How to Build an Outdoor Oven

Anything you would normally cook in a gas or electric oven in your kitchen can be cooked just as well outside, in a wood-burning oven you make with your own hands. Here are a few tips on how to build your own outdoor oven.

Types of Outdoor Ovens

You can purchase a ready-made outdoor oven at various places, but part of the fun of having one is to make it yourself. The oven can be constructed by using cement blocks or made of adobe, which is becoming more popular. The major difference between a grill and the oven is that your outdoor oven is enclosed to retain the heat instead of letting it escape.

Check Zoning Laws

Before you begin making your outdoor oven, it would be a good idea to check with your local government to make sure there are no zoning laws that prohibit building the oven the way you’d like to. If there are, you may have to get a variance or change your plans.

Gather Material

After you’ve determined where your oven is going to be located, preferably on a flat surface a sufficient distance from anything that is combustible, you will have to gather the material you’ll need to build the oven. The material will vary depending on the type of oven you want. Basically you’ll need to have cement blocks or the material to make adobe for the bulk of the oven. You’ll also need firebricks. Additionally, you’ll need tools, such as a tape measure, a wheel barrow, a shovel, a water bucket, and gloves. This project may take days to complete because parts of the process require drying time for the material you will be using.

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What an Outdoor Oven Consists Of

Basically, an outdoor oven has a base where the fire will be. Above that will be the cooking shelf where you’ll place the bread, pizza, vegetables, or whatever you’re going to bake. There will be a chimney to vent the smoke and it is surrounded by walls that enclose the oven. Keep in mind that the oven will be located outdoors, so it will need to be constructed of heavy duty material that can withstand the elements.

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Make the Base

If you’re going to be putting your outdoor oven on your patio, you can skip this step. Otherwise you’ll have to create a base using forms, firebricks, and cement. Level off the dirt and build the forms to the size you’ve determined you’d like your oven to be. Pour cement in the forms, level it, and let it harden. Then put a layer of firebricks over the cement.

Build the Oven Walls

Using concrete blocks build the walls of your outdoor oven to the height you prefer. Add a top layer of concrete caps to make the top even. Be sure to leave a vent in the back of the oven. You can cover the cement block walls with tile in order spruce up the appearance. If you choose to construct your oven of adobe, you will have to make a form out of wood and cover it with adobe. If you built the oven on an existing patio, make sure you place firebricks on the surface within the walls of the oven.

Chimney and Cooking Shelf

You can use a variety of material to construct the chimney and cooking shelf. Some people simply use heavy duty cardboard or chicken wire covered with adobe. Other people use metal parts fabricated specifically for this purpose.

Make a Door

Unlike a grill, an outdoor oven will need a door in order to keep the heat trapped inside and bake your food. The door can be constructed of metal or some other fireproof material. It should fit snugly, but keep in mind that heat makes metal expand. You can sandwich insulating material between metal to make the door.

Guest post from Casey Lynch. Casey writes for