Author Topic: coal baked pizza in the Primo ceramic grill  (Read 18993 times)

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Offline gtsum2

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Re: coal baked pizza in the Primo ceramic grill
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2010, 02:26:44 PM »
looking good tran!  i am still experimenting with mine...getting closer, but I still have a ways to go...this pizza making business on the Primo is much, much harder then producing competition quality 'cue, let me tell ya1


Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: coal baked pizza in the Primo ceramic grill
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2010, 03:20:24 PM »
looking good tran!  i am still experimenting with mine...getting closer, but I still have a ways to go...this pizza making business on the Primo is much, much harder then producing competition quality 'cue, let me tell ya1

Thanks Gtsum.  I absolutely agree with you. 

Offline PizzaHog

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Re: coal baked pizza in the Primo ceramic grill
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2010, 04:35:17 PM »
Tran et al
OK, I have never even seen one of these much less cooked on one, but being intrigued, checked out their website.  So the lightbulb that went off may not apply, but here is what popped into my head.
Why not replace your upper stone with an additional heat source?  You already have multiple shelving arrangements figured out.  So some type of pan/container full of screaming hot lump charcoal 2 1/2 inches above the pie could work and might actually get the temp above the pie hotter than the stone below.  Sounds too simple so that means there are prob a few dozen problems to work out.  But if anyone can figure this out it is you Dr Tran.
Maybe a hairbrained idea but the first one I have come up with that might solve the "all the heat comes from below" dilema.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: coal baked pizza in the Primo ceramic grill
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2010, 05:05:48 PM »
Tran et al
OK, I have never even seen one of these much less cooked on one, but being intrigued, checked out their website.  So the lightbulb that went off may not apply, but here is what popped into my head.
Why not replace your upper stone with an additional heat source?  You already have multiple shelving arrangements figured out.  So some type of pan/container full of screaming hot lump charcoal 2 1/2 inches above the pie could work and might actually get the temp above the pie hotter than the stone below.  Sounds too simple so that means there are prob a few dozen problems to work out.  But if anyone can figure this out it is you Dr Tran.
Maybe a hairbrained idea but the first one I have come up with that might solve the "all the heat comes from below" dilema.


I'm being serious here, but that is the craziness idea I have ever heard!  Have lost your d@mn mind man? You're gonna put someone's eye out!  No really, that is quite brilliant hog and I'll have to give it a shot.  I really like this crazy idea! 

I'll have to wait till the fire is about half active and shovel some of the coals into a side pan, build up the hearth and walls and use a metal baking pan for the ceiling.  I would then shovel the coals on top, shut the lid and let it all bake for a bit to get the temps nice and hot.

Only 2 concerns.  Could putting a heat source that close to the ceiling crack the primo oven.  Possible but not likely.  The whole oven is made from the same material as the firebox I believe so it should be ok. 

Heat rises, so would the heat generate off the metal pan be more than the heat I can trap from below? Dunno but possibly.  Remember the heat coming up from below is registering 850-1000F depending on what material I use for the hearth. Only one way to find out.   Hmmm, guess I gotta do it now.  Thanks Hog.   :angel:

Tran

BTW, these ovens are very cool.  Pizza is only one of many things you can do with them.  It makes killer bbq. 
 
« Last Edit: May 30, 2010, 08:58:44 AM by Tranman »

Offline SmokinGuitarPlayer

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Re: coal baked pizza in the Primo ceramic grill
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2010, 06:29:47 PM »
Tranman ... I have been on a "mission" to perfecting the baking technique for pizza on the Big Green Egg ..haven't gotten to the Primo yet but I think you can apply some of my "learnings' to the Primo.  So here are my suggestions.

1. Set a target temp dome of 650 degrees. this is hot enough to get a good result and not so hot that the thing goes "nuclear" on you.

2. Fire it up with nothing in it except the charcoal and let it get to 650 and then burn a while at that temp with nothing in it which will allow the dome to absorb as much heat as it can. This will provide for the "radiant" heat that you will need to cook the top of the pies.

3. then insert your stone etc. Insulate your stone from the bottom as we do on the egg ...... then monitor the stone temp and when it gets to 500 or so start baking your pies ... the dome should have enough radiant heat stored to bake the top nicely .. Once the stone gets over 700 or so , I have found that charring on the bottom happens before the top is done.

I have a couple of videos that I use this technique on . I haven't finished an actual "instruction" video but you might want to check out a couple of my pizza vids .... one of them has very high temps and good flames and good pizzas.

