You may love the crispy crusts and perfect pies from our pizza oven – but if you’re only using it for pizza, you’re missing out.
Wood-fired outdoor ovens bake pizza perfectly. The gooey cheese, the warm doughy crusts with exactly the right amount of crisp on the outside. It really can’t be beat. But if we’re beyond our college days, pizza can get old quick.
The secret is to view the outdoor brick oven much like your indoor oven. A live flame inside the oven is a high-heat source, and that heat is stored in the dome of the oven after the flame is diminished. The oven floor can be used as a stove top. Anything you cook inside can be done in an outdoor pizza oven, sometimes with even better results. Some of these meals can be made after you’ve made a pizza or two.
Unlike an indoor oven, a wood-fired outdoor oven is designed to maintain the heat. Pop in a casserole for tomorrow night’s dinner. Bake some bread. Get the most out of it while it’s hot.
Here are some ideas to get you past the pizza and into a whole new world of wonderful wood-fired fare.
Fish and seafood
Love fish but dread its lingering cooking aromas? Move that fish outdoors. The Wood-Fired Oven Cookbook by Holly and David Jones has a chapter of fish dishes. You’ll need no new equipment to bake a beautiful meal. For example, the book demonstrates how casserole dishes can hold red mullet fillets and tin foil can be used to wrap up sea bass and herbs.
The grill isn’t the only way to cook those savory sizzlers. A wood-fired oven is one of the best and oldest ways to make a steak. Wood-fired ovens were used by ancient Greeks to cook and dry their meats. Cook filet mignon in a cast iron pan or on grill grates until the internal temp is about 142 degrees F. Flip and cook for another minute or two, then let it rest for about 5 or 10 minutes. Your local steak place won’t be able to top it.
Wood-fired ovens come in different designs. Some are made to hold heat longer than others. The ancient Greeks designed ovens specifically for the types of breads they would be baking. If your oven maintains warm temperatures (over 400 degrees F) after the fire dies down, you may have a great oven for breads. The wood-fired oven produces denser and chewier crusts on more flavorful breads than the traditional oven. Check out this quick tutorial for basic artisan bread even a beginner can bake.
The outdoors lifestyle doesn’t mean you’re stuck with s’mores for dessert. Pizza isn’t the only kind of pie these ovens can turn out. How about a cast iron dutch oven caramel apple pie? Or a pineapple upside down cake or strawberry rhubarb crisp? You can make this recipe for cinnamon apples. After the meal has been set out, get the dessert in the oven to bake while you eat. Imagine how wonderful your patio will smell with sweet aromas wafting from the oven!
Pizza is delicious, but man cannot live on pizza alone. Your wood-fired oven offers much more. Fall is a great time to get out there and fire it up.