Several weeks ago, I read a post over at the Make: Magazine Blog called “Knock Down Pizza Oven from Bricks, Scrap Iron.” The premise is that anyone can build a simple brick oven on the cheap using readily-available materials.
The article got me excited because I realized that between my friends and I, we had the supplies to make one for ourselves!
I realize that the “Knock Down” oven featured on Make: Magazine is not a “proper” pizza oven. A quick Internet search yields countless websites and forums of people who are dedicated to making craft pizza in their backyards.
These sites feature gorgeous ovens made of real firebrick (expensive) and cemented in place. Some of these high-end backyard pizza ovens can cost several thousand dollars or more in materials and labor!
The beauty of the “Knock Down” oven is that it achieves nearly the same result as the fancy ovens for a much lower cost. Plus, it is not a permanent feature of your backyard and can be taken apart quickly and easily if desired.
After explaining the idea to my friends, we set about building our own backyard pizza oven. The red bricks came from a pile on the side of my friend’s house, and the angle iron we used for the roof supports came from an old bed frame which we cut to length using an electric cutoff wheel.
My friends and I stacked the bricks and created the roof using the technique explained in the video. After that, we piled more bricks on top for a purely aesthetic pyramid-shaped oven.
We got some firewood from the store and the ingredients to make a couple of pizzas. The first pizza was just dough, sauce, and cheese. We placed it on some foil and placed that on a baking sheet and put it in the oven. We lit another piece of wood on fire at the entrance to the oven to help it cook evenly.
The first pizza looked fine, but the bottom was very doughy. For the second pizza, we decided to elevate the baking sheet a few inches above the oven floor by placing some bricks beneath it. This worked great, and the second pizza tasted fantastic!
Gathering the materials and building the oven took longer than we expected. However, each subsequent use will be much easier since we just need to add more wood and something to cook.
If you’re looking for a weekend project that’s a lot of fun and yields delicious results, I highly recommend making your own backyard wood-fired brick pizza oven!
With the pizza oven complete, I’d love to make some Adirondack-style chairs out of old shipping pallets for future pizza nights!