If, like us, you’re a fan of the original Bertello Pizza Oven as a budget-friendly introductory option, you might be excited to know that the Shark Tank brothers have been at it again. They’ve created a larger dual-fuel outdoor pizza oven, the Bertello Grande 16″.
We were thrilled to hear this because their original oven had innovative design features and cooked delicious pizza at temperatures and speeds to rival professional-grade pizza ovens. And all for a very reasonable price. So we were intrigued to see what they’ve come up with this time.
This new model is bigger, supposedly better, but also substantially more expensive than the original, costing $700 instead of $330. That’s quite a price jump.
So in this article, we’ll be looking at how this new model differs from the old and asking the all-important questions: how hot does this puppy ACTUALLY get? does it make great pizza? And, is it worth the price?
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The major change for this new model – and the reason for the price increase – is not just the size but the dual burner system. The Grande 16″ model has two gas burners, one at the rear of the oven as usual and a second U-shaped burner running underneath the pizza stone!
This heats the stone and the oven even quicker than the original model and helps the pizza stone retain its temperature through the cooking process and, crucially, while cooking multiple pizzas. This is an ingenious feature and unique in the world of backyard ovens. It even gives Bertello the edge over industry leader, Ooni, whose ovens can struggle to retain heat between pizzas.
The Bertello Grande 16″ can reach over 900°F in less than 15 minutes and cooks a perfect pizza in under 2 minutes. Unlike other dual fuel pizza ovens, the Bertello Grande can use both gas and wood at the same time, using all the convenience of gas alongside the authentic flavor of wood fire. Even better, the gas burner is included and does not have to be purchased separately.
It has many of the features that we liked on the original, such as the fold-out legs, the wooden handle in case you need to adjust the wood burner or add more logs, and the quality cordierite pizza stone. But they’ve made a few cosmetic changes and upgrades, too, such as the finish, which now has a hammered look compared to the matte finish of the original. It seems like this enhancement will make it more scratch resistant.
In terms of size, the Grande is not much deeper than the original but is substantially broader and taller and almost twice the weight. The cooking area is huge, and the door is beautifully wide to allow easy maneuvering of your pizza in and out of the oven.
Design and Specs
Since the Bertello Grande 16″ is a dual fuel oven, it’s designed to work with propane gas alone or gas and wood (or charcoal) simultaneously. The oven has dual gas burners, one of which runs under the pizza stone to ensure rapid heating and heat retention in the pizza stone. The other burns at the rear, filling the oven with heat and cooking the pizza from the top side.
The ideal way to use the oven is to preheat it rapidly with the dual gas burners and then turn down the heat and add some wood or charcoal to the wood burner tray. This will add the smokey wood-fired flavor to your pizza. However, for beginner backyard chefs or quick week-night bakes, you can cook with just gas for an easy, simple, mess-free bake.
You also can cook with just wood or just charcoal, a bonus of these dual fuel ovens. However, in this case, to do so would mean losing out on a massive feature of the oven, that second under-stone burner.
Size and portability
Dimensions: 34.00 x 20.00 x 16.00 Inches
Weight: 62.9 pounds
Pizza stone size: 16 x 16
The Grande 16″ is a heavy oven. At 63 lbs, it’s almost twice as heavy as the original model. It is a comparable weight to the Ooni Karu 16″, and while both of them could be considered portable, we don’t think you want to be lugging either of them around campsites.
What is excellent, however, is the size of the doorway. The 16 x 16 pizza stone fits in snuggly but the mouth of the oven is a little wider on either side. This gives you move maneuverability and ‘wiggle room’ when putting your pizza in and out of the oven. The curvature of the opening does limit what kind of pans you want to cook with. For example, I tested out a Detroit style pizza in the Grande and the pan just barely fits going in straight, and with the heat in the back, you need to rotate it frequently. It wasn’t a very practical bake and my kitchen oven (or the Koda 16) work better for this style pizza.
Appearance and materials
We have to say we love the look of this pizza oven. We like the choice of black over silver, the visible rivets, and the hammered semi-gloss finish on the steel, a change from the matte look of the original. But not everyone shares this opinion. Some reviewers say the new look makes this oven look like something built in a high school shop class. But, we’ll leave that up to your personal opinion!
Whatever you feel about the look, you must agree that it feels high quality. The weight and the solidity of this oven when you lift and carry it indicate a durability that the more lightweight, portable ovens don’t have.