Just remember that  burning on the bottom is the problem that we are all trying to overcome. I have found that the Large BGE seems to work best because the charcoal is deeper in the base ... farther from the baking stone etc.

Pizza vids are all at :
http://www.fredsmusicandbbq.com/category_s/230.htm

Also there are a couple of videos showing things I learned at Tony Gemignani's school and there will be more to follow as I get time.
Guitar player, dealer and collector. Owner and operator of www.fredsmusicandbbq.com. Seller of barbecue grills and smokers, specializing on the Big Green Egg ceramic grill and all related barbecue cooking supplies...and Wood Fired Ovens and pizza making supplies.

Offline gtsum2

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Re: coal baked pizza in the Primo ceramic grill
« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2010, 06:56:01 PM »
smokin - that is a great idea to let the dome heat up with nothing in it first (dont know why I never thought of it???).  I am going to follow that technique for my next pies

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: coal baked pizza in the Primo ceramic grill
« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2010, 10:31:09 PM »
Tranman ... I have been on a "mission" to perfecting the baking technique for pizza on the Big Green Egg ..haven't gotten to the Primo yet but I think you can apply some of my "learnings' to the Primo.  So here are my suggestions.

1. Set a target temp dome of 650 degrees. this is hot enough to get a good result and not so hot that the thing goes "nuclear" on you.

Thanks for the suggestions SGP,  I know it takes time to post up and I always appreciate it when ppl do.  A dome temp of 650 on the Primo represents upwards of 700F at the grate, 850F if using firebricks, and 950-1000+ if using a glazed ceramic stone. I agree, 850-1000F is hot enough.  >:D

2. Fire it up with nothing in it except the charcoal and let it get to 650 and then burn a while at that temp with nothing in it which will allow the dome to absorb as much heat as it can. This will provide for the "radiant" heat that you will need to cook the top of the pies.

With my preferred setup it's better to build the mini oven while the coals are just heating up not when it's 650-700 at the grate.  At those temps the dome has no problem heating up at all.  Also the mini oven or any bricks have no issues heating up quickly at those temps and at that proximity to the fire.  I know you can appreciate this if you have a BGE.

I have done extensive testing with the primo and radiant heating off of the dome ceramic.  The truth is that the dome is too high up.  You have to dome the pie or get it within just an inch of the top dome to get the proper browning within a short bake time.  This a problem as the dome slowly narrows at the top.  I have literally dome the pie so far up the crust and cheese touches the top of the dome, not an ideal situation.   Also b/c of the shape of the Primo, it's possible to not dome the pie all the way up but only about 75% of the way up.  This will allow the crust to brown on the left or right depending on where you place the pie.  With rotating the pie every 1 min or so you can get an even browning of the crust.  This method does work but I'm currently working on a different method.  The mini oven method which is working fairly well.  I just have to iron out a few bugs.  Trust me when I say i have done extensive testing on both the Primo and my home oven. 

3. then insert your stone etc. Insulate your stone from the bottom as we do on the egg ...... then monitor the stone temp and when it gets to 500 or so start baking your pies ... the dome should have enough radiant heat stored to bake the top nicely .. Once the stone gets over 700 or so , I have found that charring on the bottom happens before the top is done.

Yes if you want to bake at 500.  I want to be able to bake at 500, 600, 700, 800, and beyond.  Why? for the sake of learning.  To say i can do it?  To know what it's like to have been there and done that.  To have more options.  To make myself a more versatile pizza maker.  And b/c I have the time and the need to know. 

At 700, the charring on the bottom happens before the top is done.  This is true only b/c there is a discrepancy between the top and the bottom heat.  If it was even you would get charring of the top and bottom at approximately the same time.  This is happening b/c your top dome is too high up.  One solution to fixing this (not that it needs fixing, but only if you want) is to lower the ceiling, which is why I'm experimenting with the mini-oven technique.  The idea is to capture radiant heat off the top of the lowered ceiling which is about 1" from the pie.   Which is also why Pizza hog's idea of using charcoal in a pan above the pie is a brilliant one.  I haven't tested it yet, but have high hopes it will work. 

Just remember that  burning on the bottom is the problem that we are all trying to overcome. I have found that the Large BGE seems to work best because the charcoal is deeper in the base ... farther from the baking stone etc.

