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Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1 Outdoor Oven Reviewed and Rated

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Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Oven

Enjoy this review of a compact electric multicooker that can bake pizzas, roast meats, broil fish, sear steaks, dehydrate vegetables, and cook low ‘n slow with smoke. 

I’m not a big fan of gadgets. Avocado slicers. Multicookers. Do-it-all promises. They emit that unmistakable whiff of snake oil. But after months of cooking a slew of food on the Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1 Outdoor Oven, I’m singing a different tune. This compact cooker reliably turns out several styles of pizza as well as baked potatoes, roasted vegetables, broiled fish, seared pork tenderloins and steaks and chops, pot roasts, braises, the ‘ol Easter leg ‘o lamb, and even low ‘n slow barbecue like smoked pork shoulder. At what price? Just $299. Color me impressed.

Construction

Ninja makes all kinds of modern kitchen appliances like blenders, food processors, smoothie machines, juicers, ice cream makers, pressure cookers, air fryers, toasters, indoor grills, coolers, and outdoor grills and ovens. With the Woodfire 8-in-1, the company has jumped on the outdoor pizza oven bandwagon and one-upped most of its low-priced competitors by successfully adding a big handful of other cooking functions. Woodfire’s impressive temperature range of 105 to 700ºF and its wood pellet hopper allow you to bake, broil, roast, sear, smoke, dehydrate, and keep food warm.

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This compact oven is about the size of a tall toaster oven (21-in L x 18-in W x 15-in H), weighs about 32 pounds, draws 1760 watts, and plugs into a regular 120-volt electrical outlet. The 4 1/2-foot power cord includes a built-in GFI, which is a nice safety touch for outdoor cooking. Woodfire is designed to be left outdoors, but a cover makes a wise investment to protect the unit from sun, rain, snow, sleet, and wind. You may want the stand, too, if you don’t already have a flat, stable spot for it outside.

Constructed mostly of stainless steel, Woodfire is a square-ish box (it’s round on top) with heating elements inside on the top and bottom, a convection fan in the center back, and a small exhaust vent in the upper back. The “accessory frame” holds the included 12-inch square pizza stone (it’s actually 12 1/4 x 12 5/8-inch), or the included 12-inch square heavy-duty “Pro-Heat” roasting and searing pan with a fitted roasting rack. You just swap out the baking stone and/or pan, depending on what you’re cooking. Putting the “wood” in its name, the oven also has a small (1/2-cup capacity) heated pellet hopper accessible on the right side. Ninja throws in a pellet scoop and a sample pack of pellets to get you started adding smoke to almost anything you put inside this little powerhouse.

Functionality

To operate Woodfire, you just plug it in, choose your cook mode, and press Start. Turn the dial to choose between Warm, Dehydrate, Smoker, Bake, Broil, Specialty Roast, Max Roast, and Pizza cook modes. Each cook mode comes with a preset temperature and time, both of which you can customize and adjust as necessary. In Pizza mode, you can also choose between Neapolitan, Thin-Crust, New York, Pan, Frozen, and “Custom” pizzas. Those preset cook temps and times are optimized for each style of pizza. Once your cook mode is chosen, you press start and the oven display panel flashes “PREHEAT” until it’s preheated, then it displays “ADD FOOD”. Once the food’s inside, press Start again and the timer begins counting down. When time’s up, Woodfire beeps and the display flashes “GET FOOD.”

