I’m into all things ‘wood pellets’ and I have been for many years. In this article, we’re going to look at the best methods for cooking pizza with wood pellets. We’ll look at dedicated portable wood pellet pizza ovens and how to cook the best pizza possible on any pellet grill. Personally, when it comes to the best-tasting pizza’s I don’t feel there is much debate that wood-fired pizza’s taste the best. No one is going to convince me a gas cooker produces the same results. There are just so many hardwood pellet flavours to try, pizza and hardwood pellets are a perfect match, so let’s look at the best options on the market.
Disclaimer: Hey! By the way… any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon or other sites are affiliate links and I earn a commission if you make a purchase.
I like many other people in the past have played around with the idea of a full-on DIY clay pizza oven. Then again most people (including myself) don’t really have the time or space for such a project. Furthermore, there is the upkeep and maintenance of a clay oven. Let’s be honest, a wood-fired pizza is a treat and not an everyday meal.
Therefore, most people are looking for a relatively cheap and easy method to get that true wood-fired pizza taste at home. One of the benefits of hardwood pellets is they open up a world or much more compact pizza cooking options compared to ovens using wood chunks/logs etc. With pellets for cooking pizza, you have two main options:
Dedicated Portable Pellet Pizza Ovens
These small pizza ovens below which are typically made from stainless steel and if you don’t already own a pellet grill can be one of the cheapest means to get into cooking pizza with pellets. Another advantage of them compared to a dedicated pellet grill is they require no source of electrical power to operate. Hence they are not only truly portable due to their size, but as they do not require a source of power like a pellet grill they can be used anywhere.
Ooni Pellet Pizza Ovens
When it comes to portable pellet pizza ovens there is one brand name that’s particularly popular and that’s Ooni (previously branded as Uuni). I first become aware of their Ooni Pro model several years ago which can run on pellets, wood chunks, charcoal and gas.
Their Pro model is still available, however, its also the most expensive Ooni pizza oven coming in at just under $600. If you are purely interested in cooking with hardwood pellets like me that means the cheapest Ooni the Fyra 12 is an option that comes in at under $300. I should note though, the Fyra 12 as its name implies can only cook a 12″ pizza whereas the Pro model can cook up to a 16″ pizza.
How Does The Ooni Fyra 12 Work?
The Ooni Fyra 12 can get up 950°F (500°C) in just 15 minutes! Once at this temperature the Ooni Fyra 12 can cook a 12-inch Neapolitan-style pizza in around 60 seconds, which is very impressive. The Ooni Fyra 12 only weighs 22 lbs, so can truly be regarded as portable. For instance, you could take it around to a family members or friends house quite easily.
The wood pellet fire is located at the back of the oven. The heat from the burning wood pellets is pulled over the top of the cooking pizza by the chimney located at the front of the oven.
The diagram above from Ooni does a good job of explaining the pizza cooking process in the Ooni Fyra 12. However, the diagram doesn’t actually show the pellet hopper which feeds the fire.
- Brand: Ooni
- Pellet Pizza Oven Models: Fyra 12 & Pro 16
- Price Range: $299 to $599
- Availability: Ooni.com, Amazon.com & BBQGuys.com
Bertello Outdoor Pizza Oven
While not as well known as Ooni for portable wood pellet pizza ovens, Bertello also makes some compact Pizza ovens that can run on hardwood pellets. The Bertello can cook a 12″ pizza like the Fyra 12 above and comes in a black painted finish. Priced similarly to the Ooni Fyra 12, however, the difference being the Bertello can also be adapted with a gas burner, whereas the Ooni Fyra 12 is a dedicated pellet pizza oven.
Now both the Bertello and the Ooni will require quite a bit of trial and error to get the best results when burning pellets. After all, these portable pellet pizza ovens do not feature feed augers, fans and control panels like dedicated pellet grills/smokers. The results you will achieve on these portable pellet pizza ovens will come down to the skill of the user which you will have to learn.
So as is shown in the video above to cook the best pizza you will have to master the management of the pellet fire along with knowing how long to cook the pizza and when to turn it etc. Now for quite a few people, that fire management is part of the fun and when it goes well part of the satisfaction of cooking a greater pizza. However, if you want to take pellet fire management out of the equation, then its worth looking at my tips below on how to modify a dedicated pellet grill to cook great pizza.