Not necessarily.  It is a problem for me as well but it can be a solution instead of a problem.  One solution is to cook at a lower grate/dome temp to reduce the temp of the hearth (bottom stone).  The issue with this is that if you reduce the heat, you also reduce the radiant heat from the top.  Thus the solution of lowering the ceiling (as oppose to doming the pie) AND PH's suggestion of adding a top heat source.  The benefit of cooking with a lower grate/dome temp is the reduce use of coal to achieve the same goal - which is even browning of top and bottom.

Pizza vids are all at :
http://www.fredsmusicandbbq.com/category_s/230.htm

Also there are a couple of videos showing things I learned at Tony Gemignani's school and there will be more to follow as I get time.
[/quote]

Thanks for the vids, I'll check them out.  I'll see if i can dig up a picture of a beautiful pie I cooked using the method you describe.  It works well so why change it?  Well it was a 6 min bake, which is good for some pies but doesn't cut it for the "elite" patsy's or nearlypolitan pies I want to bake. 

Tran

Also please feel free to make any more suggestions.  The more the merrier.  The more brainstorming we have, the more solutions will come about.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: coal baked pizza in the Primo ceramic grill
« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2010, 10:33:46 PM »
Here are some pics of the pies I have done a long time ago with a simple primo set up.  Sorry for the crappy cell phone pics. 

Offline SmokinGuitarPlayer

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Re: coal baked pizza in the Primo ceramic grill
« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2010, 08:42:05 PM »
I'm curious. We sell a ton of those Primo stones ...do you actually bake on the glazed side?  looks like it in your pics ..and how does that affect things. I thought the purpose of using a stone was that it absorbed some moisture from the crust ... does the glazing do that?
FB/SGP
Guitar player, dealer and collector. Owner and operator of www.fredsmusicandbbq.com. Seller of barbecue grills and smokers, specializing on the Big Green Egg ceramic grill and all related barbecue cooking supplies...and Wood Fired Ovens and pizza making supplies.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: coal baked pizza in the Primo ceramic grill
« Reply #29 on: May 24, 2010, 09:42:42 PM »
I'm curious. We sell a ton of those Primo stones ...do you actually bake on the glazed side?  looks like it in your pics ..and how does that affect things. I thought the purpose of using a stone was that it absorbed some moisture from the crust ... does the glazing do that?
FB/SGP


Really good question.  Yes the primo pizza stone is glazed on one side and is meant to cook pizza right on that side.  You might be able to cook on the other side as well, but the material is really porous and can easily dust off if a metal peel is scraping against it so I would advise against baking on the unglazed side.

Having said that, I do bake on firebricks directly and don't worry about the dust that comes off.  There is a possibility of biting into a tiny rock chip which does scare me. 

I had never even considered the stone absorbing heat to be an important factor until reading through some threads today.   From what I can tell the glazed side browns really well but I would say it absorbs no heat due to the glaze.  As a matter of fact it browns/burns the bottom too well at high temps.  As I mentioned before at a max temp in the primo oven, I've notice the surface temp of firebricks to be 850 while the primo stone is 950-1000F.  It also conducts heat a lot better than firebrick. Too well as a surface temp of 750-800 can burn the bottom in 30-40secs easily. 

Back some time, I went ahead and had the other side and my D-plates glazed with food safe ceramic material to keep out the oil and gunk from absorbing when using them for bbq'ing.   

The good thing about Primo ceramics is that they are kiln fired to above 2000F so they pretty much won't crack due to heat or extreme temp flux unless you drop them.  I have removed them from right above the fire and put them outside on the concrete and back into the hot oven without issue. 

Despite them working well, I'm interested in getting a thick corderite or soapstone to play around with it and have an extra pizza stone around. 


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Re: coal baked pizza in the Primo ceramic grill
« Reply #30 on: May 24, 2010, 10:05:56 PM »
The good thing about Primo ceramics is that they are kiln fired to above 2000F so they pretty much won't crack due to heat or extreme temp flux unless you drop them.  I have removed them from right above the fire and put them outside on the concrete and back into the hot oven without issue.

Actually, the temperature that ceramics are fired to have very little bearing on their resistance to thermal shock.  It's the materials the stone is made of, not the firing temp. A drinking glass might be formed from a melt in the 2700F degree realm, but if you heat it and cool it quickly, it's toast.

If the concrete you're placing these hot stones on is cold or wet, you could be placing yourself in a dangerous situation. In general, if at all possible, I think it's a good idea not to move very hot stones.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: coal baked pizza in the Primo ceramic grill
« Reply #31 on: May 24, 2010, 10:12:21 PM »
Actually, the temperature that ceramics are fired to have very little bearing on their resistance to thermal shock.  It's the materials the stone is made of, not the firing temp. A drinking glass might be formed from a melt in the 2700F degree realm, but if you heat it and cool it quickly, it's toast.

