More Pizza on Weber Kettle

Discussion in 'Grilling Tips' started by deltadude, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm still on my weber kettle pizza oven fired pizza quest. Once again the goal is to achieve cooking a pizza on a weber kettle with the taste and quality of oven fired pizza. The cooking process needs to be the same as pizza oven, meaning place pizza in oven and cook both top and bottom at same time. NOT, cook one side, remove add toppings and return to cook uncooked side and toppings.

    My 1st & 2nd attempt are discussed here.

    3rd attempt tonight was more or less just cooking pizza, no real changes to mention.

    My setup:
    • 221/2" weber kettle. (I have lined the lid with heavy duty aluminum foil, to act as both a insulator and heat reflector.)
    • Pizza stone = cordierite octagon shape Kiln Stone Shelf 15x16x5/8 rated to cone 7 or about 2200F.
    • Pizza stone is elevated above cooking grate 2.5 in on aluminum cooking ring.
    • Use 2 starter cans of Kingsford briquettes, either 2 stage process or all at once.
    • Single stage process: start one can until all briquettes are completely lit. Pour lit briquettes into weber, add 2nd can un-unlit briquettes. Next put grill & stone in and cover. Preheat for 45 minutes.
    • Two stage process: same as single stage except use 1st can to preheat weber & stone, when 2nd starter can lit, add to weber when ready to make briquette ring.
    • 10-15 minutes prior to cooking pizza make briquette ring, I remove stone & cooking grill, move all briquettes around to edges, leaving about 8 to 10 inch bare center on briquette rack. Replace cooking grill & stone and come back up to temperature.
    • Make shift pizza peel.
    • Large Stainless Steel Spatula.
    • Tin pizza pan to use when need to cook toppings longer, plus move pizza to oven.
    Dough & toppings:
    • Trader Joes pizza dough
    • Toppings,
    • Cheese was blend of 2/3 mozzarella, 1/3 monterey jack, 1/3 mild cheddar.
    • Italian sausage
    • Pepperoni
    • chopped bell pepper, onion, green onion, tomatoes, mushrooms, olives.
    • tomato basil, garlic sauce.
    Procedures I use:
    • Temperatures needs to be above 550-600 deg. to cook both crust and toppings.
    • I make the pizza on the pizza peel using corn meal on peel to make sure pizza slides off smoothly when moving pizza to stone.
    • After Pizza cooked 2 or 3 minutes use either peel or long spatula to turn pizza 90deg on stone. (I use spatula, my peel is only make shift). Every 1.5 minutes turn pizza another 90deg.
    • If pizza crust is cooking too fast, and toppings still need cooking, move pizza to pizza pan and put pan on stone to finish.
    • Remember each time you remove lid heat is escaping and each successive pizza will take a little longer. Attempt to not open lid completely if possible.
    This cook, changes from above setup:
    Tried lump charcoal.
    Could only get wheat Trader Joe's pizza dough.
    Used fresh basil.

    I'm not used to using lump charcoal. I lit a starter can full, added to weber, was surprised how little charcoal the pile was. I intended to use 2 stage heating, but the temperature gage after 30 minutes only showed 300 deg. Normally one starter can of briquettes gets the weber & stone up to 500 - 600 deg. I decided it was too late to fool around, I dumped the remains from a bag of Kingsford briquettes in, about 1.5 starter can amount. 30 minutes later, after all the ingredients were prep and ready, the temperature was still only about 550-600 deg. I did the briquette ring on the cooking grate. If you are wondering why the briquette ring? On previous attempts the center of each pizza would burn before toppings were finished. I felt part of the solution was to get the heat around the stone, to heat the air flowing over the pizza. Yes it is a hassle to remove stone & cooking grate, plus lose all that heat build up, therefore wait 10 or 15 minutes after replacing grate/stone/lid to get heat back up. Another benefit of the briquette ring, is moving the briquettes and opening the lid really gets the briquettes HOT. You should be able to cook 2 or 3 pizza with this setup.

    You will notice my pizza shaping skills suck big time, I need a lot of practice.

