Pizza, Pizza on the grill

I LOVE pizza, it is one of my favorite foods and is great hot or cold whether for dinner, lunch or breakfast. I have cooked pizza in the oven , on the grill (weber, gas or BGE) but they have all lacked “something” that you get at a great pizzeria. I especially enjoyed those over 30 years ago when I worked for Philips and stayed for training in New Haven, CT where I became enamored of garlic as a pizza topping. 

I use a Large Big Green Egg for most of my grilling, smoking, BBQ adventures. However, as is for pizza, it is lacking as I would ofren end up with burnt crust and watery or undercooked toppings. So one night while searching for ideas, as I was thinking of making a pizza oven adapter, up popped the web site for the Pizza Porta.  Basically an adapter that turns the BGE into a pizza oven. I ordered one (for my birthday) set up for 2 pizza stones and long handled aluminum peel (I do have to look the part as I attempt to finesse the pizzas).   Apparently due to COVID and lots of folks baking bread pizza stones were in short supply. I have my BGE stone and ordered a Kamado Joe pizza stone form Ace. Don’t even think of using a thin Pampered CHef stone on the grill – It WILL crack after a few uses.

First time use of the Pizza Porta was a circus / carnival of errors.  I threw in a bunch of hard lump charcoal but did not clean out the ashes or remove the cherry log pieces that had been used for a prior roast . LOTS of smoke and being unskilled with a pizza peel coupled with a too wet crust (80% hydration), led to 4 pizzas of fairly weird shapes and a fair amount of toppings being fed to the grill Gods.   This was edible and the kids / grand kids loved it but there was a lot of room for improvement.  The goat cheese , speck (like prosciutto), pistaschios (drizzled with honey after baking) was the best.

Second use was only slightly better. I forgot to place the ConVegtor (head deflector) on the grill under the stones. This meant the bottom pizza (Teal’s of course had a very charred crust (not just black in spots but charred).   Lets not repeat that mistake . However switching to a 60% hydration dough recipe made the dough slide off the peels,  more nicely (but still a bit fussy) and we only lost one slice of pepperoni to the grill . However the dough for mine was underdone (yet not blackened)

I was still worried about getting the dough consistency right for my meager pizzaiola skills and I was also looking for diastatic malt powder for the crust. This lead me to PennMac.com  which not only had the malt powder, but also pizza screens, incredible olives and other goodies (yes the surcharge for perishable goods in summer is worth it.  They do an incredible job packing the goodies).

So now armed with more tools, I made a new batch of dough. 60 % hydration and instead of using a poolish I used sour dough discard (actually most of the starter I had in the fridge).   The dough recipe will be another post.

Pizza Porta in BGE, heatermeter, peel and tools

After an all day rise, we cut the dough into 2 balls which rested on the counter  (80F) for a couple of hours and then formed the crusts. Just gentle pulling and pushing (no need for a rolling pin) . The crusts were placed on the 12″ screens and docked (poke holes to prevent big bubbles).   These were baked at 500F for 2 minutes, taken out and inverted onto another peel, ready for topping . I was having a hard time getting the temp anywhere near  500-600F so I enlisted the help of Heatermeter and the fan helped a lot but still would not go above 500 (need a bigger fan) .

Teal’s was one of our go-to favorites: home made tomato sauce, shredded, slivered onions, shredded part skim mozzarella,  dabs of fresh mozzarella  and turkey pepperoni.

Mine was: tomato sauce (heated), italian seasoning, shredded onions, shredded mozzarella , but slightly sparse, 6 cloves of garlic slivered and pre-cooked in olive oil, sliced black olives and a few pieces of pepperoni.

Each was cooked for a total of 10 min at 500F rotating between bottom and top pizza stones.

Darn good eats. Not perfect yet, but we are definitely  getting closer. Technique still needs a lot of work as I nearly lost a bunch of toppings. The BGE ash clean out tool does work as a great pizza grabber when it just does not want to get on the peel .  Pizza crust is nicely brown with very dark spots but not charred.