Belgard & Chicago Brick Oven

Brick Oven from the Harmony Collection

An April blog featured the Belgard Elements Collection of modular fireplaces, outdoor kitchens, fire pits, and multiple matching accessories. One of the most popular pieces within the collection is the Chicago Brick Oven. This unique focal point is a natural addition to any Belgard outdoor kitchen. Featured in the media across the country, and showcased on the Today show with Chef Mario Batali, the brick oven craze has only just begun.

Partnered with the Belgard Elements Collection, the wood-burning Chicago Brick Brick Oven comes ready to install. Or, create a custom look for your Brick Oven with Belgard walls. All ovens are built with a flue for ventilation, so placement should be considered. An Authorized Belgard Contractor can assist you through the entire process. Chicago Brick Oven president Bill Paschen says, “The ovens come in various sizes. If you entertain, consider the largest oven. You will not be displeased.”

Pizza
Onion Soup
Kabobs

Paschen adds, “When I searched for a brick oven for my home, 99% were made overseas, which added huge freight and duty costs. So, I created my own. We offer a variety of sizes, so if you entertain, consider the largest oven. You won’t be disappointed”

It is important to note that along with Belgard Elements, the Chicago Brick Oven is made in the USA.

Components

Components

The beauty of using Belgard’s Elements and the Chicago Brick Oven are that all items coordinate and the oven’s installation consists of only two modular pieces: the oven and the supporting wood box. Each item is delivered and placed on your pre-poured foundation. Once installed, build a few small fires to cure the oven, and you are ready to create mouth-watering masterpieces. The ovens can be enjoyed all year-long and, along with all the Elements components, are designed to be weather resistant.

Maintenance is simple: just brush out ash and crumbs when done. There are two doors, one for decoration to keep out the weather and one insulated to control the oven temperature, especially for baking. Preheating is also simple. Most recipes call for the oven temperature to be over 400 degrees, which takes about an hour to heat. Once it’s hot, you can use the oven for hours.

Wood
The type of wood used is extremely important, and the user guide will give directions. When buying, ask for wood that’s been aged for about two years, or that has less than 25% moisture content. Soft woods are easy to light, but they produce less heat than hardwoods. Trying different varieties of aromatic, flavored woods will give different foods unique flavors.

Not only does the oven give food an authentic taste, it provides an opportunity to create an culinary outdoor experience. Not only can you can bake a pizza in a minutes, but the ovens are just as well suited for cooking an entire meal. A few items finding their way into the oven are stuffed turkeys, calzones, vegetables, pasta dishes, stuffed peppers, kabobs, whole chickens in a salt crust, ribs, cedar plank cooked fish, paella, baked apples, dessert pizzas, and various breads such as flat bread, focaccia, cibatta, and pita. Bill Paschen recommends his favorite recipe of stuffed jalapeno peppers.

Fox TV Station Outdoor Kitchen in Atlanta

Recipes are as numerous as the chefs who use the Chicago Brick Oven from numerous Iron Chef contestants to TV chef and celebrities. World-renown Chef Mario Batali has his own line of wood-burning ovens which integrate with Belgard Elements.

Read latest blog on Belgard’s Elements.

Outdoor Kitchen & Brick Oven from the Nottingham Collection

Belgard at a Home Show Near You

Have you noticed signs about upcoming Home and Garden shows? Then you know Spring is here! Although the Northeast may have had a blistery April Fool’s Day, it is time to till the garden. Belgard has been the feature at many of the country’s largest shows. Below is a sample of the top of the line displays created for homeowners to be inspired. Double click on any photo to enlarge. Don’t forget to visit our website for inspiration.


Virginia Mid-Atlantic Show

Outdoor Kitchen Area
Garden Seat Wall
Lighting Adds Polish

Belgard’s Elements outdoor kitchen area was the main showcase. With a variety of Belgard pavers, including Old World and Arbel® Stone, plus Celtik® Wall and BelAir Wall® creating seating, and integrated lighting, you felt as though you were outdoors. You will see how Belgard pavers, plus an Elements Bristol Collection kitchen and fire place, work together. The complete look is fabulous.


Southern Spring Home & Garden Show, Charlotte, NC

Seat Walls
Contrasting Patterns
Lighting Adds Drama

The Southern Spring Home and Garden Show featured a stroll through “Belgard Gardens.” Within the Park Expo Center, a true romantic presence was felt. A circular path of Belgard’s Arbel Stone pavers and a seat wall from the double-sided Weston Collection invited you to linger. Lighting installed directly into the walls gave the beautiful landscaping a fairytale feel as well as its functional purpose, to light the path.