Ninja pork shoulder

Cook tests

Enticed by the prospect of barbecue, I started the Woodfire cook tests with something other than pizza: Could this little cook box smoke a passable pork shoulder? Ninja promotes how foolproof the unit is, and the manual includes recipes for all of Woodfire’s various cook modes, including Smoker. I skipped all that and went in blind as a bat to see just how “foolproof” the unit is. I washed and dried the roasting pan, rack and assembly frame, and then dialed the Cooking Functions knob to Smoker. The unit preset itself to 250ºF, on a 2-hour timer, with the Woodfire Flavor setting illuminated and ready for wood pellets. I manually changed the temp to 225ºF and the time to 8 hours, per my usual smoked-pork-shoulder method, and loaded pellets into the hopper. The day before, I’d rubbed a 9-pound Boston butt with Meathead’s Amazing Smoked Pork Seasoning And Dry Brine. I pulled it out of the fridge, plunked it on the roasting rack in the Pro Heat pan, slid the whole thing into the box (no pizza stone), and pressed Start. Within a couple minutes, smoke was puffing out Woodfire’s exhaust. About 2 slow beers later (an hour-ish), the pellets were spent. 

Ninja Outdoor Oven smoked pork shoulder

Click here for our Pulled Pork Recipe.

And there’s the rub with “Woodfire Flavor” on this unit: you only get about an hour of smoke from 1/2 cup of wood pellets. Then it needs a refill. For this cook, I had to refill the pellet hopper and press the “Woodfire Flavor” button 6 or 8 times (I lost count 5 beers in). That annoyance aside, Woodfire turned out a beautifully dark, tender, pork shoulder with a wisp of smoke. During this initial cook, I also tested the unit’s temperature accuracy with a Fireboard temp probe set near the front door (where temps tend to drop). Over the 8-hour cook, Fireboard tracked a pretty consistent temp of 220ºF near the door, a good indication that most of oven maintained an average 225ºF temp for the entire 8 hours.

Ninja Outdoor Oven broccoli mushroom pizza

Time for pizza. I started with my tried-and-true Neapolitan Dough at 60% hydration and set Woodfire for Pizza/Neapolitan. After 15 minutes of preheating, the stone registered 700ºF on my IR gun. After 20 minutes, it hit 735ºF in the center and the display flashed “ADD FOOD/PRESS START”. My wife’s vegetarian so I launched her pie first, a broccoli mushroom white pizza, and pressed Start. When you start cooking on Woodfire’s Neapolitan setting, the timer sets automatically for 3 minutes and begins counting down. The timer is helpful here because the oven has no window and you can’t see how the pizza is coming along. The lack of a window might be seen as a disadvantage by some, but I didn’t mind it, especially since I’ve made this pizza dozens of times. It came out great. Click here to learn everything you need to know about pizza.

I tried adding Woodfire Flavor (a.k.a. smoke) to the next pizza, a chicken Parm Neapolitan pie. I had to cheat the system because the oven was already preheated to 700ºF and pushing the “Woodfire Flavor” didn’t ignite the pellets. I switched from Pizza mode to Smoker mode, which knocked the preset temp down to 250°F, let the pellets ignite for five minutes, then switched back to Pizza/Neapolitan mode. At that point, the stone was still at 700ºF in the center and there was smoke in the chamber. But switching to Pizza mode turned off the pellet igniter, so it didn’t really work. Still, the pizza cooked properly and tasted great.

Ninja Outdoor Oven meatball pizza

Next up, a meatball pizza. For this one, I just trusted Woodfire’s timer, let the pizza cook the full 3 minutes without looking, and then heeded the words on the display “GET FOOD.” Ha! I love the idea of my oven telling me to get my food. When I opened the door, the pizza looked fantastic. 

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Ninja Outdoor Oven temperature

Just how hot does the Ninja get? Let’s find out. I already had it on Pizza/Neapolitan mode, the hottest setting, so I just walked away and let the oven heat up for a full hour. Mind you, this little box with its top and bottom heating elements does not need a full hour to preheat. I kept an eye on it between beers, and the display flashed “ADD FOOD/PRESS START” for a good 30 minutes. When I finally opened the oven door, the stone registered 771ºF in the center. Nice!

Ninja Outdoor Oven Magdalena Pizza

I launched a pesto, gorgonzola, pine nut, and fresh tomato pizza, pressed Start, and watched the 3-minute countdown. The crust on this pizza came out a little darker and crisper than others, which I absolutely loved. Another nice thing with Woodfire’s heating elements sandwiching the pizza: no need to turn the pie. Even cooking is built right into the system.

