Hello ADK -
Well - right off the bat, I can tell you that you won’t be happy w/ the Cortile Barile if you are entertaining large groups of people.
The Cortile Barile is designed to entertain group sizes of 1 - 15 people. That means, you can cook about 10 - 15 pizzas before you need to re-fire the oven to get her back to 900°+ degrees. Re-firing only takes about 15 minutes (to get the oven back to 900° after 30 - 45 minutes of use w/ the door off), but again, the cooking area is a limit to your aforementioned party size.
The Mattone Barile and Mattone Barile Grande would also be out since you mentioned high-heat (900°+) as a factor - the Cupolas will get hotter faster and stay hotter longer. Don’t get me wrong, the Barile and Barile Grande do get super-hot, but tend to cool off faster due to the large oven opening (which is nice to have when Wood-Fire BBQ’ing and smoking meat) and you can always close- off the front of the oven during oven construction.
Now - here’s where we are tip-toeing between the 28" Mattone Cupola and the 36" Mattone Cupola… The 28" is the perfect oven for party sizes of 1 - 25 people. The 36" is better for party sizes of 20 - 50 people. You can cook more in 36", but you have to consider:
The 36" will require a bit more firewood to heat-up - and stay hot.
The 36" will require a few more bags of refractory to build
The 36" will require an additional box of insulation blanket (an inexpensive add-on that will keep the oven hot and require less re-firing periods).
The 36" costs more as it is shipped via Freight truck (not a FedEx Ground truck which is considerably less expensive on our end).
But biggest factor that I tell our customers that have the same question (should I get the 28" or 36" Cupola), is this…
Will you be cooking for large groups of people all the time? Is it worth firing an oven that will require more firewood and more cooking area to heat-up if it’s just you and the wife most of the time?
By that, I mean this - I have a family of 4… while we entertain large groups like our boys t-ball and lacrosse teams (around 15 kids and 30 parents), I don’t entertain enough to warrant a 36" Mattone Cupola in my backyard. That’s a good size oven! My 28" Cupola will feed 40 people over the course of an hour or so - while a 36" could feed them all in about 30 minutes (2 pizzas per 28" vs 4 - 5 pizzas for the 36").
Also keep this mind - when hosting parties, it’s much easier for you (the chef) to bake a variety of pizzas and breads and simply place them on a table as they come out of the oven. Holler-out what you are pulling from your oven and people wanting that type of pizza or other delicious food will come running…
“PEPPERONI AND BLACK OLIVE!”
“ONIONS, GREEN PEPPERS AND SAUSAGE!”
“SHRIMP SCAMPI AND STEAK DIANE”
“CANADIAN BACON (which is just ham) AND PINEAPPLE!”
“MOZZARELLA AND MUSHROOM!”
It’s a WHOLE LOT EASIER to do it this way as opposed to having your guests standing in line - plus, people rarely eat an entire pizza, so it’s easier (and more fun) to have your guests share their pizzas as they come out of the oven. PLUS - people get to try different types of pizzas and other foods!
I hope all that helped!