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Portable Pompeii??? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Portable Pompeii???

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  • Portable Pompeii???

    G'day from Queensland, Australia!

    I'm new to the forum and new to ovens, though I've admired all those that I've seen in restaurants. Love the flavour too!!!

    Anyway, I've been toying with the idea of building a portable oven. Something that will sit on a steel trolley on the back timber deck of my house, like a BBQ.

    At this stage, it all seems fundamental to me:

    1. Buy, or build, a suitable trolley.
    2. Build a small version of the Pompeii (about 2' internal dia.) on top of the trolley.

    Easy, hey? Or is it???

    If anyone has any suggestions or pitfalls that I may face, I'd love to hear them. T.I.A.

    Jason (cookeetree)

  • #2
    check out this previous thread about size constraints with a wood-fired oven:

    overdo it or don't do it at all!

    My 2005 pompeii build


    • #3
      Hmmmm. Thanks for the link. It appears I won't have enough room for the fire and food at the same time.

      Is it necessary to have the fire burning continually during cooking, or can I heat the dome then remove the fire / ash???

      What about a two-level system, with the fire burning under a central, raised cooking area?? Does that make sense?

      Basically, I want to limit the area it takes up, but height isn't as much of a concern. I don't want to have to build out from under the deck roof, on the ground, as I'd like it to double as an outdoor fireplace during winter.


      • #4
        G'Day Jaons,

        I don't think there is a fast rule. It's true that my 26" oven wasn't great -- but it was a functioning oven and we used it all the time.

        My view is that an imperfect brick oven is better than no brick oven -- so if there are constraints on budget or size that dictate doing something "less than perfect" in order to do the project, just go for it. Don't do something you will regret the moment you are done, or impose artificial constraints on your project, but other than that I would plow ahead.

        I would also build a real oven, with fire in the oven cooking, rather than a tiered oven -- fire in the oven cooking is what makes these oven great.

        For me, having a 26" oven made from clay brick and a simple hearth is better than not having an oven. If you can engineer your cart to hold a 30" oven you will like it a lot more, and if you use firebricks and do a good job of insulating the oven, you will like it even more.

        Pizza Ovens
        Outdoor Fireplaces


        • #5
          also, if you want to go more of a bread or lower temp. pizza oriented oven, you might consider a cob (clay/straw/sand) oven. i've seen some pretty small designs for these guys, but you have to build the fire, store thermal energy, rake the coals out and cook. no fire-in-oven cooking for them.

          there are some pretty neat designs possible with cob though, because you can sculpt with the material as you make the dome. you are limited to 600 deg. or so for a cooking temp.
          overdo it or don't do it at all!

          My 2005 pompeii build


          • #6
            Hey guys, thanks for the replies. Much appreciated.

            James - My only real constraint is that I'd like for the oven to be on my deck. The deck is 10m x 5m, so it's not really a size issue, though I don't want it to be too massive. The deck is timber, so I can't really go building a permanent structure on it. Hence the trolley idea.

            The system would still include the fire in the cooking area, but there would be a thick internal platform on which the cooking is done. I wouldn't be cooking directly over the fire. Does that make sense? If I have to, I'll just build one on the ground outside, but that would be as a last resort.

            I work for a brick maufacturer, so getting hold of some refractory bricks shouldn't be a hassle.

            Paulages - I've got my heart set on building with brick, but thanks for the info.

            Thanks again for your help!!



            • #7
              Paulages - I've got my heart set on building with brick, but thanks for the info.
              good choice---i was only suggesting options due to your constraints.
              overdo it or don't do it at all!

              My 2005 pompeii build


              • #8
                Thanks. All advice welcome.