Ninja Outdoor Oven potato pizza baking

Can the Ninja Woodfire crank out a lot of pies in short order? To test the pizza stone’s heat recovery time, I built up a somewhat heavy pizza of cheesy mashed potatoes, mozzarella, sausage, sautéed broccoli, and garlic, hoping all that mass would suck up a bunch of heat from the stone, as a worst-case-scenario test. The stone starting temp was 715ºF. The pizza was done in 2 1/2 minutes, and I immediately checked the temp again: 575°F. The potato pizza had sucked up 140ºF of heat energy. 

Ninja Outdoor Oven potato sausage mushroom pizza

I took 5 minutes to stretch and build the next pie, a white pizza with Boursin white sauce, fresh parsley, mozzarella, roasted peppers, sautéed mushrooms, garlic, and artichokes. The heat recovery after 5 minutes?125ºF. The stone had returned to 700ºF in 5 minutes. That’s pretty good heat recovery.

But what if the recovery time were only 2 minutes? To find out, I got three dough rounds on deck so I could launch each one just 2 minutes after the last. Before launching the first of the three, the stone was at 725ºF. When it was done, the stone had dropped to 560ºF. Two minutes later, it had recovered enough to reach 675ºF. Not bad for round one. I launched the second pie and when that one was done, the stone had dropped to 525ºF. Two minutes later, it had recovered to 650ºF. Struggling a bit but still good. I launched the third pie, and when it was done, the stone had dropped to 500ºF. After retrieving that one, I let the stone recover for a full 5 minutes. With that recovery time, Ninja had gotten the stone back up to 700ºF. So, aiming for an average stone temp of 675ºF, it looks like the fastest you can crank pies out of the Ninja is one pie every 6-8 minutes (3-4 minutes cook time + 3-4 minutes recovery time). If you’re building and cooking pies yourself, that’s not bad.

Ninja Outdoor Oven Bacon Sausage Pizza

I tested a few more Neapolitan pies, and some Detroit-style square pies on Woodfire’s Pizza/Pan mode, including this square meat lover’s number with bacon, sausage, mozzarella, cheddar, and provolone cheeses. I savored every slice of that one. The bottom crust got super crunchy from the blue steel pan and hot pizza stone. A little extra olive oil on the pan bottom didn’t hurt either.

Ninja Outdoor Oven pork tenderloin

Back to the meat. I bought a couple pork tenderloins on sale and rubbed the first one with Meathead’s Amazing Smoked Pork Seasoning & Dry Brine. For grilling (how I usually cook pork tenderloin), Max Roast is the appropriate setting on this machine, which is 700ºF.” I preheated the Pro-Heat pan inside the oven for 20 minutes (per the instructions), then added pellets in the hopper and pressed the “Woodfire” button to ignite the pellets. I added the meat to the hot pan, and seared it all over with a few turns. On Max Roast, the unit sets a timer for 5 minutes, and when time’s up it displays “TURN FOOD.” Then it sets another timer. The pork needed a couple more minutes to hit 140ºF in the center, so I just let it sit in the oven, which had turned itself off, for 2 minutes. It came out great, especially served with Meathead’s Amazing BBQ Sauce.

Ninja Outdoor Oven baked potatoes

Each of Woodfire’s “8-in-1” functions preset to a set temp and cook time. These do make the cooking pretty foolproof, and for those you prefer to be in control, you can change the settings by pressing the Temp and Time buttons to your preferred settings. The “Bake” function defaults to 350ºF. I bumped it up to 400ºF to bake some potatoes, scrubbed the spuds to rough up the surface, and then rubbed them with olive oil and kosher salt. I pricked and baked them for 1 hour on the rack in the roasting pan on the bottom level of oven. They came out with crisp wrinkly skins and fluffy interiors.

