Gozney Roccbox Pizza Oven Review: Restaurant-Quality in a Portable Package



Rating:
9/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 – Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price: $499

A pizza cooking in a Gozney Roccbox pizza oven.
Jason Fitzpatrick

Want delicious homemade pizza fresh from a pizza oven right in your own backyard? The Gozney Roccbox is a portable pizza oven powerhouse perfect for patio pizzas.

Here’s What We Like

  • Heats up quickly to the proper high-temperature range for pizza
  • Holds heat well, can cook pizzas back to back
  • Includes premium pizza peel and thermometer
  • Very well constructed
  • Folds down for relatively-compact storage

And What We Don’t

  • Doesn’t include a weather cover
  • Optional wood burner is not as effective as the propane burner

Before we even dive into the specifics of the Gozney Roccbox, we won’t assume that you’re a diehard pizza aficionado right out of the gate. You might have opened this review up out of curiosity, wondering what the appeal of a backyard pizza oven was when the majority of people have a perfectly good oven right in their kitchen.

The short of it is that regular home ovens are just not ideal for pizza. Don’t get me wrong, you can certainly make a passable pizza in a home oven. I make pretty delicious Detroit-style deep dish pizza with these fantastic LloydPans deep-dish pans in my regular ol’ oven all that time.

For more traditional pizza, especially Neopolitan pizza, a regular oven doesn’t cut it. You won’t be able to get it anywhere near the required temperatures. In fact, doing so requires actually modifying the oven, in a very warranty-voiding way, as this pizza-loving engineer did.

But building a traditional outdoor pizza oven costs thousands of dollars, requires a permanent space in your yard, and packing it up to take to a neighbor’s house or to your family’s cottage is definitely out of the question. Enter the portable outdoor pizza ovens like the Gozney Roccbox. You get all the authenticity of a high-temperature fired pizza at a fraction of the price.

What You Get: The Roccbox’s Design and Extras



A brand new Roccbox, sitting on a wooden table in a backyard garden.

Moments before testing starts, it’ll never be this clean again. Jason Fitzpatrick

What’s in the box when you unpack the Gozney Roccbox? With a $499 price tag, you’d certainly hope for a lot, to be sure. You’ll find one substantial portable pizza oven and a few extras that make for an all-around pleasant backyard pizza experience. Let’s look at the oven itself first.

The Roccbox comes in grey (seen here) or olive green. The rest of the oven is all steel, stone, and insulation sandwiched in between, so the silicone skin is the only available appearance customization you can make.

Why silicone? The design choice is intended to add both a little style and a little safety to your pizza adventures. Between the heavy insulation inside the walls of the oven plus the silicone skin wrapping the exterior, the surface of the oven—at least where it’s covered by the silicone–didn’t get above 125 °F.

While you probably wouldn’t want to stand there for an extended period of time with your hand on the body, it was cool enough to the touch that we were able to lay our hand on the oven while it was at full temperature without getting burned.

Speaking of temperature, the Roccbox includes a built-in thermometer that is positioned on the side of the oven body with the probe inserted under the pizza stone in the oven.

This allows for accurate measurement of the stone temperature without false reads caused by fluctuating air temperature in the oven chamber. Many portable ovens skip the thermometer, which means you’ll need to invest in an infrared thermometer (~$20) to check the temperature before firing your pizza.

Closeup views of the Rockbox burner and the built-in thermometer.

The built-in thermometer is a nice, and functional, little touch. Jason Fitzpatrick

The default configuration includes a propane burner that hooks up to a standard 20 lb. propane tank, like the kind you would use for a grill. For $100, you can also purchase a wood burner for the Roccbox—in pursuit of a thorough review we fired multiple pizzas with both the propane and wood burner.

The Roccbox has sturdy steel legs that fold out in a tripod-like configuration to stabilize the oven. Each leg folds twice into itself to tuck up tight against the body of the oven—which makes it much more convenient to store and transport the Roccobox.

Thanks to the wide-spaced legs and the mass of the oven itself—it weighs in at just a hair over 44 pounds—the Roccbox is very stable as long as you put it on a level and sturdy table. At no point in our testing of the product did it wobble or wiggle even a bit.

In addition to the oven and burner, every purchase includes a perforated aluminum pizza peel with a non-stick finish. Purchased on its own from Gozney, the peel runs $85. It’s a very nice peel and purchasing something even close, but not quite, to the design from a third party would cost at least $40-50 so we feel comfortable calling the included pizza peel a great value closer to the $85 price point than not.

The Roccbox pizza oven with the velcro carry strap attached.

The strap is a nice touch, but ultimately we preferred just lifting it from below. Jason Fitzpatrick

You also get a very sturdy velcro carrying strap for your Roccbox. The strap, in our opinion, however, is best suited for pulling the Roccbox out of its shipping container and putting it back into the container if you wish to store it in such a fashion for the winter.

