If you want to take the fun of making pizza to the extreme, the Ooni Karu 16 pizza oven is the right choice! In fact, the Ooni Karu 16 can be heated with three different fuels: gas, wood and coal. I have baked pizzas in the Ooni Karu 16 with all these three different materials and would like to share my experiences with you in this post.
What makes the Ooni Karu 16 so special? How much does the Ooni Karu 16 cost? And most importantly: how do the pizzas come out? I would like to answer all these questions here!
Scope of delivery
Since the Ooni Karu 16 is a bit more comprehensive due to its size and multi-fuel capabilities, I’d like to talk about the scope of delivery first.
The following parts are included
- Oven main body
- Glass oven door
- Cordierite pizza stones (two pieces)
- Chimney cap
- Burner tray and grate
- Draft defender plate
- Fuel hatch
- Digital thermometer
- Essentials Guide
Please note, in order to be able to operate the Ooni Karu 16 with gas, you need the gas burner*. The gas burner including gas hose is an optional accessory and is not included with the model. It must be purchased separately.
This may seem a bit much at first glance, but from my own experience I can say that the assembly of the Ooni Karu 16 is self-explanatory. All necessary tools such as screws and screwdrivers are also included, so you will need a maximum of 10 minutes for the assembly.
Equipment, dimensions and weight
The Ooni Karu 16 is clearly the flagship among all Ooni outdoor pizza ovens: it is the largest, heaviest and most versatile outdoor pizza oven that Ooni currently has to offer. The Karu 16 is a so-called multi-fuel pizza oven, which means that it can be heated with different fuels, namely wood, coal and gas. Due to the possibility of heating via wood and coal, the Karu 16 has a chimney, which allows the smoke to escape.
One of the other highlights of the Karu 16 is also the lockable door with a view through the glass pane, as well as the digital thermometer that can measure in both Celsius and Fahrenheit.
The Ooni Karu 16 makes an extremely robust impression due to its size and weight. Similar to the Ooni Koda 16 (see product review here), the surface of the Ooni Karu 16 is made of powder-coated carbon steel. The Ooni Karu 16 stands securely and firmly on its three legs (two in front, one in back). The legs can also be folded for better and easier transport.
The baking chamber of the Ooni Karu 16 is 42 cm wide, 15 cm high and 42 cm deep. This also makes it easy to bake a loaf of bread in the Karu! When the legs of the oven are folded out, it is 50 cm wide; with the chimney sweep, it is then 84 cm high and 82 cm deep from the door handle to the draft defender plate. You can also see the details in the pictures below. Due to its robust construction, the Ooni Karu 16 weighs in at a hefty 28 kilos. This is significantly heavier compared to the Ooni Koda 16 and makes it a bit less mobile.
I prefer to heat the Karu 16 with wood and charcoal. I like to use the wood/charcoal mix as it ensures optimal heat development. Wood burns faster and ensures that the flames develop immediately. Charcoal, on the other hand, takes longer to catch fire, but it glows longer and ensures a more stable heat development.
To heat up, place the wood and charcoal together with 1-2 grill lighters in the burner tray, open the door, push the tray all the way back into the oven and close the door again. Through the rear opening on the Karu 16 you can then easily light the fuel. I recommend starting with a little less fuel and then gradually adding wood or coal to better regulate the heat development.
Very important: if you are heating with wood or coal in the Karu 16, make sure that the air regulator at the top of the oven is pushed all the way to the left and the air regulator on the chimney is pushed up so that the smoke can escape through the chimney.
In addition to wood and coal, you can also operate the Karu 16 with gas. To do this, simply remove the draft shield, attach the gas burner (it’s a quick and easy: just unscrew or screw in two screws) and connect it to the gas cartridges. You can then easily adjust the flame via the heat regulator.
The Ooni Karu 16 has a digital thermometer that shows you the temperature inside the oven. Nevertheless, I would recommend that you also measure the stone temperature with an infrared thermometer* before the first baking to ensure that the stone has also reached the same temperature. Especially if you only heat with wood, it could otherwise happen that the oven interior reaches 450 – 500 degrees in a short time, but the stone is not yet hot enough. The danger is that the dough is baked properly at the top and gets a nice browning, but the bottom of the dough sticks to the stone and can not bake properly. Depending on the fuel you use, both the inside of the oven and the stone should reach the ideal temperature after 30 minutes to bake the pizza.
By now you’re probably wondering: how do the pizzas come out of the Ooni Karu 16, especially if you bake them with wood and coal? I have tested this and can tell you in advance: it is again a completely different feeling to operate an oven with wood and charcoal and bake pizzas in it. It’s so much more fun (than with gas in my opinion) and the pizzas come out really great too!
Due to the glass door, the oven heat cannot escape and you can watch the pizza baking with pleasure. Do not forget to turn the pizza in the oven to bake it evenly, as the temperature is naturally highest near the flame or embers. Since I personally like my pizza a little crispier, I fire the pizzas at about 400 degrees Celsius and bake them for about 2 minutes.
Regarding the dough: I used my recipe for Neapolitan Pizza with 100% poolish.
Here are the results of a pizza Margherita baked with wood and coal:
Here are the results of a pizza Margherita baked with gas:
If you were to ask me which of the fueling types I’d prefer: wood, coal or gas? I don’t notice much of a difference in taste, since all fuel types can reach the same temperature. However, I find the fun factor with wood and coal greater, because here you can actively influence the heat and watch “live” how the flames develop – that’s just great!
Do you want to see the Ooni Karu 16 in action? In the following video you can see how easy it is to make a Neapolitan pizza with wood and charcoal (please note: speaking in German)
The Ooni Karu 16 currently costs 799 euros (as of 05.02.2022). By the way, you can find more information about the Ooni products on the Ooni homepage with the link below.
Do you want to learn more? Here you can find more information: Ooni Karu 16*.
The outdoor pizza oven Ooni Karu 16 is a beast! In my opinion, it is the all-rounder among the outdoor pizza ovens. With the Karu 16 you are maximally flexible. On the one hand, in terms of firing through the various fuels: it can be operated with gas, wood and charcoal. If you are more in the mood for “adventure” and want to actively control the heat development, I would definitely go for wood and charcoal; if you prefer to bake a pizza with consistent heat quickly and without much effort, without having to constantly look at the thermometer, I would recommend gas. On the other hand, the features and design of the Karu 16 also make it super flexible in terms of baking options. Due to the lockable glass door and the height you can not only bake pizzas, but also bread or many other things (vegetables, meat) in the Karu 16 or grill. Either way, you will not miss anything with the Ooni Karu 16 and have the most fun baking pizzas!
Thanks for reading! If you have any unanswered questions, feel free to let me know in the comments. I’d appreciate it, if you could share this article with friends and family.