If the concrete you're placing these hot stones on is cold or wet, you could be placing yourself in a dangerous situation. In general, if at all possible, I think it's a good idea not to move very hot stones.

Good to know.  I noticed that these stones tolerate temp flux really well as I had to change up a set up once in the middle of a bake.  Not something I do routinely as it was really farking scary handling a stone and grill grates that are 700F+?.  I have leather welding gloves that I have doubled up.  And even working quickly the gloves get to smokin' rather quickly.  I can feel the heat seeping through both layers pretty quick.

Offline SmokinGuitarPlayer

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Re: coal baked pizza in the Primo ceramic grill
« Reply #32 on: May 24, 2010, 10:42:52 PM »
oK...I've tested most stones except soapstone and the primo.   As you report, if the glazed side gets even hotter than unglazed, I don't need to test it. 

As I said before , I have decided to abandon the nuclear temps ... 700 and up ..after going to Tony's school as every pizza he bakes is at 600 to 650 except the 73 Neopolitan pies he bakes in the WFO each night. We baked in 3 other oven including a "regular" commercial stove and every pizza was really great ...anyway ... since the nomex gaskets have a 700 degree burn temp, I decided for these 2 reasons (Tony's class and the nomex burn temp) and just for safety / etc. to shoot for a steady 650 ...this will also help me get a longer bake time since after 30 minutes at 700  plus, I would start losing the fire and "session over".

All that being said, so far the regular BGE baking stone seems to be the best for me. Again, I let the  Egg get "steady" at 650 ..then insert the platesetter and stone and as the stone gets hot ..around 500 or so, I put in the first pie, each pie seems to "suck" about 100 degrees out of the stone but it recovers fast.... after a few ..the stone is over 700 and still rising and that is when the problems start with the charring on the bottom before the top gets baked fully.

This past weekend, at our Eggfest ...my pizza demo ..I got about 6 or 7 really good ones in a row then things started getting out of hand...  stone went over 800 ...I tried putting a pie on a alum pizza screen but the screen melted  where the fire / heat got directly to it! never saw that before ..

Anyway ...I have been trying cooling the stone by opening the dome ..it works good but this really lets any "stored" heat in the dome get bled off too.

I discussed this with Peter Reinhart last week (one of these days he's coming to our store to give a class) and he felt as I, that the main problem is the "convection" heat escaping out of the dome with no "swirling" over the top of the pie as it does in the WFO ... I do have a gadget that I'm working on that might fix this .. I'll report on that after I test it more but so far, I'm making progress.

your rig ... oven inside your oven ...I was trying to come up with a way to do that exact thing in the BGE but never got it figured out..I also tried all sorts of "risers" to get the pie higher into the dome and they didn't seem to make any difference ... I might need to revisit that approach.

One other thing, I noticed it looks like you have a cotronics gasket on your primo, I guess you know about the potential issues with those fibres around food. If you don't let me know and I'll explain the dangers. I have one sitting on my desk but can't get myself to use it.... even though I'm certainly no safety freak. I've just decided that the nomex works well enough.

Great discussion ..... I have a lot of pics but very hard to post here, perhaps I'll massage a couple and post them ...the videos show some pretty good pies done on the Big Green Egg.

FB/SGP
Guitar player, dealer and collector. Owner and operator of www.fredsmusicandbbq.com. Seller of barbecue grills and smokers, specializing on the Big Green Egg ceramic grill and all related barbecue cooking supplies...and Wood Fired Ovens and pizza making supplies.

Offline SmokinGuitarPlayer

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Re: coal baked pizza in the Primo ceramic grill
« Reply #33 on: May 24, 2010, 10:48:12 PM »
PICTURE TEST.
Here's a pie baked on the BGE the other day at 650 baked in 4 minutes ish.
Guitar player, dealer and collector. Owner and operator of www.fredsmusicandbbq.com. Seller of barbecue grills and smokers, specializing on the Big Green Egg ceramic grill and all related barbecue cooking supplies...and Wood Fired Ovens and pizza making supplies.