In terms of actually moving the Roccbox around to take to a neighbor’s house or even picking it up to store it on a shelf in the garage, we much preferred to just lift it up from the bottom like you’d carry an armload of firewood. 44 pounds is about the same weight as a full box of copy paper and lugging it by a handle to the side of your body just isn’t as comfortable as carrying it with both arms. This isn’t a criticism one way or the other—it’s nice they included the strap and it works exactly as described, we just preferred not lugging the oven around with only one arm.

On top of the aforementioned wood-burner add-on, we also used the Gozney turning peel to help turn the pizzas in the oven for even cooking. While you can, if you must, use a regular full-size peel to rotate your pizza it’s a huge pain and a small turning peel is so much better suited for the task. It’s not included in the base package, but using the official one or any other similar turning peel is a huge upgrade.

Setting Up the Roccbox: Zero-to-Pizza in No Time

Setting up the Roccbox is so easy we almost considered not devoting a section to it, but that, we suppose, is notable in itself.

You can go from accepting the delivery to having your Roccbox set up in mere minutes. You’ll spend more time prepping the dough than setting up the oven.



The bottom of the oven showing the simple burner attachment point.

Both the propane and wood burners use a simple post-attachment style and are easily swapped. Jason Fitzpatrick

Just remove the Roccbox and the burner from their packaging, set the Roccbox face down on your sturdy workspace table—face down as in the oven opening against the table as if the oven had fallen forward—and twist the modular burner into the bottom of the oven.

Unfold the legs, stand the oven back up in the proper orientation, and you’re done!

It’s the same process for the wood burner too, which makes it unbelievably simple to switch between the two. No tools are necessary, just make sure the burner is cool to the touch and you can swap it in seconds to use a different fuel source.

How It Cooks: Pizza Time with the Roccbox

Enough of talking about the construction and appearance though. What good is a pizza oven that fails at the task of firing a good pizza pie? Let’s dig into the process of using both the gas burner and wood burner, starting with the option most folks will go with: the gas burner.

Roccbox and Propane: A Perfect Pizza Firing Pair

If you want to go from zero-to-pizza with the least possible fussing, the propane burner is the way to go. Once you complete the unbelievably simple setup we outlined above, all you need to do is open the valve on your propane tank, turn the big grey knob on the back of the proper burner until you get one large and satisfying clunk, and you’re in business.

Just leave the oven to warm up for about 30 minutes—possibly slightly longer if the ambient temperature outside is particularly cool or if you really want to max the internal temperature for Neopolitan pizza—and go worry about pizza prep in the kitchen.

Once the oven is at temperature—we recommend waiting until you’re at the tail end of the orange bar on the thermometer, moving into the 800+ °F range—pop your pizza in.



A closeup of the thermometer at temperature and a pizza in the oven.

Once you’re up to temperature, you can make pizzas all day. Jason Fitzpatrick

If you’re new to cooking pizza in a proper pizza oven, go easy on yourself. Cooking pizza in this fashion, especially at the higher end of the temperature scale, is a bit of an art form.

You don’t throw it in the oven and wait for the oven timer to go off as you would back in the kitchen. Instead, you very actively watch (and turn!) the pizza, going from uncooked dough to a proper traditional fired pizza in around a minute.

Charring, “leopard spots” on the crust, and a pizza that isn’t a perfect circle like the one you pull out of the frozen pizza box are all par for the, very delicious, course.

As for how the Roccbox performed with the proper burner? We couldn’t be happier with it. The stone stayed hot between firings, we were able to cook back-to-back pizzas with no issue, and the crust was fluffy and crisp in a way a regular low-temperature home oven just can’t deliver.

We really can’t emphasize the recharge time of the Roccbox with the propane burner enough. If you had a station set up with enough dough and ingredients prepped, you could easily host a pizza party and crank through pizzas back-to-back. With somebody familiar with the oven manning the station, it wouldn’t be difficult to rip through 30 pizzas in an hour.

So with that in mind, if your goal is a little less extreme and you’re curious if the Roccbox would be a good fit for hosting a summer dinner where a half dozen guests get their own custom personal pizza, you really can’t go wrong here. You’d be done with the last pizza before the first one had even begun to really cool off.

Roccbox and Wood: It’s Fun, But Very Fussy

To use the wood burner, you simply swap out the gas burner using that convenient twist-to-mount connection on the base of the oven. Then you load up the little fire basket with small pieces of hardwood kindling and some sort of natural firestarter like some balled-up paper or twine.



The Roccbox with the wood burning fire burner attached.

The firebox is well designed, but ultimately a bit too small. Jason Fitzpatrick

The design is quite clever. The fire basket is well ventilated; it has a gap at the bottom to help with airflow and give the ash somewhere to fall, and as a result, the embers from the kindling burn hot and quickly ignite the next round of fuel you put into the basket.

The included tool, seen above right, works both as a basket handle and an extender to help you open the fire chamber door without directly touching the handle too, which is a great design. Further, just like the propane burner, the fire burner didn’t heat up the table beneath despite the narrow clearance, my wooden garden table was no worse for wear.

Unfortunately, the heart of the previous two paragraphs—shoveling fuel in and not heating things up—was the overarching theme of my experience with the wood burner.

