Category Archives: Blog

What can you cook in a pizza oven?

Are you thinking of investing in an outdoor pizza oven for your garden but wondering how much pizza can you really eat?

Despite what the name implies, you can cook lots of different food and recipes in a pizza oven. Having a wood fired pizza oven really can change the future of home-cooked meals. Pizza ovens, just like the oven in your kitchen, enable you to cook a wide range of meals making them the ultimate cooking accessory for your garden.

Keep reading for some inspiration for your next wood-fired meal in the pizza oven…

What food can you cook in a wood fired pizza oven?

Now that we have established that pizza ovens are for more than just cooking pizza, what else can you cook in a pizza oven?

Simply put, anything that you can make in your standard oven or on the grill, can also be made in a pizza oven. In fact, one might even argue that these foods will taste even better once they have been cooked in the pizza oven. The style of wood-fired cooking brings out a unique, smoky flavour that enhances the overall taste of the food.

Once you have perfected the wood-fired pizza, you may want to try your hand at cooking some of the following foods in your pizza oven:

  • Grilled or baked fish
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Seared meats
  • Slow-cooked meats
  • Smoked and barbecued meats
  • Wedges, roast potatoes, and jacket potatoes
  • Freshly baked focaccia, flatbreads, and other bread
  • Baked brownies, cakes, cookies, and other hot desserts

The above list is just the beginning. You can cook just about anything you want to in a wood-fired pizza oven. Wood-fired cooking is a great way to revive home-cooked meals and create delicious new recipes. Your pizza oven can be used to roast, bake, sear, and fire all kinds of different food.

How to cook different food in a pizza oven

When cooking different foods in your pizza oven, be sure to adjust the cooking temperature, time and position for the best results. Practice makes perfect so don’t feel disheartened if you don’t always get it right first time around!

For instance, to cook the perfect wood fired pizza, you will want your oven to be around 350 – 400 °c. However, if you plan to use your pizza oven to make mouth-watering roast beef, you will want the oven temperature to drop to around 200°c before you begin cooking.

Some foods will taste delicious cooked in the flames of the burning wood. Whereas other food will taste best when cooked in or near the embers. Have fun experimenting with placing your food in different positions of your oven and by cooking with flames or embers for different results.

The type of wood used can also influence the flavours of the food. For the best-tasting wood-fired beef, we recommend using cherry, hickory, oak or ash hard wood to really capture those unique smoky flavours.

The other things that you need to consider when cooking different foods in a pizza oven is the cookware tools and accessories you use. Make sure you use ovenware that can withstand the hot temperature of a pizza oven. You can also experiment with using food wrapped in foils, cooked on a wire rack for those sear marks, in a dutch oven, or directly cooked on the embers for a charred flavour.

Getting the most out of your pizza oven

As you can see, cooking with a pizza oven can be versatile. Whatever you cook, always check your food is thoroughly cooked all the way through before eating.

If you are tempted to invest in a wood-fired pizza oven and take home-cooked meals to the next level, take a look at our full range of outdoor pizza ovens. From the tabletop ember pizza oven to the large freestanding Milano oven, we have got a selection of high-quality pizza ovens to suit any garden.

What is the best outdoor pizza oven?

With a year of staycations and outdoor socialising ahead, there’s never been a more perfect time to invest in a pizza oven for your garden.  We know what you’re thinking… “But how am I supposed to know which is the best pizza oven for me?”

Don’t panic! We’ve put together this handy guide to help you discover which outdoor pizza oven is worth your dough!

Which is the best pizza oven for my needs?

There are a few things to consider when trying to decide the best pizza oven to purchase – your budget, the size of your outdoor space, and how many mouths you will be feeding are all worth thinking about.

Whether you plan to host lavish parties in your garden, or you’d prefer to pack up your oven and enjoy wood fired pizza in the wilderness; we have the perfect pizza oven to suit your needs.

Let’s walk you through your options!

Alfresco Chef Naples Oven

If this is your first time purchasing a wood fired oven then the Naples pizza oven may just be the pizza oven you’ve been dreaming of. This outdoor pizza oven offers the perfect introduction to authentic wood fired cooking – not only does it perfect homemade pizzas in just 60 seconds, it can also be used to barbecue, bake or roast your specially prepared dishes.

