Author Topic: Any ideas if this pizza oven would work?  (Read 23902 times)

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Offline norma427

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Any ideas if this pizza oven would work?
« on: June 05, 2010, 04:08:12 PM »
I was trying to think of a way to make a pizza on my propane gas  BBQ grill.  I had tried one time before and the bottom of my pizza got to dark. I had placed the pizza on my pizza stone.  I didnít have my infrared gun at home, so I didnít know what the temperature on the stone was.  My propane BBQ grill has three burners.

I am trying to think of another way to go about using the BBQ grill to make pizzas.  Today I put firebrick on grates of the grill, put firebricks around the edges and back, then put a copper fudge kettle over the firebricks.  I can fit more firebricks in my BBQ grill, but before I buy more, I wondered if anyone thinks this idea will work?  I do have a bigger copper fudge kettle that would go over more firebricks and the oven floor.

Norma
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Online scott123

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Re: Any ideas if this pizza oven would work?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2010, 04:42:33 PM »
Copper has about 400 times the conductivity of firebrick.  The moment you open the door of the BBQ, any heat stored in the copper will vanish and the bottom of the pie will scorch while the top stays pale.

Since you have firebrick available to you, I would make a ceiling out that.  I'm pretty sure Home Depot carries angle iron. Either buy it there or track down an old bed frame. Use the angle iron to suspend rows of firebrick above the hearth, using the bricks you have now for supports.

Speaking of the supports, while some heat does collect in the headspace of a bbq, it's mostly a bottom to top heating scenario.  Firebrick is a powerful insulator, ie, it lets very little heat through it.  The supports, where they are now (flush to the brick), will prevent heat from getting to the ceiling.  If heat can't reach the ceiling, again, your stuck with a bottom that finishes long before the top.

So, build a ceiling, if possible, that extends past the sides of the hearth, and push the supports out- way out. The hearth will stock block a considerable amount of heat, but you'll get more rising heat to the ceiling without the walls in the way.  You can also help even out the heat between hearth and ceiling by cranking the heat up for an hour (or more) and the turning it off for a while (maybe half an hour), allowing the heat from the hearth to rise to the ceiling a bit, and letting the ceiling heat (with very hot edges ) even out.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2010, 04:45:17 PM by scott123 »

Offline norma427

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Re: Any ideas if this pizza oven would work?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2010, 05:43:37 PM »
scott123,

I knew copper conducts heat well, but isnít a good insulator, but I didnít know if I left the lid open, what would happen.  I can see now that I would get a burnt crust on the bottom, again.  Your idea of angle iron or something I might find in my shed is very helpful.  Your idea to push the supports out is great.  I will see what I can do in finding some other set-up. 

Thanks for your ideas,

Norma
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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Any ideas if this pizza oven would work?
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2010, 06:43:57 PM »
I actually have a hard time burning crusts with firebricks.  Norma, as it is I don't think it will work optimally.  You have too much open air above the pie.  You would need a lower ceil so a pan of sorts may work better.    Also metal is a good conductor of heat so the heat may travel through but if you put a few bricks above a shallow pan that should help reflect the heat back down.

Also by having the sidewalls of firebrick heat has to travel through the brick.  I find it much more effective if I have some space around the firebrick for the hot air to travel up. 

I would lose the side wall and switch out the pot with a pan that is bigger in circumference than the bricks on the grill.   Ideally, heat would travel up along the walls and across the ceiling.  If the ceiling is low enough, around 2", you can get spotting on the cheese.  If you want a Neapolitan look or don't like leoparding on the cheese, then a higher ceiling would do. 

Another setup is one like Scott mention with the angle iron.  I did something like this that work well in my primo grill.  Here's a couple of pics.   The heat coming up around the stone can char the rim pretty fast especially if the crust is right at the edge.  You'll have to rotate the pies, but the pros are rotating pies as well.

Offline norma427

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Re: Any ideas if this pizza oven would work?
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2010, 06:56:47 PM »
I actually have a hard time burning crusts with firebricks.  Norma, as it is I don't think it will work optimally.  You have too much open air above the pie.  You would need a lower ceil so a pan of sorts may work better.    Also metal is a good conductor of heat so the heat may travel through but if you put a few bricks above a shallow pan that should help reflect the heat back down.

Also by having the sidewalls of firebrick heat has to travel through the brick.  I find it much more effective if I have some space around the firebrick for the hot air to travel up. 

I would lose the side wall and switch out the pot with a pan that is bigger in circumference than the bricks on the grill.   Ideally, heat would travel up along the walls and across the ceiling.  If the ceiling is low enough, around 2", you can get spotting on the cheese.  If you want a Neapolitan look or don't like leoparding on the cheese, then a higher ceiling would do. 

