Author Topic: Is it worth grilling a pie...pftaylor please help...  (Read 3040 times)

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Offline MTPIZZA

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Is it worth grilling a pie...pftaylor please help...
« on: May 19, 2005, 07:48:22 AM »
Well I caved in to my wife's pleas and retired our old gas grill. I went out and purchased a stainless steel model with cast iron cooking elements in the bottom ( 3 burners inside ). It states it has a 45,000 btu output and has a temp gauge on the hood that goes to 700 degrees, (I'll have to see about that)...

My question is --- should I experiment with cooking pies? I searched this site for all the grilling tips and only pft has been the expert in this area. I read where that although the pies are very good, it has now warped your lid due to keeping the grill at such a high temp time after time... My lid seems very sturdy and HEAVY to lift. I'm just wondering is it worth me tinkering and trying this out. Summer has arrived and the grilling bug has bitten me..

pft could you please post some pics of the inside of your grill...you stated that you use ceramic tiles lining the upper part, but you were having difficulty keeping the surrounding air above the pie at a constant temp.. Please help / guide me in this area. I am a humble student to your teachings.... Any advice would be greatly appreciated! thanks in advance...


Offline pftaylor

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Re: Is it worth grilling a pie...pftaylor please help...
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2005, 08:53:35 AM »
MTPIZZA,
I would be glad to help. Just be prepared for a long journey. It took me almost a year to get to the point I'm at now. Your learning curve should be much shorter though as I did not have a proven path to go on.

In order to answer your overarching question of "should you do it" well that's up to you as I make no promises that in the end you will be successful. I must also caveat my stance by stating that my grill is different. Perhaps a lot different from yours. It uses infra-red technology as its primary heating source. What does that mean? Well in layman's terms I have observed that it means the bottom of the pie doesn't burn as quickly like in regular gas grills which use a direct heating method. It allows the top to char at approximately the same rate as the bottom. How does it do that? I have no clue.

You asked for pictures. I would refer you to the Patsy's Reverse Engineering thread where I posted a number of pictures of my setup. My grill's hood technically didn't warp rather, the back plate warps inward due to the super high temperatures after a period of time. This causes the grilling area to be compressed and all sorts of problems occur. My hood is actually made of the highest grade stainless steel available (according to the manufacturer) and it handles the heat quite well.

If I were sitting where you are sitting right now, and were intent on proceeding forward, here's what I would begin with:
- Place foil shiny side on the grates (to deflect the intense heat emanating from your cast iron burners.
- In fact, place several sheets on the grates. Cut them to the exact size of your tiles or stone.
- Place your tiles or stone on the foiled grates. If using tiles, stack 2 layers not just 1.
- Preheat your grill for however long it takes to achieve maximum temperature and then wait another 1/2 hour or more. The TEC achieves an 800 degree temperature in 5 minutes or less. Your grill will probably be more like 15 minutes or so.
- Practice peeling your lightly topped pie into your preheated grill so that you minimize the time your hood is open. Ensure you open the hood just enough to slide the pie in as you have to trap as much heat as possible. If you open your hood fully, forget it, all the top heat is lost and the top of your pie will not bake properly.
- Do not open the hood to check on the pie. You must keep the hood closed during baking. This is the really tricky part of grilling. You cannot see the status of your bake. You will appreciate just how difficult it is to properly cook a pie after a while. Right now it seems like an inconvenience. After a while, it will be a tremendous limiting factor and one which has led me to planning a Neapolitan wood-fired oven.
- If your grill heats up to 700 or so, I would start with a 5 minute bake and adjust from there.
- Report back with your progress.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: Is it worth grilling a pie...pftaylor please help...
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2005, 09:28:08 AM »
ok thanks for your suggestions. I forgot to mention that there are heat distribution plates as they call them between the upper grill grates and the cast iron flame area... so the flame is not in direct contact with the bottom of the area beneath the pie... so I can only hope that I get some good dispertion of heat and it won't incinerate the bottom before the top cooks.. I will take your advice on the lifting of the lid issue...I'll just slip the pie in by raising as minimally as possible. I hope my pizza stone will fit under the hood if not its back to quarry tiles...
One other thing have you ever used the pizza screens on your grill with any success??? thanks again..
« Last Edit: May 19, 2005, 09:30:01 AM by MTPIZZA »

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Is it worth grilling a pie...pftaylor please help...
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2005, 11:12:58 AM »
MTPIZZA,
The screen sounds like a grand idea. One I never thought of. I focused my attention on equalizing the temperature below and above the pie in order to achieve a uniform bake. The temperature up top needs to be a a hundred degrees higher than the bottom to achieve success.

Cheesy brings up a good point. You may want to consider lining your hood with foil (shiny side facing the grilling area) as a way to reflect more top heat if necessary.

The member who has the most experience with foil is Varasano. He does not have any recent experience with grilling pies but he is the master with respect to controlling heat. As evidenced by his uniform bake.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: Is it worth grilling a pie...pftaylor please help...
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2005, 12:31:42 PM »
ok thanks...I'm going to start experimenting with this thing and I'll post results on the site...I first have to fire it up and try it out with something other than a pie..but it won't be long. Will be back in touch for sure.

