The wait is over for griddle owners who have been wanting to cook in a Blackstone pizza oven. Blackstone Products, makers of outdoor griddles, and cooking accessories have released a unique steel pizza oven conversion kit that transforms your existing 22-inch griddle into a fully functioning pizza oven in seconds. But is the new pizza oven insert worth it? Let's take a look at it before we jump to any conclusions.
The Blackstone Steel Outdoor Pizza Oven Add On is an insert that fits existing 22-inch tabletop griddle models. By simply removing the griddle plate from your 22-inch griddle and replacing it with the pizza insert you've transformed your outdoor griddle into a fully functioning pizza oven.
Assembling the Blackstone Steel Outdoor Pizza Oven Add On
Assembling the pizza oven is a relatively simple process.
Since it's designed to sit on top of (and inside) your existing 22" griddle there is nothing special you will need to do with the burners or internal components of the griddle.
Start by removing your griddle plate and grease catch and set that aside. You will remove the four rubber legs on your existing griddle and put a heat deflector plate underneath the bottom of the griddle. The deflector plate stays in place with a new set of rubber legs that are included with the oven. Its new legs are a bit taller. I appreciate how the legs are threaded so if you need to micro-adjust the leveling of your griddle it's just a few turns away.
The next step is to add the side handles for the Blackstone oven.
They mount quickly which I appreciate. These handles are quite sturdy and come with oversized, overbuilt grips. The grips remind me of old BMX bicycle grips from the 1980s but I guess that's really dating myself.
The remaining components are a pizza stone, an oven stone, and a door for the oven insert.
Its pizza stone is a 15" round stone similar to the one you may use with your indoor oven. It sits at the base of the oven and can easily be removed for cleaning.
The second stone, a square stone slides into the top of the oven into oversized slots designed to hold it in place. This two-stone configuration allows the pizza to cook relatively evenly from both above and below the pizza.
Once you fire up the grill base and start to preheat your oven, there is an oven door that notches into place and keeps some of the heat from escaping during preheating and cooking.
Firing up the Blackstone pizza oven for the first time
With all-new grills, or in this case, grilling accessories it's important to do a sufficient burn-in before you start cooking.
This is important not only to learn how the Blackstone pizza oven will perform when you adjust temperatures but also to burn off any manufacturing residue that the oven or stones may have.
I recommend burning in the Blackstone pizza oven conversion kit for a minimum of 30-45 minutes. An hour would likely be better.
Ideally, do this after you've already had dinner so you're not waiting to get pizza in the oven. My oven did smoke and put off some unpleasant smells but they went away after some time and I did not smell them again when I started cooking in the oven the next day.
Your first cook with the Blackstone Pizza Oven
My first cook with the Blackstone pizza oven was a Detroit-style deep-dish pizza cooked in a pan. Don't judge, but my toppings were all leftover fixings from last night's bacon cheeseburgers and it tasted delicious.
Here are a few tips from my first cook that may help you with yours:
- If purchasing pizza dough, follow the directions on the package. If it says to cook at 400F that means it will most likely burn at 750F regardless of how much you enjoy pizza.
- Give your grill plenty of time to heat up and stabilize. Be sure it maintains your desired temperature for at least 10 minutes before cooking. As mentioned above, most premade dough balls and mixes have an optimal cooking temperature and you want to cook inside that zone.
- Don't overload your pie with toppings the first few times you make pizza. It makes the pizza more challenging to launch into the oven.
- Get a dedicated pizza peel that fits your oven.
- Launching a pizza with a pizza peel is not easy. It takes practice and is devastating when you mess it up. Get a cheap pizza pan or sheet tray that fits inside of your Blackstone and use that if you are new to launching pizzas with a peel.
- Parchment paper can also be your friend when launching pizzas. Building your pizza on parchment paper and then launching it into the oven is much easier than direct from the pizza peel.
- When you decide to try and launch a pizza from a pizza peel, use semolina flour to help it stick less.
- Give the pizza a jiggle while it's still on the pizza peel to make sure nothing sticks. If you have a small sticky area, sprinkle a little semolina flour under that area before attempting to launch.
- Save money and time and use Urban Slicers Pizza Mix for making dough at home. It's ready to use in just a few hours and makes delicious pizzas.
- If you get serious about pizza, get yourself a pizza turner so you can rotate your pizza during the cook.
Is the Blackstone Pizza Oven Insert Worth It?
Chances are that if you're reading this article, you probably get a lot of use out of your Blackstone griddle.
If you already have the 22" griddle the pizza oven insert is definitely worth it. If you travel, camp, or just have a small space for using the griddle it's worth it. The ability to make consistently delicious pizzas with a Blackstone product you already own is truly amazing.
Not to mention I'm sure people will be hacking these ovens and making more than pizza. I can see myself making twice-baked potatoes, bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers, and even grilled S'mores in this oven.
The ability to bake things outdoors in the summer months without heating up the kitchen is priceless.
If you don't already have the 22" griddle the pizza oven insert the decision likely comes down to budget.
It's currently only available at WalMart and is retailing for $227. You will still need a 22" griddle to power the oven. I suggest the Blackstone Adventure-Ready 22" Griddle with Stand and Adapter Hose because it comes with a stand and can connect to a large propane bottle for cooking multiple pizzas over time. The Adventure-ready 22" griddle is on rollback for $187, so purchasing them both at the same time will set you back $414.
However- if you do purchase both of them at the same time, you are getting one fantastic outdoor cooking system. Between the griddle and pizza oven insert, there's practically nothing you wouldn't be capable of cooking.
And if you ever run out of ideas of things to cook on your griddle, I have 50 recipes in my griddle cookbook to keep you motivated.