Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven Review: Verdict
If you decide to buy a Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven, be forewarned that it may take longer to heat up and to cook pizzas than the manual promises. Those who like a more traditional cooking experience and want to experiment with cooking other things in their pizza oven might like the large cooking area and versatility of the oven. For pizza newbies, wed recommend the Ooni or Roccbox for their more modern design and ease of use.
Camp Chef Pizza Oven Review
Last fall, Camp Chef reached out and sent me a grill and some accessories to test out.
The Camp Chef Pizza oven supposedly can simulate the brick ovens that make Italian pizza so famous. Even better, it actually runs on a small propane tank like you would use for any typical Coleman style camp grill.
This post is going to detail my experiences with the Camp Chef Pizza Oven, give you some tips and tricks for success, and Ill even give you information on where to buy them too.
Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven Review: Cooking Performance
Our biggest issue with the Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven was reaching and maintaining a high enough temperature to blister pies and cook them all the way through. After we cooked each pie, the temperature would drop below 500 degrees, so we would attach the oven door and reheat for about 10 minutes in between pies.
The ovens manual recommends cooking thin-crust pies for four to seven minutes, but we found that seven minutes was the minimum for most types of dough. Homemade fresh and pizzeria doughs puffed up nicely after seven minutes, with a little bit of browning but not nearly as much as they had with other exposed-flame ovens. Our frozen and refrigerated dough needed close to 10 minutes and came out with a crisp crust that wasnt cooked all the way through. Browning on top of the pies was an issue wed recommend using a peel to hold the pies up close to the top of the oven to try to get a more melty, charred effect.
The Ooni Koda 16 and Gozney Roccbox ovens both cooked pizzas more quickly, and their exposed cooking flames allowed for more charring on top of the pies, which is why we rated them higher than the CampChef oven.
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What Makes A Camp Chef Pizza Oven Special
A pizza oven that can reach 700 degrees in a few minutes and cook real pizza in less than five is impressive. That high temp is the golden zone of heat when it comes to cooking pizza. It helps cook the dough quickly, and gives it the perfect pizzeria texture.
With the high heat, the goal is to get the exterior heated so the crust cooks quickly, with just a little bit of scorching. The scorched dough actually adds flavor complexity, but you still want the inside of the dough to stay relatively chewy.
At the same time, you need the ingredients on top to heat quickly. You need the cheese to melt, and the pepperonis need to crisp up a bit. Whatever you prefer on your pizza, really. The sky is the limit. The most important thing is to have everything come out right at the right time.
Too hot and the bottom burns and top doesnt cook enough. Too cool and you never get the scorching, and that is a delicate balance to keep. You want a bit of scorching, not for the entire bottom to be burned to a crisp.
The stone in the oven is ideal, but this is also the one part you really need to be careful with. When stones cool too quickly they can crack.
How To Make The Most Out Of You New Pizza Oven
- Whilst its nice to have a built in thermometer, they tend to not be very accurate. Wed recommend you have a look at our list of the best infrared thermometers which will give you a much more accurate reading of the temperature in your pizza oven.
- Weve also got a list of the best pizza oven accessories, that include pizza peels and cutters.
- Use a cover to protect it from the rain.
- We recommend this for all pizza oven pizza. Keep your bases thin and dont overdo it with the toppings. A thin base will cook a lot better in your pizza oven and fewer toppings will make it much easier to slide the pizza on and off of the peel.
- Scrape the pizza stone between uses. If you leave a little bit of fallen tomato sauce on the base it can easily cause the next pizza to stick.
- Wipe down your pizza peel between uses. This just helps remove any leftover food from the previous pizza and will make sliding on the next pizza as easy as possible.
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Why Would You Cook A Frozen Pizza On A Pellet Grill
Besides the obvious cool factor and fun photo ops for your Instagram, there are actually some really good reasons to cook a frozen pizza on a pellet grill like a Traeger or Pit Boss.
How Long Do You Cook Frozen Pizza On A Pellet Grill
This will depend a little bit on the brand of frozen pizza you are cooking on your pellet grill and the thickness of the crust.
Use the package instructions as a good place to start for estimating cook time.
Our thin crust frozen pizza instructions said 12-16 minutes in a 425°F and it looked pretty perfect right around that 16 minute mark.
We rotated 180° one time after noticing the cheese on the back half was melting amd browning a little faster than the cheese in the front.
Make sure to use good insulated grill gloves when rotating or moving the pizza or pizza pan around.
Once the frozen pizza is done, remove the pizza pan from the pellet grill and place it on a heat proof surface because it will be HOT.