Another setup is one like Scott mention with the angle iron.  I did something like this that work well in my primo grill.  Here's a couple of pics.   The heat coming up around the stone can char the rim pretty fast especially if the crust is right at the edge.  You'll have to rotate the pies, but the pros are rotating pies as well.

Tranman,

Since you mentioned a pan, I wonder if some really thick baking pans I have would be okay to use as a ceiling, with firebricks placed on top?  The pans are heavy and I think about 12" x 17".  I bought them on ebay awhile ago, thinking I would use them for Sicilian pizza, but liked the round deep-dish pans better. Nobody else wanted them, I guess because there was caked on grease. I only cleaned one up to try it.  The rest have caked grease on the sides.  I don't know what they are made of. 

Thanks you for your pictures.  :)  You set-up looks great.  I will try something like you are doing.

Norma
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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Any ideas if this pizza oven would work?
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2010, 07:20:26 PM »
If the pans are thick you may not need any bricks on top.  You may just have to try both ways to see what works out better.  I'm thinking the idea is to have hot air come up and envelope the pie.  So you don't want to have the stone too much bigger  than the pizza but I guess that depends on how much heat is coming up from the bottom.  It's all a balancing act. 

Offline norma427

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Re: Any ideas if this pizza oven would work?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2010, 07:51:12 PM »
If the pans are thick you may not need any bricks on top.  You may just have to try both ways to see what works out better.  I'm thinking the idea is to have hot air come up and envelope the pie.  So you don't want to have the stone too much bigger  than the pizza but I guess that depends on how much heat is coming up from the bottom.  It's all a balancing act. 

Tranman,

I agree it is a balancing act. Everything having to do with pizza is.  :-D  I just took two pictures of the pans.  See what you think or don't think.

Norma
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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Any ideas if this pizza oven would work?
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2010, 08:06:25 PM »
Yes, I think those would work.  I would lay down the floor in a square shape.  Or you can cut the corners to have a more circular shape. Then use some firebricks to build walls around the hearth leaving about a 1" gap.  The pan can go over resting on the walls.  I would think you would have to put them right side up and then place a few bricks inside the pan.  Crank it up on high and then monitor the temps. 

I can't guarantee it will work but it should.  Seems to work in my primo but that burns coal and not propane.  I don't know exactly where your burners are positioned.  You may be able to position the hearth so that the burners more towards the sides of the hearth rather than directly under it.  It's side heat that you want and not floor heat.  The floor will get plenty hot.  I think the common problem is a burnt bottom and not enough browning on the sides. 

Also when loading the pie, you want the pie at the edge of the peel so you can drop the edge of the pie close to the edge of the floor.  If dealing with temps of 800+, you want to pull the pie out at 30 seconds, give it a 90 or 180 degree turn and load back in.  Do this even if the edge isn't brown yet.  More than likely the floor near the edge is quite a bit hotter than the center.  Remember this is no WFO, so the temps can/will be inconsistent.  It will likely take a few burnt pies and some fancy pie moves to get an even cook.

We are trying to do the best we can without having to fork over 2-3K for the WFO.  :P

Would you be lowering the hood of the grill at all? 
« Last Edit: June 05, 2010, 08:10:51 PM by Tranman »

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Any ideas if this pizza oven would work?
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2010, 08:13:23 PM »
I also noted you have some THICK bricks holding up the pot.  I would switch those out with the skinnier firebricks.  If the height is too tall, you may have to cut it down a bit.  Ideally I'm shooting for 2-2.5" max for the ceiling height. 

It can be a challenge loading pies with a ceiling height of 2" but you'll get use to it really fast.

Offline pcampbell

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Re: Any ideas if this pizza oven would work?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2010, 08:24:05 PM »
I tried firebrick splits on the bottom, and splits on the side holding up my pizza stone as the ceiling.  It did not work.  Just too much bottom heat and not enough on the top.   :-[ 
Patrick


Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Any ideas if this pizza oven would work?
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2010, 08:35:40 PM »
I tried firebrick splits on the bottom, and splits on the side holding up my pizza stone as the ceiling.  It did not work.  Just too much bottom heat and not enough on the top.   :-[ 


Pcampbell do you have any pictures of the set up, particulary in the grill?  I believe member Tampa and member TxCraig have been successful using the gas grill.  I think I remember both utilizing the circulation of hot air to bake and brown the top crust.  I'll see if I can find the thread.

