Blackstone fans, rejoice! The company took a huge step forward in the pizza space with their completely new standalone pizza oven. This product no longer uses their flat tops for heat; instead being replaced with an absolutely massive torch-style burner.
The big selling points include an auto-rotating 16” pizza stone, an overhead pizza stone for better ambient heat, and a much faster preheat time than their previous models.
Since the initial release of this pizza oven in early 2023, I’ve had a lot of followers asking me if I used this oven yet. Today, I’m going to give you the full scoop, from unboxing and setup to preheat tests and cooking multiple styles of pizza.
Let’s dive right in and see if this Blackstone pizza oven with cart can outperform my current #1 pick.
Unboxing & Design
The new Blackstone pizza oven must be purchased with the cart, and they even arrive in the same box. Unfortunately, this spells for a bit of a disaster.
The box is heavy as hell which seems to result in more banged up deliveries (at least in my experience). My box had some damage and a bunch of tape to help hold the box together where it may have ripped at one point.
Luckily, the oven itself was undamaged, but I noticed a random screw laying inside. A bit later I found where it went. A pretty vital location, if you ask me, in what appears to be holding the frame of the unit together. I’m honestly not sure how that could happen during shipping.
Moving onto the cart, multiple pieces had small dents in it. Nothing major, but still noticeable and a bit frustrating when it’s a product that costs $800.
Full disclosure: my box did not contain any instructions. I looked everywhere for 20 minutes, assuring myself that they must be here. To make matters worse, Blackstone’s manuals page does not have any pizza oven info. So I emailed them, got impatient, and eventually found the manual on the Blackstone Canada website (thanks Canada!). In the email, I also asked if my product was possibly a previously returned item since there were some dents, missing manual, and re-taped box, but they reassured me that they do not resell returns.
The cart setup seemed to take an eternity, and there was at least one part where I had to call my wife in to help hold a few pieces in order to screw it together from underneath. The metal framing is incredibly fragile as standalone pieces and easy to bend. But once it’s properly screwed together, it results in a solid, sturdy, stand.
The oven is then placed on top of the stand and screwed in place from underneath. Toss in a few batteries to power the stone rotation and burner ignition, and we’re set.
This is unmistakably Blackstone. While I’m not a huge fan of the overall appearance (I had multiple people see this at my house and ask if it’s some sort of grill or smoker), it will fit in nicely if you own any other Blackstone products.
Like I mentioned earlier, this oven is heavy, coming in at 140lbs (stand included) – nearly as much as the Gozney Dome! So portability is non-existent beyond wheeling it across your patio.
It’s also odd that you’re required to purchase it with the stand, when the company includes little feet for you to convert it into a table-top oven (let’s say, if you had an outdoor kitchen and just want it on the counter).
The quality of the oven’s materials is way better than the cart below it. Everything on the oven is heavy-duty, thick metal and includes high quality dials and buttons. The top of the dome is removable which makes cleaning and maintenance really easy.
Burner / Flame
This is when things get interesting. The burner is absolutely insane. Located on the bottom right of the pizza stone is essentially a flamethrower that looks really similar to the Gozney Dome burner, except it pumps out fire even faster. This is definitely the loudest burner on any pizza oven I’ve tested.
But, there is a downside. Too much of anything can be bad – fire included (who knew?). We’ll talk more about this in the preheat test and performance section below.
A big marketing angle for this product is its patented rotating tray and “2-stone technology”. The main pizza stone is placed on top of what is essentially an olympic weight – a heavy cast iron plate.
The rotation feature works excellent. With the push of a button on the front of the oven, you can start and stop the stone at any time. The Halo Versa 16 also has this feature, but I have to say, the Blackstone seems much more responsive when you push the button and also a lot more sturdy when launching or retrieving the pizza.
Up top, you’ll find a second pizza stone. This is unique – the company markets it as providing better ambient heat to cook the top of the pizza. Personally, I’d typically rather a product that offers a bit more insulation in the top dome instead of a pizza stone.
Knowing everything I do about pizza ovens, the flame height is what typically offers a good balance between cooking the crust and cooking the top. This is because a nice rolling flame is able to provide a lot of top heat to match the 800-900F stone temperature. But in the case of the Blackstone pizza oven, the flame is completely below the stone. So this is ultimately why they added a second pizza stone up top – to try and balance out the cooking speeds of top and bottom.