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Is it worth grilling a pie...pftaylor please help...
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2005, 12:40:22 PM »
Cheesy,
Allow me to further clarify. I should have specifically complimented you on the notion of examining the hood as a way of achieving a more uniform bake. My apologies. Insulating the hood is one way of achieving that goal. The use of foil is another. I did not intend to reference the use of foil as an insulating mechanism but rather a deflecting tool to aid in the collection of focused heat for the top of a pie.

The bigger problem when grilling pizza, in my estimation, is with the primary heat source being located, and concentrated, below the stone. Deflecting that, and allowing it to bath the top of the pie (through numerous trial and error bakes) is the initial challenge. Collecting and/or radiating the heat toward the surface of the stone from the hood is secondary in my experience. I was fortunate enough to not have to line my hood with any insulation or foil.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Is it worth grilling a pie...pftaylor please help...
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2005, 01:55:15 PM »
temp gauge on the hood that goes to 700 degrees

I don't know much about baking pies in a grill, but I do know a lot about grills and can tell you to pay absolutely no attention to the temperature gauges on the hood. I have plotted the temp distribution within all of the grills I've ever owned using calibrated thermocouples and have never seen a hood thermometer that came close to reflecting what is going on at grid level. FWIW.

Bill/SFNM  


Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: Is it worth grilling a pie...pftaylor please help...
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2005, 07:42:25 AM »
I used the new grill last night and it seemed to get pretty hot very quick I guess its due to the fact there are no lava rocks to contend with. There are metal heat dispertion plates in the bottom which spread the heat evenly in the grill. Potatoes cooked fast as did the meat, nicely charring. I was concerned though again about the heat retention within the lid area for crust browning on top of the pie.

Then after contemplating this an idea struck...The grill has a warming shelf above the grilling grates of about 6-7 inches. I think what I will do is get out my heavy square pizza stone and lay the back edge of the stone on the warming rack...then I will have to support the front edge with maybe empty aluminum cans or something that will not catch fire (maybe I can locate 2 fire bricks at Home depot). After preheating the grill this will then create a pretty much enclosed insulated super heated reflective area just above the pie, thus producing the radiant affect I'm looking for!!! My own little backyard pizza oven so to speak....I'm excited here can't you tell??? Anyway I will report back my experiment, perhaps pft you may have already tried this...I will need to adjust the lower heat according to how quick the stone throws off the reflective heat above but I think its definately the answer....we shall see..

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Is it worth grilling a pie...pftaylor please help...
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2005, 08:08:58 AM »
MTPIZZA,
I have already offered up my best thinking on how to initially begin this process. My opinion on your most recent post is that the likelyhood of figuring out how to create relative heat on paper is slim to none. It sounds like a solid idea but hey, who knows until you try it. Be prepared to spend a bit of time figuring this puzzle out. Grills are all different in the way they heat so the proof will be in the baking.

One concern I have for your setup are the heat plates you have mentioned. They will lower the heat somewhat. So the further you place your stone from the grates, the less direct heat you will have. They may also take more time to heat up or they may reduce the overall temperature. I would call the manufacturer and ask them what the grate temperature is at max setting. If they say anything less than 700 degrees than it may be tough to get an extreme heat bake (sub 3 minutes) by moving your stone up higher.

In my case the burner heads are 1400 degrees but the grate temperature is only 800 degrees. I spent the better part of a year toying with all kinds of ideas - some silly and others which should of had merit. In the end though, simply placing double stacked tiles on the grates got me to where I needed to be.

You sound like you have a lot of energy to devote to this project. My sense is it will serve you well.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: Is it worth grilling a pie...pftaylor please help...
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2005, 08:51:19 AM »
I plan to do a good pre-heat first which should get the stone good and hot... then hopefully as I slide the pie in under the hood which I plan to only raise about 3 inches using a pizza screen...there should be enough heat built up above from the stone to compensate or even out the bake time, thus getting a cooked top crust edge brown before the bottom goes to charcoal...

pft, well my enthusiasm is one thing, but the proof will be in the pie...and only my experimenting as you did will reveal success or failure. But I can't help but be pushed onward remembering your pie pics off your grill! So, through trial and error I forge ahead! will post pics when I get them...


Offline pftaylor

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Re: Is it worth grilling a pie...pftaylor please help...
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2005, 11:26:31 AM »
Cheesy,
The good news in all of this is that MTPIZZA now knows exactly what the nature of the problem is. Often times it takes a while to determine the primary problem. It should be a simple matter of deflecting the direct energy from the cast iron burners and he should be in pizza heaven.

Here's a crazy idea:
Over-compensate for the direct heat issue by placing multiple layers of foil on the grates. Then place a double stack of quarry tiles on the foiled grate. Then place the stone on top of the tiles. Finally I would place the screened pizza on the top and measure the results after five minutes.

Sounds like fun to me...
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com