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OT: Woodburning Pizza Oven Question

Okay so we decided to pull the trigger on something we wanted to do since moving into our new house 3 years ago, and that’s build an outdoor kitchen/entertaining area. The kitchen area is going to consist of a bricked in bar area semi enclosing half of my L shaped patio that will include a built in spot for my big green egg and black stone griddle. I also want to add a wood burning pizza oven to the area as well. I recently got an Ooni Koda and it’s been great but makes me want to step up my game and this is a perfect opportunity. 

Anyway, onto my question. The contractor recommended the Forno Pronto pizza oven. I was wondering if anyone here had any experience with this brand and any reviews? I also looked at the Alfa One pizza oven. I didn’t see much difference between the two but wanted to see if anyone had any advice either way. 

Also as a related question, how difficult is it to cook on one of these things? I imagine there would be a learning curve similar to going from an egg to a stick burner but just wanted some thoughts. How difficult is it build and maintain a fire in one of these things? 

Comments

  • HeavyGHeavyG Posts: 7,718
    There are a few people here who can help you with your questions but I would also suggest you hop over to the pizzamaking forum and do some reading - https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php#c1

    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” ― Philip K. Dik
    "...For while we have our eyes on the future
    history has its eyes on us..." Amanda Gorman

    Camped out in the (757/948/804)




  • SciAggieSciAggie Posts: 6,319
    I have Forno Bravo Casa2 oven. It’s one of the best things I ever did installing it in my kitchen. 
    I have no knowledge about the FB Pronto oven. As far as building and maintaining a fire - it’s no big chore. 
    Are they difficult to cook in? No - there is a learning curve. You’ll burn a few things in the beginning. Times in recipes become irrelevant- you’ll cook by sound, smell, and sight as much as time. 
    If I were to be restricted to one cooking device for the rest of my life I’d choose a wood oven. 
    Coleman, Texas
    Large BGE & Mini Max for the wok. A few old camp Dutch ovens and a wood fired oven. LSG 24” cabinet offset smoker. There are a few paella pans and a Patagonia cross in the barn. A curing chamber for bacterial transformation of meats...
    "Bourbon slushies. Sure you can cook on the BGE without them, but why would you?"
                                                                                                                          YukonRon
  • SonVoltSonVolt Posts: 2,680
    edited February 20
    If you're looking for full-size stainless Pizza Ovens, Fontana is at the top of heap. They're an Italian brand that's been in business since the '40s. Their US distributer is a local family run business out of South Carolina and were an absolute pleasure to deal with.  I ended up getting the Fontana Marinara last December and the build quality is outstanding. It took 4 grown men and 1 spotter to move it into place if that gives you any indication on the heft. The only bad thing is I received it right before winter so I haven't put many miles on it yet.  

    https://eggheadforum.com/discussion/comment/2566518#Comment_2566518

    https://www.fontanaforniusa.com/

    They also have a great YouTube channel full of recipes, techniques and instructional videos on how to use your oven. 

    https://www.youtube.com/c/FontanaForniUSA/videos
    South of Nashville  -  BGE XL  -  Alfresco 42" ALXE  -  Alfresco Versa Burner  - Sunbeam Microwave 
  • DainWDainW Posts: 96
    SciAggie said:
    I have Forno Bravo Casa2 oven. It’s one of the best things I ever did installing it in my kitchen. 
    I have no knowledge about the FB Pronto oven. As far as building and maintaining a fire - it’s no big chore. 
    Are they difficult to cook in? No - there is a learning curve. You’ll burn a few things in the beginning. Times in recipes become irrelevant- you’ll cook by sound, smell, and sight as much as time. 
    If I were to be restricted to one cooking device for the rest of my life I’d choose a wood oven. 
    I’m intrigued by the ability to cook other things, namely breads and pies, that’s sort of thing in it. How difficult is it to control heat in one of these things? I mean, it seems like it’s easy enough to get it to get it super hot to cook pizzas, but what if you wanted to run it at say 400F? Is that hard to do? 
  • DainWDainW Posts: 96
    SonVolt said:
    If you're looking for full-size stainless Pizza Ovens, Fontana is at the top of heap. They're an Italian brand that's been in business since the '40s. Their US distributer is a local family run business out of South Carolina and were an absolute pleasure to deal with.  I ended up getting the Fontana Marinara last December and the build quality is outstanding. It took 4 grown men and 1 spotter to move it into place if that gives you any indication on the heft. The only bad thing is I received it right before winter so I haven't put many miles on it yet.  

    https://eggheadforum.com/discussion/comment/2566518#Comment_2566518

    https://www.fontanaforniusa.com/

    They also have a great YouTube channel full of recipes, techniques and instructional videos on how to use your oven. 

    https://www.youtube.com/c/FontanaForniUSA/videos
    Man those look awesome and the pizza you made on that thread looks great. Probably a little to big for me space wise with where this oven is going and honestly, a little bit out of my budget for this build. I just got the Ooni Koda in December and my wife already thinks it’s a waste to be upgrading so soon lol. That being said, that looks like a really nice oven. 

