I’m a sucker for wood-fired pizza. So when Ooni offered to send me their new Fyra portable wood-fired outdoor pizza oven for evaluation, I was onboard. I’d read Jenny Bristol’s review of the gas-powered Ooni Koda last year, and it sounded pretty cool. The Fyra is portable, rated to hit temperatures of up to 932°F in 15 minutes, and it uses wood pellets for fuel—which I keep in abundant supply for a Traeger grill (review of that here if you’re interested).
Easy to Assemble, Compact, and Truly Portable
The $249 Fyra came in a single box and assembled in minutes. There is nothing complicated about it and no tools required. Legs fold down when in use and the whole thing weighs just 22 lbs—including the pizza stone. The size and portability was a big deal for me. I’m running out of space to set up these sorts of things in the back yard, so I had been avoiding adding a pizza oven to my grill collection. I was able to set the Fyra on the cover of the fire pit, and when finished (and cooled down), I folded the legs up and it slid easily onto a shelf in the shed.
The portability was a big win.
The wooden cover of the fire pit didn’t seem overly warm, although I would definitely recommend finding a higher surface to place the oven on. Having to crouch down to slide the pizza in and rotate it made that process far more difficult than needed.
Relatively Easy Operation (But Watch the Hot Surfaces)
This Ooni model is very similar to the Koda Jenny reviewed. It’s a little smaller—with a 12-inch cooking surface as opposed to 13-inches—but the primary difference is the wood pellet fuel source.
Ooni sells its own brand of pellets, but the Traeger pellets I had on hand worked just fine. Ignition is manual and involves filing a hopper with pellets, adding a non-toxic fire-starting pack (Ooni included a large package of these in the box), lighting it, and then adding more pellets to the hopper as the fire catches. That’s a little fussy compared to pushing an ignition button, but it’s pretty easy to do and forgivable on a $249 oven.
In 15 minutes it’s supposed to reach 932°F. I have no idea what temperature I cooked at—as Jenny mentions, there is no integrated thermometer—but opening the front of the over, it felt like a blast furnace. As you can see from this photo (taken just a few minutes after ignition), it looks like a blast furnace inside as well.
You can control the temperature slightly by opening and closing a damper on the smokestack, but it’s guesswork unless you break down and buy an infrared thermometer.
I learned the hard way that the surface beneath the Ooni may be safe from the heat—as is the over door handle—but the oven itself and its various bits get searing hot. That includes the control to adjust the damper, so have a pair of insulated gloves handy for touching that.
Pizza Dough Is Important to Success
I have not had a lot of experience with making my own pizza dough. There are plenty of great recipes out there, and Ooni offers some of its own. I had no problem whipping up a batch, but my trouble began with the pizza preparation. I didn’t flour the counter well enough, so there was serious stickage. I also failed to flour the pizza peel well enough. The result wasn’t pretty when I tried to get the pizza off the peel onto the pizza stone in the blazing hot Ooni pizza oven. It didn’t slide right off like it does for the pros, I had to shake it and poke at it.
My first few attempts looked more like pretzels than anything. And I seriously charred the crust because I didn’t rotate the pizza fast enough. It took a little longer than the 60-second claim, but not by much. The longest I had one in there was maybe two minutes. By the end of my first session, I had produced pies that may not pass muster at a restaurant (far from round and still a little too much char), but I have to say they tasted pretty spectacular.
I’m going to have another go at it this weekend—this time with a lot more attention paid to avoiding sticking dough and proper oven placement.
I should mention that to fire up the Ooni and keep it hot long enough to cook six pizzas (or four tomato mozzarella pretzel things + two pizzas) I used around five or six cups of wood pellets.
Despite the learning curve (much of which you can avoid by reading the experience of owners), I think the Ooni Fyra is an awesome addition to the back yard. It’s a great way to get the taste of genuine wood-fired pizza, it doesn’t cost a fortune, and you don’t need to commit to setting it up permanently.
Disclosure: Ooni provided a Fyra pizza oven for evaluation but had no input into this review.