Mixing the paver products of Arbel and Lafitt pavers, allows two paths to come together in a carpet-like manner. One leads off through a castle gate towards a Belgard free standing Belair Wall®. Many design tips can be collected from this amazing display.


Southern Ideal Home Show, Greensboro, NC

Fire Pit, Column, Wall
Elements Kitchen
Mobile Show Room

Belgard’s Mobile Show Room parked outside the Southern Ideal Home Show. Visitors were welcomed by the Elements Bristol Collection and its unlimited possibilities of matching seat walls, cabinets, kitchens, and more.

Inside the show, Belgard Arbel® Stone pavers created a handsome flooring and Weston Wall™ created convenient seating, column and fire pit. Adding one (or more) of these features completes a backyard so the outdoor enjoyment continues throughout the year.


Rochester Home Show

Looking Great from the Back
Chicago Brick Oven

The Rochester Home Show set up a Chicago Brick Oven and Element Bristol Collection full kitchen display with seat walls.  The back of the kitchen and brick oven are as handsome as the front. You might consider planting a vegetable or herb garden. Pull off some fresh basil leaves and add to your homemade pizza!

This kitchen features a MediumRare grill, stainless steel cabinets, a cocktail station, bar, sink, and electricity – all part of Belgard’s Elements. The Bristol collection uses a granite counter top, edging of Dublin cobble, and Urbana banding. With Belgard, the attention to detail is impeccable. Using Elements, your outdoor kitchen planning is a snap, and it installs within a day or two.

Elements Brighton Fireplace, Water Features and Seat Wall
An Amazing Backyard Dream

The area also included an Elements Brighton fireplace with water features and matching seat walls. It coordinated with Arbel® Stone pavers in a circular fashion which delineates the outdoor living space. The dining area features Lafitt pavers and a Weston wall to add seating and separation.


Foot Bench Built-In

Milwaukee Realtor Show

This show took Belgard’s BelAir Wall™ and created a fabulous outdoor bedroom with built-in lighting! Notice the head and foot boards created from the Arbel® Stone Collection. The outdoor bath tub was a must-see. The look was completed with Belgard’s environmental line of permeable pavers from the Subterra® collection. Permeable pavers allow rainwater to be absorbed by the ground where nature filters the water, instead of becoming runoff.

Outdoor Bedroom Ideas
Bathtub!

Read our past post featuring Belgard’s Elements Collection.

Outdoor Fireplaces, Fire Pits and Brick Oven Tips

Fireplaces, fire pits and brick ovens allow homeowners to extend their outdoor season by providing a warm place to gather during the colder months. To keep your outdoor fire features functioning properly through the winter season, follow these simple tips from our experts.

Outdoor Fireplaces and Fire Pits

•    Install glass or stainless doors on fireplaces and use stainless covers for fire pits to protect these fire features from accumulating snow and ice. Joe Raboine, President of Harmony Outdoor Living, Inc., explains that slowly building a fire to dry out a fireplace or fire pit that has already accumulated snow and ice reduces the risk of cracking the refractory cement or firebrick.

•    If using ceramic gas log sets, it is critical to wrap those (if you don’t have a cover) with a tarp in the winter as these logs can deteriorate with excessive ice buildup – and are difficult if not impossible to light if the orifices are plugged with ice.

Outdoor Brick Ovens

•    Sweeping the flue once a year is recommended and is an easy do-it-yourself project.

•    If the outdoor temperature is cold or below freezing, take extra time to slowly heat your oven. You do not want to “shock” your oven by taking it from freezing to 600° F in a matter of minutes. Bill Paschen of Chicago Brick Oven recommends that the fire be built-up over at least one hour. Start with a small fire and carefully add more firewood to gradually bring up the temperature.

Stay tuned to our blog for more seasonal tips for making the most of your outdoor living space!

Project Planning: Outdoor Kitchens

The popularity of outdoor living spaces is on the rise – and with good reason! A well designed and installed outdoor living feature offers one of the highest return on investment for homeowners when remodeling. Homeowners and trade professionals across the country are asking about the Belgard Outdoor Kitchen Elements (by Harmony Outdoor Living, Inc.). This new product line creates a cohesive and seamless look as the elements are constructed with the same materials as your outdoor hardscape. They come with a warranty that is unmatched in the outdoor kitchen industry, and are available with MediumRare and OCS grills and accessories. The wood fired brick ovens feature an interior cooking dome constructed by Chicago Brick Oven. These pre-built modular kitchens can be ordered as individual cabinets or as pre-designed layouts. Other options such as wine cabinets, display niches, fireplaces, water features and much more are also available. The combination possibilities for custom layouts, colors and accents materials are endless.