- Brand: Bertello
- Pellet Pizza Oven Models: Single 12″ pizza oven with optional gas burner accessorry
- Price Range: $299 + with accessories
- Availability: Amazon.com
Pellet Grills & Pizza Cooking Modifications
For this scenario of how to cook great pizza with pellets you either already own a pellet grill or are looking to purchase one. Now, because of how a pellet grill works they are well suited to cooking great pizza in principle, as they can function as a convection oven due to the fan assisted fire. However, to cook a great pizza you also need heat and lots of it. Really, you need temperatures around 900 degrees for the pizza to get a good crusty base.
Quite a few pellet grills are better pellet smokers than they are grills. The reason being they have a maximum temperature setting of 450-500 degrees, Traeger pellet grills being a classic example. Does that mean you cannot cook great pizza on these pellet grills? No, it just means you have to set up these pellet grills a bit differently and maybe look into a modification such as those below.
Pellet Grill Pizza Oven Accessories
Just putting a pizza stone on the cooking grates of a pellet grill is not going to get the best results when cooking a pizza. I will guarantee you that pizza stone in the Traeger video above is nowhere near 900 degrees. The reason being as standard the heat from the pellet fire is being deflected around the cooking chamber and not focused on that pizza stone. Great to avoid hot spots when cooking a load of burgers across the whole grill, not great for pizza.
You could potentially remove the grease tray/heat deflector from the pellet grill and just leave in the cooking grates with the pizza stone on top. That would indeed get the pizza stone to a higher temperature, the problem being it would also be pretty dangerous, as you could have embers flying around. So what’s the solution?
Well, you need to focus the heat from the pellet fire onto a pizza stone while at the same time creating a safe environment in which to use the pellet grill. We need an encloser that contains and focuses the heat and wood smoke flavour around the pizza, just like a traditional wood fire pizza oven, and here are some solutions.
Unifit Red Stag Pizza Oven
If you already own a pellet grill you can check the internal space of your grill against the dimensions above to see if the Red Stag would fit. Unifit also provides some examples of pellet grills on their Amazon listing that can accommodate the Reg Stag that includes many Traeger, Pit Boss and Camp Chef models which are some of the most popular pellet grills on the market today.
Once the Red Stag has been integrated into the pellet grill its simply a case of turning the control panel on the pellet grill to its highest temperature setting to get those high temperatures into the pizza stone. It will take typically 20 minutes or so to get the pizza stone up to temperature before its ready to be used.
- Brand: Unifit
- Pellet Pizza Oven Model: Red Stag in Stainless Steel
- Typical Price: $149
- Availability: Amazon.com
GMG Pellet Grill Pizza Attachment
The full name of the company is Green Mountain Grills, but they now mainly seem to brand themselves as GMG and they are a manufacturer of mid-range pellet grills and smokers. They also produce their own pizza oven attachment similar to the Red Stag above, the only notable difference been the GMG pizza oven attachment doesn’t feature an analogue temperature gauge on top.
As is the case with the Red Stag above, installing the GMG pizza oven attachment requires removing pretty much all of the internal components within the pellet grill. Once that’s done and installed its simply a case of setting the pellet grill control panel to its maximum temperature. Again, after around 20 minutes of heating up the pizza stone, you should be ready to start cooking.
So the obvious question is then, can the GMG pizza attachment only be used on GMG pellet grills? Well, no, if you check out the reviews on the Amazon listing there are many Traeger, RecTeq, Camp Chef and Pit Boss owners who have purchased and installed this pizza attachment and love the results.
Again, its about checking the dimensions, but also it will only work on pellet grills with an underfed burn pot. Unfortunately, it will not be suitable for pellet grills where the pellets drop down into the burn pot, the Weber SmokeFire pellet grills being an example.
- Brand: Green Mountain Grills (GMG)
- Pellet Pizza Oven Models: Pizza oven attachment
- Typical Price: $149
- Availability: Amazon.com
Which Pellet Grills Will Get The Hottest?
So as discussed above, to get a crusty base on your pizza you want the surface of that pizza stone to be around 900 degrees. And as discussed above, there are means to help any pellet grill get a pizza stone up to around those temperatures. However, some pellet grills are capable of getting hotter than others and some are going to get the pizza stone up to those temperatures more quickly.
I have an existing article on which pellet grills get the hottest written mainly from the perspective of better grilling/searing performance when it comes to steaks and burgers etc. However, the same principles apply to cooking with a pizza stone on the grill, models that provide direct-flame access are going to provide the hottest cooking surface.