The Naples boasts a quick fire set-up, reaching a temperature of 400°C within 15 minutes. The oven then maintains this heat throughout use, making it easy for party hosts to give their guests the unique experience and flavours of wood fired food.

The mobile stand offers great stability and allows you to move the oven confidently around your outdoor space. We recommend this oven for families of up to 4 and for smaller at-home gatherings. The spacious cooking floor (60cm x 55cm) allows room for two large pizzas, meaning you can host to smaller crowds easily with the Naples Oven.

Alfresco Chef Ember Oven

Ember Tabletop Pizza Oven

If you’re a pizza enthusiast looking to add that wood fired flavour without breaking the bank, our Ember pizza oven may be the perfect choice for you. This tabletop pizza oven may be the cheapest and smallest oven in the Alfresco Chef range, but it can roast, bake and sear with the best of ‘em!

The biggest benefit of the Ember Oven is that it is completely portable – meaning, not only can it be easily moved around your garden, it can be taken anywhere you like.

We recommend the Ember for those who like to experience outdoor cooking while on the move. You can take this oven on day trips, camping holidays, or even just round to a friend’s house.

The detachable legs and chimney make it easy to store and the removable stone tile makes it easy to clean and maintain.

The Ember is super easy to light and ready to cook in just 10 minutes. All you need is a natural firelighter and our Alfresco Chef kiln dried hardwood or pellets. This oven is a really great pick for anyone who is new to the pizza oven game!

 

 

Alfresco Chef Milano Oven

 

Milano Large Outdoor Pizza Oven in Red or Black

If you enjoy being the host with the most, then the Milano outdoor pizza oven is most definitely the best pizza oven for you. This outdoor oven is the ultimate choice for larger families, parties, and even those embarking on their own catering venture.

Available in both black and red, the Milano is so much more than just a pizza oven. The impressive cooking floor provides the flexibility to cook up to four pizzas or multiple dishes at a time – making it the perfect outdoor oven to cater to your guests.

Much like the other Alfresco Chef Ovens, the Milano pizza oven is ready to cook in just 15 minutes and maintains a heat of at least 400°C to ensure your food is packed with delicious wood-fired flavour. This oven is a truly brilliant addition to any family garden or social event.

 

 

 

Alfresco Chef Roma Oven

Roma Alfresco Chef Garden Pizza Oven

The Alfresco Chef Roma pizza oven shares all the cooking features of the Naples Oven, but boasts a bigger cooking floor which fits up to 4 pizzas or dishes at once. If you have a larger family, or enjoy hosting for friends quite often, this oven may be the better choice of the two.

You don’t need to be sitting on an acre of land to incorporate a Roma Oven into your garden landscape – the stylish design makes the oven an attractive focal point in any sized garden, while its small footprint makes it ideal for households with limited space.

The Roma comes with a mobile stand to help avoid tricky wind conditions and allow for easy movement into storage.

The oven also boasts a handy base shelf, so you can keep your wood close at hand while you’re cooking up a storm in this pizza oven.

 

 

 

 

Alfresco Chef Verona Oven

Verona Pizza Oven With Base

The brilliant thing about the Alfresco Chef Verona Oven is that it is available to be purchased with or without the standing base. Both ovens are essentially identical (aside from the base) and can be fired up and ready to cook in just 20 minutes. They have the capacity for up to 4 pizzas making them another excellent choice for hosting all your alfresco parties.

The tabletop version is perfect for those who may already have their own outdoor kitchen or brick-built stand ready to go. While the Verona Oven with the base benefits from greater stability and can be easily moved around the garden to make a brilliant social focal point.

Like all our ovens, the Verona is easy to light and maintains its temperature so you can continue to enjoy those authentic woodfired flavours into the early hours.

 

 

 

 

What is the best pizza oven: the verdict

Deciding which pizza oven is best depends entirely on your needs. If you’re looking for a small but powerful pizza oven, we recommend the Ember oven. The Naples pizza oven offers a great introduction to wood-fired cooking. Meanwhile, the Milano, Roma and Verona pizza ovens are much larger making them the go-to choice for those looking to host garden parties or cook for more people at once.

 

All of our pizza ovens can be used to create an array of delicious wood-fired foods from seared meats to fire-cooked veg, bread, desserts and, of course, pizza. You can also view our Pizza Oven Comparison Guide here to check which pizza oven is best for your needs.

