Here, I do a quick peek at converting my Ooni Karu 16 from stock wood-burning mode to propane. It’s super quick and easy to hook up the propane attachment. If you own a Karu 16, you’re already familiar with it from installing the standard “Draft Defender.” Same process.
Why convert your Ooni oven to propane?
Cooking with wood can be fun and fulfilling, but it’s also a challenge keeping the oven temperature just right while also stretching and topping pizzas—and chatting with any guests you might have over when it’s pizza night.
For context, when I did a stint at Paulie Gee’s original location a few years back, the entire pizzamaking process was broken up among three people: “Oven,” whose job consisted entirely of managing the fire and cooking the pizzas, and Stretcher and Topper, doing exactly what you’d think.
That’s not to say a good pizzamaker can’t do it all—and there are a handful of pros and a lot of Ooni owners who manage—but when you have friends over and/or kids in your hair, sometimes you want the set-it-and-forget-it option that the Ooni Propane Burner attachment offers.
The hook-up process
As you can see in the video, it’s just a matter of removing the Draft Defender from the rear using a torx driver tool, which is included in the gas attachment package. Then you simply insert the gas adaptor, situate it onto the screws, and tighten them—do not overtighten.
Then hook up the hose to a 20-pound propane tank and use a “soap test” to check for leaks—spread a 1:1 mixture of dish soap and water on the hose joints, turn on the gas, and watch for bubbles, which would indicate leaks.
If you want to use the oven with those mini 1-pound cans of cook-stove propane, you’ll need an adaptor, available on the Ooni website. I didn’t get a chance to try that, as all 1-pound cans in the Catskills while we were there were sold out (thanks to a power outage shortly before we arrived).
How long will a propane tank last?
Some have asked in my Instagram DMs how long a propane tank will last. I haven’t used my Karu enough to know. Per the Ooni website, though, propane use rate is 350 grams per hour. If my math is right, that’s nearly 26 hours from a full 20-pound tank. At that rate/calculation, a 1-pound camp-stove can (453.5 grams) would work out to about 1.5 hours. Keep in mind you’ll need to factor in warm-up time and stone recovery time between pizzas. (Units in ‘Murcan here, as I’m not sure what’s available outside the US.)
Managing the propane flame
Other than that, I found while cooking my first several pies that my M.O. evolved to turning the gas on full blast for 10–15 minutes before cooking, then turning it down to medium-low/low just before launching the pizza. This ensured that the stone was hot but that the top wasn’t getting cooked faster than the crust could finish.
I’ll continue to post on the blog as I do more cooks. Until then, hasta la pizza!