Offline SmokinGuitarPlayer

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Re: coal baked pizza in the Primo ceramic grill
« Reply #34 on: May 24, 2010, 10:53:02 PM »
Another pie baked on bge at 650 deg.
Caputo flour 60% hydration, a little oil and sugar to help browning .
I'll post one photo per post because of the size limit etc.
Guitar player, dealer and collector. Owner and operator of www.fredsmusicandbbq.com. Seller of barbecue grills and smokers, specializing on the Big Green Egg ceramic grill and all related barbecue cooking supplies...and Wood Fired Ovens and pizza making supplies.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: coal baked pizza in the Primo ceramic grill
« Reply #35 on: May 25, 2010, 12:49:31 AM »
SGG, those pies look GREAT!!  nice work.  Truth be told, I do agree with you about 650 being enough as I do like pizza baked at lower temps better.  Why the heck am I fooling with high temps?  It's more of a challenge.  Just want to be able to say I have done it and can do it.  Want to be able to taste what the elitist are eating.  :P  Once I accomplish it, I suspect I'll be coming back down again. 

Question - once your temp hits 800 on the BGE, can't you just close down the bottom vent to 25% (open) and wait a bit for the temps to come back down before loading another pie? That way there's no risk of burning pies.

One way to cool the stone, as recommended to me by another Primo forum member, is to swipe the stone with a rung out rag tied to some tongs. 

Not sure what gadget your are building but if I had skills and some equipment it would be easy to build a gadget to create the mini oven.  I would basically copy the 2 stone set up.  I would have a SS bench if you will sit over the baking stone.  The metal is sufficient to reflect heat to brown the top.  No need for a 2nd stone on top. 

Yes I do have a cotronics and have heard the concerns and debates.  I'm not personally worried about it.  After some use, the gasket gets covered with grease so there's very little risk of loose fibers migrating onto food, etc.

Thank you for the pics.  Again, very nice work.

Cheers,
Tran

« Last Edit: May 26, 2010, 11:47:51 AM by Tranman »

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: coal baked pizza in the Primo ceramic grill
« Reply #36 on: May 26, 2010, 11:24:16 AM »
So I gave PH's idea about adding heat to the top in the form of charcoal in a pan.   I had high hopes for this technique but it really didn't pan out.   It didn't seem to brown the top any faster than when I use the ceraminc D-plates on top.   

This could have been due to several factors.  1) not enough coals in the pan 2) heat source from below is as hot as the heat dissipating through the pan 3) heat lost to the dome 4) needed back wall to trap the heat rising from below.

At any rate, I still made some decent pies.  They jus took a bit longer to bake since I was working with a hearth temp of 750.  I'm thinking I like 800-850 better.  Will keep trying as I have some new ideas for tweaking this setup.



Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: coal baked pizza in the Primo ceramic grill
« Reply #37 on: May 26, 2010, 11:27:01 AM »
I only put coals in half of the pan above for this particular setup as I was trying to direct most of the heat to left side.  Most of the browning seen with the pies came from me placing the pies at the left edge of the stone and browning that edge with the heat and fire coming up and touch the rim directly. 

I was expecting to have to rotate the pie a few times, that's why I didn't load the entire pan full of briquets.   
« Last Edit: May 30, 2010, 09:03:11 AM by Tranman »

Offline SmokinGuitarPlayer

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Re: coal baked pizza in the Primo ceramic grill
« Reply #38 on: May 26, 2010, 11:40:05 AM »
You know, its kinda funny ... we are all worried about making the perfect pie but your "failed" experiment (with the coals on top) was still a really killer pie ! Better than most for sure.
FB/SGP
Guitar player, dealer and collector. Owner and operator of www.fredsmusicandbbq.com. Seller of barbecue grills and smokers, specializing on the Big Green Egg ceramic grill and all related barbecue cooking supplies...and Wood Fired Ovens and pizza making supplies.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: coal baked pizza in the Primo ceramic grill
« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2010, 11:47:01 AM »
You know, its kinda funny ... we are all worried about making the perfect pie but your "failed" experiment (with the coals on top) was still a really killer pie ! Better than most for sure.
FB/SGP

yeah, I hear ya.  I have to laugh at myself sometimes.  My brother came over last night and had my home made pizza for the first time.  He was blown away with every pie he sampled.  They were all different as I was testing different flours, different amounts of yeast, different baking techniques, etc.   

I could tell the differences b/t them and was nit picking as usual but he was like, they all tasted fantastic to me.  He ate it all up.  I didn't have leftovers for once.   :-D

BTW, I made a pie with vine riped tomatoes (salted and peppered) as a topping, with OO, and lots of fresh basil and it was KILLER.  Tasted so good.   The 2nd one posted had sausage, roasted red peppers, and carmelized onion and it was a great combo as well. 
« Last Edit: May 26, 2010, 11:50:05 AM by Tranman »


 

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