OK here it is...
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,9614.0.html
« Last Edit: June 05, 2010, 08:37:30 PM by Tranman »

Offline norma427

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Re: Any ideas if this pizza oven would work?
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2010, 09:03:18 PM »
Tranman,

Good to hear you think the pans will work.  ;D  I think I will try some firebricks in the pans like you mentioned.  My burners are positioned across the grill.  I can turn the temperature up or down and monitor the temperature of the stone.  Wonder if I should just let the middle burner off? 

I appreciate all your detailed instructions.  I know, I sure donít want to fork over a lot of money, just to see if I can cook pizzas at high temperatures. I would love to have one, but a WFO will have to wait for me. I need some practice first with using higher heat.  My home oven will only go to about 500 degrees F. 

Do you think I should lower the hood or just monitor the hearth?  I could try it both ways.

I can see myself trying to load the pies into such a small space.  Probably will have issues.  :-D

Thanks for the link and for your help,  :)

Norma

pcampbell,

I think we all have to learn what is best for our BBQ grills.  They are all different.  The other day I was looking at modified BBQís on the web and there is a pizza stone that appears to be thick and is cut off in the front.  It looked interesting, but it was 49.99 plus shipping.  The pizzas didnít look all that good. from using that stone. I think each grill will need their own mods.  My grill isnít that great, but it will have to work for now.  Maybe we both will learn something.  :)

Norma
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Online scott123

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Re: Any ideas if this pizza oven would work?
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2010, 09:18:38 AM »
Norma, you might want to consider pre-heating the ceiling, on it's own for a bit (maybe 45 minutes to an hour) and then putting the hearth in place and heating the two together. It's more work, but it would guarantee a sufficiently hot ceiling. Firebricks take a while to get hot, but, once they do, they retain that heat for a quite some time. Since your side supports are going to be well away from the hearth, you should be able to slide in the bricks for your hearth quite comfortably.  Just make sure they aren't wet.

One thing to consider is that there's a pretty good chance those pans will warp. If you think you might ever want to use them for baking, I wouldn't use them for this.

If you do use the pan as a ceiling, make sure the bricks are sitting perfectly flat in it (an air gap will give you a cold spot) and add plenty of bricks for lots of thermal mass.

Regarding the vertical space... If you do end up with a ceiling that's not quite hot enough, getting it closer to the hearth will help, but I think the ~3" you have now is going to be hard enough to work with.

Regarding uneven baking.  Time will always help in this regard. Take the hearth a little bit past the desired temp, turn off the heat for a bit and let the heat even out.  This will also help, to an extent, with getting a better ceiling/hearth heat ratio, as the heat from the hearth will slowly rise to the ceiling as you give it time.

Lastly, close the lid.  The the heat collected in the head space won't heat your ceiling nearly as much as the burners will be heating the hearth, but it's better than nothing.

Offline norma427

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Re: Any ideas if this pizza oven would work?
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2010, 10:15:15 AM »
scott123,

Your idea of heating the ceiling first then putting the hearth in place later is good.  It doesnít matter is the pans warp, I got 8  pans for 5.00, plus shipping.  I thought since they so thick and heavy, I would like them, but didnít.  They are just sitting in my shed.

I will remember to keep the firebricks flat on the pans.  I also agree that 3" in the vertical space is going to be hard to work with. 

I will have to come up with some kind of formula to try.  Hopefully I will get some 00 flour to try in this set-up.

Thank you for going over all this information and helping me to learn what to do with a BBQ grill.  I can use tools, but am not the best in figuring out what to do with a project like this.

I appreciate your help,  :)

Norma
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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Any ideas if this pizza oven would work?
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2010, 10:35:38 AM »
Norma unless you've worked with 00 flour before or even AP for making pizza, i would stick with using a more familiar flour and recipe. It's just one more constant and one less variable you have to deal with if you stick with a formulation and flour you are intimately familar with.

Using 00 for the first few times can be a fustrating experience.  You already have the new grill setup to contend with. It would be better to use something you already know how it should normally behave.

When are you doing your first bake? 

Online scott123

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Re: Any ideas if this pizza oven would work?
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2010, 10:59:05 AM »
You're welcome Norma :)

If you do go with the ceiling pre-heat, try, if possible, to fill the pan with bricks.  The pan won't store heat all that well for extended periods, but the bricks will.

It will be interesting to see, without the hearth in place, how hot you can get the ceiling with a 3 burner grill.  I had a 3 burner webber (genesis) for a while, and, if memory serves me correctly, it got hot, but it wasn't incendiary.  Even if you can only hit somewhere in the realm of 700 for the ceiling with a corresponding hearth temp of 600 (or there about), that should still make a world of difference for NY style pies as compared to your 500 deg. oven.

Speaking of peak temps, it might be worth extending the heart one more brick, burning charcoal on top of the hearth and then brushing it aside with a brass oven brush.

