The Ooni Koda 16 has two temperature modes which are, essentially, hot and hotter. Unlike home ovens that allow you to set a specific temperature, this oven is built to climb temperature. This can make it difficult when trying to make a New York-style pie. And yes, I wrote pie, because “that's what New Yorkers call pizza!”
NY-style pizza is baked in ovens between 550 and 700ish degrees. Unlike Neapolitan pizzas, New York-style pizzas take around 5 to 8 mins to bake. This leaves you with a pizza that is firmer, crunchy and because of the long cook, the cheese has a wonderful sheen of white and orange.
Since there’s a bit of a learning curve to figuring out the temperature of the Ooni Koda 16, my first NY-style pies were, well, a little burnt. Eventually, I learned to turn the oven off during the bake. The residual heat would cook the pizza fully at a low temperature, and toward the end I would flip the oven back on to melt the cheese and add some nice color on top of the pie.
Another learning experience with this oven is the floor temperature. Naturally, the hottest parts of the oven are closest to the heat sources. While testing, I noticed that the temperature closest to the heating element would be 100 degrees hotter than the floor on the other side of the oven. You really have to keep an eye on your pizza to make sure it’s not burnt on one side.
This oven excels at cooking things hot and fast, and because of that I did not try cooking a deep-dish pizza or even a Detroit-style pizza But why limit this machine to pizza? My third test was a NY Strip.
I placed an oven-safe cast iron skillet in the oven and waited for it to heat up to 700ish degrees. Once my pan was nice and hot, I did a quick sear on the steaks and cooked them to a nice rare (I like my pizzas baked well, and my meat still bleeding). The Ooni gave these NY Strips a sear I used to only find in steakhouses.