on May 16, 2014
I bought this oven as part of a package on Groupon, but not until I'd read all the reviews here and on several forums on the web. After all, one doesn't buy a $400 outdoor oven on a whim. At least I don't. And yes, I had some concerns after reading that some buyers had received either defective ovens or parts damaged in shipment. I was encouraged to know that Blackstone responded immediately to everyone who had trouble. When I was unpacking I had my heart in my throat expecting a broken or bent piece. Everything was perfect. I was incredibly lucky. But you'll be in heaven once you get it up and running. Mine is just 10 days old.
A few suggestions based on my very recent experience:
You will need a AA battery for the igniter (insert bottom end first - which the directions don't tell you), and you will need two D batteries for the motor. My suggestion is to take advantage of the opportunity and insert the D batteries in the motor before you connect it to the oven. Of course, you'll have to eventually replace the batteries while the motor is on the oven, but at least you'll have a chance to see what's what without getting way down and looking up into the battery compartment later on!
If you've not bought a thrust bearing to help with the rotation of the tray, please consider it. I read about it here in the reviews of the oven here on Amazon. It apparently makes a huge difference and it costs under $12. Look at 51205 Thrust Bearing 25x47x15 Thrust Bearings. 51205 Thrust Bearing 25x47x15 Thrust Bearings You place it on the horizontal cross member that the stem of the rotating tray goes through (obviously around the hole for the stem) and just thread the stem through the thrust bearing and the cross member, and it rotates so smoothly on those bearings!
After buying one thermometer that only went up to 715'F, I exchanged it for this model-the least expensive model that measures over 1,000'F (to give some latitude) this is the one I got from Amazon and am using:
TopG® TG8550 -58 to 1022°F Instant-read IR Infrared Thermometer Non-contact Temperature Gun with Laser Sight Targeting Pointing range -50 to 550°C Celsius or Fahrenheit; Built in infrared (IR) sensor and LCD screen with backlight; Battery included
There are several models on the same page. I got the royal blue one. It was the one that met my criteria.
The pizza took three minutes and ten seconds to bake. The laser temperature of the stone was about 700' and the air temp shown on the built in oven thermometer was about 400'. The pizza had only been in the oven for under 10 seconds when I got the filming going.
Here is a link to the 3 min You Tube video showing my pizza bianca baking. It had only been in the oven for fewer than 10 seconds when I got the camera rolling:
I've made a couple of different pizza doughs from Peter Reinhart's book American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza pizza book last night for the next baking trial. I can't wait to try more! This is an excellent book, highly recommended.
BTW, it was suggested to me to have both a wooden peel and a metal one. Assemble unbaked pizzas on the wooden one, remove them from the oven with the metal one. There are a lot of wooden peels out there. I did splurge on the J.K. Adams handmade alder wood one, made in the US. It was about $37, but it is beautiful and has a lifetime warranty. I've read posts in various places of wooden or bamboo peels cracking or splitting. This may be a case of you get what you pay for. I find using semolina flour on the peel to be a wonderful way to keep them from sticking and to have them slide nicely onto the baking stone as it is more granular than regular flour.
I buy just about everything I can from Amazon, mostly because they have excellent prices and better service and it saves me a whole lot of time. Sure, I do live in San Francisco and I can get just about anything I want here, but shopping isn't my favorite thing to do.
The peel is the J.K. Adams 23-3/4-Inch-by-14-Inch Alder Wood Pizza Peel. $37.
I do try to support US manufacturers when I can (just bought a US-made kitchen range too) and this is a family owned company in your neck of the woods, Dorset, VT. 2nd generation. There's a lot of information about the company here on Amazon's website.
I also used John Boos Mystery Butcher Block Oil on the peel. John Boos Mystery Butcher Block Oil, 16 ounces
One of the reasons I chose this oven over the Pizzeria Pronto or the Uuni wood pellet oven was to be able to cook other things in addition to pizzas. To that end I looked for a pan that could handle high heat and would fit in the oven, and that cost as little as possible.
So I chose the Lodge L9OG3 Pre-Seasoned Round Griddle, 10.5-inch, (Amazon item ASIN: Lodge L9OG3 Pre-Seasoned Round Griddle, 10.5-inch) $13.79. It is on its way and will be here today. I plan on cooking salmon, steaks, shrimp, chicken. I think this is relatively new territory here, and we all will learn.
I think you'll find that making your own dough is NOT difficult, especially if you have a sturdy stand mixer or food processor. I do bake a lot (but have less yeast dough experience) and highly recommend King Arthur flour. You may know they sell a gluten free flour ($7.95 for 24 oz, unfortunately) that gets fry positive reviews. I don't know what your frozen pizza dough is like, but I encourage you to give making your own dough a try. It is very satisfactory and highly rewarding.
