I got the Bertello Pizza Oven as a Christmas gift. It’s an item that I never knew that I wanted, but I’m glad to have it now.
In this review and video, I try to answer if this oven is something that I’d spend $300 on for myself.
Conclusion: After six pizza cooking sessions, I’ve determined that it would’ve been worth the investment for me, but the answer will vary for others. If you’re looking for a fun activity and great tasting pizza, and you understand that it’s a time-consuming process, you should buy it.
Things I Love:
- I’m a perfectionist, and I like to learn new things so cooking with this oven has been a lot of fun. Going into this, I didn’t know anything about pizza, but with each pizza, I’ve gotten better. I’ve experimented with different techniques and wood pellet flavors. It’s rewarding to create something that tastes like a professional crust and to show off to friends and family.
- The actual cook time is way faster than a traditional home oven. I used to cook my pizza at 450°F for about 15 minutes, but when you’re cooking at over 800°F, it takes around three minutes.
- The taste is amazing. The advantage of cooking at temperatures hotter than your oven is that the outer shell of the crust gets super crispy, without making the inside hard, while the inside stays soft and squishy. Plus, you can subtly play around with the taste based on which kind of pellets or wood chunks that you use.
- The oven is lightweight and portable. This isn’t your typical immovable and permanent brick oven. You can potentially bring this camping or even to a cookout without much inconvenience.
- Cooking pizza indoors isn’t ideal in the summer because you’ll heat up your whole house. Bertello fixes this.
Things I Hate:
- There aren’t any good resources on how to use this oven. I was hoping there would be a Reddit and YouTube community with lots of tutorials, tips, and people that understood this oven, but there’s nothing right now. It was a Shark Tank product and Mr. Wonderful invested in it, so hopefully, this company gains momentum and builds a community.
- It seems like a huge missed opportunity for Bertello not to have these resources. Are regular people, like me, supposed to naturally know how to use one of these ovens properly? Hopefully, my video helps people, but we need other resources too.
- Cooking with this oven is a huge project. While the pizza tastes amazing, does it warrant an extra hour of your time? Is the taste $300 better than your regular oven? The answer to both of these is no. But that’s OK, you just need to understand that it’s time-consuming and have fun with it.
- You need to clean out the ash and wipe off the pizza stone each time you cook, which is fine, but there’s no easy way to remove the pellet tray without reaching your entire arm inside the oven. I always end up with a black arm by the time that I’m done. You should also do a full clean of the oven every few times that you use it. This gets messy.
- This isn’t a professional oven and the heat doesn’t circulate evenly. You need to rotate the pizza as it cooks, which can be tricky.
- It’s hard to maintain the proper temperature. You want the temperature as hot as possible, but at the same time, you don’t want outrageous flames on the top that burn your cheese.
- There were a couple of times when I finally got the proper temperature and flame level, then went inside to get the pizza, only to find that the oven went down to 400°F. A lot of this can be fixed by buying the propane attachment. This will let you get the oven hot and consistent with the propane and then put on the pellets right before putting the pizza in to get the flavor. The downside is that it’ll cost an additional $120, because you’ll need the attachment ($85) and the special wood burning tray ($35).
- It’s a little smaller than ideal. You have 12.5” inches to work with and most standard dough recipes make 12” pizza, but it’s too tight to maneuver the pizza. Make your pizza a little smaller and you’re all set.
- It doesn’t have a temperature gauge, so you’ll need to buy an infrared thermometer gun.
How it Works
- Make sure that your dough is ready and your oven is clean.
- I put 80 grams of wood chips and rubbing alcohol into a plastic bag. I don’t know if it’s safe, but it’s the best way that I found to start the fire. When you use newspaper to start the fire, flakes of paper can get on the baking stone.
- I put about half the wood chips in the tray, add one scoop of pellets, then put the rest of the wood chips in.
- Now, it’s time to light the wood chips.
- Close the cover once you can tell that the wood chips have caught on fire.
- After about 8-10 minutes, I put on one more scoop of pellets.
- It takes about 30 minutes to get the oven to a temperature hot enough to cook. The front and back of the oven will be at different temperatures. I try to get the back of the oven to around 800°F and this means the front will be around 550°F.
- Once you have the proper temperature, with reasonable flames (the flames aren’t hitting the middle top of the oven), I put in one more half scoop of pellets. This gives you 3-4 minutes to get the pizza ready.
- Put the pizza inside the oven, then rotate the pizza a quarter turn every 45 seconds or so. You should be done after about three minutes.
Who is this for?
The Bertello oven was an item that I never knew that I wanted, but that I’m glad to have now.
If you’re looking for a fun activity and great tasting pizza, and you understand that cooking with it is time-consuming, you should buy it.