Author Topic: ready made wood/coal fired steel ovens  (Read 3307 times)

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Offline art.vandelay

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ready made wood/coal fired steel ovens
« on: May 06, 2012, 02:50:00 PM »
Hello all,
I am a newbie and am loving all this pizza talk!  I would like to see if anyone has any experience with either the Sole Gourmet Wood-fired Pizza & Smoker Double Oven or the Eco-Que wood fired pizza oven.
Both are appealing to me in that they are ready built, reasonably compact form factor and can use charcoal or wood for heat and/or smoke flavor.
I am interested primarily in NYC style pies.
Any help/thoughts/advice would be greatly appreciated.


Offline scott123

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Re: ready made wood/coal fired steel ovens
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2012, 05:19:02 AM »
Art, welcome to the forum.

I took a look at the specs on those ovens, as well as the video, and here are my thoughts:

The biggest drawback, by far, is the top to bottom heat ratio.  Bottom heat source ovens need some pretty serious engineering to be able to brown the top of the pizza at the same rate as the bottom.  Neither of these ovens have this engineering.  You're either talking about a properly browned bottom combined with a white, underdone top or a burnt bottom with a little color on top.

You might be able to find a way to modify it and make it work, but a $1,500+ oven really shouldn't require messing around with.

The other thing that I'm noticing is size.  Smaller pies work pretty well for Neapolitan pizza, but, when you start getting serious about NY pizza, size really matters.

Offline art.vandelay

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Re: ready made wood/coal fired steel ovens
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2012, 02:03:05 AM »
Thanks for your input Scott- good points.
Another oven I came across in my search is the 2stone Inferno; as the name implies, it has a rotating bottom stone as cooking surface and top stone for thermal mass/heat.  I like the quick preheat times of approx 15 min (kids don't like to wait too long unfortunately) and cooking times of 5-8 min.  Drawback is that only one 15" pie can be made at one time.

If anyone else has any thoughts on these ovens, I would like to hear them.

best

Offline scott123

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Re: ready made wood/coal fired steel ovens
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2012, 04:52:57 AM »
Art, this forum has more than a handful of very happy 2stone Inferno owners.  $2,000 seems like a lot of money when there are DIY approaches in the $200 realm, but if you aren't DIY inclined, you could do a lot worse.

Also, the 2stone can make pizzas in far less than 5-8 minutes. I'm relatively certain that it can do sub 2 minute Neapolitan pies. If you've got hungry impatient dinner guests, a pie every 2 minutes should take care of them pretty quickly.

Offline art.vandelay

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Re: ready made wood/coal fired steel ovens
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2012, 12:59:00 AM »
I appreciate your thoughts.  In fact, I just went to the local tile place and home depot and came back with a free 18 x 18" travertine tile as the pizza stone (its not coated or glazed etc) and a large 18" terracotta planter dish to serve as the upper heat depot and will use 3 small 4" pots as the support for the larger planter.  I plan to use the basic Lehmann NYC style dough recipe and fire it up on the grill this weekend.
wish me luck!

Offline scott123

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Re: ready made wood/coal fired steel ovens
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2012, 06:41:48 AM »
Art, I'd love to wish you luck, but not with travertine.  Naturally occurring stones have no place in ovens, especially not in direct flame grill settings. I'm also not sure terracotta is appropriate for grill use either. I'm not totally against terracotta, but the planters are especially weak.

I applaud your DIY impulse, but these materials are not the answer.

For a grill, I'd recommend either a sturdy, small-ish quarry tile (like Daltile), firebrick splits or a fibrament grill stone for the hearth and quarry tiles for the ceiling.


Offline art.vandelay

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Re: ready made wood/coal fired steel ovens
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2012, 01:11:03 AM »
much appreciated- will see what I can come up with at the local stores.
what thickness tile or stone do you suggest for both the floor and ceiling?

Offline scott123

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Re: ready made wood/coal fired steel ovens
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2012, 02:06:01 AM »
Sure, thing, Art.

Actually, it just occurred to me today, that, since the ceiling tiles aren't contacting the food, you can use regular glazed tiles- preferably black with the glazed side down. You could also put the glazed side up if the base clay was a dark color.

I'm attaching my most recent grill setup recommendation below.

After so many people are getting broken quarry tiles, I'm beginning to sour on them a bit.  They don't cost much, so you can certainly try them, but I'm leaning towards firebrick splits or fibrament. The splits are 1.125" thick (generally) and will suck up a load of heat and use a lot of fuel, but on the positive side, they'll stay hot for quite a few pizzas.

If you do end up with quarry tiles, thickness is not a huge concern.  I guess 1/2" thick might be a bit better for the hearth, because of the greater thermal mass, but 1/4" probably wouldn't be the end of the world. When it comes to quarry tiles, you generally get whatever you can find, as they can be hard to track down. The more important dimension is width.  I've never tested this fully, but I firmly believe that smaller tiles are both physically and thermally stronger because they can expand and contract as individual units rather than as a whole.

The fibrament grill stone is a standard thickness- 3/4".

One important aspect of the grill setup is to use a relatively massless method to support the ceiling. If you add anything with thermal mass it will suck yet more heat out of already heat greedy system. Do not use firebricks.  Aluminum flashing should be perfect and can be easily cut with tin snips. If your stone is round, you can cut the flashing into a C, but if your hearth is square, you could probably get away with squaring the shape of the flashing a bit. Just make sure you bring the flashing around the front of the stone a bit so the ceiling has 4 relatively stable corners to sit on. The ceiling could be heavy, but, aluminum, on it's side, should have no problem taking the weight.

Btw, this is all predicated on the grill having enough BTUs to hit 650 pretty easily.  These days, I think that's most grills.

Also, just to be clear, this setup is for NY style pizzas only (4 minutes and up).  If you want Neapolitan, you either have to have a grill with an infrared burner, a carefully crafted LBE (and a lot of luck) or a 2Stone inferno.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2012, 02:27:49 AM by scott123 »

Offline art.vandelay

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Re: ready made wood/coal fired steel ovens
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2012, 03:03:57 PM »
Very helpful- thanks.

Offline Michael130207

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Re: ready made wood/coal fired steel ovens
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2012, 03:23:02 PM »
I have been playing around with a grill setup much like yours trying to get a quick way to cook a couple pies.

I haven't tried this yet but you could use those stainless steel wire upright chicken roaster frames for low mass pillars to  keep the ceiling up on the grill.

I think I will pick up four of them next time I see them.
Michael