Mothership Pizza Experiment

by zydecopaws on July 7, 2009

Leftover pizza was on the menu again tonight.  Not leftover as in pizza heated over again, but leftover as in toppings consisting of leftover BBQ from the weekend madness (Dysfunctional Family Dinner and Pork on the left, chicken on the right).  And since Auntie is visiting, a decision was made to make an extra pizza.  This led to the brilliant (?) idea that I could speed up the pizza process by cooking two at a time on the Mothership (Weber Ranch Kettle, to those of you visiting for the first time and not familiar with our site).

Given we are still working out some of the issues with the whole wheat dough not crisping up to our satisfaction, this was going to be a real experiment as I hadn’t attempted pizza on the Mothership before.  The whole wheat dough was essentially the mix we used before with some bread flour replacing a portion of the whole wheat flour and the recipe doubled with the intention of producing four pizzas.

Naturally, things didn’t work out according to plan.  It was unseasonably cold here today, and although I enjoyed it immensely, the pizza dough decided it wasn’t warm enough to rise to the occasion (pun intended) and make four pizzas.  This turned out to not be an issue, as it absolved me from having to make a veggie pizza with some sort of foo-foo sauce.

The first pizza was topped with our standard sauce, mozzarella cheese, pulled pork, and fresh pineapple.

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The second also used the standard sauce with pulled chicken, mozzarella cheese, olives, and mushrooms.

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The third pizza had a couple of tablespoons of the standard sauce mixed with some original flavor Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce, mozzarella cheese, chopped brisket, onions, and Anaheim peppers.

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The first two pizza pans were placed on bricks set on the grill.  I had the coals on both sides of the kettle in an attempt to more evenly distribute the heat.  Here is a picture that is likely to be one of my favorites for some time to come…

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No FauxQue here… The flames were a result of real hot charcoal and real dry apple smoke wood under it.  The cover went on and snuffed them out right quick, but they sure were purdy while they lasted.

As for the first two pizzas, they turned out less than perfect.  After about 20+ minutes on the grill I had to remove them as the toppings were beginning to burn.  The crust behaved pretty much the same as the last time; it never did crisp up properly.  Having said that, the flavor of the pizzas was still pretty good.  Here’s a picture of the pulled pork and pineapple pizza.  You can see where the pineapple is getting pretty brown and dry and the pork is looking a bit peaked…

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The pulled chicken, olive, and mushroom pizza fared a bit better (except for the shriveled and somewhat dry mushrooms).

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Attempting to learn from our mistakes, I trotted out the pizza stone for the brisket pizza and precooked the crust for about five minutes.  It then was topped and returned directly to the stone for another 18 minutes.  This one turned out much better, as the edge of the pizza had some crunch and the rest of the crust, although not crispy, was about the consistency you would expect from a thick crust pizza.  The flavor was great, it turns out that brisket makes for a wonderful pizza topping.

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For dessert I grilled the rest of the pineapple using the usual recipe with the addition of a dab of honey.  I remembered to take a picture (no pictures, didn’t happen) at the last minute; here’s my proof it happened with four slices that weren’t quite finished when the rest of the pineapple came off.

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Tonight was not a complete disaster as we learned several things.  First, the Mothership can do pizza, but isn’t the best choice unless I want to burn a lot more charcoal and or wood to heat it up properly.  Second, the stone really helps with the crust.  Third, I may have to swallow my pride and admit that my bride is correct in recommending we pre-cook the crust before topping if we want it crispy.  Last, even eating mistakes around here is pretty tasty…

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