I'm in the process of turning my grill (charcoal) into a pizza oven as well and have been bouncing between putting the charcoal underneath the hearth or on top (or underneath and adding the hearth after the ceiling's preheated). Decisions, decisions  :)

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Any ideas if this pizza oven would work?
« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2010, 11:11:24 AM »
Scott I like the idea of putting charcoal on the hearth. I've considered that before but the only hiccup I could see is that it may be good for only 1 pie then you lose heat.  Now if you have coals underneath AND to the side, it might just work. ;)

thanks for the idea Scot. I can make this work in the Primo.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2010, 11:17:47 AM by Tranman »

Offline norma427

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Re: Any ideas if this pizza oven would work?
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2010, 11:44:21 AM »
Tranman,

Maybe I will first experiment with one of my frozen dough balls.  You are probably right that I need to first experiment how to use the BBQ set-up and see if I can do that first.  I really see issues with it when trying it.   :-\

I donít know when I will do my first bake.  I need to get a few more firebricks first.  It might be next weekend.

Norma

scott123,

I will measure how many firebricks I might need and fill the pan with the bricks.  I have my infrared gun at home and can monitor how hot the hearth and ceiling can get.  I have two propane gas tanks at home right now, so I should be ready.  They can be refilled at my local propane dealer and donít cost much. 

My propane BBQ grill isnít near as good as a Weber, but I know it can get hot.  I donít know about the charcoal until I try this other configuration first.  I always have a smoker I could play with.  I  have two caramel corn burners with stainless steel jackets that I could make one into some kind of outdoor oven.  It has jet burners that are configured three jets together around the whole burner.  I donít know how many BTUís that puts out, but know it used to cook caramel corn in about 4 minutes.  I do know it puts out a lot of BTUís.  That is also propane gas.  If one set-up doesnít work after awhile, I will try another.

I am anxious to try out a higher bake temperature, but still afraid I will burn the bottom or have other mishaps.  LOL, I had plenty of them already.  :-D

I wish you well in your BBQ set-up.

Thanks for your help,  :)

Norma
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Online scott123

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Re: Any ideas if this pizza oven would work?
« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2010, 12:47:02 PM »
Scott I like the idea of putting charcoal on the hearth. I've considered that before but the only hiccup I could see is that it may be good for only 1 pie then you lose heat.  Now if you have coals underneath AND to the side, it might just work. ;)

thanks for the idea Scot. I can make this work in the Primo.

Well, I could be wrong on this, but it could be a one or the other type of scenario.  In an 'underneath' situation, you want to open up the walls so the heat can get to the ceiling, but when the coals are on the hearth, you want to bring the walls in nice and tight to prevent heat from escaping.

As far as the bricks retaining heat... well... I'd get fairly pale tops, but I can preheat my 1.25" soapstone slab to 550, turn off the oven and cook 3 pies back to back with no problem. Firebrick is going to lose heat a lot slower than soapstone will. I think it's less a question of the bricks retaining heat and more a question of pumping the necessary BTUs into them to get them fully preheated. If you load the space with charcoal, it's still not a huge amount of charcoal.  It's still nice and close quarters, though, so, as long as you can get a good burn on it, the inside areas should get nice and toasty.  I guess, in theory, you could load the chamber a few times and see what kind of ceiling temp you get.

Hmmm... if you could rig a steel pipe to the chamber coming from beneath and attach that to a blowdryer... you'd have no problem whatsoever reaching your target temp. In that scenario, you might be able to smelt aluminum  ;D

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Re: Any ideas if this pizza oven would work?
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2010, 12:58:47 PM »
My propane BBQ grill isnít near as good as a Weber, but I know it can get hot.  I donít know about the charcoal until I try this other configuration first.  I always have a smoker I could play with.  I  have two caramel corn burners with stainless steel jackets that I could make one into some kind of outdoor oven.  It has jet burners that are configured three jets together around the whole burner.  I donít know how many BTUís that puts out, but know it used to cook caramel corn in about 4 minutes.  I do know it puts out a lot of BTUís.  That is also propane gas.  If one set-up doesnít work after awhile, I will try another.

I am anxious to try out a higher bake temperature, but still afraid I will burn the bottom or have other mishaps.  LOL, I had plenty of them already.  :-D

Don't quote me on this, but I would guess, assuming the deck oven you're working with is cordierite, this scenario, with firebrick, won't be quite as conductive, so if you're used to 500-600 in the deck oven you'll get similar results in the 550-650 realm with this. If you can hit a hearth of 600-650 and a ceiling of 700-750, I think you'll be very pleased with the results.