    This is the model I’m looking at. Besides size, I’m wondering if there is functionally much difference? Not really sure what I’m looking for exactly when trying to decide the quality of one of these things. 

  • SciAggieSciAggie Posts: 6,319
    DainW said:
    I’m intrigued by the ability to cook other things, namely breads and pies, that’s sort of thing in it. How difficult is it to control heat in one of these things? I mean, it seems like it’s easy enough to get it to get it super hot to cook pizzas, but what if you wanted to run it at say 400F? Is that hard to do? 
    Control is a relative term. You have to fully saturate the oven with heat and then allow it to cool to your desired temp for whatever you are cooking. The rate of cooling depends on the overall mass of the oven and the amount of insulation. The good news is that the cooling curve is predictable. Once you get to know your oven you can plan backwards to know when to fire it. 
    I can make pizzas on Friday night, biscuits the next morning, bake that afternoon, then slow cook beans the next night with one firing. 
    With a bit of practice you can build a small fire or add briquettes to “boost” the temp a bit if needed. 
    It’s all part of the fun. 
    Coleman, Texas
    Large BGE & Mini Max for the wok. A few old camp Dutch ovens and a wood fired oven. LSG 24” cabinet offset smoker. There are a few paella pans and a Patagonia cross in the barn. A curing chamber for bacterial transformation of meats...
    "Bourbon slushies. Sure you can cook on the BGE without them, but why would you?"
                                                                                                                          YukonRon
  • DainWDainW Posts: 96
    I see that makes a lot of sense. I would imagine a stainless steel version probably doesn’t hold heat like that though does it? The trade off is I would also imagine yours maybe takes a bit longer to heat up? 
  • SciAggieSciAggie Posts: 6,319
    Yeah, I don’t know anything about the Pronto oven. Mine takes about 3-4 hours to fully saturate it with heat. I can cook in it after 3 hours or so (pizzas)
    Coleman, Texas
    Large BGE & Mini Max for the wok. A few old camp Dutch ovens and a wood fired oven. LSG 24” cabinet offset smoker. There are a few paella pans and a Patagonia cross in the barn. A curing chamber for bacterial transformation of meats...
    "Bourbon slushies. Sure you can cook on the BGE without them, but why would you?"
                                                                                                                          YukonRon
  • SciAggieSciAggie Posts: 6,319
    The flip side is, how long does it really need to stay hot? If you want to roast a chicken at 375 degrees- how long does that take? Will your oven retain heat long enough to do what you want? If you manage it well my guess is that a less massive oven holds heat “long enough.”
    Coleman, Texas
    Large BGE & Mini Max for the wok. A few old camp Dutch ovens and a wood fired oven. LSG 24” cabinet offset smoker. There are a few paella pans and a Patagonia cross in the barn. A curing chamber for bacterial transformation of meats...
    "Bourbon slushies. Sure you can cook on the BGE without them, but why would you?"
                                                                                                                          YukonRon
  • SonVoltSonVolt Posts: 2,680
    edited February 20
    There's pros and/or cons to the stainless ovens depending on what you consider good or bad. They get up to 900F in ~25 minutes and cool back down in ~4-5 hours. That's a pro for me, but others may want several days worth of stored heat.  One day when I have a dedicated space like SciAggie I'll build a permanent masonry oven. Until then I'm beyond pleased with the compromises. 
    South of Nashville  -  BGE XL  -  Alfresco 42" ALXE  -  Alfresco Versa Burner  - Sunbeam Microwave 
  • jdMyersjdMyers Posts: 484
    My 02 cents.  I went thru the exact same thing.  Built a massive curved L shape out door cook space with egg, gas grill, burner, fridge and wood burning pizza oven.  Natural gas, electric, music, and jumbo tron movies with subs.  Im in ohio where the snow and below zero is very hard on some of the Portuguese brick ovens.  The meaningless surface cracks, touch up work, and overall maintenance was too much dor me.  I spent a year researching them.  The brick ovens hold heat temp for days.  But I also found I dont use mine everyday to need it.      I built my station for a 1500 lbs brick oven.  But then wanted the forno Bellagio 500.  The problem was the 6 week wait to get it vs cost and availability of parts.  Settled for the alfan4 pizze.  Got it in 2 days.  Cheaper.  5 inch dofference.  The ability to crank out pizza faster than I can make them is for sure.  

