When Blackstone released its 36” outdoor griddle in 2008, it quickly dominated the market. It seemed to create the market for outdoor griddles. Since then, the company has come out with various griddles in all sizes and configurations, featuring add-ons like lids, deep fryers, and even an accessory that converts its 22” griddle into a pizza oven. Blackstone also put out a few stand-alone pizza ovens over the years, including the Pizza Oven With Mobile Cart and Pizza Oven With Stand, which are nearly identical in design and price. Our detailed Blackstone Pizza Oven review is below.
The Blackstone Pizza Oven With Stand is constructed mostly of powder-coated black steel and weighs about 140 pounds with the included stand. The stand rolls on four locking casters and holds a 20-lb propane tank. It also features a side slot for storing a metal pizza peel, which is included. The stand does not include side shelves which is an unfortunate omission. The oven itself is bolted to the stand, or it can be removed and placed on any flat heat-proof surface using the sturdy built-in handles and composite feet (included). On the stand, the top of the oven sits about 52” off the ground and is about 27” wide and 33” deep. The oven’s mouth measures about 17 1/4” wide and 4 3/4” tall at its apex, plenty big for pizza and cast-iron pans, but a little too small for baking a loaf of bread. The oven mouth also has a short rounded shelf to help launch and retrieve pies. An oven door is included, but it’s clearly marked “Do Not Use While Oven Is Hot.” It’s basically for storage only. That’s not a big deal, given that this unit gets plenty hot for cooking various pizza styles and recovers heat pretty quickly.
Many backyard pizza ovens suffer from a design/engineering problem: they don’t get hot enough, and they heat unevenly. Typically the heat comes from below and doesn’t radiate much from above due to poor insulation, which means pizzas burn on the bottom before the toppings are cooked. Often the heat source, such as a gas burner or wood, is located on one side of the oven floor, which also means you have to rotate the pizza manually for even cooking.
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Blackstone’s solutions? Pizza stones on the bottom and top to help drive heat to the toppings. The Blackstone Pizza Oven With Stand also features a motor-driven cast-iron plate that rotates the 16” bottom stone. Launch a pizza in the stone’s center and you don’t need to touch the pie until it’s done. What a luxury! Who needs a pizza-turning peel? Instead, Blackstone offers every other accessory, including a heavy-duty cover, pizza stone brush, pizza pans, rocker-style pizza cutter, and an infrared thermometer and probe combo.
The Pizza Oven With Stand is powered by a single-round high-pressure propane burner that pumps out 60,000 BTUs per hour. This thing is like a built-in flame thrower. It sits just below the right-hand side of the cast-iron plate, and a stainless steel deflector helps direct all that raging heat toward the top stone.
Pop in a few batteries and you’re ready to rock: the piezoelectric igniter takes one AAA battery, and the motor takes two D-cell batteries (neither included). Or, you can plug in the motor with the supplied power cord. To power up, just get the propane flowing, push the on/off button to start rotating the stone, and push in and slightly turn the control knob to start the igniter. Hold it there a few seconds, and a turn of the dial adjusts the flame size to your liking from Low to High.
Blackstone’s manual recommends firing up the oven with the temp knob cranked to High until the built-in thermometer on the front reaches its central “Cooking” zone. Once you hit that temp zone, the manual says to turn the knob to Low for the entire cooking time. The other two temp zones are “Warming” and “Burn Off/Cleaning”. Side note: my test unit’s thermometer didn’t have any of these words. It had numbers, which read “200-500°F” (the Warming zone), “500-800°F” (Cooking), and “800+°F” (Burn Off/Cleaning). Same difference.
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For the initial firing, I didn’t follow the manual directions. I wanted to experiment. I cranked the oven up on High and took it past the “Cooking” zone to see how hot this thing could get when maxed out. About that: Blackstone’s supplied propane hose has a red, built-in regulator valve, which means the entire unit essentially has two control knobs, the temp knob and the regulator valve. Those two temperature knobs give you a nice bit of flexibility in dialing the exact temp for the food you’re cooking. A big plus.
For this initial max-heat test, I opened the red regulator knob all the way and turned the temp knob to High, basically Warp 10. After 5 minutes, the bottom stone temp reached 500°F on my IR gun. After 10 minutes, it was at 700°F, and in 20 minutes, the stone hit 950+°F. That’s wicked hot. And pretty quick too.
Within 20 minutes, the built-in thermometer was pinned past the “Burn Off/Cleaning” zone. What about top heat? The top stone hovered around 925°F while the bottom stone was at 950°F. That’s very high top and bottom heat—great news for Neapolitan pizza lovers. In fact, it may be too hot, depending on the exact dough recipe you use.
After trial and error over the years, I’ve found that my favorite Neapolitan-style pizza dough bakes best when the cooking surface is between 700 and 750°F. Since the Blackstone pizza oven gets so ripping hot, I thought: let’s give this dough a whirl at the higher temp. 950-1000°F seemed like overkill, so I turned the temp knob down to Low, as directed, and let the oven stabilize to about 900°F on the built-in thermometer and 900°F on the bottom stone. Still super hot.
In went my Sausage and Roasted Red Pepper Pizza. It was fun to watch it turn and bubble up without having to manually rotate the pie. About 1 1/2 minutes in, the toppings weren’t quite done, though, and the bottom was starting to burn. I domed the pie (lifted it toward the top stone), which helped a bit, but the damage was already done: the bottom burnt because the top and bottom stones weren’t close enough in temperature to reach what Meathead calls simultaneous pizzagasm. The finished pizza was soft and floppy due to the short cook time. That texture is pretty traditional for classic Neapolitan-style pizza. But I prefer a crispier, less floppy pie—somewhere between Neapolitan and NY-style. And not burnt.
