This is Worth The Hype, where our writers and editors put popular products to the test to see if they are, in fact, worth the hype.
A few years ago, during my food blogging days, I was invited to a cheese festival in Burlington, Vermont (yes, they exist, and yes, they’re as fun as you’d imagine). Hungry and with nowhere to go, I ended up at a small pizzeria just off the main drag. I, conservatively, ordered a margherita pizza off the menu and a local IPA. When the server arrived with my order, I soon recognized my mistake.
I should have ordered two.
Made in an open pizza oven, the charred bits of crust mixed boldly against the sweet basil and even sweeter tomatoes. It was perfectly crisp and better than the pizza I was used to back home in Pennsylvania. It all came down to, of course, the use of fire.
While I tried to desperately recreate this pizza at home, it never really came up to snuff. Of course, I’ve used an oven for pizza, but the result at a higher temperature just made everything risk burning, not just the bits of crust. I tried in vain to make a grill work as a pizza oven, given its open flames; but it never sustained the high temperatures long enough for a good balance of crispiness and edibility.
Like cocktails, I’ve found that it’s a lot harder to make pizza at home than what you can order at a restaurant. That is, of course, until I bit the bullet and got a pizza oven for myself.
While some may consider this an extravagance (my husband included), I’ve been adamant of the virtues of a Roccbox and will tell anyone who will listen how it’s a no-brainer for me. To me, a Roccbox is what an air-fryer is to Midwestern mommy bloggers: I just can’t seem to plan a meal without it.
As cliche as it may sound, the Roccbox pizza oven brings the restaurant to your backyard and isn’t nearly as daunting as you’d like. A few simple instructions and by the afternoon I was chopping basil and stirring some tomatoes in a saucepan like any good paesano. Its convenient build and easy set-up take away some of the initial fear I had when I thought to myself, “What the hell am I getting myself into?”
The pizza oven itself is a compact version of what you may find in a restaurant, with a cavernous oven and a real flame within, but with additional safety features for home use. The body of the Roccbox is outfitted with a silicone layer for protection from the heat for any wandering hands (or puppy tails) and the retractable legs keep it off the ground. This was especially important to me, as I wasn’t sure if it would be safe on my wooden deck.
The best feature, I’ve found, is its ability to convert from gas to wood fuel. For convenience, I tend to lean to gas, but the wood fuel conversion gives this a leg-up on competitors, imbuing the flavors of the wood into the meal is an added bonus for anyone who likes the subtle interplay of smoky flavor profiles.
So while others may be fine eating their good-enough pizzas from their ovens, I’ve been happily enjoying the crisp, chewy, and a little charred pizza that only a pizza oven can provide. And, because I don’t like to have a one-use utensil in my house, I’ve been using it to make naan, roasted vegetables, and even burgers. It’s that extra bit of versatility that’s great on a summer day when it’s too hot to turn the oven on, but hot enough to cool down with an ice cold beer and call to your spouse, “You want one slice or two?”
- Detachable propane or wood burner available
- Silicone covering to reduce heat risk
- Portable with foldable legs
- Built-in thermometer (oven can reach 950 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Additional accessories, such as pizza rocker and pizza peel available
- Library of recipes available on site