    1st pizza cooked for total 6 to 7 minutes on stone 2 minutes in pan on stone.
    2.5 minutes until 1st rotation of crust on stone.
    Every 1.5 minutes rotate pizza on stone.
    Crust, bottom nice crunch, sides slight cracker then inside dough soft. Toppings done. This pizza could have cooked 1 minute longer before moving to pan. Even though initial taste of crust/dough was good, after sitting in oven waiting to serve; Served about 20 minutes later the inside dough was a bit chewy (not doughy though.

    Notice bottom crust has nice spot charring and resulted in nice crunch. Bottom was not burned at all.

    2nd pizza, we had some tearing problems with dough. Reshaping and kneading didn't produce the desired round or even semi round shape. Instead the result is sort of a glob. We loaded the 2nd pizza glob with all the remaining toppings and cheese. So this pizza had to cook longer for the toppings to be cooked.
    2nd pizza cooked 8 minutes on stone 2 to 3 minutes pan on stone.

    There was only 3 of us tonight to evaluate the pizza, my daughter who on previous pizza cooks had been working, thus had not tasted fresh hot off the bbq pizza, and my wife. Both the wife and daughter gave thumbs up to the Glob! My wife said, "this tastes like something you get from a good Italian restaurant or pizzeria. The daughter said, no more take out pizza, this is way better.

    Sorry last pic a bit blurry.

    Some final thoughts.
    The results were decent and I would have no problem serving guests these pizzas. However I need to learn to make my own dough, do my own sauce instead of a kicked up store version.
    Controlling the heat above the stone is a real challenge. I have read where others are suspending pizza stones or plates above the pizza to either reflect heat or hold enough heat to cook the toppings as fast as the crust. Their goal is to achieve 800-1000 deg to cook Neapolitan pizza in approx. 90 seconds. My desire is to cook a variety of pizzas thick, thin, medium in a weber kettle with only slight modifications that anyone can do.
  2. krusher

    krusher Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    looks good , thanks for the info
  3. lcruzen

    lcruzen Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I missed the other threads and need to catch up but what a great post! This is something I been interested in trying but just haven't. Points for ya!
  4. vlap

    vlap Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    My old boss Todd English ( used to say "Never trust a round Pizza"

    I see the temps you mentioned and wonder if 800 is needed. I usually aim for 500 and rarely use a stone. Even when we made pizza at Olives in the wood burning brick oven it was not more then 600 and that felt hot. All heat was along edges and we cooked directly on the surface of the oven. If your stone is getting too hot I wonder if you have too much heat under it? I try to cook the crusts indirectly. (I think you mentioned doing that)

    As for making your own sauce its relatively easy. Get some good canned tomatoes, saute some garlic lightly and then add the tomatoes along with juices, add in some red pepper flakes to taste, oregano and thyme (dry or fresh) a splash of acidic red wine, salt and pepper to taste. Mash the tomatoes to the desired consistency. Reduce to a desired thickness.

    I often (when feeling lazy) just get a good organic tomato puree and add some herbs, acid, s&p.

    As for the crust it can be as simple as water, flour, yeast and salt. I like to add some herbs. Steven Rachlin (BBQ U.) uses molasses in his.

    Here is a basic recipe:
    Basic Pizza Dough

    1 3/4 cup warm water
    1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast (recommended: RapidRise)
    2 teaspoons salt
    4 1/2 to 5 cups bread flour
    3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for bowl
    Cornmeal, for pan

    Preheat oven at 450 degrees F. Measure out 1 3/4 cups warm water (it should be pleasantly warm on your wrist). Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and allow it to activate, about 10 minutes.
    Put the salt and 2 cups of the flour into a food processor. Pulse 5 times to blend. Pour in the yeast and water and pulse 5 times. Add the olive oil. Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time, pulsing and scraping the sides of the bowl until well blended. As soon as the mixture is combined, dump it out onto a well-floured board and knead for 15 turns, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
    Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn to coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes, until doubled in size, then punch it down. Divide it in half; each half will make 1 (12-inch) pizza.
    Place on a cornmeal-dusted pizza stone, pizza pan, or cookie sheet. Roll up edge slightly to create a ridge around the pizza. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until crust is light brown.
    Cook's Note: If using only half dough, freeze the other half. Place the dough in a resealable freezer bag. To thaw, remove the bag from the freezer and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Roll the dough out while cold then allow it to come to room temperature before adding toppings.
  5. vlap

    vlap Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Pizza Dough from Todd English taken from his site.

