Pizza ovens make for a perfect patio
If it's not at the top of the list, it's in the top five of Americans' all-time favorite foods. It's pizza, and we can't get enough of it. But if you're tired of ordering out and waiting for the delivery driver to drop off your pie, think about adding a pizza oven to your patio.
Whether it's bought, assembled or made from scratch, pizza ovens are becoming more popular as Mediterranean-style living continues to take hold. A pizza oven is a natural extension of the outdoor kitchen, especially if your family loves a slice of authentic-tasting pie. With a small spot on the patio, you can transform your outdoor area into your own private pizzeria.
Today, many outdoor kitchens are now incorporating a pizza oven as part of a fireplace. These ovens, which can be custom-made, sit atop a standard outdoor fireplace. A pizza oven can also be constructed as a free-standing oven by building a masonry bottom to hold the domed pizza oven. They come in kits to create the domes and can range from $400 to $4,000, depending on your DIY skills, time and ambition.
Less expensive models can be made from either brick or cement overlaid a foam form, such as the Mattone Barille model ($169, www.brickwoodovens.com). These models are more time consuming, but you can select brick to match your home. They're also quite less expensive by comparison to the pre-cast models. For something more middle of the road, a terracotta oven, assembled in pieces and comes with a stand, offers another good option that's fast and not too expensive ($1,600, www.roundboyovens.com).
Maybe you don't have space for a large wood burning pizza oven, but you still want that wood grilled taste and experience. If you have a propane or natural gas hookup nearby, a freestanding pizza oven can be as fast as putting on a coupler to connect the line. These ovens can be placed on top of your outdoor kitchen counter or other heat-proof surface. The Pacific Living model works for countertop setup ($699) or if counter space is a concern, there is a model that comes with its own base and can be rolled away for winter ($799), and both come in models for use with either propane or natural gas (www.bbqguys.com).