started using kiln-dried, untreated kindling fed into a hopper and ignited with a natural fire starter. Roccbox may be used with either a 9-pound or 20-pound propane tank; just connect the regulator to the tank, switch on the gas supply, and then turn on the oven.
Hard, untreated wood is required for use with the Roccbox. Ash, oak, beech, fruit trees (apple, pear, etc.), and compacted briquettes are also acceptable alternatives. Pine, fir, cedar, redwood, spruce, and reclaimed pallet and furniture wood are all out.
Comparing the performance of wood and propane, the former is superior.
Gozney takes no side in the age-old pizza oven war between wood and gas. Roccbox comes with both a propane and wood burner, both of which may be locked to the bottom of the oven for use. In only 30 minutes, you can get your oven up to pizza-perfect temperature of 572 degrees Fahrenheit with the help of the propane burner and a normal gas ignition and control knob.
However, controlling the wood stove is a considerably greater challenge. Our best attempts at making wood-fired pizza were unsuccessful. The first major problem was that the timber was too small, but there were many other obstacles. Hardwood kindling (such as ash, oak, or beech) up to five inches long and one inch thick is what Gozney suggests. The first is that the wood must be small enough to pass through the compact burner’s hopper, and the second is that the fuel must catch fire and burn at a steady pace. Our efforts to build a fire were stalled because we lacked a hatchet for chopping down large logs into manageable kindling and because the only pre-cut wood we could locate was oak chips. Although it wasn’t advised, we went ahead and attempted using wood chips anyway, just to see what would happen; at this point, it’s probably not even necessary to describe how hopeless our attempt was. Just know that you won’t get much usage out of the wood burner unless you take the time to carefully measure and cut wood to the precise specifications that Gozney specifies.
No matter how you get there, the oven is up to the task of reaching the high temperatures necessary for making Neapolitan pizza. An analog thermometer is included onto the left side of Roccbox to inform the user when the oven is ready. The thermocouple beneath the stone fireplace causes the gauge to move, and when we compared it to our portable infrared thermometer, we found that it was spot on.
As a test, we baked pies and discovered that the oven evenly distributed heat from top to bottom. Crispy crust, juicy toppings, just the right amount of sear. Propane provides good heat retention because of the efficient heat replacement and insulation. For pizzas that required one to three minutes to cook, we flipped them every thirty seconds or so to prevent the crust from burning.
In addition to pizza, the Roccbox can cook a variety of other foods. Searing steak, caramelizing peach and onion tarts, and crisping entire fish are all possible because to the oven’s ability to achieve temperatures of up to 932 degrees Fahrenheit. While we enjoyed trying new things out in the kitchen, if you find yourself in need of some culinary inspo, Gozney has you covered with a variety of recipes and how-to videos.
The Roccbox came with a perforated peel that we weren’t too fond of, but it’s a very minor complaint. Perforated peels are used to reduce the quantity of flour that escapes into the oven or settles to the bottom of the pie. The holes, however, just served to increase the amount of flour that subsequently scattered around our dining room table.
Architecture: compact but mighty
Gozney also produces full-size pizza ovens; the Roccbox seems to be an effort to shrink down a full-size brick oven. The oven’s dimensions are 16.2 by 20.9 by 18.6 inches, and its weight is a heavy 44.1 pounds, so if that was their goal, they were successful. To make matters worse for Gozney, rivals like Ooni have shown that they can make just as good of pizzas without all that extra bulk.
We will admit, though, that Roccbox’s design is amusing. The range comes in two color options: gray and bright green. We put the latter to the test, and although it’s daring, it shows every speck of dirt and grime. All of Gozney’s aesthetic decisions are qualified in the same way. During operation, the silicon casing gets too hot to touch, yet it won’t burn as easily as metal. The stainless steel trim around the opening of the oven is aesthetically pleasing, but it rapidly becomes sooted over by the escaping flames that, if not regularly cleaned, the steel’s luster is obscured. Last but not least, a sturdy Velcro strap with a handle is given to aid in unboxing the Roccbox, but that’s all. Although the strap helps a little, carrying something that looks like a rock and weighs about 50 pounds is still a bit of a challenge.
Portability: In response, I’d rather not bother you, so thanks
We’ve already established that the Roccbox isn’t exactly portable. When you include in the weight of the oven itself, the propane tank, pre-cut kindling, pizza peel, and materials, transporting the oven becomes a significant challenge. Perhaps you don’t mind if you’re a professional caterer or private chef, but the average picnicker should probably think twice before accepting your services.
Avoid storing it in an exposed outdoor area.
Only one guideline applies to storing the Roccbox: avoid moisture. Because of this, you should store it in a secure location while it’s not in use. The high temperature inside will quickly incinerate any food remnants or other debris, so cleaning is minimal inside. All that has to be done to guarantee effective operation is to keep the burners clutter-free. If you’re using wood for fuel, be sure to regularly remove the ash from the burner to prevent a fire. You should always exercise caution while handling hot items, regardless of how long it’s been since your previous usage.
Visually, the soot constantly blackens the stainless steel front. It’s too bad, since stainless steel has a beautiful shine after it’s been cleaned and polished. It’s a never-ending work to keep it sparkling, but the oven will still function just fine if you don’t.
Cost: It’s more than twice as expensive as similarly-sized rivals.
Gozney’s frequently asked questions page attributes the high price tag of $700 to taxes placed on Chinese imports. Gozney’s rivals have seemingly found a way around this, since the Roccbox is still the most costly oven in its category. This is despite the fact that the Roccbox faces additional costs due to politics and the complications of international commerce. Even though it performs well, the price is prohibitive for most buyers.
Threat: To put it simply, Ooni
Recently, competition in the market for portable pizza ovens has heated up, with Ooni emerging as a clear frontrunner. The Koda, our pick, is the most affordable option at only $300, and it’s one of many types the firm sells. To be fair, the Roccbox does heat more uniformly and consistently than the 21-pound Koda; the inner design for a more calm, less hurried pie rotation, decreasing the frequency of excessive char. Even with these improvements and others, such as an integrated thermometer, it’s hard to justify the extra $400.
Not easy to endorse.
Despite Roccbox’s many positive qualities, we are unable to endorse the service at its present pricing. Spend more money if the color green is important to you or if you want to use hardwood kindling the size of a pencil. After all, real Neapolitan pizza can be made in the Roccbox with ease. However, we believe that the costs of ownership are too great to endure in light of the intense competition we confront.