When you’re craving a good slice of pizza, it’s hard to beat the flavor, taste, and texture of an authentic wood-fired pizza. The only problem is that there are very few pizzerias that still make pizza in this style. While you can always build a stone pizza oven in your backyard, these projects can often cost $10,000 or more and require tons of space. You may have heard of the Forno Bravo wood-fired pizza oven… so, what is it and how does it live up to the hype?
Forno Bravo is a U.S.-based pizza oven manufacturer that manufactures residential and commercial wood-fired pizza ovens. They’re especially well-known for their portable “Bella” ovens that anybody can set up in their backyard. Although they are a bit expensive, they’re also some of the best pizza ovens that money can buy!
If you’ve never heard of Forno Bravo’s ovens before, then you’re missing out. Ever since I purchased my dad one for Father’s Day, I’ve been over there every other weekend taking advantage of it. In today’s post, I’m going to go over everything you need to know about this awesome wood-fired pizza oven, so you can decide if it’s right for you.
Forno Bravo: The Best Pizza Ovens In The World
Growing up, I was lucky enough to have a few uncles who knew how to make some great pizza. I remember when one of them excitedly called my mom and told her that he had just built an authentic stone pizza oven in his backyard. That weekend, the entire family went over to his spot for dinner, and it was some of the best pizza that I had ever had.
Recently, I was in Asheville checking out some of the local food (click here for the best pizza spots in Asheville), and I came across a small pizzeria that made wood-fired pizzas. Immediately, I remembered just how good a wood-fired pizza could be! That’s what originally gave me the idea to get one for my dad.
Put simply, Forno Bravo manufactures some of the best wood-fired pizza ovens in the world. They started out by building large commercial ovens for restaurants and then started manufacturing smaller, pre-fabricated units for residential clients who wanted something for their backyard.
From their large commercial units to their smaller residential units, each oven is manufactured using the latest heat-retaining technology, top-tier materials, and state-of-the-art engineering. The result is an oven that can easily last you and your family for a decade or more and cook thousands of pizzas!
Forno Bravo “Bella”: Residential Wood-Fired Pizza Ovens
As I mentioned, Forno Bravo started off by making commercial pizza ovens (like the huge ones you’ll find at California Pizza Kitchen). Eventually, they realized that there was a growing market for at-home pizza chefs (like myself) who wanted to replicate amazing wood-fired pizzas in their own backyard.
This is what inspired them to create a separate line of pre-fabricated pizza ovens that they call their “Bella” line. Forno Bravo’s Bella ovens are made using the same high-tech insulation and engineering principles used in their larger ovens. However, the small ovens are made using lightweight stainless steel that makes them easy to deliver and transport.
What Sizes Are Available?
Currently, Forno Bravo offers ovens in the following sizes:
- Medio 28- 28” x 24” (672 sq. inches).
- Grande 32- 32” x 24” (768 sq. inches).
- Grande 36- 36” x 26” (936 sq. inches).
- Ultra 40- 40” x 28” (1,120 sq. inches).
The smaller models start at around $2,000 while the larger models can cost up to $5,000. Forno Bravo offers a range of customization options, which can also add or subtract from the total price of the oven. Ultimately, I ended up purchasing the Grande 36 for my dad, and it’s more than enough to suit our needs. It can cook up to three 12-inch pizzas at the same time!
Having used the Forno Bravo Grande 36 for a solid month, I can honestly say that it’s the best portable backyard wood-fired oven I’ve ever used. So, that being said, here are some of the features that I love most about the oven.
Authentic Wood-Fired Flavor
As I mentioned earlier, you can’t beat the flavor of a wood-fire-cooked pizza. The pizza has this wonderfully crispy texture, is cooked evenly, and has a smoky taste that goes really well with any type of pizza. If you’re looking for the best wood for your wood-fired pizza oven, check out this post.
At first, I thought that the flavor was going to be somewhat different due to the fact that this is stainless steel oven instead of a full-ceramic or stone oven. However, I found that it didn’t affect the taste at all. As long as I used high-quality smoking wood, the flavor from my Forno Bravo oven wasn’t any different from going to a pizzeria with a larger stone oven.
One of the main problems I’ve noticed with low-quality wood-fired pizza ovens is that it sometimes takes them a while to fully heat up (some as long as an hour or more). However, the Forno Bravo oven has been the complete opposite.
Typically speaking, once I get the fire going and my larger logs start to burn steady, the oven will reach a toasty 800 to 900 degrees within 20 to 30 minutes. The colder it is outside, the longer it will take, and vice versa for the heat. However, I rarely wait longer than 30 minutes before putting my pizza in.
This goes hand-in-hand with the previous feature, but the reason that Forno Bravo ovens heat up so fast is that they’re designed with premium insulation. Although the exterior of the oven is crafted from stainless steel, the entire interior of the dome is lined with a 2-inch-thick layer of ceramic.
The floor is also a large 2-inch-thick slab of ceramic. The result is that the oven heats up faster, retains more heat, wastes less wood, and cooks your pizza faster.
Stainless Steel and Powder Coated Exterior
The entire exterior of the oven (including the rolling cart, flue, bolts, and rivets) is made from 304-grade stainless steel. This means that it will stand up to years of harsh weather without rusting or oxidizing.
Additionally, the paint is a high-quality powder coat that is designed to stand up to extreme temperatures and is weather-resistant. This means that your Forno Bravo oven will look as good on day 700 as it did on day 1.
Common Questions I Get
Now that you know some of the key features that make Forno Bravo ovens so great, I’m going to take a minute to answer some of the most common questions I’ve received about my Grande 36 model. Let’s take a look!
Where Are Forno Bravo Ovens Made?
One of the most common complaints I’ve seen about Forno Bravo’s ovens is that they’re a bit expensive. The cheapest residential model they have costs around $2,500, which is almost as much as buying a brand-new kitchen appliance. It’s also a good bit more expensive than other small wood-fired pizza ovens.
Forno Bravo ovens are all manufactured in Colorado Springs, at the company’s manufacturing hub. This, combined with the company’s excellent reputation and the high-quality materials they use why Forno Bravo ovens are so expensive.
Is Forno Bravo Better Than An Indoor Oven?
The other day, I wrote a review of one of my favorite indoor countertop convection ovens. I often discuss different types of ovens, so some of my readers often confuse the difference between indoor ovens and outdoor wood-fired ovens.
In my opinion, Forno Bravo ovens (and pretty much any other wood-fired oven, for that matter) produce way better-tasting pizza thanks to the rapid cooking times and the aroma of the wood smoke. Indoor convection ovens aren’t bad, but I typically only use them when it’s bad weather outside.
Do You Need Any Other Cooking Tools?
Forno Bravo Bella pizza ovens are designed with a ceramic cooking floor, so you don’t necessarily need a pizza stone. However, they do make removing the pizza from the oven a bit easier. Check out my review of the Kamado pizza stone if you’re looking for a good one!
That being said, I do recommend purchasing a good pizza peel so that you can rotate your pizzas and take them in and out of the oven as necessary. Wood-fired pizza ovens can get incredibly hot, which means that you’ll want to put a few feet of distance between your hands and the oven. A good peel like the Gi Metal pizza peel with a long handle is perfect.
If you have a small to mid-sized backyard, can spare a few thousand bucks, and you like cooking pizza, then one of Forno Bravo’s Bella residential wood-fired pizza ovens are a great investment. Not only will you be able to enjoy the taste of wood-fired and smoked pizza, but you’ll also have 100% confidence that your expensive outdoor grill will stand the test of time.