Outdoor ovens are a great way to entertain family and friends during backyard get-togethers when the weather is favourable. Premade ovens can be purchased at many home improvement stores, but do-it-yourselfers are more inclined to build an oven themselves, one that can bake and cook entertaining foods like pizza, sausages and breads. With a little know-how, creating a backyard oven is a project that can usually be done in one day's time.
Measure the size you want your oven to be. This is a matter of taste and need, but generally speaking an oven that measures 3 foot-by-3 foot can accommodate cooking most foods. Measure out a 5 foot-by-5 foot squared space on a level area in your backyard and hammer stakes into the corners to clearly mark the boundaries. Dig out the area using the stakes as a visual guideline and dig the space at least 5 inches deep.
Hammer 2-by-4s on the bottom outside perimeter of the stakes. Fill the bottom of the dugout space with quick-drying cement that levels off with the tops of the boards. Allow several hours to dry before removing the stakes and the boards. This creates a safe and level building platform for the oven.
Conduct a "dry run" on the back wall of the oven by laying a line of bricks 1 foot from the rear of the slab. Set the ends of the bricks about a half-inch from one another. Once done, draw a line on the outside of the brick line to create a template to follow. Repeat to create a right and left sidewall, but leave the opening at the front open.
Use a trowel to shovel a line of mortar over the line you drew on the back wall. Place the brick on its side as you did before, over the mortar line and tap into place with the butt of the trowel. Repeat for the next successive brick to complete the back row, called a "course." Lay a course for the each sidewall. Lay the next course over the first, taking care to stagger the placement, meaning bricks on the second course will lie over the joints on the course underneath it.
Finish all the side and back walls until the course measure to your desired height; generally speaking, the oven won't need to be more than 2 feet high. Place a 3 foot-by-3 foot sheet of plywood over the top of the courses, hammer 2-by-4s onto the sides and fill the space created with cement. Once dry, remove the boards and spackle the underside of the plywood in the oven's interior with cement to protect the wood.
Lay courses of regular brick over the firebrick that acts as a protective barrier as well as an insulator. Once the brick dries, drill holes into the front of the oven and install a hinged metal door. Drill holes for the grill placement into the rear of the oven and bolt it into place.
- "The Forgotten Art of Building & Using a Brick Bake Oven"; Richard M. Bacon; 2005
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