The Roccbox with the wood burner attached and a pizza in the oven.

Wood-fired is a hassle, but it smells amazing. Jason Fitzpatrick

Don’t get me wrong, you can absolutely make pizza in the Roccbox with the wood burner. The very smokey photo above is certainly evidence of that. You can even get it hot enough to char the crust if that’s your thing (and it’s certainly mine).

But you’re going to work for it. You know those scenes in old-timey cartoons where they’re shoveling coal into the locomotive to keep it chugging along, full steam ahead? Because the fire basket in the fire burner is so small, that’s what it felt like.

As soon as I put a few bits of wood in—it can hold about 3-4 pieces of 1x1x5 inch hardwood kindling—it was only a matter of minutes before I was putting more in, and more, and more, and then some more on top of that.

All told, keeping the oven in the 600+ °F range required nearly constant babysitting and pizzas cooked thoroughly in more like 3-4 minutes instead of the snappy one-minute or less turnaround you could get with the propane setup.

Was it fun, in its own way? Sure. I love tending fires. And because it was just me, playing around, it wasn’t the end of the world to keep shoving little bits of fuel in over and over. But if I was trying to host a dinner party while simultaneously manning the oven in wood-fired mode, I’d probably be quite frustrated by the whole experience.

In the end, I’d be more inclined to trade the lovely smell of cherry and hickory wood smoke (and the little bit of magical flavor it imparts to the pizza) for the stable convenience of propane.

If you really want to give the wood burner a shot, by all means, get one and play around with it. But be forewarned that it is very hands-on and getting it into the nearly-instant Neopalitan cook time would almost require a full-time assistant back there just shoveling wood in constantly.

Cleanup and Maintenance: Wipe It Down, Blow It Off

If you look over the photos so far, you surely notice how the Roccbox goes from showroom new with a beautiful shine to coated in soot. Whether you use propane or wood, you’ll end up with soot across the face of the oven.

If you use wood, you’ll also end up with soot on the burner, and even some ash and soot settling on the body of the oven depending on the wind conditions.

A little soot isn’t much of a problem when you have a stationary brick pizza oven in the backyard, it’s part of the charm after all. But for something you’ll be moving and even packing up to put in the garage, getting covered in soot every time you touch it isn’t much fun.

Fortunately, cleaning up the Roccbox is trivial. In fact, we never used anything harder than water and some lint-free rags.



The front of the Roccbox with the soot partially wiped off.

One pass with a damp rag and the oven cleans right up. Jason Fitzpatrick

When you’re done firing pizzas for the day, run the burner for a few extra minutes on high to get it nice and hot, then cut the gas and let it cool naturally.

The extra heat will burn up any crud on the pizza stone itself. Once the oven is cool you can just blow on the remaining ash to eject it from the oven (stuck on bits might need a nudge to break them up before blowing them off the stone). The stone will never look perfectly clean again, but that’s just the nature of pizza stones—it’ll always have cooking marks on it, even when it’s “clean.”

After that, again once the oven is cool, you can just wipe everything down with a damp rag to remove the soot. The metal directly above the door opening (and on the face of the wood burner if you’re using it) will have a slightly bronze patina from the heat but the soot comes right off.

The Verdict: If You Love Pizza, You’ll Love the Roccbox

My favorite kind of reviews are definitely the ones where, like with my review of the Solo Stove Bonfire, my only real complaints are “man, this thing is expensive” and “I wish they included more accessories.”

And that’s exactly what I can say about the Roccbox. The $499 is not unreasonable, but it is on the high end of what you’d pay for a portable pizza oven—much in the way that the Solo Stove’s price tag is on the high end of what you’d pay for a premium firepit.

So my only real complaint is that I’d love to pay less for the same quality product (which isn’t really a reasonable complaint) and I’d love it if the pizza turning peel or maybe an outdoor cover was included with the purchase.

A closeup shot of a pizza firing in the Roccbox oven.

Even when your dough stretching and peel delivery leaves a lot to be desired, the results are delicious. Jason Fitzpatrick

But those trivial complaints aside, the quality is fantastic and the user experience—putting aside the headaches of using the wood burner add-on aside—was really great.

I loved using it, my family loved it, my neighbors thought it was the coolest product and wanted one of their own, and the pizza I made with it over the many test firing was delicious. Traditional New York-style dough, airier Neopolitan dough, whatever I threw in there the end result was just good pizza.

So if you’re looking for an authentic properly fired pizza experience that you can have right on your backyard patio and can, with a little bit of lugging around, take to a friend’s house or a tailgate party, it’s tough to go wrong with the Roccbox—though it’s probably a safe bet to skip the wood burner and spend the money on a pizza turning peel and an outdoor cover for your Roccbox instead.

Here’s What We Like

  • Heats up quickly to the proper high-temperature range for pizza
  • Holds heat well, can cook pizzas back to back
  • Includes premium pizza peel and thermometer
  • Very well constructed
  • Folds down for relatively-compact storage

And What We Don’t

  • Doesn’t include a weather cover
  • Optional wood burner is not as effective as the propane burner





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