Pizza ovens have had a huge surge in popularity recently and rightfully so! The best pizza ovens make deliciously authentic pizza that even Italians would be proud of… but did you know that you can cook a multitude of foods in your pizza oven?
That’s right, you can cook more than just pizza in your pizza oven and if you’re only using it for this reason, you’re seriously missing out. I know what you’re thinking – “why would I cook meat in my pizza oven if I already have the best barbecue?” Well, some foods taste even better with a pizza oven's power and style of cooking.
As pizza ovens typically use wood pellets, you’re getting smoky flavours that are synonymous with the best smokers. Not only are taste and texture deciding factors here, but if you want an even consistent cook, a pizza oven with a revolving stone can also sort this out for you. All that aside, pizza ovens aren’t the cheapest outdoor cooking appliances, so you might as well use it to cook different meals and really get your money’s worth.
To give you some cooking inspiration for this summer season, here are 9 foods you didn’t know you could cook in a pizza oven… besides pizza, of course.
One of the top foods to cook in a pizza oven is bread. The different types of bread you can make in a pizza oven is vast, including sourdough loaves, baguettes, naans and flatbreads. You can follow a normal bread recipe or use up any leftover pizza dough you have lying around by making it into garlic bread or focaccia. It’s very simple to make bread in a pizza oven but the one thing you really need to keep on top of during the baking process is rotating the loaf. If you have a pizza oven with a revolving stone like the Witt Etna Rotante, you don’t need to worry about this but if you don’t, give your bread a turn during cooking so it cooks evenly.
A pizza oven can tackle most meats you throw in it, especially red meat like steak. Similar to a barbecue, grilling a steak using a pizza oven gives it a great sear and if it uses wood pellets, your steak will have a smoky flavour. Again, it’s important to keep an eye on your pizza oven while it cooks meat so the steak’s exterior is nicely charred but its interior is nice and pink, or however you like your steak cooked.
3. Chicken thighs
Another type of meat which tastes delicious when cooked in a pizza oven is chicken thighs or drumsticks. When cooking chicken thighs this way, they should preferably still have the skin on so you can get a charred crispy outside and a moist juicy inside. The thighs should be put in a cast iron skillet which is safe to go inside a pizza oven so you don’t contaminate the inside and so it’s easier to remove when cooked. With this method, you also need to check the internal temperature with the best meat thermometer to ensure it’s cooked all the way through.
4. Slow cooked meat
Slow cooking meat in a pizza oven is somewhat controversial. Can you do it? Yes but there are a few caveats. What people love about slow cookers is that they cook low and slow to break down big pieces of meat and create thick stews and sauces. As pizza ovens use a very high heat, this can be tricky but if you adjust the temperature of your pizza oven, you should be able to get the results you want. You also need a pizza oven which has a door, like the Gozney Dome, so you can lock in that low heat for several hours. While you slow cook in your pizza oven, make sure to check, turn and stir it occasionally.
Fish is one of the best things you can cook in a pizza oven. Not only does the fish get a delicious roasted flavour from the pizza oven, but depending on the size of your fish, it can cook in an incredibly speedy amount of time. Fish like salmon fillets tend to do the best with this method of cooking but you can also make fish skewers, cod, shrimp, lobster and crab.
Cooking potatoes in a pizza oven is a great way to give them a crispy texture with a fluffy inside. Roast potatoes, wedges and jacket potatoes are the best to cook in a pizza oven as they get a deep brown skin from the high heat. If you’re worried about your potatoes cooking all the way through, you can parboil them first before throwing them in a skillet and finishing them off in the pizza oven… just like how you would in the best oven.
Just like you’d throw vegetables on the barbecue, you can also throw them in a pizza oven! Vegetables like asparagus and corn really benefit from this type of cooking, but tenderstem broccoli gets the main shout out here as it perfectly soaks up the smoky flavour from the heat and pellets. Cooking vegetables this way is very quick so you don’t want to walk away from your pizza oven during the cooking process… unless you like burnt broccoli!
Another vegetable that really shines in a pizza oven is aubergine (or eggplant for any US readers). Aubergine tastes amazing when roasted and cooking it this way gives a charred roasted outside and soft gooey inside. Often used in big traybakes, a popular way to cook aubergine in a pizza oven is to throw them in a casserole dish with other vegetables like peppers and courgette (which will make a great side dish at your next BBQ).
9. Padron peppers
Known for their blistered texture and slightly burned taste, padron peppers definitely benefit from being cooked in a pizza oven. Cooking them this way gives them a nice charred outside, plus they’re insanely easy to make and take hardly any prep or time at all. If you’re shutting up shop for the night after making a round of pizzas, you can easily toss in a few padron peppers as your pizza oven cools down.
For more inspiration, check out the best BBQ recipes to make on charcoal, gas, pellet and electric grills, and make sure to stay up-to-date with T3 Garden Tech Month.