    With a little bit of time and effort, Figs pizza dough can easily be mastered However, if you don't have the time or are intimidated by working with yeast, call your local pizza place and see if they'll sell you some of their dough. In some areas you can buy refrigerated dough (not the kind in a tube); this would also work well. If you use a heavy, bready, prebaked, vacuum-packed pizza crust, it just won't be the same.
    Our dough is far wetter than you'd ever believe; it makes a light, crisp crust It may take you a few tries before you get it right. Be patient and err on the side of underworking the dough; if you overwork it, the crust will be tough and dry.
    This recipe makes four rounds of pizza, though the topping recipes make two pizzas. We figure that this way you only have to make the dough every other time. Simply wrap the remaining two balls of dough in plastic wrap and freeze for up to two weeks
    Makes four 8- to 10-inch pizzas
    (Serves 1 to 2 people per pizza)

    1/4 cup whole wheat flour
    3 1/2 cups all purpose flour plus additional for rolling
    2 teaspoons (1/4 ounce) fresh yeast
    2 teaspoons kosher salt
    2 teaspoons sugar
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    1 2/3 cups lukewarm water

    • Place the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour; yeast, salt, and sugar in a mixer fitted with a dough hook. While the mixer is running, gradually add the oil and water. Knead on low speed until the dough is firm and smooth, about 10 minutes.

    • Divide the dough into four balls, about 7 1/2 ounces each. Line two cookie
    sheets with parchment paper. Place two balls on a sheet and cover with a damp towel. Let them rise in a warm spot until they have doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

    • To roll out the dough: Dab your fingers in flour and then place 1 ball on a generously floured work surface and press down in the center with the tips of your fingers, spreading the dough with your hand. When the dough has doubled in width, use a floured rolling pin and roll out until it is very thin, like flatbread. The outer border should be a little thicker than the inner circle. Pick the dough up with a spatula or the back of a knife, allowing it to fold up almost like an umbrella and transfer it to a paddle. Do not worry that the pizza is not round, you are looking for; an 8- to 10-inch shape, a cross between an oval and a rectangle. If you get a hole; simply pinch the edges back together. Repeat with the remaining balls and proceed; with any of the following recipes.
  6. vlap

    vlap Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I forgot to mention. That is an INCREDIBLE looking pizza you made there. I would be happy to eat a pizza that looks like that.
  7. solar

    solar Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Man that pizza looks great, that made me hungry and now I want one for lunch.
  8. vlap

    vlap Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yeah he has me feeling inspired now as well. I think tomorrow will be a pizza day. Pesto, shrimp and provolone is coming to mind.
  9. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    You see your old boss on Iron Chef America last night? Secret ingrediant oddly enough was Pizza dough.

    Old episode from 2005. Thought of you when I saw the Olives embroidered on the jackets.

    Pizza looks great Delta Dude.
  10. vlap

    vlap Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Darn! I missed that. I would have loved to see it.
  11. dingle

    dingle Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Vlap, Todd has quite the "resume". Very accomplished!
  12. blacklab

    blacklab Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    deltadude Nice job!
    A week or so ago my eldest daughter ask if pizza can be cooked on the grill. I said sure, anything that can be cooked in a oven can be cooked on the weber with practice. Thanks for the info! The next time I make my pulled pork pizza, it's on the grill. Points for ya [​IMG]
  13. smokin365

    smokin365 Smoking Fanatic

    Looks better than most pizzas ive ever seen! [​IMG]
  14. bigwayne

    bigwayne Smoke Blower

    Love reading your pizza grilling adventures. I am going to do some experiments on the grill on Sunday. Hope they turn out as well as yours.

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