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My Pizza Oven: Steve O. in Wisconsin

Wisconsin home pizza-maker Steve O. emailed me these pix of his backyard wood-burning pizza oven. So I asked him some questions. Here's a Q&A with him. --The Mgmt.

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When did you put it in, who put it in; did you hire someone? I put it in a few years ago with the help of a good friend of mine, Corey. We did everything except for the masonary part of the oven.

How often do you use it? Probably eight times a month in the warmer weather, but during the colder months, probably only twice a month. I have been known to cook some pizzas during below-zero temps for Packer parties though.

Do you cook anything besides pizza in it? Only once have I cooked anything but pizza in the oven. The reason being is that I am just that passionate about the pizza.

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What style of pizza do you normally do? The styles of pizza that I prefer and am passionate about are New York–style and Neapolitan. Not only are they my personal favorite, but many of my guests enjoy them as well. It's simply the best pizza to cook in my brick oven.

What size pizzas? I'll spin 10-inch, 12-inch, 14-inch, and 16-inch. Generally no larger though.

What are your favorite toppings? Anything fresh on a pizza is good for me. Things like fresh garlic, San Marzano tomatoes, arugula, italian sausage. These are some of the things that come to mind. I have even tried pistachios--they are great on pizza. Generally for me, I prefer only one or two toppings on a pizza so you can fully enjoy the flavor of the crust and the sauce along with the toppings.

Do you cook for friends? I cook pizza for friends on a regular basis. We enjoy having fuin and trying new recipes. Many times the more people we have over, the more creative I get with the pizzas. Believe me, I get lots of suggestions.

What does your family think of your pizza madness? My kids love it whenever I make pizza. My wife, on the other hand enoys the pizza but does not like the mess. I built a marble workbench next to the oven that I prepare all the pizza on, and that pleases her.

Wisconsin being the dairy state, what type of cheese do you use, anything local? Wisconsin has the best cheese for pizza period! Grandé mozzarella would be my favorite of all. It simply is the best-tasting mozzarella around. Not only does it perform well in my brick oven, it holds up to high temperatures extremely well. Another Wisconsin cheese I like to use on my Margherita pizza is BelGioioso fresh mozzerella. It is a great fresh stringy mozzarella.

Do you have a backyard pizza oven? Would you like to be featured on Slice? Hit us up: adam@sliceny.com.

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