Camp Chef Italia PZOVEN Artisan Pizza Oven Review
Outdoor pizza ovens have certainly started to take off in popularity. People get the chance to try artisan pizza at a high-end restaurant and want to be able to make it at home without the staggeringly high price you see on a lot of menus.
Of course, grill manufacturers are quick to capitalize on this trend, rushing to offer outdoor pizza ovens to fit just about every budget and interest. Fitting into this space the Camp Chef Italia has a lot of essential features you look for, married to a very friendly price point.
It’s designed to work on liquid propane and comes set up to run off a standard DOT 39 one-pound gas cylinder. However, Camp Chef also includes a five-foot hose with an adaptor and regulator for a larger LP tank.
The internal stainless steel burner element is rated to produce up to 17,000 BTUs per hour. Most of this heat is first directed to the 13.25-inch by 20-inch pizza stone floor. The heat that escapes over the stone then encounters the double layer ceiling, which absorbs as well as refracts the heat. This dynamic shape helps to perfectly bake the bottom of the crust while melting the cheese and cooking the toppings.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
The Camp Chef Italia is largely made from stainless steel with a built-in pizza stone. Weighing in at 47 pounds it rides the acceptable line between being a permanent fixture in an outdoor kitchen or being something that you could take with you in an RV or glamping.
Right out of the box there is very little assembly involved. You should be able to get it set up to handle a 1-pound gas cylinder in under half an hour. This is probably the best set up for using it as a portable outdoor pizza oven or one that you keep stored away when not in use on the back patio.
Though Camp Chef recognizes that some people would prefer to leave it in place. To that end, they provide a five-foot propane hose and a regulator that will accommodate a larger LP tank.
Currently, this isn’t a natural gas conversion kit available for the Italia. It is designed to strictly run on propane.
There are certainly larger gas-fired outdoor pizza ovens out there, but they also come with a much heftier price tag. Of course, there are a few things to keep in mind with a smaller pizza oven like the Camp Chef Italia.
First and foremost, with a maximum temperature of up to 700-degrees, you want to use a fresh dough with slightly higher water content and preferably high protein bread flour. If you try to use a frozen pizza in a smaller pizza oven like this, you will often burn the edges of the crust and toppings before you cook the center all the way through.
Secondly, you need to be thoughtful with the overall size of your pizza, as the edges of the domed interior are likely to be hotter than the middle. With the Camp Chef Italia, you can make one 12-inch diameter pizza by laying it right in the center.
Though you could get more total pizza square inches of pizza in one cooking session by making a pair of 10-inch by 13-inch ovals. Then carefully swap sides halfway through.
The inconsistent heating can be an issue sometimes. Make sure to give the Camp Chef Italia a solid 15 minutes to come up to full temp before adding the first pie. A simple infrared thermometer can tell you where any excessively hot spots might be on the stone to help prevent burning.
This type of outdoor pizza oven also tends to work better with a thin, yet sturdy metal pizza peel with a wood handle. This lets you get under the crust, without worrying about bumping the toppings on the edges of the domed roof when you take it out.
The primary pizza stone measure in at 13.25-inches by 20-inches for 265 square inches of pizza grilling space. Though you might want to give yourself some latitude and avoid an inch or so by the very hot sides.
The fact that the Italia gas pizza oven comes to set up for a 1-pound gas cylinder or can easily be adapted to run off a tank with a 5-foot hose and regulator is somewhat rare. Many of the nearest competitors make you pay an additional fee for the hose and regulator. Whereas Camp Chef includes it in the purchase.
Ease to Clean
One of the nice things about a propane pizza oven is that there is little in the way of cleanup. Unless charcoal or wood-fired ovens with ash and unburned embers to remove, the Camp Chef Italia needs little more than a casual wipe down or perhaps a vigorous scrub with a stiff rag. Just make sure the pizza stone is 100% cooled down first.
Like many products in the Camp Chef Line, the Camp Chef Italia PZOVEN Artisan Pizza Oven comes with a 3-year warranty against manufacturer defects.
If you want a simple-to-use outdoor pizza oven, but you don’t want to deal with all the hassle and clean up of a charcoal or wood-fired unit, then the Camp Chef Italia might just be on your radar screen. It is arguably a little bit on the small side, which can intensify the heat near the edges and the back of the baking chamber.
An infrared thermometer and a couple of practice runs will help shorten the learning curve. Making multiple small pies and using a metal pizza peel will also reduce the risk of mess and accidentally burning.
- 17,000 BTUs
- Maximum temperature of 700-degrees Fahrenheit
- Runs off a 1-pound cylinder
- Hose and regulator for a larger tank included
- A little heavy to be portable
- Small pizza stone base
- Edges of dome can be very hot