Move over, BBQ, because the latest entry in the 'just what we've been waiting for' category is a lightweight and affordable backyard pizza oven.
When it comes to cooking great pizza (and to be fair, a number of other classic dishes as well), a wood-fired oven is the way to go. But unless you've got the time, the energy, and the space to build a wood-fired oven in your yard, the closest you'll get to experiencing this old-school cooking method might be by going out to eat at a restaurant that specializes in it, because pretty much all of the alternatives are too heavy, too expensive, or too large to use at home.
With the new Uuni 2S, you can set up a wood-fired pizza oven just about anywhere (outside) that you'd like to, without a lot of setup time or dedicating a portion of your yard for a permanent or semi-permanent installation. It weighs in at 24 pounds, measures just 4.7 x 13.7 x 18.8 inches (12 x 35 x 48 cm), and burns wood pellets (barbecue or premium quality heating pellets), an easily available and energy-dense fuel source that can heat up the Uuni to 900°F in about 10 minutes. Once the oven is hot, a pizza can be baked in just 90 seconds, and the Uuni can also be used to cook vegetables, flatbreads, fish, steaks, or other high-temperature, short cooking time dishes.
The original Uuni (Finnish for 'oven') launched on Kickstarter a few years ago, and since then, the design has evolved and been improved to make the Uuni experience even more optimal, and the new model, which is the fourth iteration, also includes a pizza stone (stone baking board) and refinements to the chimney, fuel feed, and legs.
Check it out:
"We started this company back in 2011 with the goal of making it easy and affordable to make great pizzas. Our new Uuni 2S is just a continuation of this vision and is our first model to include a baking stone. Now, pizza lovers and foodies alike can make authentic thin, chewy, crispy edged pizza other dishes exactly how the pizzaiolos of Naples cook their own." - Kristian Tapaninaho, founder and designer of Uuni
Although I'm not a big fan of wood pellets as a 'sustainable' fuel source, they are readily available (and cheap), and offer a uniform heat source for cooking, which is something that is hard to achieve for newbies when cooking with 'raw' wood such as branches and small logs. And unless you're ready to build a stone or clay wood-fired oven that can accept a large variety of different fuelwood sizes, wood pellets seem to be the next best thing (but that does make me wonder if it's possible to build a small rocket stove version of the Uuni).
The stainless steel Uuni 2S can be bought directly from the company's website for $299 USD, with an optional cover bag and fuel hopper upgrade also available. For more info, see the Uuni website.