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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.