A standard gas grill can be easily converted into a great pizza oven. In my case, I’ve been able to achieve stone temperatures up to 850 F in 40 minutes, using only two burners. I posted two youtube videos, one shows making pizza, and the other shows the oven design. Just do a search on "Rotisserie Pizza Grill" and both videos will immediately appear. (Sorry, I tried to hyperlink but am not allowed as a "new member".)
By way of background, I love the “Little Black Egg” design. I was about to build my own egg when I realized that it wouldn’t fit on the patio. (But I still yearn for the sound of the LBE, roaring like a 747 at the beginning of a short runway.)
My neighbor buddy, “Bob, the Pizza Doctor”, has a professional Cecilware oven running on 220 volts. But, I’m no doctor. I’m more of a frustrated engineer, with kids in college (read: broke) and a big appetite for good pizza.
Here were my design goals
• Use the propane grill I already have
• Make it dual purpose (grill or pizza oven)
• Inexpensive to build
• Energy efficient
• Short TTP – Time To Pie
After some experimentation, I met with success in “Rotisserie Pizza Grill 1.0”. RPG 1.0 was simply a free Craigs List grill cover that fit inside my existing larger grill. I used only one bottom burner plus the side rotisserie burner to achieve separate control of the top, and bottom, of the cordite stone temperature. RPG 1.0 also included a pin mounted to the center grate to enable manual rotation of pizza stone. In short, the pin sits slightly above the grill surface and, when located in the center of the cordite, it allows the stone to rotate freely. Excellent results were achieved. Remember: good enough is, good enough. Stop reading now.
RPG 2.0 is where I got really stupid. After days, and some sleepless nights, I fell in love with the idea of converting the automatic rotisserie motor into something that turned the stone at 700 F or more. The design that finally worked reliably is shown in the videos. With RPG 2.0 I cut down the oven hood and enjoyed a dramatic reduction in the TTP. As an example, the original full-sized Craigs List hood took approximately 40 minutes to reach 650 F while this low-profile hood took only 22 minutes and I like saving propane almost as much as eating pizza. I also added a door on the oven with 2.0, with a slot borrowed from the LBE, so that all the hot convection air would flow over the pie and out the front. Where does one find bearings that operate in an open flame? Good question. It turns out that those bronze bushings at Ace Hardware, that spec out at 650F work fine (up to at least 850 F in my tests).
I’m trying to remind myself that I’m in the “pizza eating business” not the “oven design business”, but it’s hard not to think about RPG 3.0 and 4.0. In 3.0, I’m thinking about the absolute minimum volumetric hood over my 16” stone – something like a round Weber grill lid morphing into a rectangular back so I can still use the rotisserie burner. If done properly, I might be able to cut the TTP from 30 minutes to 20. In RPG 4.0, I’m thinking about pizza parties with friends, and making a lot of pies in a short period of time. In that case, I’m confident that rotisserie motor has more than enough power to turn two stones at once. By locating two drive wheels where adjacent stones would (almost) touch, the stones would rotate in opposite directions (think crazy eyes in TV cartoons). In this configuration I would have three underside burners available and one rotisserie burner. I’m quite sure it would work, but I’m trying not to think about it and just enjoy the pie.