Build Your Own Backyard Pizza Oven


Don’t heat up your house this summer, build your own backyard pizza oven instead. We love to using our garden produce, homemade dough, and fresh farmer’s market mozzarella to whip up a tasty pie in the summer. But it can be tricky to cook it on the grill and we hate heating up the oven when it’s hot out. This could be a perfect solution.

The footprint of the oven used to be a flower bed in [Furiousbal’s] yard. He removed the soil and side walls, laid down a bed of pea gravel, then started building the brick base for the oven. The base is insulated by encasing beer bottles in a bed of clay which he harvested locally. Fire brick then makes the floor of the cooking area as well as the arched opening. To support the clay during construction he built a dome of wet sand and covered it with damp newspaper. The clay is built up in layers before removing the sand from the inside. The final step (not shown above) is to build a little shelter to ensure the elements don’t wash away your hard work.

Of course you need to build your own fire inside to use it. If that’s too much work perhaps you should try solar cooking?

[via Reddit]

Help us decide, should this project gone on LIFE.hackaday?

25 thoughts on “Build Your Own Backyard Pizza Oven

  1. What timing! I’ve been contemplating building a wood burning oven and don’t wanna hog too much of the garden with it, this looks great. I’d love to incorporate a smoker for curing meats too..

      1. welp i’ll be honest, i really dislike life.hackaday, the format, layout, etc so i would not see it there because i dont go there. Tried a few times just annoying like windows 8 ya know. anyway i would leave it here.

  2. Very cool! However, I would recommend using 1/4″-minus (“one-quarter-minus” when you ask for it) instead of pea gravel. Pea gravel makes a poor foundation as it shifts around.

  3. IMO what distinguishes HAD from other, similar sites, is that it tends to favor utility over art. The same could not be claimed for Make, for example; which started to feel so much like visiting Etsy that I eventually stopped bothering with it. Absolutely no interest in knit Hello Kitty iPhone cozies and whatnot, thank you very much.

    And while I like that HAD is mainly tech-oriented, I also like some diversity. The pizza oven has utility, is an example of the diversity I’ve come to appreciate, and exceeds a “simple tip”. So I say it’s welcome here.

        1. Friends of mine were renting a house with a pizza oven in the back yard, and building a wood fire in it brought the temperature over 1000F. Pizza cooked in about 60 seconds.

  4. Ha! I’m actually doing this right now! I dug a 12″ foundation hole, filled it with rubble and gravel, and am in the process of refining the clay that came out of said hole.

    Ridiculously fun. And dirty. It’s like being a kid all over again.

  5. This reminds me of the book “Racing Alone” by the Iranian architect Nader Khalili. Ray Meeker has also taken the idea and tried to perfect it, eventually giving up. But they both essentially built a clay mud structure and fired it like a kiln to vitrify the site-built bricks. Khalili got the idea from touring old kilns in his native Iran (at the time of the Shah of Iran). If you can find it the translated book (from Farsi) is worth the read just to get a view of the political situation in Iran at the time. I found it at my local library. Ray Meeker claims to have solved the energy problem in the firing (Khalili used oil-fueled burners) but didn’t communicate it on his website. I don’t see why a backyard oven couldn’t be built the same way.

  6. forno bravo sells ovens and has plans for build your own ovens as well as a forum where they encourage others to build from scratch. There are many builds that can be found on that site, anywhere from rustic to over engineered.

  7. i think it could go on either or both, but i do like that it’s on HAD, because life.hackaday is kind of… simple tips and stuff, not PROJECTS… this is definitely not one of those”i’m just gonna go toss together a pizza oven out back honey” type of things. this is at least an afternoon’s worth of work… so HAD over life. IMO.

  8. I built one with my sister back about 8 years ago now. The method we used was to create the rounded base from a block of airated concrete (it’s easy to cut, can hold the weight, and creates great insulation). We then nailed a hinge with a length of 2×4 lumber on it to the centre of the circular base. That creates a jig which can move through a full dome of motion while always pointing to the bottom centre. The dome can then be constructed from bricks, using the jig to get the angle and location right.

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