With the size of this burner, my initial instinct is that the oven will have no problem getting to proper Neapolitan temperatures, but I’m curious how much heat will be retained in the dome.
What in the hell? Look at this chart.
It exceeded 950F in 20 minutes.
At 30 minutes, it was at 1,066F and still climbing.
This is the first time ever that I actually turned a pizza oven off early in my tests.
After letting it cool off for a bit, and letting my mind wrap around what just happened, I figured the next best course of action is to measure it again – but on a low flame. Because at this point I’m wondering if baking a New York style pizza is even possible at such high temperatures.
And again, with an impressive display of heat-based performance, the Blackstone kept up with the leading pizza ovens while on LOW flame (however, keep in mind the temperature difference on the testing days – actual results would be a bit lower on a 57F day).
This is easily the hottest oven I’ve used. The only other oven that I had routinely reach over 1,000F was the Bertello Grande – but that was with using both gas and wood at the same time.
With such hot temperatures, I figured it’s natural to test out Neapolitan pizzas first.
As I prepped my first pizza, the oven creeped over 1,000F again. This first pizza was launched at 1,024F and baked in 40 seconds. However, I mainly had to pull it out because the bottom was burning a bit. So the oven temp was just too high.
I actually turned the oven off as I prepped my next pizza. By the time I returned, the stone temperature was 852F which is perfect for my liking. I fired the flame back up, launched my pizza, and cooked it for exactly 1 minute. This was a really solid bake. Some parts of the top crust could have used a little more color, but I’m really happy with the results here for not having to turn the pizza once.
The hardest part is keeping the oven at a low enough temperature to cook at, because it seems like it keeps creeping up beyond target. With most other ovens, you can find a sweet spot with the flame adjustment to keep it at an optimal cooking temperature. For the Blackstone, keeping the flame on LOW between bakes works the best for Neapolitan. But I can already see a major problem for New York styles.
New York Style
I sometimes use a Lloydpan Pizza Disk for baking NY styles in the Halo Versa (another oven with a round pizza stone). It’s basically a pizza screen (but smooth metal) with holes in it. I don’t use it for the whole bake, just long enough for the dough to set up before I can slide the pizza off and directly onto the stone. This is just a little hack to avoid launching a 16″ pizza onto a 16″ round stone, which leaves you with zero room for error.
So I gave this a shot for my first pizza, tossing it in when the stone temp read 985 (the oven was still hot from the preheat tests).
Right away, I noticed the flame from the burner creeping up and catching the edge of the crust on fire. So I turned the flame down to low to finish the bake off and kept in mind that I also might need to aim for a 15″ pizza next time.
But I noticed the top was cooking way faster than the bottom when using the screen – so what worked well for the Halo Versa oven did not work at all for this hotter oven.
I tried another pizza by launching it directly onto the stone at 857F degrees (again, I had to shut the oven off to achieve this).
And in 70 seconds, it was done.
This is just way too fast of a bake for a proper New York style pizza. The edge of the crust even resembles a Neapolitan (apart from being thinner) – complete with some leoparding.
Now, I could obviously launch a pizza when the oven reaches 650 or 700 – but the window in which it stays at that temperature is so small that it seems ridiculous. Maybe if you only plan on cooking one pizza every time you fire this up, then that will be fine. But it’s too much work trying to turn the oven off and back on to maintain that low of a temp while prepping your next pizzas.
The Blackstone pizza oven performs the opposite of how I thought it would when I first saw it announced. It seemed like it would be a NY-friendly oven, with the 16″ rotating stone and a burner that’s pretty far away from the pizza. But it seems like a chore to use – constantly fighting with the temperature to keep it low enough – whereas something like the Ooni Karu 16 is incredibly easy to maintain proper temperatures for multiple styles.
Meanwhile, Neapolitans actually cooked pretty well thanks to the high temps. I could even get some solid leoparding on the crusts which surprised me since the burner is underneath.
But I just don’t see why I would choose this big (and expensive) of an oven just for Neapolitans, when smaller, portable options exist that perform slightly better (like the Roccbox).
I know the Blackstone brand has a pretty big following (and I am a fan of their flat tops), so I hope I don’t cause too much strife with this review. It’s big. It’s expensive. And it’s too hot. Get the Karu 16.