Usability and Function
There is some basic assembly required with this oven, however it’s not complicated. It’s mainly just a case of sliding all the elements into the correct places, and the step-by-step instructions included in the box are decent. During my setup, I noticed two discrepancies from the instructions:
- The instructions state to first securely attach the propane hose to the gas burner. Mine was already installed on the gas burner. Not a bad thing, right? Well, I decided I better check it for leaks just to be certain, and sure enough there was a pretty strong leak even though it felt securely on there. I quick turn with a wrench fixed it. So just be sure to install your hose yourself or ensure it is tight enough, and no matter what, always check for leaks. These ovens pump out a lot of gas.
- While attaching the rear burner, there are 4 screw slots (where the screws are already on the oven, you just put the gas burner screw slots over those screws and then tighten). I couldn’t get mine to latch on and had to back out the screws quite a bit in order for the burner assembly to click in to place before tightening again.
Preheat and max heat
On paper, the Bertello Grande 16″ pizza oven heats up to over 900°F in less than 15 minutes, which is comparable to many pizza ovens at similar price points. I did a test to confirm these claims.
I was absolutely stunned at how hot this oven got, and how quickly. Not only did it hit 900F+ in the oven itself, but the stone temperature in the middle of the oven hit 962F. The under-stone burner is crazy impressive. Most pizza ovens need to realistically preheat for 40 minutes or so before the stone reaches 900+. This is the first oven I tested that I would be comfortable launching a pizza after 15 minutes of heating.
There is also no problem going straight from one pizza to the next. That second under-stone burner means you can cook pizza after pizza all day long without the stone temp dropping too much.
With all of this said, too much heat can be a bad thing with pizza ovens. Like many other gas pizza ovens, turning the heat down to low before launching a pizza will result in the best bake.
Ease of Use
The oven has a simple temperature control knob and an easy ignition system. It’s, in theory, straightforward to use. However, the tricky part is knowing how to cook a pizza in an oven with this much power.
As was the case with the original Bertello, a learning curve comes with this pizza oven. Unless you’ve cooked at these speeds and temperatures before, you’ll have to put some time in to get it right. Some reviewers complain that the second burner heats the pizza base up too hot causing the base to burn, but this is not a problem with the oven, it is a case of the chef needing to work out their ideal temperature and timings.
You’ll need to perfect these along with the combination of gas and wood to find what works for you. And you’ll need to practice the art of turning the pizza after 30-60 seconds to ensure an even bake.
That being said, once you’ve got your method down, this oven is a breeze to use, and you can’t beat it for speed and taste.
I don’t love the placement of the ignitor because it can be awkward to reach behind the oven to adjust the temperature depending on your setup. For example, if you placed the oven on a long table, you either have to lean over the whole table and reach behind the oven, or walk around. Doing so doesn’t let you see the flame height of your adjustments.
One missing feature from this oven is an integrated thermometer to enable you to tell when the oven is up to (ambient) temperature. The Ooni Karu 16″ has one built-in, and for an oven of this price, we would expect to see one included. You will need to use a separate digital thermometer to check temperatures.
Similarly, there’s no pizza peel, and again at this price, including one would have been a nice touch.
This is the primary consideration when it comes to the Bertello Grande 16″. The original Bertello grabbed the pizza world’s attention by being an excellent oven at an even better price. But at such a high price, the Grande, while a superb and innovative oven, does not seem set to do the same.
Especially when you could purchase an Ooni Koda 16″ gas-powered oven – which would give you much the same results (except for longer preheat times and less capable of one-after-another pizzas) – for $100 less. And for just $100 more, you could have the Ooni Karu 16″ in our opinion one of the best ovens on the market. You would be getting many of the same features as the Grande, including dual-fuel capabilities, rapid cooking times, and high temperatures. But you’d also be getting an oven from the proven industry leaders and a few extra perks, such as a built in digital thermometer.
What the Ooni’s don’t have is that dual burner system, so if that appeals to you and you’ve got your heart set on the Bertello Grande, then our best advice is to keep an eye on their website and try to bag yourself a deal.
Bertello – perhaps realizing they’ve swung a bit high with the price – offer fairly regular deals and discounts through their website. For example, they ran a 15% discount for the launch of the Grande, and for Memorial Day, they dropped the price from $699.99 to $499.99. A substantial reduction that turns this oven from an expensive product to a high-quality bargain. So if you spot it for sale at that price, we advise you to go for it!
We love the look and usability of this oven, and that dual burner system shows us again the creative thinking that got these guys their Shark Tank start. This oven makes delicious pizzas seriously quickly, and it looks good while doing it.
So keep an eye out for those discount codes and price drops because, at just $100 less, this oven is a winner.