When my fiance and I first started dating, I jokingly told her, “The real way to my heart is pizza.” We were sitting at an impromptu date at one of our favorite pizza parlors and sipping a wonderful riesling around two months prior to the pandemic. What I didn’t realize at the time was that was one of the last times I was going to eat a great slice for a long time. Thankfully, I found the Ooni Oven!
There are several different Ooni’s on the market, but the best model is the Ooni Karu. It’s a small, portable, wood-fired pizza oven that makes your pizza taste just like you went to an authentic pizzeria. It’s portable enough to take on the road with you but big enough to cook a large-sized pizza with no problems.
If you’ve been craving that authentic pizzeria taste, then you should definitely look into the Ooni Karu. In addition to cooking pizza, you can also flash-cook other appetizers like breadsticks, naan bread, or even nachos. This makes it as versatile as it is functional.
Why The Ooni Karu Is My New Favorite Toy
I have to admit, when I first got my package, I had no idea what to expect. It was a complete surprise. My wife had been buying me some other pizza-related accessories like a nice pizza stone and an authentic peeling spatula, but I had no idea that portable pizza ovens were even a thing prior to using the Karu.
Now that I’ve had almost a year’s worth of experience using it on a weekly basis, I think I’m in a good position to share my review. So, that being said, here are some of the reasons why I love my Karu!
Oldschool Italian Wood-Fired Pizza At Home
I can’t describe how happy I was to taste real pizza again. After getting the oven, I gave myself a crash course on making pizza dough and began experimenting. Of course, it took me a few tries to get it right (let’s just say my first few efforts weren’t so great), but once I did the result was better than the restaurant.
There’s just something that tastes so good about a home-cooked pizza cooked in a wood-fired grill. I generally use maple or white oak to cook my pizzas as I like the sweet, mild flavor they produce.
It’s Also Great For Appetizers
So, technically it’s a pizza oven. But, I’ve also found that it’s a great way to cook appetizers as well. The oven can reach 950-degrees Fahrenheit in a short 15-minute period, so needless to say- appetizers cook incredibly fast.
I’ve used my Ooni to heat up breadsticks, baked potatoes, street corn, and other sides that I like to serve with my pizza. Since the pizza usually takes around 5 minutes to cool down, I’ll usually use this time to heat up whatever apps I’m serving on the side.
I Can Use It Almost Anywhere
As I mentioned, the Ooni Karu is 100% portable. I ended up purchasing the carry case so I could pack it without having to worry about getting my car dirty. One of my favorite places to take it is the park. I’ve always hated those dirty charcoal grills they have sitting around, and now I just use my oven instead. I even got a couple of side jobs cooking handmade pizzas for small parties during the pandemic!
When you’re cooking, I recommend keeping the legs extended to protect whatever surface you’re using from the heat of the oven. However, once you’re finished and the oven has had a bit of time to cool down, you can fold the three legs underneath the main dome and slip the cover on.
It’s Remarkably Well Built
I’ve probably used my Karu around 40 times since I got it last Summer. It works as well today as it did when I first got it. Despite its relatively lightweight build, though, it’s incredibly durable. Everything from the legs and hinges to the chimney is designed to withstand years of regular use. The one piece of advice I’d give is to keep it out of the rain when you’re not using it. That will ensure that rust and water down build up in your Ooni.
It Cooks Faster Than My Grill
I still use my propane grill quite often if I’m doing steaks, burgers, or sausages. However, my grill typically takes around 15 minutes just to get to 500-degrees. Conversely, my oven can reach 900-degrees in just 15 minutes. This means that it heats up and cooks food twice as fast as a traditional grill.
The Karu vs. Other Ooni Ovens
Ooni does make several other small ovens:
- The Ooni 3: Extra-large outdoor wood-fired oven.
- The Fyra: Cook food with wood pellets, small and lightweight:
- The Koda: Small 12-inch gas-powered oven.
Even if I had the option to trade my Karu, I still wouldn’t. For me, the Karu is the perfect blend between a portable, lightweight oven and an authentic wood-fired oven. It provides the same smoky flavor that the larger Ooni 3 does, while still allowing me to throw it in my backseat for lunch in the park!