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Inside my oven at home there is a huge pizza stone. I quite frequently find myself firing up my gas to its highest level in a vain attempt to get that stone hot enough to make something that approximates Neapolitan style pizza. Sadly, it’s only an approximation. Achieving flavor and texture of a classic margherita requires the intense heat a restaurant oven can achieve, but your standard home model can’t. Which is why I was excited to get my hands on a Roccbox.
This portable outdoor oven from Gozney, which is powered by either wood or propane, can hit upwards of 932 degrees. That kind of firepower was a little tough to tame at first, but once you get a handle for moving the pie inside the oven you can get those little charred spots (aka leoparding) that give an added depth of flavor you can’t get in your standard oven. It feels like the smaller peel, which is sold separately and can help spin the pie inside the oven more easily, is a pretty necessary accessory to make pizza consistently well. Yet, even with the big peel that comes with the oven, you can achieve solid results, from classics to even getting a little experimental. Taking a cue from Wolfgang Puck, I left all the ingredients off my pie and fired up a disc of dough that I then covered in crème fraiche and smoked salmon to emulate Puck’s iconic Spago pizza. The smoky char played beautifully with the cool, acidic crème and fatty salmon.
But I didn’t stop at making just pizza. Turning the dial down just a little bit, I dropped the temperature to tackle vegetables in the Roccbox. Some of my favorite restaurants right now are cooking over an open fire, and I couldn’t get that beautiful char at home until I was tossing some carrots in olive oil and salt and blasting them with the Roccbox. I also pulled out my cast iron pan and a couple ribeyes so I could get a steakhouse-level seared crust on my steaks. Each of my experiments has turned out great (though I did burn one oven mitt).
In my kitchen at home I follow the old Alton Brown rule, which is that you never buy a tool that’s a unitasker (you don’t need an avocado pitter, people). However, this pizza oven has proven to do more than just that, so it’s been a strong addition to my cooking arsenal.