Oooni Karu 16 pizza oven review
At the top of my list of things I’ve always wanted but never imagined, there has always been a pizza oven. Even though I didn’t know much about what it takes to own one, I felt like a lot was involved. I had seen videos of people building them from scratch in their backyards, using the large space they had (and I didn’t have) to create stone and brick ovens with intricate designs and even more complex engineering that would allow their ovens to reach the incredibly high temperatures needed to bake pizza. It never occurred to me that there was a pizza oven that would make this process easy.
Then I was introduced Ooni, a brand that took the internet by storm because it was doing just that – making fully functional pizza ovens that required little assembly and minimal effort to make a pie that would rival the ones they bake in Naples. When I had the opportunity to try the latest model, the Karu 16, I jumped on it. I was curious to see if my dream of owning my own pizza maker could be fun and easy.
Spoiler alert: it’s 100% possible.
Ooni Karu 16
Like other models of ovens created by Ooni, the Karu 16 aims to make the process of cooking delicious restaurant quality pizza incredibly easy. The model itself is not massive, although with 16 inches of total cooking space it is larger than some models that came before it and requires a fair amount of outdoor space when in use. . (At first I thought I could try the Karu 16 on my balcony, and quickly realized that was not going to happen.) Another important note: the Karu 16 has a fireplace that releases the heat. oven, so you shouldn’t really use it inside.
The assembly of the Karu 16 is simple and quite quick. Most of the oven itself is already assembled; all you have to do is put on the door, add the fuel pan and install the chimney, which slides smoothly into the top of the oven without the fuss. The heaviest part, the stone, requires a bit of extra care and needs to be slid into the kiln before you put the other pieces together, but it’s about as difficult as the assembly process.
Once you’ve located your Ooni, the next step on your Nirvana Pizza journey is to choose the type of fuel you want to use. The Karu 16 works with drink, charcoal or another Karu 16 specific gas burner to reach a possible temperature of 950 degrees Fahrenheit and bake a large pie in 15 minutes flat. The digital thermometer under the oven itself lets you know what temperature your oven is at when the heat rises, while the transparent door lets you see how the pizza is cooking inside.
Ooni Karu 16
If you opt for wood or charcoal, there is a drawer at the back of the oven where you can place your materials and a lid that will contain the flames. To start the fire, it is a good idea to hang a Ooni natural fire starter to speed up the process. If you choose to go the gas route, there is an area at the back to plug in your external gas burner.
From there, it’s just a waiting game. Not only do you wait for the temperature in the oven to rise, but you also wait for the internal stone that bakes the pizza to heat up – if you don’t allow the stone time to heat up, it will impact the quality of your pizza. . Fortunately, the Karu 16 is designed with optimized airflow engineering and a carbon steel shell, allowing the oven to heat up faster (more details below).
Once the oven reaches the desired temperature, you can load your pizza into the oven using a pizza peel, and let cook. To make sure it cooks evenly, use the shovel to rotate your pizza periodically once you notice one side turning browner.
There is no doubt that the Karu 16, Like other ovens made by Ooni, this is an amazing pizza oven that will create the most delicious home pizzas you have ever made. That being said, there is definitely a bit of a learning curve, but that’s actually part of the fun.
Beyond which toppings you want to experiment with, there are a few things to learn once you get your own Ooni. The first is how to heat the oven and how to make sure it stays hot to cook your pizza evenly.
In our testing, we only used wood and charcoal to heat our oven because the Ooni Karu 16 gas burner was still out of stock. What we found was that heating the oven took much longer due to the unpredictability of the materials to be heated. With a gas burner, maintaining the heat would be much easier because it is easier to control. After adding charcoal and wood to the fuel drawer, we were only able to hit 500 degrees Fahrenheit, but most of the time we hovered around 400 as we frequently opened the oven door.
Ooni Karu 16
The biggest problem was heating the stone. Although the oven is hot and the top of our pizza is cooked to perfection, we struggled to brown the underside of the pizza. Basically, we’ve learned that when using heating methods outside of gas, you need to let the stone heat up longer than you think – maybe an hour or more – before you start cooking.
The second thing that is important to note before getting a pizza oven: you will need a lot of accessories. Ooni suggests a list of essential add-ons, which are 100% necessary for the process. You are going to need a skin, as mentioned before, because you won’t be able to put your pizza in and out of the oven without one. (It also takes a bit of adjustment. Pizzas love to stick to the skin, so pro tip: add a little cornmeal or semolina flour to yours to help it slide more easily. oil as it can heat up and cause burns.)
You will also need to invest in drink or charcoal, an exeloran of heatsunbathe Ooni Karu 16 gas burner if you want your oven to heat up faster and special oven gloves who can withstand this degree of heat. To make sure you’re not exposing your oven to the elements, you’ll probably want to get a blanket for that too.
- 16-inch Ooni Pizza Shovel ($ 59.99; ooni.com)
- Ooni Premium 20lb Hardwood Pellets ($ 24.99; ooni.com)
- Ooni Premium Natural Fire Starters ($ 19.99; ooni.com)
- Ooni Karu 16 Pizza Oven Gas Burner ($ 99.99; ooni.com)
- Ooni Pizza Oven Gloves ($ 19.99; bestbuy.com)
- Ooni Karu 16 Pizza Oven Cover ($ 49.99; ooni.com)
All of this to say that your bill can add up quickly, but it’s also incredibly worth the cost if you’re willing to commit to a homemade pizza. The Oooni Karu 16 works, and it works wonderfully. Once you play with the heat and master your peeling technique, you will reap the rewards of many pies. The pizza is the perfect Neapolitan-style pie – crisp and charred on top, with an airy, chewy dough and a gooey, stringy cheese that stretches for days. When you go for wood, there is the added benefit of a wood-fired flavor which only makes your pizza much more comparable to what you would get in a restaurant. And once you’ve got a really good handle on your Ooni, you can experiment with other foods like baked pasta and even steak.
Ooni Karu 16
Not to mention that having an Ooni gives you an excuse to invite people to help you experiment. Because pizzas cook so quickly, you can multiply them in no time and serve everyone their own pie. If you want to take your pizza night to the next level, everyone can make their own pies and take turns baking them.
Having an Ooni Karu 16 oven is both an investment in time and money, but it is also one of the best projects you can undertake if you are a big foodie. Any pizzas you make once you master your oven will be truly out of this world, and anyone who gets the chance to try them will no doubt agree.