However, some pellet grills also simply have higher temperature settings above the typical maximum of 500 degrees. The Weber SmokeFire pellet grills being an example with a maximum temperature setting of 600 degrees. There are other models too such as Broil King pellet grills and many luxury high-end pellet grills such as Memphis and Coyote that have 600 degree plus temperature settings.
Best Wood Pellets For Cooking Pizza?
So first off, I’ve been asked previously if there is any difference between pizza oven pellets and pellet grill pellets? The answer is no, pellets branded for pizza ovens and pellet grills are both only made from hardwood species. While you could choose to only use products branded ‘pizza pellets’ in the Ooni or Bertello above, you’re not getting a great deal on those pellets at a price per lb.
In my article on the best wood pellets for grills/smokers, you can easily get a 20lb of oak hardwood pellets for under half the price of the Ooni branded hardwood pellets below. But what about other hardwood species/flavours besides Oak pellets?
You could try Applewood, Cherry, Hickory etc, however, you need to bear something in mind, different wood species produce different heat outputs per lb of fuel. For instance, check out these wood heat output figures. It shows while Applewood could be a good option as it produces slightly more heat output per weight compared to Oak, Alder which is also used for pellet grills has a significantly lower heat out.
Remember when cooking a pizza we need high temperatures, so while by all means explore different hardwood pellet flavours bear the above in mind on the different heat outputs of various wood species. In fact, you may want to consider charcoal pellets which can give 40% more heat output than standard oak pellets.
Recommended Tools For Cooking The Best Pizza
To go along with the portable pellet ovens/grill attachments above what other essential tools are there for cooking great pizza besides pellets obviously? Well, there are two, the first is an infrared heat gun. You may have an idea of the temperature inside the pizza oven from an analogue temperature gauge etc or an internal grill probe. However, as discussed above, what you really want to know is what is the temperature of the pizza stone its self.
The second pretty much essential tool is a pizza peel. You may come across some videos of people cooking pizza on foil or parchment paper, however, in doing so you avoid the point contact of the pizza to the stone. Therefore, if you want the best pizza with a proper crusty base you are going to need a pizza peel to get the pizza on and off the stone as quickly and as safely as possible.
Conclusions On Cooking Pizza With Pellets
As you can see above, hardwood pellets open up several options for cooking pizza, whether its on small portable pizza ovens or adapting a pellet grill to cook great pizza. There are just a couple of things you need to consider. First, with a portable pellet pizza oven, you are managing the fire, therefore its going to take some time to learn how to do that.
Second, some of the portable pizza ovens such as the Ooni Pro are around $600. Well for that price you could get a pellet grill such as a Z Grill or an Expert Grill for example and a Red Stag/GMG pizza oven attachment. So don’t presume that an expensive portable pellet pizza oven is your best option, as you could be missing out on the full capabilities of pellet grill/smoker for similar money.
That’s it! I hope you found this article on cooking pizza with pellets interesting/useful. If you want to explore the wider world of pellet grills please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide or more of my articles below. 🙂
Back in 2007 when I first become aware of pellet grills and smokers the only brand I was really aware of was Traeger. Traeger is really where this whole concept of cooking with pellets started in the 1980s. It was a ‘slow burner’ (pardon the pun) but since the 2010s is really when pellet grills and smokers started to get mainstream awareness, discussed alongside gas and charcoal grills. There are now over 30 pellet grill/smoker brands that I’m aware of, and the link above goes to my A to Z list of brands article.
Now, you may already be aware of a few of the other brands such as Pit Boss, Camp Chef, Z Grills and I’m sure you are aware of Weber, though you may not have known they have entered the pellet grill game. However, they are now many, many more brands to look into. Some may be what are commonly referred to as ‘Traeger clones’, but many others are offering their own unique designs and features.
A pellet grill/smoker is only as good as the BBQ pellets you put into it. The type/quality of the BBQ wood pellets you use will impact temperature performance and smoke flavour. There are many pellet flavours including Apple, Hickory, Mapel, Oak and Walnut to name but a few. However, some brands are hardwood blended pellets whereas others are 100% single wood species.
In this article, I provide details on over 20 brands of BBQ wood pellets, their range of flavours, whether they are 100% single wood species or hardwood blended pellets, their typical price and where they are available. I also provide tips on how to get the best deal when buying BBQ wood pellets and how to test pellet quality. Finally, I discuss the new kid on the block, charcoal pellets and their special attributes compared to all other hardwood BBQ pellets.