We asked Joe Raboine, President of Harmony Outdoor Living, Inc. to share a few tips on creating a successful outdoor kitchen. He offered these items for consideration:

Initial Planning

  • How is the kitchen going to be incorporated into your existing outdoor living spaces? You want to ensure that it blends into the rest of the hardscape area.
  • Take time to consider the placement of your brick oven or grill. Prevailing winds may force the smoke into your house or exterior dining spaces – not a good situation and difficult to remedy.
  • How many people do you typically cook for – this will determine the grill size, work space, etc.
  • Do you want the kitchen to be fully functioning with a sink, natural gas, etc? If so, make sure you check codes and find a qualified installer who can coordinate those aspects.
  • Try to locate the kitchen near your house – preferably near your existing kitchen or family area. If located too far away, it will not be used often.
  • What type of materials do you want to use to build/face your outdoor kitchen? Make sure that whatever you chose blends in well with your home and hardscape.
  • When considering kits, site built, full mansonry, pre-built, etc. make sure that you are choosing a product that will hold up well for the long term in your climate. Extreme temperature swings can wreak havoc on outdoor structures if not designed, installed or planned properly.

Selecting Features

  • What features do you want most in your outdoor kitchen (ex. Grill, bar, refrigerator, etc)?
  • If you want to incorporate a bar, you may want to consider a sink, bar station, larger refrigerator, speed rail, ice chest and/or a keg cooler.
  • Have you considered a wood fired brick oven? They are extremely popular right now and provide an element that is both interesting and entertaining.
  • What type of countertop do you want? The standard Belgard top features an inlay of polished granite based concrete, but you can also have someone install a granite or concrete counter on-site.

 

Regulations & Safety

  • Make sure that your rear landings are large enough that when bringing food in and out of the house, you are safe.
  • Make sure to check local building codes for kitchens – especially setback requirements.
  • Make sure your kitchen comes with a warranty!

According to Belgard’s Vice President, Ken O’Neill, planning is the key to satisfaction. Ken says, “All projects that result in a happy customer start with good planning. Ensuring that the project’s budget and scope are well defined are important steps in the planning process. Selecting a good contractor also helps. A Belgard Authorized Contractor can help set the table for your design. They can provide design options using Belgard products and in some cases provide a 3D rendering of the design to allow the customer to visualize the completed project.”

Visit our website for inspirational outdoor kitchen photos or to locate a Belgard Authorized Contractor in your area.

Belgard Introduces the Chicago Brick Oven Collection

Belgard recently announced the addition of the Chicago Brick Oven collection to their product line.  “We have always focused on creating a spectacular outdoor living environment,” states Ken O’Neill, Vice President of Belgard Hardcapes. “The addition of the Chicago Brick Oven Collection will help homeowners and contractors create a focal point for outdoor living spaces without the hassle of working with multiple distributors.” The ovens are light-weight, easy to install and can fit into a variety of landscape design and styles.

The oven line includes a variety of pre-fabricated models, “finish-it-yourself” models, and oven kits bundled with Belgard’s hardscape products. The flagship of the oven product line is the series created especially for world-renowned New York chef and restaurateur Mario Batali. “Nothing beats the authentic taste of food cooked in a wood-fired oven,” states Batali, who purports the wood-fire cooking method for bringing out the natural flavor of food.

The above picture shows a combination of modular units from the Nottingham collection. The Nottingham Brick Oven comes in two pieces. The top unit features a wood-fired brick oven and the bottom unit is designed for wood storage. The kit also includes a pizza peel and brush. In addition, this outdoor area features the Nottingham Bar/Grill Island. To view the full collection of modular units offered through Belgard, visit our website to download the 2010 Belgard Elements product catalog.

Over the coming months, Belgard and Chicago Brick Ovens will be co-hosting a number of events to promote the product line partnership and illustrate a variety of uses, design options, and product specifications. In addition to trade show presentations, Belgard will be offering specification and design information on their new oven line at upcoming Belgard University distributor training classes.

Visit the BelgardOutdoorLiving YouTube channel to see a Chicago Brick Oven in action.