And summer is upon us, the season of cooking, grilling and bar-b-que. As I am tending to shy away from large blocks of animal proteins on a regular basis, I find myself looking to some more unusual meals on the grill.
Breads, flatbreads in general and pizza in specific are the first thing to come to mind. There are a number of pizza specific cooking devices on the market, but I am looking for something more general in tasking.
Madam Badwolf and I spent several months researching grills, what we have found is that the number of BUT’s per square cooking surface inch varies wildly. In a general statement, most grill burners will generate 10,000 per burner, with some specialty “Sear burners” generating 15,000. If one sums up the number of BTU’s and divides by the number of square inches of cooking area, one find a GENERAL idea of the available heat to perform the cooking function.
In MY SPECIFIC instance, I have 6 burners at 10K and one sear burner at 15K, my cooking area (the area on the main grates) is 550 square inches, so I have approx 110 BTU’s per square inch. Some of the grills we examined we as low as 40. I have found that anything less than 60 BTU’s per square inch does not perform well for must grilling functions, must less acting as a “Pizza Oven.”
I use the main burners for most cooking functions and only use the sear function in pre-heat mode.
As for a baking stone, this is all about how much heat I can pump into the stone and how much it will retain, very similar to a cast-iron skillet. One can use a traditional stone to use a cast iron grill pan or use steel. My specific steel is 1/2″, with a weight of 22 lbs, and covers approx 300 square inches of cooking surface. In general, I am looking for a crisp crust with a bit of char.
As I have stated prior, I am looking to create an outdoor pizza oven for cooking pizza, flatbreads, and once I have the various individualities worked out of my setup, the actual cooking of bread.
I have found that a decent infrared thermometer is key to getting the pre-heat and heat correct. For pizza, we want a stone/steel surface temperature of approx 450-475, and an overall grill box temperature of 350.
I am sure I will add refinements to this, perhaps elevate the stone on firebrick and cook directly on the grill or in a grill pan, simulating a brick hearth type environment. In any configuration, a solid 45 minute to 1 hour pre-heat time is necessary
At this point, I am almost certain I have committed a thousand and one sins against the pizza community and have totals annoyed the flatbreaders, but life and cooking is a journey. The trip is the reason.
The British thermal unit (BTU or Btu) is a unit of heat; it is defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. It is also part of the United States customary units. Heat is now known to be equivalent to energy. The modern SI unit for heat and energy is the joule (J); one BTU equals about 1,055 J
Another legacy unit for energy in the metric system is the calorie, which is defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. While units of heat are often supplanted by energy units in scientific work, they are still used in some fields. For example, in the United States the price of natural gas is quoted in dollars per million BTUs.
Pizza is an Italian dish consisting of a usually round, flattened base of leavened wheat-based dough topped with tomatoes, cheese, and often various other ingredients (such as anchovies, mushrooms, onions, olives, pineapple, meat, etc.), which is then baked at a high temperature, traditionally in a wood-fired oven. A small pizza is sometimes called a pizzetta. A person who makes pizza is known as a pizzaiolo.
In Italy, pizza served in formal settings, such as at a restaurant, is presented unsliced, and is eaten with the use of a knife and fork. In casual settings, however, it is cut into wedges to be eaten while held in the hand.
The term pizza was first recorded in the 10th century in a Latin manuscript from the Southern Italian town of Gaeta in Lazio, on the border with Campania. Modern pizza was invented in Naples, and the dish and its variants have since become popular in many countries. It has become one of the most popular foods in the world and a common fast food item in Europe and North America, available at pizzerias (restaurants specializing in pizza), restaurants offering Mediterranean cuisine, and via pizza delivery. Many companies sell ready-baked frozen pizzas to be reheated in an ordinary home oven.
- Gas Grill, Pizza Stone / Steel, Pizza peel
- 1 bag Prepared pizza dough Usually enough for 2 pies
- 1/2 cup Pizza Sauce
- 8 oz Mozzarella low moisture
- 4 oz Pepperoni
- 1 small Red Onion Peeled, sliced THINGLY
- 1 ea Jalapeno OPTIONAL, sliced thinly
- 1/2 cup Avocado Oil
- Preheat grill and stone/steel to ~ 350 / 400
- Bring dough to room temperature if refrigerated
- If using a steel oil generously, I use avocado oil
- Divide dough in half
- Flour your peel and stretch out the dough to the size/thickness desired.
- Using a brush very lightly oil the entire top side of the pizza
- CAREFULLY, flip the oiled surface of the dough onto the pizza stone/steel. THIS THIS IS A BRANDING IRON, so try to avoid any third-degree burns
- Close the grill and cook for 4-6 minutes until a crust forms and starts to take color.
- Using the pizza peel, flip the dough and dress as desired.
- Close the grill and cook 8-15 minutes, checking every 4.
- Use the peel to move to cutting board and rest 5 minute
- Cut Serve and eat.
- Watch your heat, I suggest an infrared thermometer. Looking for 300-400 on the steel.
- Top your pizza sparingly
- Cook raw toppings.
- Uncooked raw toppings must be WAFER THIN.
- You will NEVER, EVER, EVER get a decent-looking round pizza, go with the flow, go rustic.
- Expect some charred burnt bits, it is part of the experiance.
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