Backyard and patio cooking is always a great pastime, especially for those of us who are diehards and even love cooking outside during cold weather.
Cool, clean, crisp air combined with the great smell of hot cooked food of any kind is an awesome pairing.
So, if you’ve already got your patio set up with a great barbecue grill, what’s the next thing that can really step up your outdoor dining experience?
If you’re a pizza lover – of any kind, style and flavor – the thing that may come to mind is cooking those delicious pies outside.
You’ll be happy to know that there are many choices on the market, from portable units to custom-built brick installations.
In this review, I’m going to talk about the Blackstone Outdoor Pizza Oven and dive into many of its great features. It’s an easy addition to your patio set up and I think you’ll find it well worth your time to consider it.
If you’re ready to expand your outdoor chef capabilities, read on…
What Is the Blackstone Outdoor Pizza Oven?
The Blackstone pizza oven is a moderately portable outdoor pizza oven that is Amazon’s #1 bestseller in the Outdoor Oven Category.
It’s an easy starting oven that uses electronic ignition to light the propane fueled burner. Putting out 60,000 BTU, the Blackstone rapidly cooks your pizzas in under three minutes.
There is an additional cooking stone mounted in the roof of the oven. The burner is below the bottom stone and offset to the right side. Coupled with the upper stone, you get more even, convection style cooking.
The lower stone rotates with the help of a rotisserie motor. This means you don’t have to manually turn the pizza every 30 seconds or so like other units. It’s 16.5 inches in diameter and can easily accommodate a 15-inch pie.
Let’s dive in a little deeper…
What Are the Standard Features on the Blackstone Pizza Oven?
- It uses a pushbutton ignitor for faster starts
- It comes with a 60,000 BTU burner for faster cooking and more food versatility
- The AC/DC powered rotisserie motor rotates the 16.5-inch pizza stone which eliminates manual turning
- A second stone mounted in the roof that mimics a brick oven for even convection cooking
- Built-in cart for easy maneuverability
- Infinitely adjustable burner valve for precise temperature control
What’s in the Box?
Note: the Blackstone pizza oven doesn’t come with any accessories. At the end of this review, I’ll list a number of tools that I think are extremely handy and will make your use of the Blackstone much more enjoyable.
How Does It All Work?
First off, there’s a bit of assembly but it’s pretty easy. It only takes about 10 to 15 minutes and the only tool you need is a screwdriver.
The instructions in the manual are mainly drawings and are marginal at best. I recommend you watch this this video to help speed you through the set up. Oddly enough, it’s produced by Blackstone:
Once you get it altogether, it’s time to connect the propane and get the oven fired up. Turn the motor on to start the stone rotating – this helps to heat it evenly – and then turn up and light the propane.
It’s going to take about 10 minutes and then you’ll be ready to go. You adjust the temperature via the large knob on the front.
As mentioned, the pizza oven’s burner is on the right-hand side, so the heat and some of the flame will come up on that side. That heats the stone in the ceiling as well, giving you convection cooking that makes this oven work so well.
Because the lower stone is directly heated by the flame, there is almost no wait time between pies. This is the way to go If you’ve got a pizza party planned.
Let’s get to bakin’…
Baking your pizza
Prep your pizza while the oven is heating up. To make the whole process move along if you’re making multiple pies, prep them ahead of time and have them nearby ready to pop in the oven.
Don’t have a dough recipe?
Here’s a popular well recommended New York style pizza recipe for you to try out: The Best New York Style Pizza Dough
But what if you’re not really into the whole hands in the dough experience? No worries. Just buy pre-made ready for the oven pizzas from your local take and bake place.
You can even use the pizza kits found at your supermarket if you’d like. Or, if you’d really like to save time, you can use the frozen pizzas that are in the freezer case.
TIP: If you use frozen dough, let it come up to room temperature first. Cold dough hitting the hot stone could cause the stone to crack.
Here’s a good, user recommended pizza book to check out. Peter Reinhart’s “American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza”
Using the Rotating Platter
Unless you’re experienced or lucky about plopping uncooked pizza dough on a spinning stone, I suggest you turn off the motor first. Now, you can slip the pizza on to the stone squarely. Turn the motor back on and let it cook.
In about 3 minutes or so you’ll have a nicely cooked and slightly charred pizza. Like a wood fired brick oven, all the leopard spots, just without the smoky flavor.
What Kind of Fuel Does It Use?
The Blackstone pizza oven runs on propane from standard bulk fuel cannisters. Be sure to read the manufacturer directions as to which cannister to use and recommended safety precautions.
Be aware the regulator is a very specific type. If it’s damaged or needs to be replaced, use only the one specified in the user manual.
Can I Use Natural Gas in the Blackstone Pizza Oven?
