As always, every product in the world will compromise something in order to gain something else, and this little boy is no exception. There’s not tons of room for multiple pizzas like a huge authentic oven, but that’s to be expected in a portable package. Let’s unpack more of the good, AND the bad, and see if it’s a good fit for you!
With 15,000 BTUs, the Alfrescamore portable pizza oven packs a real punch. A pizza in 5 minutes is pretty typical with this oven. The engineers at Cuisinart understand the idea of trying to effectively replicate an authentic pizza oven environment as much as possible. They’ve done a pretty decent job of incorporating convection heat, conduction heat and reflected heat (as in an authentic oven). In case you’re not 100% brushed up on your heat styles, you can read more about that HERE, or you can just keep reading for a quick overview.
- Convection Heat – pulls in cool air from below the oven, heats it at the burners and then directs it around the pizza and then out the front of the unit
- Conduction Heat – the pizza stone (cordierite) conducts heat from itself, directly to the pizza crust which is in direct contact with the stone
- Reflected Heat – the steel inner lid (stainless) is designed to reflect heat back down on your pizza, and it’s shaped to do so evenly
At less than 40 lbs, it’s one of the most portable ovens on the market. It uses a 1 lb propane tank, so it really is meant to be portable. Many have purchased this oven to be a semi-permanent fixture on their backyard patio, but it’s just as easy to bring to a tailgate party given that it was meticulously designed with every desirable feature of portability.
- Reviewers loved the budget price point on this oven, and the speed at which it made pizza and the end result!
- There are a number of great accessories available that help make the whole experience much more enjoyable (spinners, stand, cleaning brush).
- Can use a small one-pound propane cylinder (great for portability) which will make about 2 pies but most recommended the large 20 pound tank for the convenience of not running out during baking or having to refill.
- Makes 12” pizzas.
- Can be used for frozen pizza (just keep the temp lower at 350 degrees) but shines best when used for homemade pies.
- Wood chip container in the oven adds a delicious wood-fired smokey flavor.
- Matching cover available for purchase separately here.
- Warming tray to keep pies warm is a nice feature…isn’t big enough to hold an entire pizza but will hold several slices and keep them warm.
- Sturdy and well built except for the plastic handle (see THE BAD for more on this).
- Heats up quickly – 10 to 15 minutes and it’s ready to go.
- Built-in utensil holders.
- Auto ignite makes for easy starting.
- Comes with a folding pizza peel which most found worked well.
- Most comments mentioned that the crust came out crispy on the outside.
- Can be used to make other things like naan and calzones.
- Most found that it lit easily on the first or second try.
- The lid is hinged which allows for faster cooling and easier cleaning.
- The stone can get stained but does not affect the performance in any way.
- Lid mounted thermometer is very helpful in gauging when the oven is ready.
- Some reviewers found that the oven struggled at times to achieve high temperatures unless conditions were ideal – ie. warm day, no wind.
- You may potentially need to use an aluminum foil shield across the opening in order to increase the interior temperature.
- Keeping the oven in a sheltered area improved the performance.
- The oven also posed a problem for those in higher elevations – some found they could not get the temps higher than 350 to 400 degrees.
- A few people noted that the plastic handle attached to the lid melted and fell off.
- A few reviewers mentioned that the bottom burned sometimes unless the pizza was turned partway through baking (the Cuisinart pizza turning tool helped a lot with this issue)
- Opening the lid will cause a great deal of heat loss so most recommend not opening it during pre-heating or baking.
- The oven opening is somewhat small – some had difficulty getting pies in and out and mentioned that with a bit of practice they got the hang of it.
- Hotter temps were more difficult to achieve with the smaller one pound tank so the 20 pound tank is highly recommended.
More About the Gas Tank!
The issue with the 1 lb tank was not that it didn’t work well. In fact, it worked as well as any tank …. until it was depleted to a level of about 1/3 full. It seemed to become too cold as the overall volume of the remaining fuel decreases. That decreases the overall gas pressure which decreases overall “output” of the fuel (and potential heat) that is left. After it’s down to about 1/4 capacity, its output is so low that it is essentially useless. It’s a shame to waste that much fuel, but the physics of the whole process are a bit more advantageous with a larger tank.
You will need the 4-foot adapter hose for the larger tank…you can see that here. The knob can be a bit touchy. You’ll have to push and then turn to the left – you can’t just turn it (without pushing) to get the fire going. Once it’s assembled, the oven is quite sturdy, but assembly was a challenge for some.
The placement of 2 of the assembly screws is a bit of a challenge since the screws have to be applied from the bottom of the unit. There were those who even had to remove a millimeter or two of metal from one of the holes (ie. make the hold bigger or more elongated at the top) in order to get every hole to line up. That’s just bad engineering or manufacturing!
Bottom Line Please!
This oven is not going to achieve a true, authentic pizza oven baking temperature of around 700˚F or higher. If it did, a pie would bake in 2 minutes or less. This oven does, however, operate in the 450˚F – 500˚F temperature range which will make a pizza in 5-7 minutes with results that most reviewers were happy with. The pizza making guide that comes with the oven recommends letting the oven reach 500˚F or higher before baking your pizza. The oven comes with a pizza recipe guide which will be helpful for beginners.