How to build an outdoor oven

Written by jeff loquist
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Outdoor kitchens have become increasingly popular during the past few years. At the centre of the kitchen is usually a barbecue or outdoor oven of some sort. Though there are a variety of outdoor ovens available for purchase, making your own oven is a great way not only to create the outdoor kitchen you want but to demonstrate your skills as a craftsman. Follow these steps to build an outdoor brick oven and bring the wood-fired taste of your favourite pizza kitchen to your own back yard.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Graph paper
  • Pen or pencil
  • 4 2-inch-by-4-inch-by-48-inch wood
  • Hand saw
  • Hammer
  • 16D nails
  • Concrete mix
  • Water
  • Trowel
  • Mortar sand
  • Fire clay
  • Fire brick
  • Rubber mallet
  • Brick chisel
  • Square metal pan
  • Square metal grate

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Draw the dimensions of your outdoor oven. Using graph paper, create a scale drawing of how you want your outdoor oven to look. The size of your oven depends on the available space you have and your cooking needs. For this project, the oven is 48 inches square.

  2. 2

    Create your hearth slab form. The hearth slab is the foundation of your outdoor oven. Nail together the four wood boards to construct the foundation form.

  3. 3

    Add the bag of concrete mix to water according to package directions. Follow the directions of the concrete mix exactly so it will not dry too quickly or slowly.

  4. 4

    Pour the hearth slab foundation using the concrete mixture you created. Using a trowel, level the top of the hearth slab foundation and allow it to dry according to the concrete mix directions. The hearth slab should be at least 2 inches thick.

  5. 5

    Create an equal parts mixture of mortar sand and fire clay. Using the cleaned trowel, spread a ¼-inch layer of the mortar sand-fire clay mixture.

  6. 6

    Place a layer of fire bricks on top of the mortar sand-fire clay mixture. Place the first fire brick at the front of the oven and tap it down using a rubber mallet. Place the next fire brick against the first and use the mallet to make the second brick even with the first. Continue until a complete layer of fire bricks covers the mortar sand-fire clay mixture. You may need to cut some bricks with the brick chisel and hammer to make them fit on the hearth.

  7. 7

    Make a mock-up of the outdoor oven wall's first layer. Start by placing two fire bricks at the front of the oven on the edges to create the oven door. Place bricks around the perimeter of the oven with a 1/4-inch space between them.

  8. 8

    Remove one of the door jam bricks. Using a sand mortar and fire clay compound, spread a thin layer on the bottom of the fire brick and replace it, sinking it into the mortar. Remove the next brick and spread the compound on the bottom and side facing the first brick. Sink that brick back in to place. Continue until you have sunk the entire first tier of bricks.

  9. 9

    Wipe off excess mortar compound from the inside and outside of your oven. Do not remove any of the mortar from between the fire bricks.

  10. 10

    Place another layer of bricks on top of the first layer and continue the process. At about the eighth brick layer, set the layer of bricks about ¼ inch into the oven space. This provides a lip for a metal pan to sit on. Set the pan in place to ensure the pan fits. Continue the next brick level in the original position.

  11. 11

    Repeat Step 10 at the second layer from the top of your oven for a metal grate used for cooking. Set the grate in place as you did the pan to ensure the bricks are close enough together to hold the grate.

  12. 12

    Create the outside of the oven by placing bricks in any design you like. Use a design as simple or as complex as you wish.

Tips and warnings

  • Build your outdoor oven in an area clear of tree branches and shrubbery so it will not start a fire from its heat.
  • Do not touch the oven walls while cooking.
  • Use caution when cutting the wood supports.

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