Which type of wood can I use for my wood fired pizza oven?

Can you see the wood for the trees? 

So you’ve really got your teeth into outdoor cooking. You’re becoming a dab hand at using our wood fired pizza ovens. And yet to really master the art, it’s crucial to recognise the importance of which type of wood to use for your outdoor cooking.

At The Alfresco Chef, it’s our job to ensure that you’re enjoying your outdoor cooking, and getting the best possible flavours from your pizza ovens. That means the right fuel to keep your wood fired oven burning at optimum temperature for the dishes you want to prepare.

Here are some handy tips to remember when considering your fuel of choice.

Why is hardwood fuel so important for outdoor cooking?

Fire cooking with hardwood will help you achieve the tastiest results. It’s the smoke from hardwood fuel that imparts that flavour we all crave from outdoor food.

There’s an array of different hardwoods with which to cook. At The Alfresco Chef, we want you to have fun and we’re encouraging you to experiment with different, and aromatic, kiln dried hardwood fuels. We stock four really popular wood types to use with our pizza ovens: Ash, Oak, Beech and Birch.

Put simply, you should avoid softwoods in your outdoor cooking: they contain more moisture and sap which makes them much more difficult to light and maintain their heat. That makes for an inconsistent cook, and they can also adversely affect the taste of your food.

 

Why does hardwood need to be kiln dried?

Kiln dried wood for outdoor cooking is better for a host of reasons: it burns more cleanly and consistently, it’s easier to light and it will bring a much more pronounced aroma and flavour to your dishes. It also heats your pizza oven up to the required cooking temperature more quickly, crucial when you’re entertaining hungry family and friends, and it’s better for maintaining heat throughout the cooking process.

So why not try out the different types of hardwood fuel we have here, see how they burn and taste the delicious impact they have on your pizzas. There are loads of different wood species you can try to get the exact flavour you want!

 

Outdoor cooking is an art form as well as a science! It pays to have knowledge. You can now choose your hardwood with a bit more confidence, try some new flavours and compare results with your family and friends. And if you need any more advice, get in touch with us here today.

Can I use my outdoor oven all year round?

As winter approaches the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. The temperature is beginning to drop and everyone’s desire for hearty winter stews is on the up. Although using an outdoor oven in your garden is more associated with summer there’s no reason why you can’t embrace the cold and cook all year round.

In this blog, we are going to discuss the top five reasons why an outdoor oven can be enjoyed throughout winter.

Hearty Meals

First and foremost is the food. Whilst pizza can be enjoyed 365 days of the year, the outdoor oven isn’t just limited to the doughy cheesy goodness. Fire up your oven and get cooking a perfect winter stew. A long and slow cook will help give it that brilliant winter smoky flavour. Click here to view some suggested recipes.

Family Time

The social benefits of an outdoor oven are often overlooked. In the current times, it’s important to help keep yourself and others in good spirits. There’s no better feeling than giving Mum or Dad a night out of the kitchen. Instead, let the whole family get involved in the outdoor cooking experience. Don’t forget to end the evening with some tasty, toasted marshmallows

Roasted Chestnuts

♫Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose♫. The festive season is upon us and nothing says Christmas more than roasted chestnuts in one of our cast iron pans. There is a high chance that Christmas Markets will be cancelled this year but with an outdoor oven, you can enjoy these from the comfort of your own home.

You don’t have to ask the neighbours to put their washing away

Now this debate is for another day but the last thing anyone wants to do is annoy their neighbours, especially at this time of year. The sun has vanished, and with it so has your neighbours washing giving you one less thing to worry about whilst you immerse yourself in firing up your outdoor oven.

It can double up as a heater

No firepit, no problem, your outdoor oven can reach temperatures of over 400℃ and they’re designed to retain the heat. Once you are finished cooking, add some extra wood and open the oven doors allowing the heat to radiate your garden, keeping you and your family toasty.

 

Check out our wide range of accessories and fuel, perfect for enjoying your outdoor oven this winter.

How to light a pizza oven – Ember Pizza Oven

In this week’s blog, we have been helped by BBQ connoisseur Jack, from Jack’s Meat Shack with a step-by-step video. Together we are going to help you with some of the best tips regarding how to light a pizza oven and maintain the temperature.

What fuel to use in the Ember Pizza Oven?

