If you are tired of having to wait on someone else to make you pizza every time that you or the family has a craving, perhaps it is time to consider getting your own pizza oven. Your backyard is a perfect place to put and enjoy it for years to come. Of course, you might be wondering if having an outdoor pizza oven is dangerous. That is certainly something you want to know first.
If installed correctly and properly maintained, an outdoor pizza oven is not dangerous. However, it is important to follow all instructions and to keep it clean and away from potential hazards that could result in a fire. You also want to make sure that you monitor the oven’s temperature.
Having an outdoor pizza oven can result in many positive and lasting memories. Not only does it have the potential of bringing great-tasting pizza directly to your home, but it is also a lot of fun to use. You just want to continue reading to learn more about keeping outdoor pizza ovens safe and operational for the long term.
Why Would You Want an Outdoor Pizza Oven?
A pizza oven can become a perfect complement to your existing outdoor kitchen. It allows you to cook at the type of extremely high temperatures that are not appropriate for an indoor kitchen. Since temperatures can reach 800-degree F in a pizza oven, you will be happy to have this outside.
You have control over the type of surface that is built into the design of your outdoor pizza oven. The typical materials that are typically used include:
The ultimate choice comes down to your own preference and the overall style of your existing outside kitchen. When cooking pizza outside, you also have a choice of heat-source types ranging from wood to charcoal. You can even design an outdoor pizza oven to be gas-powered. The choice is ultimately up to you and your own situation at home.
While indoor kitchens usually limit the size of the pizza oven that you could have installed, there is no such parameter when considering an outdoor pizza oven. You can make yours as large or as small as you want it to be. In short, you can make it fit into any area within your outside kitchen, deck, or patio.
Are Outdoor Pizza Ovens Easy to Operate?
If installed properly, it is easy to safely operate an outdoor pizza oven. In order to do so, it is important to understand the material that the oven is made of and how that affects the fire that is generated when cooking. It is then important to know how long it takes to cook your pizza.
Knowing how the oven itself was built is essential to understanding how your pizza will be cooked. It is not so much about understanding the fire that is generated that will cook your pizza as it is what was used to construct the base of the oven.
That material is actually what you need to know about if you want to know how to properly utilize an outdoor pizza oven.
You will find that the base of most outside pizza ovens is made of either tiles or bricks. There is a dome that will contain several layers of the chosen material. The purpose is to keep the heat inside, similar to an insulating effect. This will hold in the warmth that comes from the wood fire or gas source that you use and makes cooking pizza easy and quick.
The reason many people are concerned about the safety of outdoor pizza ovens involves the extraordinarily high temperature that the inside of the oven itself can reach. It is not uncommon for a large outdoor pizza oven to reach as high as 800 degrees Fahrenheit.
The one thing you will want to do before making a great-tasting pizza is to get the oven warmed up. As you can imagine, this will take some time. You will want to start the process early enough so that you will be ready when the time comes. Keep in mind that the inside of an outdoor pizza oven will retain its temperature for quite some time after it is turned off.
12 Tips to Keep Your Outdoor Pizza Oven Safe
While outdoor pizza ovens are safe when used properly, there are some things that you will want to make sure you are doing in order to keep them that way. Because of the unique nature of such an oven, some safety precautions need to be taken seriously before you ever consider having one installed in your outside kitchen.
Stay Close to the Oven
This is not your normal oven. You cannot just turn it on and forget about it. Too many things can go wrong with an outdoor pizza oven if you leave it unattended. As soon as you turn it on, either you or another responsible person should agree to stay nearby in case something does go awry.
Outdoor pizza ovens are designed to get extremely hot. This means that children and pets need to stay away. That is another reason to make sure you never leave the oven unattended by a responsible adult. You want to protect all the little ones in your life.
Such Ovens Should Only Be Used Outside
This tip might seem like common sense, but you would be amazed at how many people try to use an outdoor pizza indoors. This is most definitely not advisable, as it leads to potential injury and great harm to your house. Some would use the pizza oven as a way to warm up the house on cold days, but this again is not advisable.
Using an outdoor pizza oven anywhere but outside is considered to be extremely risky behavior. You also do not want to use the oven in enclosed areas outside because of the danger of smoke and carbon monoxide poisoning. This includes:
- Vacant buildings
- And more
You should not use the oven on a boat or in a recreational vehicle either.
