Jake Ruddy was one of the first to put the Yoder Smokers Wood-fired Oven through its paces. We asked Jake to share his experience with us, and in short, we think he loves it!
“Until recently, it’s been a challenge to get great-tasting pizza at home without investing in a wood-fired oven. Of course, you can make a pizza in an oven or on a grill, but the results are somewhat lacking when you compare it to a pizza oven.
A pizza oven gets much hotter than a traditional oven (most tap out at 500-550F). It’s not uncommon for a pizza oven to reach 700+. Not only do you have high heat, but you have the magic of flames roaring across the top of the oven and heating the top of your food. Now you are getting high heat from the top and the bottom. Not only does this make for a fast cook to help make a fantastic crust, it also adds to the flavor as you get the heat from the side, which produces a beautiful leopard skin crust.
The challenge with a wood-burning pizza oven is the learning curve. Maintaining the fire is a delicate balance between the amount of heat and the amount of flames. Having first-hand experience, I can tell you the learning curve is steeper than I imagined. Enter the Yoder Smokers pizza oven.
The Yoder Smokers pizza oven fits the 480 and the 640 pellet grills. From the moment I saw it, I knew it was a game changer. That said, I really wanted to get my hands on one right away.
I recently cooked half chickens using my 640 with the diffuser door removed and the chicken on the top rack. So Iassumed it would take much longer to get the sear I was looking for. However, I learned just how hot the second-level rack was in less than a minute with the diffuser door removed. I seared the chicken, both sides, in under 90 seconds. The heat is intense, and I knew that would work perfectly for the pizza oven.
Luckily, within a couple of weeks, I had a Yoder pizza oven staring at me just waiting to be put to the test.
Assembly is super easy and very straightforward. Just remember that the flat side of the pizza stone faces down, and the left side of the pizza diffuser needs to sit on the lip above the firebox. Once you have it installed, you turn it on, and within 20-30, you have all the heat you need.
For my first cook, I decided to try a calzone. I recently tried one on a regular pizza stone in my 640, and while it was decent, I have other options and would use those over a regular pizza stone because it left a little bit to be desired. The thing is, I love calzones! That was a true test for me on just how well the Yoder pizza oven worked. Short version – I was super impressed!
Since then, I have cooked a cast iron pizza, two spatchcocked chickens, and 5 Neapolitan pizzas.
So far, all I can say is, wow! No practice, no research, just dialing up the temp and putting it through the paces. My first spatchcocked chicken was a little crispy, so I cooked it for 20 minutes on top of the oven the second time around. That’s something unique about the Yoder oven versus the competition; the top gets 700F, and you can use a pot or cast iron pan on top of it like a turbo-charged stove. So after 25 minutes, I put the chicken inside, and using the top and bottom heat, it was done in another 25 minutes, perfect.
It’s been a while since I have been as excited about a new product, and I have to say, this one lived up to the hype. Everything has been tasty, I’m turning out top-notch Neapolitan pizzas, and the best thing is I can set the temperature and not have to worry about babysitting it.
When you are all done cooking, you simply let it cool, take it apart and store it in 3 pieces that nicely stack up together. It doesn’t take much room and can be ready for any pizza party in about 25 minutes. That’s not to say you can only do pizza on it, but when you have a pizza oven, it’s safe to say you won’t order in pizza again and will use it more than you think.
I love mine so far and feel it’s the perfect addition to a YS640s or YS480s.”
Learn more about the Yoder Smokers Wood-fired Oven: https://www.yodersmokers.com/pizza-oven/
To check out more of Jake’s cooks, you can find him here: https://www.instagram.com/1rumandcook/