We are going to start with fuel, a step that is often overlooked when learning how to light a pizza oven but one that can make all the difference for not only maintaining heat but also adding fantastic flavour to your food.

We recommend using our sustainably sourced Kiln Dried Oak Wood Pieces which are easy to light and help you achieve a long slow burn which can be perfect for roasting and baking within the oven.

Another option to use our Pure Wood Pellets which help spike the temperature and can be helpful when cooking pizzas. The wood pellets come in a variety of natural flavours from chestnut to cherry to help add that all-important flavour.

Kiln Dried Oak Wood Pieces

How to light your Ember Wood Fired Pizza Oven

Let’s get you started with those essential tips on how to light your pizza oven. This process should take around 15 minutes before the ceramic plate inside your pizza oven is hot and you are ready to cook.

Step One

Position your Ember Pizza Oven with the back of the oven into the wind. This will assist airflow into the oven helping to increase temperatures. You can also use your pizza peel to fan air into the back of the firebox.

Step Two

Remove the firebox at the back of your Ember Oven and add a small amount of Kiln Dried Oak Wood Pieces to the box along with one of our Wood Wool Firelighters and light. Once the fire has become established, take the firebox, and place it back into the rear of the oven. (See below image).

To maintain the temperature in your pizza oven it’s important to keep topping up your firebox with a small amount of wood pieces. This process will help you reach your desired temperature. You can do this by placing pieces of wood down the hopper towards the rear.

Alternatively, you can also light your pizza oven with a small handful of our Pure Wood Pellets. These can also be used alongside your wood pieces to help spike your temperature if it has dropped slightly in between cooking.

Alfresco Chef Ember Pizza Oven Being Ignited

Important Tips 

  • Keep your fuel and ceramic plate dry, if they take on any added moisture you may struggle to reach your desired temperature.
  • Do not overfill the firebox, this can cause your fire to smother. Instead, top up your oven with small amounts of fuel.
  • Keep the door on the oven when heating up to temperature.
  • Position the Ember so the back is facing into the wind, this will help ignite the fire and increase the temperature quicker.
  • If you’re cooking pizza with our Kiln Dried Wood your temperature may drop in between cooking. Try adding a handful of wood pellets to help spike the temperature. This will help to get the temperature back up to the require high temperature to cook your pizza.

Click here to check out our full range of Fuel For Food.

[Jack’s Blog] … Who is Jack?

Hi there,

I’d like to introduce myself… I’m Jack, from Jack’s Meat Shack.

A self-confessed BBQ foodie, I am never happier than creating, cooking, and eating anything outdoors. Come rain or shine, you will find me outside experimenting with my BBQS.

I have always loved to cook and was inspired at an early age by my nan, who was always in the kitchen creating wonderful smells and flavours, most of what can now be described as great British Classics. She was renowned for her roast beef, sausages and homemade chips and her awesome meat patties that my family would love to fight over.

I have always had my head buried in cookbooks and about 15 years ago I bought my first BBQ.

Since that day, my passion and knowledge has grown from what we all know as the traditional British BBQ to now experimenting with different fuels, cooking methods and techniques. From grilling, smoking to low and slow – I have tried and tested the most unusual cuts of meat and ingredients you would never expect to eat from a BBQ.

All I can say is, I was well and truly hooked! and two years ago Jack’s Meat Shack was born.

Through my social media channels and website, I share my knowledge and enthusiasm for the world of outdoor cooking through recipes and cooking videos.

Check out Jack on social…

A year ago my wife ‘Mrs Jack’s Meat Shack’ started the keto diet…  meaning I had to stop my usual use of tasty sugar loaded BBQ rubs and seasonings and find a solution to allow me to continue cooking flavour packed meals for us both.

Struggling to find a product in stores, I saw a gap in the market and started to create my own seasoning packed with flavour but with No Added Sugar.

Perfecting the blends and recipes for use on meat, fish and veggies. My seasonings are now packaged as a range and are available to purchase at a variety of BBQ specialist stores and websites including The Alfresco Chef and my own website

Although I have tonnes of recipes and videos on my website, I have teamed up with the Alfresco Chef to show you how easy it is to create tasty dishes with real wood fired flavour. Check out some of the videos and recipes I have shared so far on the chef zone.

I will continue to share and update the Alfresco Chef with my favourite wood fired creations to inspire you on your next Alfresco Cook.

Cheers! Jack