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“Wait, so are we done with our oven?” I had just cooked our third meal on the Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1, roasted salmon, potatoes, and onions (some pan-fried broccoli rabe rounded out the meal). My husband’s question was echoing my own thoughts. Increasingly it seemed that the Ninja Woodfire Oven was making our conventional oven obsolete, as it became the obvious choice for everything from weekday dinners to entertaining.
I had watched a number of friends equip their patios with a variety of smokers and pizza ovens and elaborate grills over the years, but had never ventured in that direction myself: It just seemed like a lot of real estate and expense for something that would sit unused most of the time. But the Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1 Outdoor Oven is different. It’s able to tackle all of those functions, and a few others to boot, while coming in at a significantly smaller footprint. Let’s take a look.
Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1 Outdoor Oven Specs and Key Features
Max Temperature: 700 degrees Fahrenheit
Voltage: 120 volts
Wattage: 1700 watts
Dimensions: 21.5 x 18 x 15.1 inches
Weight : 32.4 pounds
Cord Length: 4 feet, 7 inches
Eight Settings: Pizza, max roast, specialty roast, broil, bake, smoke, dehydrate, and keep warm
Woodfire smoke can be added to most settings
Also includes a pan, pizza stone, roast rack, accessory frame, pellet scoop, quick start guide, all-purpose blend wood pellets
As it says in the name, the Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1 Outdoor Oven has eight main settings, which range from “warm” to “pizza,” and include dehydrate, smoker, bake, broil, specialty roast, and max roast setting. But the setting that is most likely to get home chefs’ attention is the one labeled “woodfire flavor.” By pressing this button and adding a half cup of pellets to a small pullout on the right side of the unit, you can add woodfire flavor to any setting except “warm” and “broil.” Woodfire flavor for your pizza. Your ribs. Your potatoes.
The quick start guide provides plenty of instructions to get rolling with the oven right out of the box. A table lays out temperatures and times for different meat cuts and vegetables. It tells you just how long you should cook a Porterhouse for when the oven is set to 700 degrees (super fast, as it turns out, only six minutes). The pizza setting allows for additional customization depending on the style of pizza you are cooking: Neapolitan, New York, deep dish, frozen. The pan you are cooking on goes inside while you wait for the oven to preheat. This is a surprisingly easy-to-use piece of gear, especially for home cooks who have limited experience with a smoker or outdoor pizza ovens.
Testing the Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1 Outdoor Oven in the Field
Initially, I had hoped to take the Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1 Outdoor Oven with me out on a car camping trip or similar: Wood-fired pizzas around an actual campfire would be hard to beat. That is, until it turned out to be perfect for my limited outdoor space. Sure, we had a lot of fun with the pizza oven feature, and smoking venison roasts when some friends came over for dinner. But what makes this oven more than a novelty is that it’s simply faster and easier to use than the one in our kitchen. With a small child, we don’t always have a lot of time to get dinner on the table when she gets home from school. The Ninja has not only made dinner more interesting (and tasty) to prepare and eat, it’s also often faster than other options.
Potatoes and venison going into the Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1 Outdoor Oven. Laura Lancaster
Over the course of several weeks, I made a pizza, broiled salmon, roasted venison, and dehydrated an Asian pear. Each time, I gave myself plenty of time to make sure I knew what to do, and each time I had dinner underway faster than I had expected.
This meal came out perfectly with minimal effort, ready to share with friends and family. Laura Lancaster
One catch I kept running into, though, is when to add the oil to the pan. Typically when I roast potatoes at home I add the olive oil and the garlic directly to the pan while it’s preheating in the oven. That way the oil is nice and hot and flavorful when I add the potatoes, which helps to ensure the potatoes form a nice skin rather than going mushy.
The Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1 directions are clear that while you should preheat your pan in the oven, you shouldn’t add the oil. That’s because the high heat of the oven can cause the oil to catch fire. Instead they recommend adding the oil directly to whatever it is you’re cooking. In my experience, this leaves the roasted potatoes with less of a crispy exterior than is my preference. However, the flavor is exceptional when cooked this way, so it balances out.
Something else I appreciate about the Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1 Outdoor Oven is that it is made out of robust materials. While mine is stationed on a covered patio, it is exposed to a ton of eastern exposure sun, and a not insignificant amount of rain. Even when I forget to throw the cover on top, it’s proven to be surprisingly robust and hardy. It looks exactly the same now as when I pulled it out of the box over a month ago. This one is made to last.
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What the Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1 Outdoor Oven Does Best
It’s not often that I think a piece of gear that costs $400 is a steal, but the Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1 Outdoor Oven absolutely is. Gas pizza ovens typically cost around the same amount as the Ninja, and don’t have the same versatility. It performed equally well whether I was dehydrating some pears for a snack, firing up a pizza for a quick dinner, or cooking a whole meal on a single pan. This outdoor oven really will change the way you cook.
Basically a whole meal for a family of three, cooked on a single pan. Laura Lancaster
I was also delighted with how small it is. I have a fairly limited amount of usable outdoor space to work with, and the Ninja fit in nicely with the rest of my setup. It didn’t even particularly block my view across the lake I live on.
The last thing that I love about the Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1: It’s great cooking outside. There are both aesthetic reasons for this, but also practical. Since my test of the best air quality monitors, I’ve been more aware than ever how much cooking indoors can tank your home’s air quality, even when you’re being careful not to burn anything. I suspect that I will continue to get a lot of use out of the Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1 Outdoor Oven even in the winter months. It has a fairly large screen indicating the time left and the interior temperature, which means I can see where it is without having to open my screen door to check.
Where the Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1 Outdoor Oven Can Improve
While the Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1 Outdoor Oven is exceptionally space efficient, it’s not quite portable in the way that a camp stove is. It weighs in at 32.5 pounds (not including extras like the pizza stone and peel), but its size and shape makes for an awkward carry. If you were really determined, you could move it to a campsite location, but most people will probably find an honored spot for it on the back deck and leave it at that.
While larger portable power stations can handle the output needs of the Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1 Outdoor Oven, don’t expect them to last too long. Laura Lancaster
The other limiting factor to traveling with this outdoor oven is its power needs. While the Ninja Woodfire Oven uses fewer watts for what it’s doing than a conventional oven, it’s still too high to use this off grid. Early on in testing I plugged the Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1 Outdoor Oven into a 2,000kwh portable power station (the Anker SOLIX F2000) and was surprised that the Anker was on track to drain in less than an hour.
One small detail about the Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1 Outdoor Oven that I wish was different is the power cord. It’s on the short side (less than 5 feet long). During testing I had to scrounge up a power extension strip so that it would reach the nearest power outlet. While I appreciate that it gave the overall oven a sleeker appearance, and might help prevent someone from tripping, it would be nice to have a longer cord to accommodate different setups that could retract inside the unit itself.
Prior to this test, I’d been feeling some FOMO as I watched friends and relatives kit out their decks with pizza ovens and smokers. But the expense and the requisite space each of these culinary toys took up made it hard to commit to any of them. The Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1 Outdoor Oven changes that, giving you the versatility to cook virtually any meal that you would in a conventional oven. Why would you ever cook inside again?
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