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Just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean it’s easy. That’s especially true of pizza. At its elemental form (the classic Margherita pie), pizza is a small number of ingredients that can produce a myriad of results. It has driven artisans like Susumu Kakinuma—who cooks just two types of pizza at his legendary Tokyo restaurant Seirinkan—to tirelessly pursue the ideal union of dough, cheese and sauce every single day. There’s a healthy contingent of amateur pizzaiolos doing the same on the weekends: perfecting the fermentation of their dough, growing their own basil, special ordering mozzarella di bufala cheese and using only San Marzano tomatoes for the sauce. However, it can feel all for not if you’re using a home oven. Even the greatest ingredients can’t make up for the lack of heat that the average kitchen’s oven can generate. While pizza steels and stones can help, more BTUs are required to get the ideal rise and char on the crust that makes Neapolitan pizza so great.
Hence, the aspiring pizza master in your life (especially if that person is you) should get a dedicated pizza oven. Fortunately, there’s been a boom in great ones coming on the market in the last few years, and one of the best—the Ooni Koda 16—is being offered for 20 percent off for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but you can jump on the deal early as the discount has started today.
The Ooni can be cranked up to 950 degrees, and the 16-inch surface allows you to make large pies in as quickly as 60 seconds. This particular model of Ooni is propane-powered, but you can get a conversion kit to hook up to natural gas to fuel it instead. And this year they are offering a bundle that includes a cover for the oven, stainless steel peel and an infrared thermometer. That thermometer is especially handy as it’s important to know the temperature of the stone to make sure that the bottom of your pie will cook as quickly as the top.
What’s great about the Ooni as well is that it isn’t just for pizzas. It can be used for a high-powered backyard oven to create beautifully charred vegetables, bubbling pastas al forno and ribeyes with a steakhouse-quality sear.