Pizza oven build

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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by towtruck » June 3rd, 2021, 2:45 pm

RJB wrote:
June 3rd, 2021, 10:28 am
towtruck wrote:
June 2nd, 2021, 10:54 pm
dacolson wrote:
June 2nd, 2021, 10:31 pm
Really great looking oven Towtruck. I love the top cap and nice touch on the stack. It’s going to look sharp after the acid bath. Professional work sir.
Thank you, I just hope I can learn how to use it and use it often. I really want to expand on cooking way past pizza.

edit...I have one more surprise for the wife...I promised a place for her to bbq really quick....I'm working on that promise and will post it up when I get that part done.
You did a bang up job on that! :beer:

Just be careful with your initial curing fires. You'll want to dry all that moisture (from grout, etc.) from it slowly. If you create steam internally bad things happen. :rulz:

Rick
That is what I'm reading.....I'm going to let it dry for quite a while before starting the curing fires. I will admit I want to build a fire already though :exp:



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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by towtruck » June 5th, 2021, 12:43 pm

I could not stand it....I built a fire in it this morning for about an hour and a half.....just a small fire to warm the inside and check how my smoke rolls. I would say with a small smokey fire 75% is going up the stack and 25% out the front. I experimented with a little 3" curtain around the front edge of the brick and that seemed to help a little and make the smoke roll back inside the vent area. I'm going to wait until I finish the main closure door and get hotter fires in there before I add anything to it just yet. There will always be smoke escaping so more things in the way could just be a pain.

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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by dacolson » June 6th, 2021, 9:05 am

Daring! I wonder if drafting improves when the oven is hotter.


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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by towtruck » June 6th, 2021, 10:25 am

dacolson wrote:
June 6th, 2021, 9:05 am
Daring! I wonder if drafting improves when the oven is hotter.


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I'm hoping it drafts better when hot. I'm also burning smoky wood cleaning up scraps of bark and wood chips around my wood pile. Today we have a swirling wind and it's back drafting the smoke all over. Another two hour low fire this morning and that is it. I want to burn it longer but I think the two hour low burns for this week are just right.



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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by towtruck » June 6th, 2021, 10:40 pm

I left the oven door wide open after my burn this morning and we took a trip that had us getting back at 4:30pm. It was windy here all day and the oven was still very much warm. The lower areas were about 120-130* after 7 hours. The brick work was cool on the outside where my insulation was. There are a couple areas that the mortar filled the gap between the oven and the outside walls (at the top of the straight wall where the dome starts) that you could feel the warmth on the outer bricks. Those areas don't have the insulation layer that the rest of the oven has. Super happy with the heat retention so far. I can only imagine how long it will hold heat once I can build a hot fire. In the morning I will fire it back up and while I will make a small fire I am going to get a bed of coals and sear a trip tip in there then move it away from the hot spot and let it cook in the oven until it gets to 135*. I might as well make some food if I'm making a fire.



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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by towtruck » June 7th, 2021, 12:31 pm

Well, the first hunk of meat has been cooked in the oven. I seared a tri-tip over oak coals then let it finish at 135* indirect. Came out great as expected.

I picked up the steel to make the oven door and the apron for around the bricks where the smoke is escaping out the front. I will start making my brackets to hang that apron and figure out a neat design to cut that apron as I want it arched down on the ends. The door is going to be kept simple and have two handles plus a temp gauge...nothing fancy unless I find some material to make a design on the door face.

That was the third small fire for 2+ hours each burn. A couple more small fires and I should be able to bump up the heat a little more. I'm in no hurry to to get the oven super hot yet. As long as I can cook something at the lower temps it's all good.



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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by Big T » June 7th, 2021, 7:40 pm

Heck yeah, Putting that joker to work! :beer:


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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by towtruck » June 8th, 2021, 2:50 pm

Next burn I will be making some smashed potatoes in a pan. I need a few more low fires before I feel comfortable raising the temps up. It's getting there though. I managed to cut out my pattern for the oven door but that is all I got done today. I'm back at work now and time is limited again. I want to button up all the little stuff left on this and get started with the stucco soon.



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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by towtruck » June 9th, 2021, 12:12 pm

Smashed taters and corn on the cob today. The fourth burn went very well. I'll have to admit taking it up in temp is kinda scary. I went up a little today for a bit and then let it settle back down. I'm going to do a long low burn next time and after that I think it's ready to hit 700* for a bit. taters came out great as did the corn.

