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Watch any interview with a chef that specializes in pizza — they are all guaranteed to label making pizza as a lifelong dedication to craft. Tom Gozney, founder of Gozney pizza ovens, shares that sentiment. He founded the company on the premise of cooking with fire (though his pizza ovens also run on gas), and bringing incredible pizza to the home chef.
“By 21 I was kicked out of school. Fresh out of rehab. I poured myself into cooking and built a pizza oven in my garden,” reads Gozney’s quote in the header of his ‘About’ page. “It changed my life. In fact, it probably saved it.” Gozney’s mission is to make wood-fired cooking accessible, welcoming and most importantly, delicious.
His magnum opus in this pursuit? The Gozney Dome, an outdoor oven that isn't just a cooking appliance — it's a social catalyst, a backyard game-changer. Over the past few weeks, I had a chance to test the Dome, and form some opinions on how it works.
- Sleek design
- Robust build quality
- Makes world-class pizza
- Focused on prosumers
- Can run on propane or wood
We don't like
- Premium Price point in the pizza oven category
- Focused on prosumers
A glance at the Dome is enough to spark curiosity. Its exterior (my test unit was the Bone colorway Dual Fuel Propane version) screams industrial-modern sophistication, transforming your backyard into something that could easily be featured in Sunset Magazine or Better Homes and Gardens. It’s a focal point. One of my friends even noted that it looks like it could be made by Google or Apple — high praise from an industrial design standpoint.
Its spacious 25-inch cooking floor can accommodate sizable pizzas, and the 30-inch oven mouth ensures easy access for placing pies. The Dome also boasts an impressive temperature range of up to 950°F (510°C), achievable in mere minutes thanks to its efficient insulation and refractory oven floor. The digital thermometer is invaluable, allowing precise control over those blistering temperatures that can make or break a perfect Neapolitan-style pizza. And to cap it all off, the dual-fuel capability gives you the freedom to choose between wood or gas cooking, according to your preference or the culinary task at hand. With the Gozney Dome, you're not just getting an outdoor oven; you're getting a comprehensive, flexible, and powerful cooking solution.
Before testing the Dome, my foray into the realm of outdoor pizza cooking was limited to a Weber kettle grill and a pizza stone. Sure I’d done the sheet pan pizza clone of my beloved Prince Street Pizza that Kenji Lopez-Alt developed, but I loathe cooking at 550 degrees in my oven and generating smokey oil smells that last for days.
My results with the Weber and pizza stone were far from ideal — pizzas with charred bottoms and undercooked tops, and two pizza stones that met an untimely end. But the Dome was just the opposite. Of course, there’s always a “first pancake” moment — where you’re testing out the temperature and getting a feel for how things are cooking. But even this sacrificial pie hit the high notes. As far as I’m concerned, this backyard oven changes everything. Pizzas emerge with tops evenly cooked, bottoms perfectly golden. And while I struggled to get what the internet forum-frequenters call “leoparding” (a chewy white pie with charred spotting) I found the pizzas the Dome produced to be nothing short of exceptional.
Setting up the Dome is simple, but it's not a one-person task. One attempt to heave the box alone nearly landed me a one-way ticket to the chiropractor. That said, with two people it’s relatively easy to lift the Dome out of its packaging and onto the stand or another surface. The setup of Gozney’s stand designed for the Dome is a bit time-consuming but well worth the effort.
A crucial step in the setup process is seasoning the oven — absolutely do not skip this step. The Gozney Dome needs to acclimate to the heat gradually to avoid thermal shock. For my tests, I chose propane as my fuel source. I ran the oven for 30 minutes with the gas on low to season it gently. Once seasoned, you're free to unleash the heat and set your sights on your first Neapolitan-style masterpiece.
In spite of its rugged appearance and power, the Dome is surprisingly user-friendly. I was a bit intimidated at first, but the intuitive design and the aforementioned built-in digital thermometer ensure you maintain those high temperatures crucial for a perfect pizza crust. One pro tip as you’re building your pies: Remember to add a generous layer of semolina flour on your peel before you slide your pizza into the oven. This trick will guarantee your pizzas launch smoothly into the oven with their toppings nestled neatly on top.
Investing in the Gozney Dome is indeed that — an investment. At $1,999, it’s not going to be for everyone. But it's more than just a financial commitment. It's an investment in a culinary journey, a step towards transforming your backyard into a social hub, a gathering place for friends and family. My test of the oven centered around pizza parties, which consisted of BYO dough and communal condiments. It brought together friends that hadn’t shared a meal together in months. Standard taco Tuesdays are going to have a hard time keeping up.
All of this and I haven’t even mentioned where the Gozney Dome truly shines. In places where world-class pizza is a rare find or an unfulfilled craving, the Dome steps in to fill that void. With it, you're no longer limited by your geographical location or the whims of your local eateries. You've got the power to create, in your own backyard, the kind of pizza that people travel miles for. The Dome is democratizing Neapolitan pizza, and with one in hand, the best pizza place in town might just be your backyard.
The Gozney Dome is not just a standout in the realm of outdoor cooking; it's a recipe for a flavorful community experience, and a testimonial to Tom Gozney's vision — worth its spendy price tag. And when you savor that first slice of homemade, wood-fired pizza, you'll agree.