Make Sure the Oven is on a Level Surface
It is also very important that you put your outdoor pizza oven on a sturdy surface where it cannot easily tip over. This means that you will want to avoid putting it:
- In the grass
- On loose gravel
- On other types of weak surfaces that are typically uneven
Such surfaces do not give the oven solid enough footing, meaning that it could easily tip over.
The perfect place to put an outdoor pizza oven is on a solid surface adjacent to an existing outdoor kitchen. You also want to keep away from big trees, as the wind could cause the branches to impact the oven without notice.
Accidents can happen when the oven shifts during use, so this is why a level surface is always recommended.
Avoid Moving the Oven While You’re Using it for Cooking
If you find that you need to move your outdoor pizza oven, you will want to make sure that it is turned off, not in use, and that it is totally cooled. It can be very dangerous to try and move the oven when you are actually using it.
Do not fall into the temptation of just moving it over a few inches while it’s hot because even that can spell disaster.
Because the pizza oven is so hot during use, it needs to stay stable. Even the slightest movement can send embers flying and cause grave injury. If the oven were to fall during movement, then you can only imagine the disaster that will occur to people, animals, and objects in the path of the oven.
Always Wear Insulated Gloves
You will want to have insulated gloves on your hands before you even consider touching the pizza oven while it is in use. This includes moving the pizza around or taking it out. Remember that the oven will take a long time to cool even after you turn it off, so gloves should be worn all the time as a safety precaution.
Remember to Close the Gas Valve
This tip is for those readers who are considering a gas option for their outdoor pizza oven. You must turn off the gas cylinder as soon as you are finished cooking for the day. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that it is ok to leave the gas on as long as the oven is turned off. This is simply not true.
Gas should only be on if it is actively being used. You want to keep the cylinder switched off at all other times. It is also best to store your cylinder outside (not inside) if at all possible.
Keep Flammable Material Far from the Oven
Before you start to operate your outdoor pizza oven, it is important to make sure that there is no flammable material anywhere around it.
The general rule is that no combustible material should be within 25 feet of the oven, but even further away is better.
Remember that even the smallest of embers from the oven can catch flammable material on fire. This is of particular concern on a windy day. Just make sure that such material is nowhere near the oven, and you will be just fine.
Make Sure the Oven is Properly Installed
It is also best to have the oven installed by a professional, or at least by someone who is able to ensure that everything is done properly. You need to allow for such things as:
- Proper ventilation,
- Correct hoses and fasteners
- And much more
You want to make certain that everything is working properly before you ever think about turning on the oven for the first time.
Check Hoses Before Turning the Oven On
It does not matter if you cooked a pizza yesterday or if it has been weeks since the last time you used your pizza oven. It is important to check the hoses each and every time that you go to turn the oven on. Hoses have a tendency to wear out, and you may not notice they’re in poor condition until the very last minute.
When you look at the hoses, you want to look for any cracks or signs of abrasion. If you notice any, it is time to replace them right away. Hoses can also become dislodged. If you notice any separation at all, make sure that you tighten them up. You do not want any gas leaking out while the outdoor oven is in use.
Do Not Drink and Cook
Outdoor parties are often festive occasions, which is why a pizza oven is a perfect fit for your backyard. At the same time, these occasions may present you with an opportunity to drink, and that is not a good mix when you are operating the oven. In order to follow all of the safety precautions, you need to have your full faculties about you.
This goes not only for alcohol but also for certain prescription medications that might cause you to lose your focus. You want to refrain from being under the influence while you are operating an outdoor pizza oven.
Avoid Windy Areas
This is often a delicate balancing act. You want your outdoor pizza oven to have plenty of ventilation, but you also want to make sure it is not in an overly windy location. Since you know your backyard better than anyone, just try to make sure the oven is installed in an area that does not typically have a lot of wind. This will keep the fire where it belongs, which is inside the oven.
Cleanup After Each Use
After making and eating some great pizza, the last thing on your mind is doing a proper cleanup. In order to keep your oven in a safe condition, you want to make that the hot ashes are taken away before you close up the oven. Make sure that you properly dispose of them, which involves soaking them with water before dumping them.
Now that you understand how to keep outdoor pizza ovens from becoming dangerous, it is time to consider adding one to your outside kitchen.
This is a great way to bring the joy of pizza right to your household without having to rely on someone else to make your favorite variety. Just follow the instructions, and you will be fine.