Backyard barbecuing gear is mostly choosing your dedication to a brand of charcoal, or deciding which grill your organic beef patties deserve to be flipped on — but where does that leave all of us who just want to spin up a good pizza pie? Gozney, who already makes one of the best pizza ovens, the much-loved Gozney Roccbox, really outdid themselves with their latest outdoor oven, a behemoth model that’s as versatile for turning dough into killer pizza as it is for baking actual bread.
For making restaurant-quality pizza (and more) at home, there is no better option than the professional-grade Gozney Dome, a stylish oven that commands the amount of space it’ll take up in your yard. It’s a splurge, for sure, but it really does live up to the hype. If you’re serious about pizza (or anything that can be cooked up on a hot stone at scorching-hot temps), this will do it for you.
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Forget delivery — the Gozney Dome oven challenges you to roll up your sleeves, knead your own dough, and get hands-on with your cooking. At a starting price of $1499 (which jumps up to $1799 if you want the ability to also use gas), it’s steep for something that requires a bit of a learning curve. But we tested it ourselves, and here’s why we think the Gozney Dome is worth it.
How Do You Set Up the Gozney Dome?
Gozney makes it as easy as possible to set the Dome up and get it ready to rip. But once you get it stationed, this oven is not moving an inch. Everything about it that makes it a heavy-duty oven, from the ceramic-coated steel, to the thick cordierite stone floor, also adds to the 128-pound weight. If you’re not springing for the specially-designed steel and bamboo stand (sold separately for $299), we suggest you place the stove in a secure and well-ventilated spot (the Dome is insulated, so an outdoor countertop is fine).
Like putting together furniture for a new apartment, we highly recommend you bring a friend to your setup operation. Even though the actual process doesn’t take that long, it took two people for us to grab the handles and place the Dome on the stand. After that, all you have to do is pop some batteries in the digital thermometer in the front of the oven. The screw is extremely small, though, and it took some effort to remove the panel — what was even more frustrating was setting up the Dome stand. The stand is complicated and has a lot of parts, but if you build it as a team, it’s absolutely worth it if you don’t have a dedicated cooking space. If you’re going to be cooking with gas, make sure the line can reach your propane tank.
Gozney Dome vs. Ooni and Other Pizza Ovens
One draw of the Dome compared to other, more portable pizza oven options like Ooni, is the massive cooking surface built with commercial pizza ovens in mind. With a 16 x 5-inch mouth, you can fit in two small feet, even though it’ll be a tight squeeze. Like a professional oven, the Dome has the flame roll over the top of the oven, which gives your food exactly the kind of charred kiss you want (with gas or wood), while the stone bottom ensures an even cook. At the same time, it’s easier to control the cook on your food with more space, since you can back it up from the flame if things get too hot.
The design also allows it to be super durable and insulated at the same time. The coating on the exterior is water-resistant and UV safe, and stays fairly cool to the touch while cooking. Inside, the stone floor retains heat in a way you won’t get from a regular oven. A built-in, easy-to-read digital thermometer makes keeping track of the oven’s temperature easier than the Roccbox (which uses an old-school needle).
More insulation is a blessing and a curse. On a particularly chilly spring evening, we had to wait for hours until the exterior cooled down enough for us to put on the weatherproof cover. Both getting the oven up to the temperature you’re aiming for and waiting for it to cool is as big of a commitment as babysitting your meat when you’re barbecuing. That being said, cleanup is a breeze, with an ashtray under the oven collecting ashes during cooking.
Is the Gozney Dome Oven Easy to Use?
While we’re on the subject of heat, the biggest appeal of the Gozney is easily its ability to reach scorching temperatures of up to 950 degrees Fahrenheit. When you’re trying to make pizza at home, you just can’t replicate the results of a charred yet chewy crust and bubbling hot cheese with an indoor oven.
Can the Dome deliver on those scorching temps? It depends. When you’re cooking with wood, like cooking anything with wood, it’s going to involve a lot of trial and error. It’s going to take longer to feed the flames enough to adjust it to your proper temperature without tipping the scale and burning too hot.
With gas, you can absolutely hit those high temps easily, given conditions outside the oven are also right. On a particularly windy day, we struggled to get the oven to break 700 degrees with gas, and had to erect a makeshift windshield made of deck chairs to protect the mouth of the oven (don’t ask). Even then, the internal temperature barely cracked 810 degrees. If it’s cold and windy? You’re going to have to wait a lot longer for the oven to be ready to crisp up your ‘za. But if you’re willing to man the grill or smoker for hours, this wait-time will be nothing for you. Switching from gas to wood couldn’t have been easier — just switch a circular stone “puck” from one side of the oven to another to plug up whichever fuel source isn’t being used.
Since the oven can cook with both, you might be asking: gas or wood, what’s the way to go? We cooked with both, and achieved incredibly tasty results across the board. Go for wood if you’re looking to infuse your pizza (or steaks, or fish) with that classic “smokey” flavor and char, and don’t mind putting your full attention on maintaining the flames. Cooking with gas was slightly easier, with the gas control knob letting you turn down (and maintain) the heat a lot faster.
On our never-ending search to create the perfect Neapolitan-style crust, we used both dough bought from a local pizzeria, and store-bought dough. None of the pizzas we made ever cooked in exactly 30 seconds, but the pizzeria dough blistered nicely and cooked the toppings evenly in about two minutes. The store-bought dough was a major fail, and it was too thick to cook all the way through, while the top burned, and it still took three minutes.
We also tried searing a steak in the oven using a cast iron skillet, which we had already seared slightly before throwing in the preheated over. In another skillet, we also tried cooking broccoli and cut sweet potatoes as a side dish. One thing to emphasize is that prep is necessary — while the steak was fast to get a crisp sear on top, we should have pulled it out instead of waiting for the veggies to cook thoroughly, as meat can easily go from a great medium-rare to well-done at temps above 600 degrees.
The other dish we tried to replicate from the cookbook Gozney provided was the roasted salmon, made on a cedar plank that we pre-soaked in water. Following the instructions, the salmon came out flakey and delicious, with a nice toasted flavor we definitely would not have achieved from pan-searing. The only thing we didn’t attempt was bread-baking, which involves using an add-on rope door and steam injector accessories.
Final Verdict: Is the Gozney Dome Worth It?
Will the Gozney Dome replace your ol’ reliable gas or charcoal grill? Well, let’s not go there. While there’s a lot you can do with the flashy oven (fiddling with vents while cooking will be very appealing to fellow Big Green Egg aficionados), what’s missing from the Gozney Dome is the ability to whip up the typical BBQ staples — hamburgers, hot dogs , etc. At its price tag, you might want something that can make some of the basic staples, too.
But for those who love to experiment with outdoor cooking, this a powerful workhorse of an oven that delivers on most expectations. Especially when you arm yourself with any option of the array of accessories, such as their pizza peel, pizza turning peel, dough scraper, wood loader, or steam injector. From slow-cooking fillets of fish while tending to a wood-burning fire, to churning out personal pizzas with gas as fast as humanly possible, the Dome has a cooking experience for every speed and level of culinary experience.
Especially with that killer insulation and signature rolling flame, the Gozney Dome can help you take pizza parties and backyard barbecuing to the next level.
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