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How To Build a Brick Pizza Oven in Your Backyard

The brick pizza oven is a true labor of love. It can take months to build your brick pizza oven and countless hours to get it fully operational, but it’s well worth it. With your own personal brick pizza oven, you can enjoy delicious homemade pizzas all year long. This step-by-step guide will help you build your personal brick pizza oven in no time!

Brick pizza ovens are a great addition to your backyard entertainment space. Not only do they improve the aesthetics of the area, but they can also increase your home’s value. Once you’ve installed your new brick oven, you’ll be able to enjoy many evenings at home with your family and friends and get a better price should you ever wish to sell. 

To build a brick pizza oven in your backyard, you will need to pick a good location for the oven, settle on a design, and work with brick and mortar to assemble your preferred design. Before you start, you’ll also need to decide on the material you want to work with.

Read on to learn how to build a brick pizza oven in your backyard and keep it running smoothly for many years to come. I’ve also included some great ideas for foods you can cook in your oven besides pizza. Once you’ve finished building your oven, give them a try!

1. Pick Your Location 

Before you begin building your brick oven, you will need to decide where you want your oven to go.  There are several aspects to keep in mind while picking the ideal spot.

Paying attention to aesthetics and accessibility when deciding where to place your oven can affect how often you use it. Placing it near a dining area or an outdoor kitchen area is helpful. These are usually the coziest, most high-traffic areas of your house. 

A outdoor kitchen at the patio.
Make sure your deck is solid and stable.

Apart from this, you must also keep a few health and safety considerations in mind. 

A brick oven must be at least three feet from any vertical structure or wooden post. So make sure your plan allows for adequate space around your brick oven to prevent damage from heat or fire.  

Remember that an outdoor brick oven can be pretty heavy. So, make sure your deck is solid and stable. Placing the oven on a concrete or stone patio would be the best option. 

Finally, please read up and follow all the necessary guidelines to ensure that the modifications you make will comply with local laws for your area.

Once you’ve decided where you’d like your oven to go, outline the area so you’ll remember where to build it later.

2. Select a Design

Selecting a design is a highly subjective topic, but there are still a few practical aspects to consider.

A square oven is often the safest choice as it has the firmest foundation. This makes the design easier to work with and more resistant to damage in the long run. 

You will also want to confirm that the design you have picked provides adequate ventilation to prevent ash from the burning wood in your oven from falling onto your food. 

A bricked oven with a pizza coming out.
Selecting a design is a highly subjective topic, but there are still a few practical aspects to consider.

Of course, if you’re a confident builder and know what you’re doing, you can pick any design you like.

Once you’ve settled on a design, place clay bricks to mark a perimeter, including capstones for the oven’s three sides.

3. Choose Your Building Materials

There are several different materials you can use to build your pizza oven.  

Clay Bricks

Clay bricks are an excellent budget-friendly option and a great way to reuse bricks leftover from your last building project. However, they do not tend to last very long. So, if you intend to use your oven for many years, one of the other materials on this list might be a better bet. 

Concrete

Although some people use concrete or concrete briquettes to build ovens, I recommend against this. Concrete is not a good choice as it has not been fired. This means that, particularly at very high temperatures, concrete can crack. In the worst cases, concrete blocks have even been known to explode. 

Fire Bricks

Fire bricks are by far the best option for a brick oven as they are made to withstand high heat levels. They will last longer than clay bricks and can have colors added when fired for better aesthetics. 

A wood fire oven made of fire bricks.
Fire bricks are by far the best option for a brick oven as they are made to withstand high heat levels.

Of course, they are more expensive, but then you get what you pay for. Remember that a properly sealed running at high heat is what gives the food cooked in a brick oven its distinctive wood-smoke flavors cooked.

  1. Create the Oven Floor

The oven floor is the base of the oven. Ideally, it should be at least 3 ft by 3 ft (0.9 by 0.9 m) for a 36-inch (91.44 cm) oven. Consult your design as you lay your bricks and use the floor markings you made earlier to ensure you’re correctly positioned before you proceed.

  1. Mix the Mortar

You can purchase mortar at most hardware stores. I’d recommend using a ready-made mortar mix if you’re a novice builder.

Once you have got hold of some ready-made mortar mix, add one part water to three or four parts mortar mix. Stir for about 5-10 minutes until the mortar is smooth. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes before stirring again.

Your mortar is all set to be applied!

  1. Apply the Mortar

Beginning with the floor, assemble your oven brick by brick, applying mortar as you go to hold them together firmly.

The mortar will help give your oven a robust structure and seal the heat generated within it. This way, your food will cook evenly, and your structure will maintain its structural integrity over time. It will also burn wood more efficiently.

  1. Make Any Corrections

When working on any DIY project, it is common to find you’ve made some errors as you work. This is the point at which you fix such issues. This may include trimming the shape in a few places or filling in any gaps in the mortar to ensure your oven is evenly sealed. You’ll also want to double-check that the oven floor is level.

  1. Allow the Mortar to Set

When you are done, you will need to wait for the mortar to dry so that your structure is robust. Mortar will be almost dry in 24 hours, but it can take up to 28 days to properly cure. I recommend waiting this long if you can.

Once the mortar sets, it will harden, finishing the seal and adding structural strength to your pizza oven. Now, you’re done! 

There are just a few routine maintenance things you will need to do from time to time.

Maintaining Your Oven

A few simple maintenance measures will allow your oven to continue working at its best and keep your food tasting incredible. These include:

  • Sweeping out ash every time you’re done using the oven
  • Scrubbing away soot periodically, and
  • Keep the oven’s chimney clear of debris
A person cleaning a fire wood oven.
Sweeping out ash every time you’re done using the oven.

Keeping a broom and a scraper handy near your oven will help you keep up with its routine maintenance. Performing all three procedures at regular intervals is crucial to making your oven last long and run well. 

Woods You Can Use in a Pizza Oven

Another aspect of properly maintaining your pizza oven is burning only appropriate wood when cooking. While several kinds of wood work well, it would be best to look for seasoned hardwoods. 

Below is a list of some of the most popular ones. 

  • Maple
  • Oak
  • Ash
  • Hickory
  • Walnut
  • Birch
  • Beech

Cooking Ideas for Your Pizza Oven

Wood ovens are not just for pizzas. To get you started, here’s a list of a few different things you can cook in your pizza oven besides pizza: 

  • A variety of roasted vegetables
  • Grilled fish
  • Smoked meats, including pork and turkey, along with steaks
  • Baked or roasted potatoes
  • Bread loaves, including flatbreads
  • Nachos
  • S’mores
  • Burgers
  • Cakes
A foil baked fish.
Wood ovens are not just for pizzas.

Conclusion 

A brick oven is an excellent addition to an outdoor space and can be used to cook many foods besides pizza. Keeping the oven clean and well-maintained will make food taste delicious. Finally, remember to place your oven at an appropriate distance from other structures to keep everyone safe and help you to enjoy your oven for years to come. 

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