Wood burning ovens are superb at many things including roasting meats, pizzas, breads, vegetables, etc. In fact, some of the very best food I’ve tasted has come out of our Aunt Giovanna’s olive wood fired oven in southern Italy (via her Panificio), including a wide variety of durum wheat breads. In fact, the very best breads in all of Italy are often produced in a wood fired oven. The key attributes of a wood burning oven is high temperature, real wood burning in an enclosed area, and the magic of radiant heat emanating from a full enclosure. A pizza made in a high quality wood burning will often cook in 60-90 seconds at oven temperatures in the vicinity of 750F (400C).
Wood burning ovens come in many styles with large heavily exhausted, earthern, ovens often seen in Italian pizzerias. Commercial pizza ovens come as modular units and designed for folks who either do not have forklift access to their kitchen, or who want a custom stand or enclosure (these are ovens that come in parts and can be assembled and carried by a few folks). Assembled commercial ovens are built ready to use. You can also purchase both residential modular and fully assembled pizza ovens (for either outdoor or indoor use).
Our friend Dr. K. recently purchased an outdoor, fully assembled, pizza oven with a metal enclosure and casters that allow the unit to move easily throughout a suburban backyard, for example. There are many pizza oven and forno manufacturers including:
Most residential pizza ovens feature a removable steel door, chimney, firebrick tile floor, cast refractory dome, and an enclosure of stucco or powdered coated metal. If you’re particularly handy you can also build your own outdoor pizza oven, but it can be a complicated affair (and you’ll want to ensure safety when dealing with fire and high cooking temperatures).
Cheaper options for making good pizza outdoors include Kamados like the Big Green Egg and pizza attachments for your gas or charcoal grill (the latter yield ok results).