This is a common question that’s asked about these ovens. The manufacturer recommends against it and there isn’t a conversion kit available.
The propane power makes for a clean burning setup with no mess. There’s no wood chip or pellet ash to dispose of. Nothing to collect and haul back home if you take the Blackstone oven on an outing.
Other Power Sources Needed
You will need two types of batteries, one for the ignitor and another for the motor. They aren’t included with the oven.
- Two D cells for the motor – not necessary if you use the AC adapter
- One AA for the ignitor.
Make sure you have spares because there’s nothing that will kill the atmosphere faster than not having power for the turntable.
Especially when you’re out at the park or some other event and there’s no AC.
Which brings us to…
How Big Is the Blackstone?
The pizza oven weighs in at 110 pounds out of the box. While not lightweight by any means, it has its own cart and wheels around very easily. It’s a little awkward to lift and move, so you might want to get a second set of hands to unpack it.
It measures 43” wide by 19” deep by 54” on the cart.
Can I Use the Blackstone Oven in a Commercial Setting?
The Blackstone could be used this way since you have almost no wait time to re-heat between pies. If you have several prepped ahead of time, and have help, you could cook and serve up to 10 or more pies an hour.
It’s easy to wheel around and the wheels lock in place to make a sturdy platform.
Other Foods You can Cook in the Blackstone Pizza Oven
You can make just about anything that will fit in the opening. That means fish, chicken, and beef.
You can also make some breads, desserts, strombolis, roasted vegetables, casseroles and more.
Anything that likes high heat and fast cooking will find a place on the platter in this oven. Just know, the opening doesn’t allow the use of tall pans or pans with handles.
Once you’re done cooking, it’s time to clean up.
What’s the Cleaning Routine for the Blackstone Oven?
Let the oven cool down and then wipe the outer body with a soft wet cloth. The interior of the oven (NOT the stone) can be cleaned with oven cleaner if necessary.
Don’t let the oven cleaner touch any painted surfaces.
Do I Have to Clean the Blackstone Pizza Oven Stone?
Not as a standard routine, just brush off the residue and any flour or corn meal. It will naturally change color as it seasons with use. You don’t need to season ahead of time.
The Janico Pizza Oven Stone Brush is a good stiff bristle brush that helps remove the debris on the stone. It's available on Amazon for about $12.
If you’re concerned about the blackening, you can turn the stone over and use the other side.
If you do need to clean it, let the stone cool completely. It will crack if cooler water is run over it while hot.
Just use water and a scrub brush. Because the stone is porous, don’t use detergents or soap. It will absorb the cleaners leaving your food with the taste.
Should the stone crack or break, you can get a new one by calling customer support at (435) 252-3030 ext. #1.
The Secret to Good Artisan Pizza
Air and stone temperature are vital to getting the best results. The stone should be at 600-650° (315-340°C) while the air temp should be 700–800° (370-425°C).
This assures speed and properly cooked toppings.
Blackstone’s built in thermometer will help with the air temperature, but for the stone, we recommend a good quality laser or IR thermometer.
Our favorite is listed at the end of the article.
Here’s What Makes This Such a Great Pizza Oven
The Blackstone oven uses propane to reach its high temperatures. This means 60,000 BTU power hits 900° (480°C) to cook foods that really do well with high heat.
Plus, the Blackstone has a ceiling mounted pizza stone that evens out the cooking temperature and assures nice, even cooking of the top. Just like a convection oven.
The included rotisserie motor keeps the bottom stone turning so you don’t have to do any manual flipping or turning.
The included cart makes it easy to move. The legs can be taken off to make it somewhat portable.
Any Tips or Tricks to Getting My Best Pie?
- Turn the motor on and let the oven preheat for 10 minutes. This makes sure the stones heat evenly. Let the bottom stone get to 600 to 650° before putting in the pizza.
- To make life using the rotating stone easier, turn the motor off before you load the pizza, then turn it back on. You avoid the possibility of not getting the pie on squarely.
- Use cornmeal, flour or semolina on the wooden peel to help the dough slide off more easily.
- Brush the stone off after ever 2 or 3 pizzas to make sure the corn meal or four doesn’t burn. It won’t hurt the stone but will taint the flavor of the pies.
- Keep the pizza oven out of wind and drafts as this can knock the internal temperatures down. You need it to be 600° or more depending on the pizza style or other food you’re cooking.
- Practice with your dough, oven heat and time. You may find a lower temp works best for your pizza.
- Go easy on the toppings. Fewer will cook more thoroughly and quickly.
- Let the ingredients get to room temperature before cooking. If you use frozen foods, let them thaw completely.
- If the toppings aren’t quite cooked as desired, use the metal peel and raise the pie up to the ceiling for a few seconds. The hot air will finish the cooking.
