Weber Kettle Pizza

by zydecopaws on April 14, 2009

Ready for the house

Ready for the house

I’ve been wanting to try to BBQ pizza for a couple of months now, and tonight was the night.  After doing some research on the BBQ-Brethren forums (and drooling over results from some of the Brothers), watching a few YouTube videos, and seeing what Google had to offer, I figured I was ready to go…

The spouse picked up some pre-made dough (plain, whole wheat, and garlic-herb) from Trader Joe’s this afternoon, so at least I didn’t have to worry about making my own.  For the first attempt, figured I would use the plain dough as if things went horribly wrong (good chance of this given all the different techniques and suggestions I found during the research phase) I wouldn’t feel too bad about tossing out the results and trying again.  Following the instructions on the bag, I lightly floured a wooden cutting board and set the dough out to rest.  I guess it got tired from the trip home from the store and being removed from the bag (kind of like my attempts at humor)…

The Weber OTG was then fired up with a full chimney of charcoal (most of which was leftover from a previous cook).  Once the charcoal was all flaming well, it was spread evenly all around the edge of the BBQ, leaving a circular space for indirect cooking.  I sprinkled some mesquite shavings I had laying around over the charcoal, and then placed my wife’s large pizza stone (little over 14″ in diameter) directly on the center of the grill.  I put the cover on the kettle, and went back in the house to finish the pizza assembly while the stone heated.

I did my best to create a nice round pizza crust, but having no experience at this left me at a bit of a disadvantage.  I had a thin dusting of flour on the cutting board, and made sure the dough wasn’t sticking to it before finishing it off.  Toppings were a homemade sauce (tomato sauce, tomato paste, minced garlic, olive oil, and Italian seasonings), feta cheese, Canadian bacon, fresh pineapple, and a fine dusting of Italian seasonings.

Then the fun began.  The process of getting the pizza (which by then had absorbed all of the flour and was sticking to the cutting board like glue) onto the stone proved to be a bit of a challenge.  The wife was summoned, and between the two of us and several kitchen utensils later we were able to transfer the almost round but evenly covered pizza to the stone.  It wasn’t centered, round, or evenly covered any more, but neither were we at this point.  The lid went on the kettle, the timer was set for 10 minutes, and the homemade thermometer for the old WSM was retrieved and put to use.  The kettle reached about 475°F and stayed there for the full time.

At the 10 minute mark, the lid came off, and since the pizza looked mostly done, we took it off, sliced it up, and gave it a try.  Surprisingly enough, and in spite of the fact that where the crust was too thick as a result of the transfer process it was a bit on the underdone side, the pizza was very tasty.  It disappeared in minutes, and the youngest said it tasted better than what we normally bring home from the local take and bake pizza chain.  Where the crust was still thin, it was nice and crispy, and the pizza had a great smokey flavor.  The toppings blended well, and the feta cheese gave it a much stronger flavor than the usual mozzarella (which we were out of).

Since the grill was still hot and there was more dough, sauce, and toppings, I figured that we would try another one.  This time we put the dough in a large aluminum foil pie pan leftover from a store-bought dessert long since forgotten.  The same toppings went on, and the pie went on the stone while still in the pan.  By now the kettle had cooled a bit; the temperature was down to about 425°F for most of the cook.  The pizza wasn’t done at 10 minutes, but then we got the idea to slide it out of the pan and directly onto the stone.  About 6 minutes later the pizza was done, and this time the results were much more even.  The flavor was a little different due to a different crust (garlic-herb) and all the mesquite being long burned away, but still very tasty.

All in all, this was a great learning experience and dinner was really good in spite of the challenges.  Next time we will be better prepared; the wife will be prowling the thrift stores looking for round pizza or cookie sheets so that we can have thin crust pizza on the grill.   I will also try to take better pictures next time so that I can post instructions in the recipe section.

Vital Statistics:

  • BBQ Start time: 17:05
  • Meal time: 17:45 (for the first pizza)
  • Temperature:     47°F
  • Dew Point:     28°F
  • Humidity:    48%
  • Wind:    NW at 6mph
  • Daily Precip.:    0.04 in

For whatever reason, it seemed really cold outside today, even after the sun came out.  See what a few days of warmer weather do?  At any rate, once the sun was out, it seemed like a requirement that I go outside and experiment.  Mission accomplished…

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