Pizza from a restaurant that uses wood-fired or charcoal-fired ovens is delicious. It’s a lot tastier and feels more authentic than pizzas that are conveniently cooked in an indoor kitchen oven.
Because everybody loves pizza, more and more homeowners add pizza ovens to their outdoor kitchens. Since they burn wood or charcoal, it’s common to wonder if they are safe.
When carefully executed and built, pizza ovens are safe as long as they are not located too close to the home or left unattended. And to make sure you can use them safely without getting burned, injured, or causing accidents, you need the proper tools and accessories for cooking pizza.
Safety Accessories for Your Outdoor Pizza Oven
Similar to BBQ grills, an outdoor pizza oven comes with many safety risks. To protect yourself and the ones around you against them, the following accessories will come in handy:
1. Oven grills
As pizza ovens employ wood-fired cooking, one of the best parts about them is their versatility. You can make use of them in more than one way, and an oven grill will help you explore that. From steaks to burgers to roasted dishes – you can cook these all by using an oven grill as a surface for direct grilling or for any cooking vessel.
Not only will they let you make a lot more palatable dishes for your get-togethers, but they will also lower the risks of harm that a pizza oven carries. We recommend radial mesh barbecue grills that allow rotation, letting you turn and toss your food to cook all sides evenly with safety. An oven grill made of sturdy cast iron is also perfect because it can withstand high heat and deliver a perfect sear on steaks and roasts.
When getting this accessory, make sure it is long-handled to enhance your protection even more. There are also specifically designed oven grills to help your food maintain a constant distance from the fired wood, especially if you own a traditional pizza oven. Try the ones with an iron body, as they can withstand high temperatures, allowing you to make the best of your pizza ovens with safety.
2. Heat-resistant gloves
When temperatures reach 800 degrees and above, your cute little oven mitts aren’t going to cut it. To make sure you or the cook is safe from burns and other unfortunate accidents, buy a pair of heavy-duty, heat-resistant gloves that will allow you to operate your pizza oven safely.
From putting in to taking your food out and adding more wood, a pair of heat-resistant gloves should be able to handle it all while resisting high temperatures.
3. Pizza peels
Have you ever wondered what that long-handled paddle used for putting pizzas in and out of the oven is called? It’s a pizza peel, which is a must-have for cooking pizzas in an oven. Its large, flat paddle surface can keep your uncooked pizza dough intact while you place them inside the oven, while its extra-long handle protects your arms and forearms from getting in contact with the high-temperature air inside the oven.
When buying a pizza peel, make sure to measure your pizza oven first to avoid buying one that’s too wide. If you have a built-in pizza oven, you will need one with a long handle and a paddle that is 14 inches wide or larger.
Pizza peels can either be made of wood or metal. Wood pizza peels are great for launching pizza inside the oven because the dough doesn’t tend to stick in it as it does with metal. Plus, it looks and feels more authentic. Meanwhile, metal peels are durable and easy to clean. It’s available as solid or perforated – the advantage of having a perforated one is that flour and cornmeal will fall through the holes so that you will have less of a mess. The pizzas also stick a little less from the heat and moisture in a perforated metal pizza peel.
4. Ash rake
An ash rake is an incredibly essential tool for making a safe pizza oven operation. It’s used for moving wood around for even heating. When the oven is sufficiently heated, and it’s not ready for cooking, you may use an ash rake to push wood and cinders out of the way to clear up the hot cooking surface.
5. Oven brush
Once you are finished cooking, and it’s time to clean up, the oven brush allows you to carefully clean all the debris and remaining food inside the oven without damaging the pizza oven floor’s surface (which is either made of stone, brick, or ceramic). This is a wire brush that’s similar to a brush you would use for scraping the grates on the grill.
A pizza oven brush can easily clean baked-on cheese, flour, and other ingredients that may have stuck to the surface of the oven. A long-handled oven brush would be handy if you need to reach into the far end of the oven to clean up the ash and crumbs. You can also find some oven brushes with detachable handles and a steel scraper on the back of the brush.
6. Electric fire starter
Electric fire starters are a must-have to keep yourself safe from the messy accidents of a pizza oven. Instead of striking matches to light it up, make use of technology to keep it safe. Electric fire starters are easy to use as well. Traditionally, lighting up wood consumes a lot of time and effort, but with electric fire starters, you only need little to no effort. All it takes is a torch flame and a gentle blow controlled by a switch or touch!
Furthermore, electric fire-starters do not require you to be close to your oven or its wood. The distance will keep you safe from initial blazing or frizzling.
7. Infrared thermometer gun
As many recipes require a specific range of temperatures, an infrared thermometer gun can help you keep temperatures within that range like a pro. Maintaining a certain level of temperature is essential for cooking Neapolitan-style pizzas. If you are using charcoal, wood, or wood pellets for cooking your pizza in an oven, then you definitely need an infrared thermometer. If the stone’s temperature gets too low, the bottom of your pizza is not going to cook as fast as the pizza crust and toppings.
With an infrared thermometer gun, you no longer have to poke a thermometer into the blazing fires of your pizza oven. It will let you record temperatures from a distance and keep you safe from the risk of getting burned. Infrared thermometer guns will also give you readings with increased accuracy.
8. Ash can
For safe disposal of harmful ash and any left-over food particles from your pizza oven, ash can be helpful. A galvanized trash can with a lid would be perfect for this task. It can withstand high temperatures without melting away.
9. Pizza bubble popper
Once you start using a pizza bubble popper, you’d wonder why you didn’t have it in the first place. As the name suggests, a pizza bubble popper pops air bubbles that form in pizza dough as it cooks, because it can ruin the pizza’s appearance and consistency. Pizza bubble poppers can help ensure your pizza would look as good as it tastes.
Safety Tips for Using Outdoor Pizza Ovens
1. Make sure it’s properly installed
Pizza ovens must be placed on a sturdy, level surface. You must also make sure that you are to follow any local or national codes before building one.
2. Use it outdoors only
Operate your pizza oven in an outdoor setting only. If you’re using a non-built-in oven, do not try to use it to heat your garage or your house. Also, make sure you are using it on a steady and appropriate surface – not on a trailer, a boat, or the back of the truck.
3. Don’t leave it unattended
Outdoor pizza ovens can get very hot. While you’re operating the oven, keep it in your viewpoint. Also, don’t let pets and children get near it.
4. Always think about fire safety
Your pizza oven must be placed at a safe distance from anything that is flammable. Do not put it near plants and trees. Do not try to move it while it’s in use, and have a fire extinguisher ready nearby.
From oven grills to gloves and electric fire starters and more, there are several accessories to help you operate your pizza oven with enhanced safety and security. Make sure to buy all these accessories before using an outdoor pizza oven to ensure safety.
You may also check out our Ultimate Guide to Making Pizza at Home for more tips and recommendations when it comes to making your own pizza.