Do I Have to Do Anything Special with the Blackstone Pizza Oven?
This is an outdoor oven, so it’s not intended to be used indoors or inside an RV or trailer. Take care to make sure you have sufficient space around the oven because the exterior does get hot. Watch little kids around the oven to keep them from getting burned.
It’s fine to leave it outdoors, but make certain to keep it covered. Blackstone has a great cover that you can purchase on Amazon.
When the cooking is done, make sure the gas is off as directed in the instructions. Let the unit cool completely before cleaning.
Use the pushpins in each leg to release the body from the legs for more portability. Just set it up on a flat solid surface. Make sure you give clearance to the motor that’s on the bottom.
What’s the Thrust Bearing For?
This refers to a solution to a problem that occurred in the first model of this pizza oven. Some users have noted that the bottom mounted stone would be off kilter when the oven was delivered and scrape the top of the oven.
The fix for this is to adjust the stop collar on the platter shaft by a half inch. Use the correct size metric Allen wrench to tighten it down. The other fix was to use a thrust bearing to fix it.
The manufacturer says this problem has been solved in the latest model (which we’re reviewing here) and the thrust bearing in no longer necessary. There were some comments of users still running into the problem. Here’s the order info on the bearing should you need it.
What’s the Warranty Period?
The oven has a one-year warranty from the date of purchase that’s backed by the manufacturer. It covers parts, workmanship and finishes (against rust).
They mention that it is the manufacturer’s option to fix or replace any item above.
Register here to activate the warranty: https://www.blackstoneproducts.com/support/
Make certain you hang on to all receipts and purchase information.
For support, you can contact the manufacturer via:
Phone: US - 435-252-3030 Canada - 801-656-2041
or email: email@example.com
Customer support is available Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm Mountain Standard Time.
Many of the reviews mention the high quality of support and are quite happy with the speed of Blackstone’s solutions.
Any Concerns to Be Aware of?
Because of the high heat and flame, the manufacturer recommends that you leave at least 6 inches around the unit.
The mounted temperature gauge tells you the air temp only. To get the best bottom crust, the temperature needs to be 600-650° (315-340°C). You can measure this with a laser thermometer like the Etekcity Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer .
Always use oven mitts when handling any hot parts like the cooking stone. The Bluefire Pro heat resistant gloves are a great choice and can be used when cooking up your BBQ too.
While the Blackstone is safe for outdoor use, practice good fire precautions and have a fire extinguisher handy.
A common issue seems to be that the platter doesn’t turn once it’s powered on. This generally affected the first version. Take a look at the Thrust Bearing paragraph above.
Another issue is the motor that turns the platter. After a while, it might go out. Fortunately, it’s a standard rotisserie model, so replacement is easy. Here’s the one recommended by other users.
Extras That Make Outdoor Cooking More Fun
The Blackstone pizza oven doesn’t come with any accessories. There are several tools that will make you pizza cooking experience even more pleasurable.
- For the best in temperature control, it’s not a good idea to rely completely on the built-in gauge.
- Using a laser thermometer like the Etekcity Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer is a good bet. It measures up to 1022°. This way you can monitor the air temperature with the gauge and the stone temperature with the laser unit.
- I recommend two peels. One wooden peel and another made of stainless steel. You prep the pizza and slide it into the oven with a wooden peel like the Heritage Acacia Wood Pizza Peel.
- When you pull the pizza out, use a stainless-steel peel like the Kitchen Supply Peel to make that job easier.
- TIP: Practice using the peel before you “go live.” It can be a little bit of a balancing act, but it won’t take you any time to get the hang of it.
- Protecting your hands from burns is the next thing to make the job more fun. The Bluefire Pro heat resistant gloves are versatile and can be used wherever your working with fire or high heat.
- To help cool the pizza before cutting and keep it crisp, use the Winware 16-inch screen to hold just out of the oven pies.
Where Can I Buy a Blackstone?
The Blackstone Outdoor Pizza Oven is available at larger sporting goods stores and other outdoor/home supply stores.
It’s also available from the manufacturer through Amazon. You can take advantage of Free Standard Shipping, Amazon’s great customer support and friendly return policy.
A side note, it has been recently renamed the Blackstone Patio Oven. Probably, as one user noted, to reflect that you can cook more than just pizza.
Ok Then, What's the Final Word?
Overall, the Blackstone Outdoor Pizza Oven is a good value and would make a great backyard or patio addition. It has a couple of small issues that can be fixed quickly.
But those are outweighed by it’s speed and convenience in cooking. High heat, rotating platter and the top mounted stone make baking your pizza a breeze. Not having to babysit and turn the pizza is highly desirable. All in all, a great way to spice up your patio parties.
If you are not yet convinced, check out our selection of outdoor pizza ovens.