diypizzaovenIf you are a pizza lover and you want to turn your backyard into a pizzeria you have two options. You can buy an outdoor pizza oven for less than a couple of hundred bucks. But those aren’t going to recreate the authentic flavor of a wood fired brick pizza. To buy a wood fired brick pizza oven they are going to cost you north of a thousand bucks. There is however another option and that is to make you own outdoor pizza oven.

The main skill you need to build a brick pizza oven is, wait for it…bricklaying skills! If you are bricklayer you are going to find this dead easy or you could hire a builder to build it for you.

You can buy the materials you need at your local DIY store and don’t forget you can use an outdoor pizza oven to cook just about anything so it’s not just limited to cooking pizzas. As well as being able to cook great food and save you thousands of bucks the oven will become a great looking feature for your backyard.

So here step by step is a guide to making your own outdoor pizza oven.

The Base

Step 1- Laying the Foundations

Decide where you want to build your pizza oven and be sure to use a level to make sure that your chosen spot is flat and even. Once you have located a suitable spot you will need to lay a concrete slab.

Step 2 – Building the Base

Decide how high your want your pizza oven to be and begin stacking 8-inch cinder blocks arranging them in an L-shape. You should stagger the blocks in order to ensure that the base is sturdy. Make sure that you leave the holes around the edges exposed as you will need to fill them with cement. Now fill the holes with concrete or cement.

Step 3 – Tiling the Base Exterior

Now you need to make a decision on the aesthetics of your pizza oven as you are going to be tiling the exterior. Apply mortar or cement to the exterior with a trowel to ensure that it is applied evenly. Now lay your chosen tiles around the exterior of the base.

Step 4 – Making a Counter Top

You are going to need to build a concrete counter top on top of the base. To do this place a plywood frame around the top of the base and pour in the concrete. Be sure to leave the concrete to cure for at least a day. If there are still dark spots in the concrete it is not yet cured and you should leave it until it is.

That’s it for the base, now it’s time to move on the oven itself.

The Oven

Step 5 – Making a Wood Pallet

You will now need to make a wooden pallet for which you will need a large piece of chipboard. Cut this chipboard so that it is the same size of a pallet. Now place the board on top of the pallet.

Step 6 – Building the Oven Base

You will need to have mixed some concrete in preparation for this next step. Pour this concrete over the chipboard and pallet you made in the previous step. This will form a sturdy base for your pizza oven. Make sure the concrete is smooth and even and leave it alone long enough for it to cure.

Step 7 – Time to Start Laying Bricks

This is where your bricklaying skills are going to come in handy or where you need to start learning. It will help you immensely at this point to arrange your bricks (or stones) so that you know what your oven is going to look like and how it will fit together. Don’t mortar them in place just yet.

You will need to build a square shaped wall of bricks on three sides with the front left open as you will be building an arched entrance to the oven. Later you will be building a domed roof
on top of the bricks.

Step 8 – Supporting the Oven

Now mortar the bricks together. In order to support the bricks whilst the mortar is drying you should place a tarp inside the oven floor and then cover it with sand.

Step 9 – Time to Build the Chimney

You don’t have to build a chimney but it’s far better to have the smoke billowing out the top than it is out the front. You’ve come this far so I recommend you build a chimney. It will be worth it, I promise.

In order to build the chimney you will need a bucket with the bottom cut out or a thick piece of pipe that is 3-4 inches long. Make sure that the bucket is not plastic as you don’t want it to melt. That would spoil the pizza.

Place the bucket on top of the arch a few inches away from the opening of the oven and cover it with a plastic sheet to prevent cement getting into the oven.

Step 10 – Mortaring the Dome and Chimney

Before beginning to apply mortar you should support the dome and chimney with cardboard or foam. Now stack the walls of the oven and the central dome to the required height before mortaring them into place with a trowel. Secure the chimney in place by placing bricks around it.

Step 11 – Insulating the Oven

To make the oven more effective at cooking by retaining more heat you will need to cover its exterior with concrete. This will also be the exterior of the oven so give some thought into how you want it to look if you want it to look pretty. Perhaps adding some tint to the concrete for a nice touch. Now leave the concrete to dry for a few days.

Step 12 – Putting the Oven and Base Together

Now it’s time to put the finished oven on top of the base, but first remove the tarp from inside and give the oven a clean.
Pick up the oven with the help of somebody else as it will be very heavy. Position it at the center of the base. Make sure that it is square and centered.

Step 13 – Testing the Oven

Before you actually cook a pizza you should start a test fire to dry out the interior of the oven. Once you are happy that the oven is ready you can position a wire rack inside the oven mounted on bricks. You can place your cooking coals beneath the wire rack. Now you can cook pizza.

Now there’s one more thing left to do, and that’s eat your pizza!

Congratulations you have just saved over a thousand bucks that you could have spent on an outdoor pizza oven. Unless of course you would rather buy a pizza oven, in which case take a look at my pizza oven recommendations.

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