I need to get the apron build to catch more smoke and will work on that next. I'm going to make it 1" bigger than I had planned so that I can cut it down if it's too much....I don't want to start out too small and waste the metal.



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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by Big T » June 9th, 2021, 5:29 pm

So what's your highest temp so far and how long did you maintain that temp?


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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by towtruck » June 10th, 2021, 9:22 am

Big T wrote:
June 9th, 2021, 5:29 pm
So what's your highest temp so far and how long did you maintain that temp?
First two fires went for two hours and the temps stayed under 200*. Oven stayed warm for at least 8 hours afterwards. Third burn went for two hours and temps were just over 200* and the oven stayed warm for at least 8 hours. The fourth burn was just over two hours long and the temps peaked hot enough to burn the soot off the dome over the fire.....so, around 700*. I let it die out from there.

I know I should be running low fires for five hours at a time and gradually go up in heat but I have not ben able to devote that many hours to a burn. I want a few more low fires for sure before I open it up and burn all the soot off.



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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by towtruck » June 10th, 2021, 12:07 pm

I got the apron cut and welded on today. I have another low fire burning in it. I cut out the oven door and got the edges ground down and need to figure out what kind of handles to make for it. I want a thermometer in the door as well.

A couple more small things to go and it's done.



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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by towtruck » June 11th, 2021, 2:29 pm

Here is the apron and the new door. I just coated them in BLO and did not paint them. The apron will get sooted over so no need to pretty it up.

I built a small fire today and then put the door on. The temps are 250* at the door. I need to add another layer of felt seal to the door to seal it a little better but it is working well.....
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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by Big T » June 11th, 2021, 3:52 pm

It looks really good TT!! :beer:


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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by tinspark » June 11th, 2021, 4:55 pm

Looks really Good! I have been kicking one of those around too.
I have a pattern for a geodesic firepit (half soccer ball) for my CNC machine and have even been kicking around making one outa metal and just flipping it over. but I am pretty sure that I would need to coat it with something to keep the heat in better. maybe morter
I wonder if I could go light, say 16 gauge,, I am hearing that a sheet of 1/4" is over $600 right now.. was able to get em for 250 a few months ago..
personal metal projects on hold for a bit unless I can find metal for cheap at a scrap yard....


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"tinspark's" build links below:
Last build-GF:https://smokerbuilder.com/forums/viewto ... 30#p114730
First build- Santa Maria Smoker:
https://smokerbuilder.com/forums/viewto ... 7a614a230a
Santa Maria Rebuild: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=7533&p=112344&hili ... 34#p112344

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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by dacolson » June 11th, 2021, 5:49 pm

Great looking door. Is it hinged or do you just lift it in and out?


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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by towtruck » June 12th, 2021, 9:56 am

dacolson wrote:
June 11th, 2021, 5:49 pm
Great looking door. Is it hinged or do you just lift it in and out?
It just lifts in and out. It's only used to seal the oven after the fire is out to retain heat for cooking in the oven with that retained heat....and it will keep the critters out of the oven when not in use.



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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by towtruck » June 12th, 2021, 10:39 am

tinspark wrote:
June 11th, 2021, 4:55 pm
Looks really Good! I have been kicking one of those around too.
I have a pattern for a geodesic firepit (half soccer ball) for my CNC machine and have even been kicking around making one outa metal and just flipping it over. but I am pretty sure that I would need to coat it with something to keep the heat in better. maybe morter
I wonder if I could go light, say 16 gauge,, I am hearing that a sheet of 1/4" is over $600 right now.. was able to get em for 250 a few months ago..
personal metal projects on hold for a bit unless I can find metal for cheap at a scrap yard....
You would need to insulate it with a batting. I would go 4" think. Then you could build an outer skin or structure to house it all in. An insulated steel oven will not retain heat for the long period a brick oven will but for most people that would be just fine only cooking in it while there is a fire or right after the oven has been heated up. You could go with a brick and mortar around the steel to get that heat retention element or a mixture of Cement,Perlite and Vermiculite to build up a 4" layer then insulate and skin it.


