Upgrade Pizza Night and Your Backyard With This Impressive, Portable Oven

We caught up with Chef Marco Niccoli to test Ooni's Karu 16 for family pizza night.

marco niccoli with fresh pizza on patio
  • Brand: Ooni
  • Product: Karu 16
  • Price: $800
  • From: Ooni.com

        Backyard pizza parties are one of our favorites parts of summer. And Ooni ovens allow almost anyone to create the pizza dinner of their dreams no matter their skill level or backyard space. Ooni's sleek, compact ovens can cook up a delicious pizza in under 60 seconds; the versatile Karu 16 Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven allows you to cook with wood, charcoal or gas and reaches 950°F (500°C) in just 15 minutes.

        To test out Ooni's Karu 16, we tapped Marco Niccoli, an accomplished chef and devoted family man based in Salt Lake City, UT. From a young age, Marco knew he wanted to become a chef. He grew up in a home where food was the centerpiece of everything, and his parents owned and operated Bruno’s Old World Italian Deli in Los Angeles for many years. Marco is now an author, restauranteur and co-founder of am. So who better to test out the pizza oven? We caught up with Niccoli at his home in Salt Lake as he prepared a pizza night for his family.

        niccoli patio dining table and ooni karu
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        From the Brand

        "Ooni Pizza Ovens, a family-run business, is a values-led organization driven by passion, innovation, kindness, rigor and ambition, with an overarching belief that everyone deserves great pizza. As well as providing top-of-the-range ovens, Ooni also has a comprehensive range of must-have accessories and carefully curated ingredients for pizza cooks. Ooni stocks a range of Ooni Groceries made up of leading pizza ingredient brands, making authentic, flame-cooked pizza even more accessible at home."

        What We Like

        Q: What inspired you to become a chef?

        Marco Niccoli: I was inspired to become a chef from watching at a young age how food can bring people together. My mother and father always made it a point for us to cook together and eat dinner together.

        Q: What do you enjoy most about cooking?

        A: I love being able to create a piece of art and having it come to life for people. Cooking is one of the only art forms that you’re able to smell, see, and taste.

        marco bringing pizza ingredients out
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        adding cheese to pizza
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        Q: What was your first impression of the Ooni oven?

        A: My wife and I have wanted a pizza oven for the home for many years. And we waited for the right product to be created before pulling the trigger. Ooni was it for us from the way that it looked to the reviews about how well it cooked and how hot it got.

        Q: How easy was it to put together?

        A: When it came in the mail I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to put together. In total it was less than 20 pieces. I love when a product is easy for the consumer to assemble so they can get straight to cooking.

        Q: How was cooking with it? What did you make?

        A: We have made everything from pizza, grilled cauliflower and even a whole chicken. I was blown away at how fast it got the temperature. I also love that you’re able to use wood, charcoal or gas all in one pizza oven. I love the flavor that you get from cooking with Wood but I love the convenience of being able to heat it up with gas.

        marco adding fresh basil to pizza
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        pizza firing in ooni karu oven
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        marco serving family pizza
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        niccoli boy eating pizza
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        Q: Can you share a favorite pizza recipe with us?

        A:

        1 fermented pizza dough

        ¼ cup mozzarella

        ¼ cup crushed tomatoes (Sauce)

        5 slices of Calabresa

        1T. Olive oil

        To make the sauce I take one can of crushed tomatoes two cloves of chopped garlic, a teaspoon of red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon of high-quality olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. I like to make this at least 24 hours before making my pizzas so that the flavors have time to marry together.

        pizza going into lit ooni karu oven
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        checking pizza in oven
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        pizza being served to family
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        marco trying a slice of pizza
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        passing a slice of pizza to daughter
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        white pizza with fresh parsley
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        red pizza with jalapenos
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        Who It’s For

        Niccoli has already recommended this oven to all of his friends and family. His brother is looking to get one this summer. The joy about the Karu is that whether you are a seasoned chef or can barely boil water, it makes cooking dead simple. For anyone who enjoys pizza or entertaining, Ooni ovens are for you.

        Verdict

        With a competitive price, easy assembly and delicious pizza in 60 seconds, the Karu is a yes from us. Its ability to burn wood, charcoal or gas will appeal to every type of chef. While its purpose is chiefly to make pizza, there is no shortage of culinary creations you can accomplish in this oven. Secure yours below just in time for backyard season.

        marco checking pizza in ooni karu oven
        Gear Patrol Studios


        Price: $800

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