Amazon carries Caputo Double 00 flour, and if you get a pack of 10 one kilo bags the shipping is free. The price is what I pay locally for mine, and you can get it just about anywhere. Antimo Caputo Chef's Flour, 2.2 Pound (Pack of 10) There are lots of ways to make dough, and I also use King Arthur's bread flour, available in many grocery stores as well as from their website. Prices here on Amazon are pretty high.
San Francisco backyards (if you have one at all!) are not generally known for being spacious, and mine is no exception. Devoting some of it to my small Weber grill and now to this oven is huge. I have no space to assemble my pizzas outside. I do what you seem to do outside and have everything laid out in my (also small) kitchen and move them to the oven on the wooden peel, and bring them back to the kitchen on the metal peel that came with the Groupon offer. That allows me to assemble the next pizza on the wooden peel while someone else keeps an eye on the one in the oven.
It is a learning process. Yum, yum, yum!
on June 7, 2013
I purchased my pizza oven at Cabelas in Wichita, Ks. Didn't take long to assemble but noted that the rotating table with the bottom stone was 'off center' or higher on one side than the other. Checked things out and determined that the large, heavy rod that engages the rotating motor was not straight to the heavy metal tray. Could have been a warpage when welded or not centered in a jig, but made one side 3/4" or so closer to the oven bottom as it rotated. I emailed Customer Service and received a prompt reply that they would like a couple photos, if possible, and email those to one Britton Moser. I did that and received a very prompt reply from Mr. Moser....and talked with him on the phone. He sent a new rotating table immediately via UPS without charge and did not request the defective part to be shipped back.
This type of customer service, without quibbling about the problem and how or why it happened, is not common these days. So...not only is this pizza oven a really good piece of equipment, the support from the company is exemplary in every way. The oven takes a bit of a learning curve to master, but it sure does a super job with pizza. We have learned to put the homemade pizza onto the oven with a floured wooden peel, and check the pizza for bottom crust cooking and removal with a metal peel. It does a wonderful job of cooking pizza...we are just now learning to do other types of food.
Great product, great company, super customer service. Many thanks to Blackstone.
on March 12, 2014
We received our unit and absolutely loved it. However the whole metal plate buckled once and they replaced it. However it's done the same thing again, plus the motor has now failed. We have only made pizza's on it on about 10 occasions. I have tried returning it through Amazon, but it was one month out of the time allowed! I have emailed Blackstone with no response. We have told numerous people about how fantastic it was! As it was,..... while it worked!
on March 16, 2014
A novel, affordable, and portable product design for the family backyard pizzaiolo or pizzaiola, and kids will love seeing the pizzas cook in 3-4 minutes.
We purchased two of these patio/pizza ovens as portable alternatives to non-portable large masonry wood-fired pizza oven we have/use.
Recommend shopping online for prices lower than Amazon's price. Significant savings are possible. We were surprised that Amazon would not reduce their posted prices despite several of our reports via Amazon's "tell us about a lower price" function of several vendors with lower prices. We bought two of these ovens at a significantly lower price (over $100 savings (each) w/free shipping) from an alternate vendor in Arizona, but the ovens are the same/identical Blackstone product hence the review posted here.
Please note the oven is NOT limited to only pizzas - it can cook steaks, veggies, etc as with a regular oven if you like, but pizzas are its unique/strong point. For non - pizza dishes, we'd recommend use of a lasagna or other type flat metal pan to prevent getting grease/oil on the porous rotating circular pizza stone cooking surface.
Yes, as the purists say nothing cooks pizzas like a real wood-fired oven however large masonry ovens are not portable. The Blackstone works as a close substitute and for most folks the only alternative to building a masonry oven. We're thinking of experimenting with adding a wood chip box somewhere in the oven cavity areas to add some of that wood-fired smoke "seasoning" that makes true wood-fired pizzas such a delight.
We added the following thrust bearing from Amazon (currently $12.52 each) as recommended by several reviewers: 51205 Thrust Bearing 25x47x15 to better support the turntable/reduce load on the rotator motor which is basically a battery or AC adapter powered BBQ grill rotisserie motor that is mounted under the oven engaging the (rotating) table shaft. We also added outdoor covers for the ovens to protect them from the weather.
Assembly is very quick and easy. Only a screwdriver and an hex wrench set is needed. One of our ovens arrived with some parts shipping damage damage (via UPS) the typical cracked lower and upper pizza stones (as other reviewers have reported), some edge damage to a metal shelf, and we requested a new top cowling for one oven due to poor weld seam (gaps) workmanship.
Blackstone company customer service was lightening fast, quibble-free - in a word exemplary - so no worries there. They really appreciate it if you send digital photos of any damage/issues.
