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Solo Stove brought us smokeless fire pits, camping stoves, and, most recently, pizza ovens. The brand got into the pizza-making game last year with the original Solo Stove Pi, followed by the Pi Fire. Now, there’s a new addition to the lineup: the Solo Stove Pi Prime portable propane pizza oven.
I got the chance to try the Pi Prime this summer before it came out to see if the gas-burning pizza oven would live up to the hype. As an avid home chef, I was excited. Throughout the month of July, I cooked several dozen pizzas, experimenting with different types of doughs, toppings, and temperatures. While I burnt a few pizzas during my trial run, the rest turned out to be some of the best homemade pizzas I’ve ever made.
As such, I’m excited to share my thoughts on the Solo Stove Pi Prime in this honest review of the new pizza oven. Warning: It could make you hungry.
Solo Stove Pi Prime Overview and Specifications
Pi Prime Specs:
- Height: 15.5″
- Width: 20.5″
- Weight: 29.69 lbs
- Opening: 13″ L x 3.5″ H
- Stone Thickness: 13mm
- Materials: Stainless Steel
Inspired by authentic Italian pizza chefs with a domed silhouette and roomy panoramic opening, the Pi Prime looks similar to the original Pi pizza oven. But there are a few key differences: a front-facing temperature dial for more control cooking pizzas and other food like steak or vegetables, an updated fuel design with a single gas burner embedded into the bottom of the oven, and a more portable self-contained package for easier transport. And at just $349, the Pi Prime is much more affordable than the original Pi.
The intuitive design makes it approachable for backyard chefs of any ability level. The Pi pizza oven is crafted for optimal heat distribution and minimal heat loss, making the cooking time faster while using less fuel. The included stone ensures that pizzas cook evenly and come out with a crisp crust—something an oven rack can’t do.
Bonus: Along with what’s already available, a bunch of new pizza oven accessories for the Solo Stove Pi Prime are set to be released on August 31, 2023. While you don’t need them, many—like the bamboo peel and IR thermometer—make pizza cooking easier.
Pi Prime accessories currently available:
Upcoming Pi Prime accessories:
- Rocker Cutter
- Pi Cast Iron Kit
- Scraper Brush
- Prep Board
What I Like About the Solo Stove Pi Prime
The Solo Stove Pi Prime brings an artisan pizza cooking experience into your backyard. The instructional manual is very informative—along with directions for operating the pizza oven, it also includes some fun pizza dough recipes. Additional accessories like the bamboo peel and the soon-to-be-released docker helped the pizza-making process move along smoothly, and the docker ensured the dough didn’t bubble while cooking.
The pizza oven itself is easy to hook up to propane and ignite. The temperature control and ignition on the front of the pizza oven are convenient, and I like that the stone is easy to take in and out of the oven for transport and cleaning purposes.
Whenever I’m testing something, I try not to look at the instructions the first go round to see just how intuitive it is. Unfortunately, this resulted in me burning my first pizza. I also did not have an infrared thermometer to check the temperature, so I was completely guessing during the process. Lesson learned: the thermometer is necessary if you want a more consistent cook time and better result.
The cooking time is surprisingly fast once the pizza oven and stone are heated to the appropriate temperatures. I liked the quick cook time when hosting others because we could cook multiple pizzas back to back, and no one was waiting long for theirs to finish. Even when I was just making one pizza, I could ignite the stove to let it heat up, and by the time I was done rolling out the dough and prepping the pizza, it was ready to go.
The stainless steel and bamboo pizza peels are equally effective when taking out the pies, but I like that the bamboo peel also provides a surface to cut the pizza on once it’s out of the oven.
Overall, the Pi Prime seems more approachable for avid backyard chefs than the original Pi Pizza Oven in price and functionality. It is more portable, allowing it to be taken from your home patio to the cabin, and the fact that it runs on propane may make it easier to regulate the temperature.
What I Don’t Like About the Solo Stove Pi Prime
I liked almost everything about using the Solo Stove Pi Prime but I found a a few things that could be improved. First, I wish there was a more obvious way to read the temperature, like a built-in thermometer. At the very least, it would be nice to have a light that turns on when the stone and internal oven temperature is hot enough to cook a pizza. The temperature gauge on the front is easy enough to use but very touchy when changing temperatures.
I played with the temperature a lot when cooking the first couple of pizzas and had mixed results. For the most part, even if you jump the gun and put the pizza in too early, it still cooks fairly quickly and evenly. Avoid putting the pizza too close to the back of the oven since that’s where the flame is released. If the oven isn’t warm enough yet, it will cook it unevenly. The size of the front opening also limits the size of the pizza you can cook in this oven. While using this to host, it would’ve been nice to have the option to make a 16″ pizza, but it would’ve been too difficult to fit through the front without damaging the pizza.
Q: How hot does the Solo Stove Pi Prime get?
The Solo Stove Pi Prime can reach temperatures in excess of 950° F.
Q: How long does cooking a pizza in the Solo Stove Pi Prime take?
Once it is fully preheated (the pizza stone should be a minimum of 700ºF for Neapolitan pizza, and the dome should be 900ºF), the Solo Stove Pi can cook a pizza in 1.5 to 2 minutes.
Q: What’s the difference between the Solo Stove Pi and the Pi Prime?
The original Solo Stove Pi has both wood-burning and fuel capabilities, while the Prime only offers propane. The Pi Prime also offers front-facing temperature control for more control while cooking, an updated fuel design with a single gas burner embedded into the bottom of the oven, and a more portable self-contained package for easier transport.
Q: How do you clean the Solo Stove Pi Prime?
With a damp cloth, wipe the fingerprints and crumbs off Pi Prime’s panoramic opening. Then use a dry cloth to remove any leftover moisture from the Pi Prime’s stainless steel body. Remove the stones once cooled, and scrape off any pizza debris with a plastic putty knife.
Solo Stove Pi Prime: Final Thoughts
After a month of using the Solo Stove Pi Prime, I recommend it for almost anyone’s backyard kitchen setup. Not only is it a more affordable pizza oven, it’s also more portable. While I don’t forsee myself traveling with it, I like the option of being able to transport it relatively easily for a long cabin weekend or family vacation. Whether you want to take family pizza night to the next level or you’re someone who likes to entertain al fresco, the Solo Stove Pi Prime is a great investment.
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