If you want extra crispy crust, let the frozen pizza rest on the hot perforated pizza pan for a couple extra minutes before transferring to a cutting board and slicing.
And never slice your frozen pizza directly on the perforated pizza pan unless you want crumbs everywhere and a ruined, scratched up pizza pan!
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Camp Chef Pellet Grills
Camp Chef uses high-quality materials to ensure its pellet grills deliver delicious flavor while remaining easy to use. By efficiently burning pellets and precisely controlling temperature, these durable models protect against wild temperature swings that cause food to become overcooked. Camp Chef pellet grills are easy to clean and come with a large hopper for extended cooks and simple pellet refilling so you dont have to constantly tend to them while youre entertaining guests. But if youre the kind of griller who likes to keep an eye on their food, these pellet grills also include a digital thermometer and meat probes so you can rest assured your grub is at the right temperature. Though electric-powered pellet grills are more commonly used in home settings, Camp Chefs design will infuse your food with a wood flavor thatll call the outdoors to mind. And don’t forget about expanding your grilling abilities with Camp Chef accessories and Camp Chef cookware.
Camp Chef pellet grills come in three collections: Pursuit, SmokePro, and Woodwind. While the distinct grills have different elements for a varied cooking experience, there are several standard features found in every model:
- Electric auto-start ignition
- Automatic pellet auger for efficiency
- Warming rack for additional cook space
- Cleanout ash can
Final Thoughts On The Chef Pizza Oven
I was really skeptical about how this thing would work, but overall Im really impressed and Im glad to have this in my outdoor kitchen arsenal.
Be prepared to fail a few tries before you get the thickness of the crust and the toppings down too. If you make pizza at home in your regular oven that only goes to about 450 or 500 degrees fahrenheit then it can be a bit of a learning curve.
I highly suggest buying a big bag of corn meal and the pizza oven accessories kit. You can find links to those below.
While the version I tested requires the Sidekick in order to work correctly, but there are standalone versions you can buy as well that are very similar.
Overall, I like the Chef Pizza oven. I would recommend it to anyone that loves making pizza. It is great for outdoors on the patio, and if you are doing car or camper-style camping.
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Camp Chef Woodwind 24 Wifi Pellet Grill With Sidekick
- Delivered Within 2-3 Working Days
- Free Shipping To Mainland UK*
Out Of Stock
The Woodwind 24 Wood Pellet Grill from Camp Chef is a high quality Wi-Fi Controlled BBQ perfect for smoking a wide range of food outdoors. Featuring an integrated Smart Smoke Technology and Ash Cleanout System, the Woodwind requires minor maintenance whilst producing only the best results. The direct grill flame can output temperatures of up to 340°, in addition to 10 different smoke settings. The recommended mobile app, via Wifi, will allow the user to change temperatures, set timers and receive notifications when the food is ready. Synced with 4 useful stainless steel meat probes.
The Woodwind Sidekick is a superb wood-fired Barbecue Grill. The multi-purpose design makes for a useful outdoor assistant when grilling or smoking different foods. Including a professional flat top griddle, Propane tank holder, grease management, matchless ignition and a fully adjustable heat-control knob. The Sidekick can be optimised to bake, sear, boil, sauté, braise and grill, making it a must have versatile outdoor grill.
Camp Chef Woodwind Brochure –
Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven: Price And Availability
The Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven costs $399, and is available at Campchef.com and on Amazon. When purchasing a pizza oven, we also recommend you buy a pizza peel so that you can slide the pizzas in and out of the oven. Camp Chef sells a wooden peel for $18.99, and a pizza spatula for $12.99.
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The Pizza Oven Buying Guide
- Always check compatibility when browsing pizza ovens. While there are models that stand on their own, most are meant to be used with either a pellet grill or some other type of cooking system.
- Review the pizza ovens maximum temperature range. Some models are only capable of reaching 500 degrees Fahrenheit, while others can go as high as 900 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Some pizza ovens are multipurpose and can also be used to roast meat, fish and a medley of vegetables. This allows you to get the most bang for your buck.
- Most pizza ovens take 15 minutes to fully heat up. If the oven youre considering cant match or beat that time, youll want to pass on purchasing it.
- Propane pizza ovens may or may not come with a small disposable propane bottle. Almost all of the units have adapters that allow you to use full-size propane tanks instead of the smaller propane bottles that dont last long.
- A stove cover is a must if you intend on leaving your pizza oven outdoors. Of course, you can always place the unit in a garage when not in use if you dont want to invest in a stove cover.
- Use oven mitts and a pizza peel to safely place the pizza in the oven, turn the pizza and remove it once its fully cooked.
