Author Topic: Please assist with my charcoal and wood pizza Weber setup  (Read 3437 times)

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Offline HappyHighwayman

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Please assist with my charcoal and wood pizza Weber setup
« on: June 14, 2011, 11:38:48 AM »
Hey All,

I recently received a pizza over conversion kit for my Weber 22.5" BBQ http://kettlepizza.com/ . I didn't have a lot of time so I tried a rush job Saturday. I used charcoal and threw a pizza of firewood on top, and the pizza kettle's thermometer quickly rushed north of 700 degrees....it was roughly 100 degrees past the highest temp the analog indicator registered.

I only let it heat up 35+ minutes before putting the pizza on, and I immediately could tell the stone wasn't hot enough because it took 3-4 minutes to bake. Also after 35 min the temp had already dropped to the 650-700 degree range.

I think one of the problems is that my grill is old and perhaps slightly warped, or I need to adjust the metal riser for a tighter fit because there were some small gaps that were potentially letting heat out. Additionally, I left the bottom vents open for oxygen, but perhaps that wasn't a good idea?

Here is the final setup and the first pizza I made. You can see the underside of the pizza is insufficiently charred, though the crust was still pretty crispy.

Please also forgive the weird distribution of toppings I screwed up sliding it onto the stone.


Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Please assist with my charcoal and wood pizza Weber setup
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2011, 12:36:28 PM »
I think one of the problems is that my grill is old and perhaps slightly warped, or I need to adjust the metal riser for a tighter fit because there were some small gaps that were potentially letting heat out. Additionally, I left the bottom vents open for oxygen, but perhaps that wasn't a good idea?


Let me start by prefacing that I don't have any experience with cooking pizza on a Webber, but I have used a BGE to cook pizza, and I have cooked a lot of pies on a gas grill. First and foremost, cooking pizza in a BBQ creates a ton of heat with little or no insulation to protect you or anything else near the grill. This is not what the grill was designed for. You need to thoroughly consider safety first before you do anything. If you are not absolutely sure it is safe. DON'T DO IT!

Is there a door for the opening so you can close it? It seems like the opening would let out more heat than a loose fit. As for the bottom vent, yes, I think you need to leave it open, or you probably wonít have enough oxygen to get the heat you need. I think you want to keep the top vent closed

At a minimum, I think you need to 1) start with a lot more heat - wood fire on the coals maybe, and 2) figure out a way to hold the heat in. I could not get browning on the top until I figured how to manage these. Here is what I was doing to cook pizza in my BBQ: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,9614.0.html. I would also 3) get a thicker stone. Scott123 would probably be the best to ask for a recommendation here. I'd say a Fibrament BBQ stone that comes with the metal tray (I liked the metal tray because it reflected some of the heat - will explain below), but there may be a better solution.

You need high temperature (say 700 or so) on the stone, but you need it even hotter than that in the air above else youíll burn the bottom of the pie before you get browning on the top. This is why I liked the Fibrament on the metal pan. My grill put out a ton of heat from below which I needed to keep the air temp up, and if I didnít reflect some of it away from the stone, it would get too hot Ė 850F+ which is way too hot for the 2:15 or so bake time I needed to get the top right. You will likely have a similar problem. I also found that I lost a ton of heat through the metal top of my BBQ (and I didnít have to deal with a big opening in the front too). My solution was to insulate the top. Youíll see it in the link I gave you. It made a big difference. As a first attempt as this, if I was you, I would use aluminum foil to close off the air space in the lid. You could put it across the top of the riser or across the bottom of the lid. This will greatly reduce the air you need to keep hot, and create an air gap, albeit a big one, I think it will have some insulating qualities.

Can you feed the fire when needed to keep the temp up?  It looks like there is a door on the side of the grill itself you could leave open if you slid the stone over to the side a little? This might work to your advantage in other ways as well. I would think another part of your solution might be to have the main heat slightly offset from the stone - i.e. the heat is not directly under the stone which might help to up the air temperature without overheating the stone. Youíll probably need to turn the pizza during the bake. Even if you donít offset the fire, the heat will probably be far from even especially with the big opening on the side.

The bottom line is you need to figure out how to make enough heat for a long enough time, hold enough of it in, and balance it so that the pie cooks evenly.

I hope this helps.

CL
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline HappyHighwayman

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Re: Please assist with my charcoal and wood pizza Weber setup
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2011, 01:12:08 PM »
Really helpful. I'd have to build a door myself though to close the opening, and I'd need to keep it open during baking though because I likely need to rotate the pizza once in the 2 minute bake time.

Additionally it's virtually impossible to add more fuel during the bake without taking the lid off or somehow seriously modifying the grill.