Ninja Outdoor Oven lamb

Okay—let’s see how Woodfire handles a holiday roast. I bought a 6-pound lamb leg, deboned it, slit it, and inserted fresh rosemary and garlic slivers in the slits, then rubbed it with Meatheads Amazing Smoked Red Meat Seasoning & Dry Brine. After preheating the unit on “Specialty Roast” with Woodfire flavor pellets (650°F set temp) with the roasting pan in the oven, I follow the display instructions, which basically walk you through searing both sides on the meat on the hot pan. I cooked the lamb to 122°F internal temp (rare), then plunked it on my cutting board, which I’d already prepped with chopped fresh parsley, rosemary, lemon zest, and olive oil. Classic Greek roast lamb. With a little sel gris (fancy coarse ground French grey salt) at the table, it was a holiday hit. 

Ninja Outdoor Oven eggplant

While I was testing the Ninja, my wife saw an internet recipe for Spicy Roasted Eggplant Pesto Pasta and suddenly craved it for dinner. I gave the recipe a quick read, then set about making my version in the Woodfire. I set the unit to “Bake” and bumped the temp up to 400ºF (as for the potatoes). While it was preheating I tossed some baby eggplants, jalapeños, garlic, olive oil, and salt in my Lodge 5-quart cast-iron Dutch oven. With the lid on, the Lodge didn’t quite fit in the Ninja, so I turn the lid upside down. Bingo! About halfway through the roasting with the inverted lid on, I added some grape tomatoes, and after about 45 minutes total cooking time, everything was nice and soft with some char marks. I blended it all up some wild chives from my yard, some parsley and basil, toasted pinenuts, olive oil, pecorino cheese, and a bit of anchovy paste. I tossed it with al dente ziti and more fresh basil and pecorino. The wife loved it. (Yes, I did too.)

Ninja Outdoor Oven eggplant pasta

Conclusion

Maybe gadgets aren’t so bad. Ninja’s Woodfire 8-in-1 Outdoor Oven is a pretty nice machine. It can handle just about everything you’d want to cook in your indoor oven (save for a giant turkey), and does quite a few things your indoor oven can’t (without some hacks), like make Neapolitan-style pizza. Plus, it does it all outside. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate the benefits of having a second oven, especially around the holidays. Having a second oven outside is a godsend for those times when you want to escape to the garage. 

Woodfire easily accommodates a quarter-sheet pan, too, which makes it easy to make all manner of sheet-pan meals and side dish vegetables. My only gripe is the small pellet hopper. Ninja could have easily made the hopper twice as big (or more) so you don’t have to refill the hopper every hour during long, smoky cooks. But it’s a minor gripe. All in all, the Woodfire 8-in-1 Outdoor Oven is a very capable, very versatile oven with an impressively small footprint. It’s worth every penny of its $299 price tag. Just beware of lookalikes. Ninja also makes a black and steel “Woodfire Outdoor Grill” that’s about the same size and shape. However, that unit is a grill and does not have pizza-cooking capability. If it’s the 8-in-1 you want, look for the oven with the pale brick-red coloring. The 8-in-1 is a multifunctional pizza oven and not a grill.

Warranty

One-year limited warranty.

We thank Ninja for providing an oven for our tests.

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Product Information:

  • Model:
    8-in-1 Outdoor Oven
  • Item Price:
    $ 299.00
    *Price Subject To Change
  • Where to buy (buying from this supplier supports this website):
  • Made in USA:
    no
  • Review Method:
    Cooked On It
    We have hands-on experience testing this product. We have also gathered info from the manufacturer, owners and other reliable sources.
  • Primary Function:
    Grill, Smoker, Combination Grill and Smoker, Griddle grills, Tailgater, Pizza Oven
  • Fuel:
    Electric
  • Main Burners:
    2
  • Primary Capacity:
    144 square inches
    Small (about 7 burgers)

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Published On: 6/17/2024 Last Modified: 7/10/2024

  • Dave Joachim, AmazingRibs.com Contributing Author - 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.”

 

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