Chicago Brick Oven CBO-500 Wood-Burning Outdoor Pizza Oven Review
Many outdoor cooking enthusiasts enjoy a little versatility in their outdoor kitchen space. These days wood fired outdoor pizza ovens are incredibly popular. Yet it can be hard to find just the right one for you.
Insulation quality is the very first thing you need to look for. Not only is heat retention important, but it can also be a safety factor. Some pure steel frame pizza ovens can be prone to losing heat, and can also be dangerously hot if you have curious little ones around.
A traditional pizza oven like the ones you will find in Naples, Italy, which is where pizza was essentially invented, is made from brick on the inside. Of course, not any old brick will do. Rated fire brick and similar insulating materials are designed to absorb heat efficiently, as well as safely. When the oven is fully preheated, the radiant energy helps cook the pizza just as much as the flames in the back of the chamber.
The Chicago Brick CBO-500 Wood-Burning Outdoor Pizza Oven is made in the United States. It was designed to blend traditional materials, with an infusion of modern innovation. They have a patented proprietary design that integrates a low dome, dynamic flue system, and special heat refractory materials. It is also reinforced by special stainless steel fibers.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Chicago Brick CBO-500 Wood-Burning Outdoor Pizza Oven has been Certified to UL and NSF4 standards for indoor and outdoor use. This nod toward safety isn’t something you necessarily find in the competition.
It also comes with some added extras in the original purchase. This includes a pizza peel, brush, and infrared thermometer, as well as installation kit hardware.
- 5-Piece Oven – Dome, 2-piece Hearth (27” x 22” cooking surface), Arch and Decorative Door
- Hood Color – Available in Silver Vein or Copper Vein
- Install Kit – Anchor Plate, Insulating Board & Blanket, Steel Plate and Mortar
- Accessory Package – Pizza Peel, Brush and Infrared Thermometer
- Certified to UL and NSF4 standards for indoor and outdoor use
Construction & Ease of Assembly
The Chicago Brick CBO-500 Wood-Burning Outdoor Pizza Oven combines traditional materials, with a patented proprietary design. This means it has a low dome, with a dynamic flue system for superior airflow control. It is also reinforced by special stainless steel fibers and certified to UL as well as NSF4 standards for indoor and outdoor use.
This level of quality and safety isn’t something you find with competitors in the same price point. In fact, some of the units at higher price tiers can’t say this!
Assembly calls for a fair amount of construction work. Unless you have a lot of experience with projects like this, you should strongly consider hiring a contractor.
This type of pizza oven does best when you use a fresh dough pizza. Frozen pizza will burn on the bottom before it has a chance to bake properly. You might be able to get by with a store-bought rising crust pizza, in a pinch. Just make sure to thaw it completely first.
Moisture and protein content is key when it comes to making sure your fresh dough pizza comes out with a crispy, yet tender crust. Rapid rise yeast and simple ingredients will also help hedge your bets.
Don’t overlook the infrared thermometer that comes with the CB0-500. It is really handy for making sure that the floor and walls of the baking chamber are properly preheated. You simply point it at the thing you want to read, pull the trigger and a little red beam of light will read the surface temperature. While this pizza oven can supposedly handle temperatures up to 1,000 degrees, you really only need around 500 to 600 to make the perfect pie.
The easiest way to start a fire that’s easy to control is to use charcoal briquettes. Once the coal bed has been established, you should check the walls and floor of the baking chamber with the infrared thermometer. When they reach around 400 degrees, add your wood chunks. By the time they fully light, all the internal surfaces should be around 600.
The primary cooking area measures in at roughly 22-inches by 27-inches which is just shy of 600 square inches of baking space. This is technically enough to bake two 14 inches pizzas. If you do try to work with two pies at once, you will need to be careful moving them around with the pizza peel.
The refractory materials and stainless steel fiber reinforcement is technically a special feature. It also lends itself to the UL and NSF4 certification. Unless you have an engineering degree, you might not even notice them.
Ease to Clean
Ash removal is the most important part of the cleanup process. The last thing you want to do is leave a smudge of ash behind that ends up on the bottom of the crust of the next pizza you make. One easy way to prevent this from happening is to lay down a big sheet of parchment paper. You can then use the accessory brush that comes with it to carefully bring the ash forward.
At that point, you can gently slide the parchment paper forward. The silicone impregnating the paper will help prevent any rogue embers from burning the paper.
Chicago Brick Oven offers a three-year manufacturer’s warranty on their CB500.
If you are interested in diving head-first into the wonderful world of wood or charcoal fired pizza making, then you are likely considering a wide range of options. The Chicago Brick Oven CB0-500 is worthy of extra consideration. It is rated for safety which many of the competitors in this price point can’t claim.
The superior heat retention of the refractory materials means that if need be, you can make dozens of pizzas in a single session. The fact that it also comes with some added tools and the installation hardware kit certainly is a nice touch, that lets you make the most out of the Chicago Brick Oven CB0-500 without having to sink yet more money into the project.
- Certified to UL and NSF4 safety standards
- Refractory brick and other materials
- Comes with pizza peel, brush, and infrared thermometer
- Includes installation hardware kit
- Made in the USA
- Likely needs professional installation
- Making two pizzas at once is awkward
- Weighs 550 pounds