To achieve that, I had to bring down the oven temp. I dialed down the valve on the regulator hose. It takes 4-5 turns on that valve to take it from fully open to closed. I turned it down about 3 1/2 turns so the valve was maybe 1/3 of the way open. The temp knob was already set to Low, and after letting the oven stabilize at those settings, the top and bottom stone temps both hovered around 650°F on my IR gun, and the unit’s temp gauge was dead center in the Cooking zone.
That seemed like a pretty good contrast to the high-heat cook test, so in went the Magdalena pizza, my Pesto, Gorgonzola, Pine Nut, and Fresh Tomato pie. This one took about 5 1/2 minutes to cook and came out crispier all around. It was also noticeably chewier than the first pie, since the protein in the flour had cooked for more time (similar to the chew of an overcooked steak). It tasted better than the first pie, but the crust didn’t have those tiny charred bubbles known as leopard spots. I love those, so for the next cook I turned up the propane valve a bit more so it was maybe 2/3 of the way open instead of just 1/3 open.
After 10 minutes, the oven stabilized to about 750°F on the top stone, the bottom stone, and the built-in temp gauge. Even heating! Very promising. I launched a Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Caramelized Onion, and Spinach white pizza. This pizza has a simple Boursin white sauce that I stir up with a half-wheel of Boursin cheese mashed with a little half-and-half. I scatter some shredded fontina cheese over that sauce then pile on the toppings. The third time’s a charm! This was the best pie of the lot. Crispy with some spots of char, not too soft, not too chewy. And that flavor combo just sang. It’s one of my all-time favorite pizzas. It cooked in about 3 1/2 minutes.
Once I found that temperature sweet spot, I pushed it to the edge to try and get even more leoparding on the pizza crust. It worked for a simple pepperoni pie.
I found that, for my Neapolitan dough, the best settings on this Blackstone pizza oven are Medium-Low on the temp knob and 2/3 open on the regulator valve. There, the oven’s temp gauge inched toward the upper end of the “Cooking” zone. Those settings turned out fantastic pepperoni pizzas, bruschetta pizzas, and even a few Detroit-style square pies cooked in blue steel pans.
To test the oven’s versatility, I cooked some meats on cast-iron in there as well, like this Pork Chop with Ethiopian Stew Base, a fantastic all-purpose sauce made with sauteed onions, garlic, ginger, Berbere spice, tomato paste, and korerima (Ethiopian cardamom). In that temp sweet spot, the Blackstone did a great job of searing, but I had to pull the pan o’ meat out of the oven a couple times to let the residual heat reach the center before the meat burned. Not a big deal. It was kind of like managing a steak on a grill.
One other construction note: the burner sits below the side of the rotating pizza stone, so most of the heat hits the perimeter of your pizza. In my temp tests, the center of the pizza stone was consistently 25 to 50°F cooler than the perimeter. As a result, pizzas get a bit more char around the rim than in the center.
As for assembly, pay close attention to the instructions. There are some discrepancies between the instructions and the unit itself. For instance, I thought I was missing a whole set of bolts. A call to customer service revealed that I did indeed have all the bolts needed, but the manual had not yet been updated. Also, the oven’s base has square metal legs with pre-attached composite plastic feet. Those feet are only to be used if you’re skipping the stand and placing the oven itself on a hard surface. To install the oven on the included cart, you need to remove those composite feet (not mentioned in the manual). On the plus side, the manual recommends two people for some of the assembly, such as removing the unit from the box and attaching the motor and rotating shaft, but I found that by removing the lid, taking out the pizza stones and parts, and assembling the oven on a workbench, I could handle the entire assembly myself. If you’re planning to make the Blackstone Pizza Oven With Stand truly “portable” as advertised, it helps to remove the lid and stones before moving it. Of course, that’s after you unbolt the oven from the stand and install the composite feet.
On the downside, the Blackstone Pizza Oven With Stand has no side shelves. It’s always good to have some counter space. Another knock: while the oven body and lid are constructed of double-walled steel, the rolling cart is made with thinner steel. I bent the cart’s bottom shelf that holds the propane tank when dropping the tank into the cutout. Oops.
On the upside: The unit reaches simultaneous pizzagasm (even top and bottom heat) at slightly higher temperatures than some other ovens in its price range. It easily hits temps of 900+°F. The two temp control knobs also give you some flexibility in dialing in the right temp for the pizza you’re cooking. Fortunately, this oven isn’t just a one-trick pony. It does maintain lower temps. The lowest temp I could maintain was about 550°F (on the temp gauge and both stones) with the regulator valve open about 1/4 of the way and the temp knob set to Low. That’s useful if you’re planning on using the oven to roast food at relatively lower temps as well as bake pizzas at higher temps.
Another plus: Blackstone’s previous turntable pizza oven was dinged by several reviewers for being noisy. This new assembly runs nice and quiet. The on/off button also starts and stops the turntable almost immediately, which is super helpful when you need to stop the motor and launch a big raw pie dead center on the pizza stone.
Bottom line: Blackstone’s Pizza oven is versatile, affordable, and makes great pizza. We award it our AmazingRibs.com Best Value Gold Medal.
Blackstone warrants that the pizza oven will be free of defects in material and workmanship for a period of one year, labor not included.
We thank Blackstone for providing a Pizza Oven With Mobile Cart for our tests.
Pizza Oven With Stand
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Dave Joachim - Editor of AmazingRibs.com, David Joachim has authored, edited, or collaborated on more than 45 cookbooks, four of them on barbecue and grilling, and his Food Science column has appeared in "Fine Cooking" magazine since 2011. He’s a perfect match for a website dedicated to the “Science of Barbecue and Grilling.”