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...Especially the Fornetto Wood-Fired Outdoor Oven & Smoker.
Why You Should Add An Outdoor Oven To Your Backyard
Yes, I have a grill, but each year, midway through summer, I find myself growing increasingly tired of the usual grilled fare. I’m yearning for more than the customary grilled fish, veggies, steaks, chops, burgers, etc. I want more! Beef roasts, slow smoked briskets and lightly smoked, fall-off-the-bone St. Louis style ribs.
We’ve all added a smoker box to our grills but, any BBQ fanatic will tell you, it’s not the same as smoking that dry-rubbed pork shoulder at a steady low temperature for most of the day. A grill just doesn’t cut it. I could have added a BBQ smoker to my backyard kitchen, but a wood-fired oven seemed more appealing and certainly more versatile, as you’ll soon see. While, I’ve been known to throw a little pizza dough on the grill with pears, gorgonzola and the like, it doesn't duplicate the authentic, thin crust pizza that we drive miles to find and enjoy. You know what I'm talking about. Real Neapolitan pizza. The kind of thin crust pizza that has slightly charred bubbles on the outside crust from the intense heat of a wood-fired oven. Are you starting to get it yet?
The final reason I chose to add a wood-fired oven to my backyard kitchen is the often forgotten side dish. I find myself constantly running inside to the kitchen to check on my bubbly au gratin, creamy mac and cheese, baked brie, or asparagus roasted in a few teaspoons of orange and lemon juice with olive oil and parmesan cheese. The back and forth is a pain. We can’t live on potato salad and coleslaw all summer long, can we?
With my handsome, red-doored Empire Red Fornetto Wood-Fired Oven, I can now prepare a feast - hot appetizers, main courses, side dishes, breads and rolls, along with hot, fresh-from-the-oven desserts - without leaving my backyard once!
Other Options, You Ask?
Some of you might be asking yourselves, “What about the Big Green Egg”. It too, smokes, roasts, bakes and does a superb job of re-creating real authentic pizza with the crust we crave. Not to mention you can also grill on the BGE (Big Green Egg). It is a fabulous and versatile outdoor cooker/grill. It has grown tremendously popular over the past few years and it’s well worth a look. For me, I was drawn to Fornetto’s traditional good looks. Maybe it’s my Italian heritage that got the best of me. And, like most of you, I already have a perfectly good grill, so this purchase was easy as, (pizza) pie for me to make, other than squirreling away some cash for a couple of months.
Given that most high end grills can set you back thousands of dollars and not have the function of an oven/smoker combo the $1,750 I shelled out for the original Fornetto didn’t seem all that ridiculous. Single function outdoor pizza ovens range anywhere from a few thousand to over ten. Even a loaded Weber grill will set you back a grand, and a large Big Green Egg with the necessary nest and handler will top that.
Don’t get me wrong, if you wanna add an outdoor oven/smoker to your backyard cooking adventures then you should look at both the Fornetto and the Big Green Egg. Both outdoor ovens feature a quality build and great features. It just comes down to personal preference, (and maybe where your grandparents were born).
Specs & Features of the Fornetto Wood-Fired Outdoor Ovens.
The Fornetto Oven is 25-1/2” wide and a bit over 22” deep. It stands 75-1/2” high including the 20” chimney. The set-up and cooking instructions are well written. Be sure to position your oven at least 17” away from anything combustible, (including a wood structure) on either side and from the back of the oven. Height clearance should be at least 39” from the top of the chimney. Be careful! It gets hot. That’s why it makes great pizza!
The large stainless steel oven (18.7” wide X 15.8” deep X 11.7” high) comes with two stainless racks, ceramic pizza stone, pizza racks and ceramic fire bricks for optimal heat retention. The separate combustion chamber or fire box features a pull-out rack and ash tray that slides out for easy cleaning.
You use the three cool-touch ventilation controls along with the chimney damper to control the temperature of the oven. The ventilation also controls how much smoke gets in the oven if you’ve got smoking chips or smoking pellets in the included smoker box. Heavy-duty solid cast iron doors, in either midnight black or empire red feature a thermometer built into the convenient glass window.
The trolley-style frame has two wheels and a handle that makes moving your oven a snap. The frame also features a fold-up side table, condiment rack and accessory hooks. There’s a sturdy basket at the bottom of the cart for storing your fuel. I prefer to use hardwood for pizza, hickory or apple hardwood if I’m smoking and hardwood lump charcoal, NOT charcoal briquets, when baking or roasting.
The Fornetto Alto
Fornetto offers a second model, the Fornetto Alto, for around $400 more than the original. It’s the same wood-fired oven and smoker as the original Fornetto Oven, but with two nice upgrades and two options.
The biggest perk to the Alto is its large and useful warming drawer. It’s located under the fire chamber and has its own thermometer built into the front of the drawer. Not only will it keep food warm while you’re waiting for the rest of dinner to be ready, it doubles as a proofing drawer for bread and pizza dough! Then there is the built-in Halogen oven light...nice touch. There are also two options you can purchase for the Alto. The Fornetto Alto Wood Storage Box with Wheels upgrade for $499 adds the convenience of wheels and a nice storage cabinet with doors underneath the oven. The cabinet is perfect for keeping your lump charcoal or hardwood, dry and ready to go. The second upgrade you can purchase is the Built-In Tray with Cover for $199.
I think upgrading to the Alto and adding the Alto Wood Storage Box is worth it, for the wheels alone...if the $2,648 price tag doesn’t put a hole in your pocket. However, I opted for the original model in Empire Red.
The original Fornetto Wood-Fired Oven & Smoker comes in Empire Red and Midnight Black. The Fornetto Alto is available in Black with Ecru doors and Black with Brick doors.
If you’re not lucky enough to live close to a Kitchen Kapers store, you can buy the Fornetto Ovens online. Currently we have Fornetto Ovens at these four locations:
- Concord Mall, Wilmington, DE
- East Gate Square, Moorestown, NJ
- Shoppes at English Village, North Wales, PA
- Suburban Square, Ardmore, PA
You must be home for freight delivery. Carrier will call to set up a delivery day and time.
Residential Address Curbside Delivery $225. Common carrier freight delivery with lift gate. Driver will get your new outdoor oven from the truck to the curb in front of your house. You are responsible for getting it to your garage, patio or deck. A hand truck or furniture dolly works best. You can also remove the oven and parts from the shipping box at the curb and more easily carry the items individually.
Residential Address Inside Delivery $300. Common carrier freight delivery with lift gate. Driver will get your new outdoor oven from the truck to the curb in front of your house and then to your street level garage or patio/deck.
Commercial Address Delivery with Dock - Free Common carrier freight delivery no lift gate. Your commercial address location must have a dock with dock plate and pallet jack or fork lift to get the oven off the truck and into the building. You are responsible for getting your new outdoor oven from the commercial building to its final destination. NOTE: The original Fornetto weighs approx. 250 lbs. and the Fornetto Alto weighs approx. 310 pounds. You can remove the parts from the shipping box and more easily carry the items individually if necessary. Call a couple of able body friends to help!
The instructions are clear and easy to follow. It should only take you about an hour to an hour and a half to set up your new Fornetto Wood-Fired Outdoor Oven & Smoker. Enjoy!
I’m looking forward to a full season of outdoor cooking adventures with my new Fornetto Oven - and not getting bored of dinner halfway though the summer this year!
Ciao and happy backyard cooking,
(with Kitchen Kapers since 1999)
Written May 2014 (Revised July 2014)
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