Some of the better brick ovens will keep a cooking temp for up to three days!!!!! Mine is not built and insulated to that point but I should be able to get the oven hot and still cook bread up to 10 hours after I take the fire out.



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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by dacolson » June 12th, 2021, 1:02 pm

That is crazy. I hadn’t realized it would retain heat for that long!!


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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by towtruck » June 12th, 2021, 2:56 pm

dacolson wrote:
June 12th, 2021, 1:02 pm
That is crazy. I hadn’t realized it would retain heat for that long!!
I burned my oven yesterday for a little while and I set that door on around 11 am and the temp at the door was 250*. It's 1 pm here and the upper portion of the oven is still 125* at 26 hours. I really want to get the oven hot and close it off to see how long it will hold a cooking temperature. I'm not insulated like the best one's are but mine should hold a good amount of heat for a while. Maybe tomorrow I will fire it up and get it hot then give it a try....I need to cook something though..... :needfood:



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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by towtruck » June 12th, 2021, 8:19 pm

Well, I did it....I went full power and did my first few pizza's. I learned a lot about the oven in this first cook. What I did wrong or need to change is this....I need to wait a little longer and make sure the entire oven is free of black soot and at temp. I need to put some coals on the floor where I am cooking to help heat the floor up better. I need to then clean the floor and then get all the coals into the far left corner and get the fire into the back corner as far as possible.

I do not have a good peel yet and I did not have corn meal to help slide them off the baking sheet I had. Flour does not work as well but I got the job done.

My first pizza was a BBQ chicken with a homemade dough. The oven floor was not fully heated when I put this one in and the fire being too close to the cooking area allows the edges to burn and the center to not fully cook. It tasted really good though.
Image

The next one is a Supreme with the home made dough. This one came out the best but the pizza was too close to the fire and the edges got over done.
Image

This last one was another Supreme but with store bought dough. And again the pizza was too close to the fire. This one turned out really good as well.
Image

So, not bad for my first learning cook. Number one is to get that fire pushed back and burnt down a little more, then make sure the oven is all the way hot all over, get the floor hot hot enough, and get the right tools to get the pizza in the oven. My turning peel worked well and I just need practice with it. Also I need to make sure I do not overload the sauce or the cheese when putting them together...a little goes a long way.

A little waste on the crust but overall it was a success. Now, once the fire dies out a bit I will put the door in place and see how long it will hold temps. Once up to temps there was only a small spot of soot still in the far corner that did not burn off.....the oven operated well I think.

I have a crack in the exterior brickwork all the way around horizontally about mid oven or the level of the opening height. Once fully hot that crack grows a tad so the oven is expanding upward along that crack then settling back down when it cools off. I do have one cracked brick on the face brick at the area the hot smoke leaves the oven and goes inside the brickwork. The right corner gets hot as the smoke and heat head up into the chimney. My Andiron was glowing red in the fire. That is as hot as I ever plan on getting the oven...the scary part is over!



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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by dacolson » June 13th, 2021, 12:34 am

Congrats TT. Pizzas look great. You worried about the cracks at all?


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Re: Pizza oven build

Post by towtruck » June 13th, 2021, 9:27 am

dacolson wrote:
June 13th, 2021, 12:34 am
Congrats TT. Pizzas look great. You worried about the cracks at all?
Not worried about them. An oven/structure this size had to crack someplace and the fact it cracked where it did is a good thing. Inside the oven there are small cracks in a couple places and that is normal as well. Brick work expands with heat so it will crack, especially the way I built the oven with flat long walls.

The only place I think I might have trouble down the road is the top cap I put on. Those are patio pavers and they did not accept the mortar as well as I had hoped. That top capped showed a crack around the mortar line all the way around the structure before I ever lit a fire. They are secure and not loose but I have a hunch they will pop off at some point. If they do I will strip the top cap off and replace it with a different material. It won't be a hard job as they are just mortared to the top of the poured insulation layer and top of the brick work. If they do pop off I may go ahead and pour a slab for a cap and not try to do separate pieces again.


I put the oven door in place at 6:30 pm and it was 575* at the level of my temp probe 7" off the floor. At 9 pm it was 450* and at 7:15 AM it was 200*. Not the best heat retention but after 13 hours it is still at 200*......that is pretty good for an oven insulated with a solid mixture of Perlite and cement and not batting.



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