    Heats up fairly fast holds heat averagely ok.  I woukd say any of the stainless models hold heat similarly.  Cooks are amaizing and ive never looked back.  The only reason I wanted the forno because it came in black.  The. I REALIZED THE sun made it hot as hail when not in use.  I learned sooo much doing my wntire project.  If i can help information is yours.

    Draw it out, think of every thing and run it all even if you dont need it.


    Columbus, Ohio
  • jdMyersjdMyers Posts: 484
    Ref building the fire and maintaining it.  Dont use starter logs, sapwoods or wax.  Once you get a small kindling lit add a log.  Slide it all over to the side.  Within 20 min maybe 30 its a roaring fire ready to cook.  Learning curve but extremely fun.  


    Columbus, Ohio
  • jdMyersjdMyers Posts: 484

    Lots of space tho


    Columbus, Ohio
  • DainWDainW Posts: 96
    @jdMyers that’s an awesome set up you have there. I think remember reading your thread about this kitchen. Didn’t you do this pretty much all yourself? 

    Thanks for the input on pizza ovens. I’m pretty excited to get rolling with one of these. 
  • Stupid question but is there a type of wood that works best? Is it like the eggs where the type of wood used can impact the flavor? I've been looking at putting in a woodfired oven with my outdoor kitchen project but have a lack of quality wood available.  Lots of pine but not a lot of hardwood options at a good price.
    Parker, Colorado
  • SciAggieSciAggie Posts: 6,319
    I would burn hardwood for sure. In my experience you get almost zero wood flavor from a wood oven. The way they are designed the smoke rolls over the top and out the chimney. 
    Coleman, Texas
    Large BGE & Mini Max for the wok. A few old camp Dutch ovens and a wood fired oven. LSG 24” cabinet offset smoker. There are a few paella pans and a Patagonia cross in the barn. A curing chamber for bacterial transformation of meats...
    "Bourbon slushies. Sure you can cook on the BGE without them, but why would you?"
                                                                                                                          YukonRon
  • DainWDainW Posts: 96
    Yeah so what are you guys using for wood and how hard is it to source where you’re at? What I’ve heard is that it’s best to use kiln dried wood is that right? I live in the burbs in a subdivision, don’t have access to land with trees on it that I can cut down easily lol. I saw some places that I could order online, but kind of expensive.
  • SciAggieSciAggie Posts: 6,319
    I use locally sourced mesquite. Just regular firewood. I break down the splits into pieces the size of my wrist. 
    Coleman, Texas
    Large BGE & Mini Max for the wok. A few old camp Dutch ovens and a wood fired oven. LSG 24” cabinet offset smoker. There are a few paella pans and a Patagonia cross in the barn. A curing chamber for bacterial transformation of meats...
    "Bourbon slushies. Sure you can cook on the BGE without them, but why would you?"
                                                                                                                          YukonRon
  • jdMyersjdMyers Posts: 484
    Dain where do.you luve may I ask
    Columbus, Ohio
  • jdMyersjdMyers Posts: 484
    Ref wood.  Your wood in a larger midsize or bigger over burns pretty hot and pretty quick.  But more importantly your pizzas will be in there approximately 2.45 seconds give or take a sip of your beverage.   It will not be getting any smoke rings.  However.  Soft woods or sapwoods will melt the sap and ooose all over the brick floor.  Pain to clean.  I live in the burbs myself.  I googled wood for cooking and found several places that stock it.  Several that even deliver.  One partial load will last nearly all summer.  I took quarterd split wood and split it again.  I use maybe 8 or 9 of them for the whole cook.
    Columbus, Ohio
  • DainWDainW Posts: 96
    I’m in Oklahoma City. 

    I found these guys online. It says a 50lb box is good for 20-30 pizzas...I guess that seems reasonable, $2-$3 per pizza but I have no frame of reference. 





     
  • look on craigslist for a firewood guy, or call a tree company and ask them.
    South of Columbus, Ohio.
  • jdMyersjdMyers Posts: 484
    Absolutly craigslist.  Dont forget looking at campers firewood.  They usually have several selections.  Example my guy.  An f350 pickup.  One row wide and level with the height of the pickup bed.  Delivered when I camp $25.  I just go get it from him myself and split it smaller for ease of use.  Harbor freight has a small 5 ton log splitter for cheap.  Its a beast.  
    Columbus, Ohio
  • jdMyersjdMyers Posts: 484
    Here is an example


    Columbus, Ohio
  • womauswomaus Posts: 157
    DainW said:
    I’m in Oklahoma City. 

     
    Years back I had a sister working at OSU Stillwater. I'd go out and visit, driving MA to OK. Would always bring back a load of pecan in the car, as much as I could transport without needing to sit on it all the way home. 

    Check out Craigslist, talk to the tree guys. Someone you know must know someone.
  • DainWDainW Posts: 96
    Thanks everyone for the advice on sourcing wood and everything else. Looking forward to this. 
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