The lower shelves are nice, but there is no place to place to sit hang your propane tank other than on the ground. Also if you try removing the upper shelf below the oven, there is not enough height/space to put a standard 5 gallon tank on the larger lower shelf.
In summary, overall a novel and affordable product design for the family backyard pizzaiolo or pizzaiola, and kids will love seeing the pizzas cook in 3-4 minutes.
on September 23, 2014
First received the oven severely damaged in shipping. Company replaced damage components. After receiving replacement parts and assembling the unit, I noticed the rotating tray was off balance and the motor seemed a bit strained turning it. Company said that was ok. Used it on average once a month to make 3 or 4 pizzas each use. It did a pretty good job cooking the pizzas. Used it exclusively for pizzas, never tried to cook anything else. After about 6 months the motor started making a louder noise. Then after about 10 months the motor would stop and start on its own. Finally the motor died. When I got around to calling the company I was just a couple weeks past the warranty period. The company said I would have to pay for a new motor. They went on to say the motor was on backorder so they would put me on a waiting list. They also maintain that the bent rotating tray was not the problem and never explained why the motor failed. Their correspondence with me was actually insulting. I think the backorder of replacement motors is telling. I don't think I'm the only one that has had this problem. Anyway, if you want a cheap oven that cooks a decent pizza and don't mind replacing parts periodically, its not bad. However, if you really want to get into making pizza outside, it might be worth to spend more on a better quality unit. Update: Replacement motors are still on back order as of 11/13/14. Now they are telling me to buy an alternative motor from another vendor and they are still not providing a remedy for what is causing the motors to burn out in the first place or even acknowledging the issue. When you read the positive reviews about this product keep in mind that these are primarily from people who have not yet experienced problems due to the poor quality or have had to deal with their customer service department to get resolution. Buyer beware!
Update, 5/11/15. Received an email from Blackstone which read: "My name is Venessa and I am with Blackstone. Most of our motor inventory problems were due to the port congestion problems that have since been solved by the government. It simply had nothing to do with the frequency of replacement which is surprisingly low compared to the sales of this Oven. I am checking in with you to make sure that you did in fact get your motor and that all is well. Please feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or needs. Thanks in advance, Venessa." Vanessa here is my response to you: I actually spoke with a Blackstone rep at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas in March. Blackstone had a booth there promoting the oven reaches 700 degrees (which is also deceptive). I approached the rep and told him in front of several prospective buyers about my experience. He admitted to me that there was a design problem and the reason the motors were burning out was because the "metal on metal" turning friction. He took my contact info and said he was going to have a modified unit shipped to me. Of course I never received it, this is par for the course with this company, but at least he confirmed the real issue and admitted Blackstone had to fix it. Instead of lying, you company should recall all of the units sold prior to the modification. Don't contact me again unless you are going to be honest and remedy the situation!
on August 6, 2014
I received this oven as a birthday present recently (after dropping several hints). My family assembled it for me and we only encountered 2 small problems that didn't impact our ability to make pizza.
The bottom tray that holds the propane tank had a small dent in it which prevented us from installing it properly. So for now, the tank sits on a patio block. And the igniter, despite 2 fresh batteries pointed in the correct direction, didn't work. But we used a small propane lighter and manually lit the burner.
I emailed customer service and received a reply the next day. After supplying a picture of the dent, I promptly received a reply that a new shelf and igniter were on their way with a tracking number.
The rest of the unit was in perfect shape. The turntable rotates evenly, the pizza stones were in perfect shape, and the rest of the oven fit together just as one would expect.
With the flame on high we had the pizza stone up to 700 degrees in about 12 minutes. We made 3 pizzas, each taking about 4 minutes. My family raved about the pizzas and I also agree they were excellent. Before they left my family was already asking how soon we could have another pizza party.
I'm very happy with this oven, and if you like to make home made pizza that tastes as good, or better, than what you get at pizza parlors, I would highly recommend this oven.
UPDATE: I received the new shelf and igniter this week. The shelf fits fine and the igniter, which was fairly easy to change, works perfectly. Customer service came through quickly, and I'm a happy camper.
on October 14, 2014
I hate to write a litany of problems with this grill but I feel it helps others.
- difficulty to assembly for a handy man such as myself. (3 of 5)
- problems with product.
- shelf assembly. 2 out of the 4 threaded/tapped holes for side shelf threaded knobs were not tapped all the way through. so
one shelf could not be tightened in place. (fixed it myself by getting a tap (M6) to complete cutting the threads.
- legs did not align well with top.. (2 out of 5 difficulty)
- not obvious where bearing and included ball/needle bearing should go on shaft (2 out of 5)
- my table is also crooked and not level (? out of 5)
- wire condiment holder rack needed a lot of bending to be installed (1 out of 5)
- sticker on face of grill difficult to remove (2 out of 5)
- top stone had a small chunk broken off it (1 out of 5)
I also think the motor is weak and won't last long. Time will tell.
