Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, September 20, 2018
Pizza oven takes outdoor cooking to new level
Ken Sturdee has designed a wood fired oven that can be used in backyards and other outdoor locations, to cook anything from pizza to bread to slow cooked ribs.
by Monique Labbe
Ken Sturdee, owner of Sturdee Construction in Stonington, has created a wood fired pizza oven that can be enjoyed in backyards or on the go.
Sturdee installed one for a friend several years ago, and said he enjoyed using it so much he decided he needed one in his own backyard. He began playing around with different designs before landing on his most current one. Sturdee’s design comes in two sizes, a 32-inch oven (Il Forno) and a 36-inch oven (Grand Il Forno), with block walls, a concrete pad and floor and a stucco veneer over concrete that makes the dome. It also comes with optional finishes, including granite or brick work spaces.
The inside of the oven can heat up to 1,400 degrees, and can hold heat overnight, making it ideal for pizza making in the evening and bread making in the morning.
“You can cook anything you want in it,” said Sturdee. “We’ve done pizza, lasagna, we do a lot of ribs.”
Sturdee said that his backyard oven was ideal over the summer this year, as he and wife Beth used it often as an alternative to turning on the indoor oven in 90-degree heat.
While his backyard oven was useful at his home in Stonington, Sturdee wanted to have the option to use an oven at the couple’s place up the road in Little Deer Isle. He developed and welded a holding mechanism onto a trailer, which he then installed another oven on to transport it back and forth. The oven is connected right to the trailer, and with a clamp holding the chimney piece in place, Sturdee can hook the trailer up to his jeep and drive it wherever he wants without fear of losing it.
“It’s also helped people see [the oven],” he said. “People don’t really know what it is at first, so it gets them asking about it.”
Sturdee’s ovens are available for purchase, either as a kit for self installation or installation by Sturdee. His company is called East Coast Pizza Oven Domes and can be found on Facebook.
“I started wanting to sell them because I thought it was something that could move,” he said. “We have a lot of fun with ours, it’s really fun to experiment with new things in it.”
Sturdee has thought about bringing his portable oven to summer events around the island next year, and would also be willing to discuss renting it out for a day for things like birthday parties or other gatherings.
“If people want to check it out they can. They might be a little pricey, but their lasting power is worth it. I’ve had mine for six years now, and all I have to do is clean out the oven and cover it up,” he said.
For more information, visit the East Coast Pizza Oven Domes, or call 367-5859.