- Pizza ovens come in a variety of price ranges. On the lower end youll find the Green Mountain Grills Wood Fired Pizza Oven and the Camp Chef Artisan Pizza Oven. Both the Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven and the Ooni Koda Gas Outdoor Pizza Oven cost a considerable deal more.
How Does A Pellet Grill Work
A pellet grill works with electricity to create a true wood-burning flame. The flame burns sawdust pellets that are stored in a container called a hopper. An auger feeds the pellets into the cooking chamber to heat them up. Air is needed to circulate the heat and smoke to cook consistently and add a unique smokey flavor.
Traeger patented the pellet technology in 1986. Fast forward to the 21st century, modern engineers were able to electronically control the auger’s movement to feed the fire chamber. Wood pellets proved to be an extremely reliable fuel source due to their known energy output by weight. Adding a digital thermometer, we can now precisely control the cooking temperature from 150 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit using our phones.
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Preheat The Pellet Grill
Let the pellet grill go through its start up process usually done on the Smoke Setting on a Pit Boss or Traeger.
Once it has stopped producing the thick white start- up smoke, turn the temperature up to whatever is instructed on your frozen pizza and close the lid.
In our case it was 425°F and it took about 20 minutes to come up to this temperature on our Pit Boss.
Make sure your perforated pizza pan is in there too to preheat and that the flame broiler is closed down for INDIRECT heat if your pellet grill has that option.
Give the perforated pan a quick and light spray with canola oil or some other high smoke point oil to prevent the frozen pizza from sticking.
You dont need a lot, otherwise it will get your crust too oily.
Why Choose A Pellet Grill
Pellet grills and smokers are versatile. You can barbecue, smoke, braise, bake, roast, or grill. They are easy to use and provide consistent heat and temperature control. In short, smoking adds flavor and tenderizes and using a pellet grill guarantees great results.
With the touch of a button, you can experience a true wood-burning flame. Just plug in the grill, fill the hopper with pellets, use your phone or the control panel to set the desired temperature and smoke level. No stress whatsoever…
Electric and gas grills fail to add the flavor and smoke we love most when barbecuing over wood. Charcoal, especially grilling on a Big Green Egg, is one of our favorites because of the unique flavor profile. But, charcoal can be tough to light. It is finicky to keep at a consistent temperature without patience and practice. And when you are done grilling, you need to deal with heaps of ash.
We love pellet grills because they are easy to light, impart a hardwood smokey flavor of your choice, and hold consistent temperature for either smoking, grilling, or both. Best of all, clean up is easy. A 20-lb bag of natural wood pellets produces merely 1% of ash.
Grilling and smoking on a pellet grill is convenient and really enjoyable for anyone from the novice all the way to the expert pitmaster.
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What We Like About The Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven
- Simplicity The Camp Chef pizza oven is probably the most user friendly pizza oven weve used. Its easy to assemble, easy to control and easy to cook fantastic pizza on.
- Quality Pizzas Whilst its not quite the same as cooking on a proper wood fired brick oven, the Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven does a great job at getting an artisan style pizza. The double layered ceiling and the quite small cooking area help to get the temperatures very high and add to the final quality of the pizza.
- Temperature The Camp Chef pizza oven can easily reach very high temperatures due to its quality burner and heat plates. This helps with the efficiency of cooking several pizzas. But what we really like is that it only takes 10-15 minutes to get up to operational temperatures. We generally cook on a home made wood fired brick oven which can sometimes take several hours to reach cooking temperature due to its size. This, on the other hand, is perfect for quick and easy pizza.
Features: Hot And Heavy
The oven is not light, but still portable, at 47 pounds with the stone inside. Its not too heavy to handle alone, but awkward because of the units width, unless you are a large and strong person. The 17,000 BTU system heats up the oven very fast and cooks a 12-inch pizza in about 3 minutes. I really liked that the oven heated up quickly to 650 degreesabout 20 minutes on a chilly dayand climbed to 750 degrees 10 minutes later. Keeping the oven closed with the door in place helped keep the heat even.
The pizza stone is made of the same material used in pottery kilns and has excellent heat retention, which created a crispy and slightly charred crust after a little practice. When I tested the stone with an infrared thermometer, it was anywhere from 50 to 150 degrees warmer than the air inside the oven, which could cause uneven cooking unless precautions are taken.
The oven comes with a cooking guide that provides instructions about how to use the oven and several recipes to get you started, including homemade dough, red and white sauces, and focaccia. More intriguingly, the booklet suggests going online for creative uses of the oven, including cedar plank salmon and calzones.
The Spruce Eats / Jennifer Burns Bright
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