- call to customer service went well...(0 out of 5)
photo is some Indian naan bread brushed with lots of olive oil, that came out perfect.
Btw, Unit listed as 114 lbs in weight.
on January 27, 2016
I would love to give this 10 stars! What a wonderful gift for my husband - he is a pizza-holic (and chicken roll-holic), and this was by far the best gift I have ever given him in the 21 years we have been married. I agonized over which oven to purchase for him, and I am so very glad I got this one! I know this sounds dramatic, but this has literally changed his life - he is in love with it (and this continues after several months). He uses it almost every day, and that is no exaggeration (on the off days, he is heating up a roll and/or pizza he has already made in it). I cook up the chicken, sausage & peppers,
Once we got the technique down (i.e. heat it on high, but then turn the heat way down when actually cooking...otherwise, you will have a burnt, charred disappointment). We did some research online after several mishaps, and that is the best piece of advice we found. Another nice tip is to turn over the bottom stone constantly in between cooking (of course, wait until the stone has thoroughly cooled), so that any char is burnt off from the bottom.
The food is so amazing and somehow has that authentic brick-oven taste, even while using propane. My husband has made sausage/pepper/onion rolls, chicken parm rolls & Buffalo chicken rolls, and pepperoni rolls that are so delicious that the owner of his company (no, it is not a pizza company) wants to make it into a business. THAT is how amazing this oven does the job. He has also mastered Mexican pizzas and quesadillas in this oven!
I honestly can't say enough about how amazing this oven is - and, as a bonus, the company has very friendly and efficient customer service personnel. Since this was a surprise gift for our anniversary, I called them because I thought there was a little rust spot on the rotating metal tray, so I called them and they offered me a few options (a cover - and they are not cheap, very well-made and pricey - and a metal pizza peel...but since I had already ordered those things when I ordered the oven, I opted for a new rotating tray...I ended up not even opening it because the stone sits on the tray, so there is no food contact, and the customer service rep explained to me that it is not actually rust).
What a perfect purchase - it blew away my expectations, and it makes my hubby happy every time he uses it - and everyone who gets to eat his creations! We live in AZ, and nobody seems to know what chicken rolls and other rolls are - they are floored when they taste them!
on December 19, 2015
So I give this oven 4-stars, despite the fact that I've had some (solvable) problems. My goal when I bought it was to see if in fact it would be something I use a lot, and then, if so, buy something a little higher up. For the price point, it is hard to beat it, and I've used it at least 30 times in the last couple years, had people over for pizza parties, etc. Pizza cooks in under 5 minutes, comes out quite good, no complaints there.
The weakness in this model is the motor, which is just under-powered. The spinning plate would get stuck, meaning you either watch it constantly, or in my case, end up with warped spinning plate. Blackstone was very easy to deal with, and gave me a couple replacement motors and I can't remember if I or they paid for the replacement spinning plate.
One suggestion they gave, which helped, but didn't completely solve the problem, was to buy this thrust bearing : http://www.amazon.com/51205-Thrust-Bearing-25x47x15-Bearings/dp/B002BBGW3K If, without the motor connected, but *with* the thrust bearing*, you spin the plate, it will rotate quite a bit longer before stopping than it does without the thrust bearing in place. But nonetheless, when I was using the oven, I still had times where the plate stopped spinning and had to be pushed along with a spatula or whatever was handy.
What finally solved the problem more permanently, at least as of this writing, was to buy a more powerful motor. I bought this one : http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0043C5ZDI?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00 When this motor is used, it is hard to hold the plate from spinning because the motor is so much more powerful. With the stock motor, it's quite easy to stop the plate. While I haven't tried it, my guess is that with this motor, you probably don't need the thrust bearing.
So where does that leave us? You could make the argument that buying this oven at today's price of $395 AND the said OneGrill Rotisserie motor for an extra $44.99 brings you in at $440 total, still a VERY attractive price for an outdoor pizza oven. Now with the new motor, I'm a satisfied customer. If I were on the design team, I'd probably want the next generation to have few more burners and hence have no need for the plate to rotate.
on March 29, 2016
Arrived in good shape - easy to assemble. Fired it up and made 8 great pizzas the first night. next morning went to clean it up before another round and found the lower stone was buckled and cracked. called Blackstone and they were great and quick to ship another. Put in the new stone and fired it up. It made a few turns and the motor froze and stopped spinning. Purchased the thrust bearing that others recommended to make it spin better. Didn't help. Some say to buy a stronger motor.. it shouldn't have to be this difficult. Not sure whether to bail out and return it or keep trying to tweak it??