If you’re a home chef who loves making your own pizza, the Uuni 2S wood-fired oven should be #1 on your shopping list. It’s an outdoor pizza oven made of stainless steel with a stone baking board to give you a crispy crust. It uses wood pellets for fuel and can get up to 900°F; the Uuni 2S costs $299.
The Uuni 2S is an evolutionary step above the previous Uuni 2, which was released in 2015. The improvements in the 2S include the above-mentioned stone baking board, the flame keeper, which helps the 2S run hotter with less fuel by keeping the heat towards the center of the oven, and other smaller refinements like better feet, improved burner, and an included chimney cap. The stone baking board can be purchased separately for use in your Uuni 2 or in your home’s standard oven.
The Uuni 2S weighs about 24 lbs and measures 4.7×13.7×18.8 inches without legs. The maximum pizza size is about 13” in diameter. Included inside the retail box is the Uuni 2S oven itself in pieces, the cordierite stone baking board, the Uuni pizza peel, and the manual and safety instructions.
Putting the Uuni 2S together was a very simple process, which took me about 5-10 minutes using the included instructions. It’s very sturdy once assembled, and there’s even a little holster for the included allen wrench under the Uuni 2S for storage in case you need to disassemble the oven for storage or travel. Just be careful, because it’s not very difficult for the allen wrench to fall out of the holster, which happened to me the first time I used it.
The flame keeper, which is an angled piece of stainless steel that sits at the top of the oven creating a pocket to keep the flame and heat from escaping through the front of the oven, does its job well. However, my biggest problem with it is that it doesn’t physically attach to anything; it sits on top of another stainless steel and is easily dislodged during travel.
The wood pellets that are used as fuel for the Uuni 2S are energy-dense and inexpensive. They’re basically like regular wood, just compressed into pellets. There are no additives, and no need to chop wood. The pellets ignite easily, when using charcoal lighting fluid, and help the Uuni heat up from cold to 900°F in about 10-15 minutes.
The burner, at the back of the oven, is nicely detailed with the Uuni logo. It is meant to hold the wood pellets while they’re lit so that the fuel is kept in one place. The hopper at the back of the oven is used to keep a stack of wood pellets in reserve so that they’re automatically fed down into the burner, as they’re needed, allowing you to cook your pizzas without needing to worry about refueling.
In my experience, however, you do need to keep checking the hopper to ensure you have enough pellets. I had the fire go out in the oven a couple of times because I wasn’t diligent enough about ensuring the oven was properly fueled. My biggest suggestion would be for Uuni to add a thermometer on the exterior of the oven so that you can tell how hot it is and whether the temperature is starting to go down.
The front door of the Uuni 2S has a wood handle and rests nicely on the front of the oven, using a slot on top of the oven to keep the door secure. There’s nowhere else on the oven to put the door while you have it off, so you’ll want to make sure you rest the door on a heat/burn-resistant surface.
All parts of the Uuni 2S that you will need to touch while the oven is hot are made of wood so that you won’t burn yourself. This includes the pellet hopper and the oven door. However, while putting the pizza in and out of the oven, you’ll want to wear gloves to prevent exposed skin from touching the scorching hot oven. I made the mistake of accidentally touching the oven with my fingers and it hurt like hell.
The feet of the oven keep the Uuni 2S high enough above the surface of the table, that you can cook on a glass patio table without worrying about damaging the table beneath. The beauty of stainless steel is that it’s meant to last a lifetime. While the brushed stainless steel that the Uuni 2S is made of will weather and age as you use it, it will not rust and will perform as designed for a long time to come.
The cooking process is very simple. First, you fill the burner with wood pellets and sprinkle some charcoal lighting fluid on the pellets. Light the pellets, put the burner back in the oven, and wait 5 minutes for the bunch of pellets to light completely. Then, add more pellets into the hopper and wait another 10 minutes for the oven to fully pre-heat.
Once the oven is pre-heated, you throw in your pizza. Wait about 30-45 seconds, take the pizza out, turn it, and put it back in. Wait another 30-45 seconds, take the pizza out, turn it, and put it back in. Once the pizza is cooked to your liking, you take it out and you’re done!
I had a great time testing the Uuni 2S. It takes a lot of getting used to, though, as it’s unlike anything you’ve ever used unless you’re a professional pizza chef. The first couple of times cooking, I either burnt the crust real bad, or I messed up putting the pizza in the oven and it stuck to the pizza peel.
Due to the small size of the oven and the heat, it’s generating, if you mess up and the pizza gets folded over in the oven, there’s very little opportunity to right your wrong. However, once I started using a generous amount of semolina underneath my pizzas, they were sliding off the peel and onto the pizza stone beautifully. Just make sure your pizzas are small enough to fit inside the oven.
Due to the insane heat and the fact that the most direct heat is coming from the back, you need to turn your pizza at least twice during cooking to ensure an even bake. I found that turning the pizza every 45 seconds or so did the trick, and the pizza was usually done to my liking after around 2 minutes. After about three cooks, I mastered the Uuni 2S and was cooking pizzas like a pro. You will notice some “wood-burned” flavor with your pizza, and that’s where the true difference is. It’s unlike any other pizza you’ve cooked at your house.
The only thing to keep in mind is that you can only cook one pizza at a time. If you’re having friends over for a pizza party and you only have one pizza peel, it’s difficult to prepare more than one pizza at a time. And if you’re waiting until one pizza is out of the oven to prepare the next pizza, you could be waiting about 20 minutes from when the first pizza is out of the oven until the fourth pizza is out of the oven.
This could all be moot if you’re all hanging outside and prepping and cooking pizzas together and eating the pizzas as they come out of the oven. But in my experience, I was cooking the pizzas out in the backyard myself and bringing them inside to my family, who waited to eat them until I was done cooking four pizzas. By that time, the first pizzas were cold. But that’s probably a specific situation.
Overall, the Uuni 2S is a fantastic piece of hardware that any true pizza lover would be proud to own. It’s easy to use, once you learn the ropes, and it makes a fantastic pizza in less than 2 minutes. It’s made to last and it uses inexpensive efficient fuel. If you’ve got $299 to spend on a pizza oven, then you’ve got to check out the Uuni 2S.
The Uuni 2S retails for $299; it is available directly from the manufacturer.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Simple construction and setup; Inexpensive and efficient fuel; Easy to light with quick pre-heat; Stone baking board makes for a crispy crust; Sub-2 minute cooking time; Makes delicious pizza; Light and portable
What Needs Improvement: A thermometer should be built-in