I'm not that handy so I will start with your foilling suggestions. Perhaps I will buy a new Weber, they're only $80-$130 depending if I want the Genesis Silver or Gold and perhaps the riser will fit tighter.

I will try just building a bigger-ass fire this weekend and seeing how that goes too.


Offline Jakethejake

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Re: Please assist with my charcoal and wood pizza Weber setup
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2011, 09:36:00 PM »
Hi Happy.

I have the same setup and love it.  Here's what works for me.  I use a full chimney of Kingsford charcoal.  I wait until it is flaming, then I dump it in a C pattern around the back of my kettle.  I also throw a handful of charcoal, and wood chunks over that.  The extra coals are not mandatory, but I like my needle to be pegged for as long as possible.  I put my stone on the grate, and cover it.  At this point, your kettle pizza should be fully assembled.  You are just heating up your stone.  I have pegged the thermometer on my kettle pizza for about an hour using this method.  I make my pizza once the stone is warmed up and cook it, rotating every couple of minutes.  My last pie cooked for about 4 minutes and was great.  That was with the needle pegged.  I cook longer at 700 degrees.  I hope this helps.

Offline HappyHighwayman

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Re: Please assist with my charcoal and wood pizza Weber setup
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2011, 10:03:13 PM »
When you say pegged, do you mean basically well past 700?


Offline Jakethejake

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Re: Please assist with my charcoal and wood pizza Weber setup
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2011, 10:47:56 PM »
When you say pegged, do you mean basically well past 700?



Yes.  700 works fine as well, but when cooking multiple pies, I get the best results when it is super hot. 

Offline HappyHighwayman

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Re: Please assist with my charcoal and wood pizza Weber setup
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2011, 10:48:48 PM »
I will give it another go this weekend then!

How do you have the vents? All the bottom ones open?


Offline Jakethejake

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Re: Please assist with my charcoal and wood pizza Weber setup
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2011, 10:50:20 PM »
My pies tonight had the nice char on the crust, and the boiling of the cheese and sauce when i took them out.

Offline Jakethejake

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Re: Please assist with my charcoal and wood pizza Weber setup
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2011, 10:51:41 PM »
I will give it another go this weekend then!

How do you have the vents? All the bottom ones open?



Wide open on the bottom, closed on the top.  If you are not getting enough heat, add more wood.

Offline Mick.Chicago

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Re: Please assist with my charcoal and wood pizza Weber setup
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2011, 02:10:49 PM »
The biggest problem off the bat is the lid doesn't fit!?  Or is it just not on properly?


Offline wjschmitz

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Re: Please assist with my charcoal and wood pizza Weber setup
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2011, 01:22:17 PM »
Hi, I'm a newbie, so please bear with me. 

I've been looking at the Pizza Kettle insert, too, and am about to pull the trigger.  However, I've been concerned, after doing a lot of reading and research on how to get enough heat down on the top of the pizza, since the dome of the kettle is both too high for good downward convection, and being metal, lets too much heat escape.  To this end, I was considering trying to suspend another stone from the lid, when I saw on the pizza kettle site, their double layer baking post:

http://kettlepizza.com/2011/06/01/kettlepizza-double-layer-baking-system/

Seems to me, that the simplest answer is to buy another grate, like they show in the picture, and put a second stone on the upper grate to absorb and reflect heat downward.  Has anyone tried this approach?

Bill

Offline scott123

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Re: Please assist with my charcoal and wood pizza Weber setup
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2011, 06:04:43 PM »
That would work if the pizza kettle insert was about 1/3 as high. A stone on the upper grate will be too far from the pizza to be effective at providing top heat.

Offline HappyHighwayman

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Re: Please assist with my charcoal and wood pizza Weber setup
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2011, 06:08:33 PM »
That would work if the pizza kettle insert was about 1/3 as high. A stone on the upper grate will be too far from the pizza to be effective at providing top heat.

As recommended to me I am going to try foiling above the stone/below the lid.

Offline scott123

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Re: Please assist with my charcoal and wood pizza Weber setup
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2011, 06:26:32 PM »
Foil isn't going to do much with a ceiling that high.  The Pizza Kettle scores points on the side vent concept, but they fail miserably with the idea of raising the ceiling another 10 or so inches.  A raised ceiling is the kiss of death for good top heat.

Offline patflynn

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Re: Please assist with my charcoal and wood pizza Weber setup
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2011, 01:04:45 PM »
would a larger stone be beneficial? I got the D shaped stone for my future LBE build. I will be doing a raised lid so i dont have to open the lid to allow me to do higher volume with it, but not using the kettle pizza thing.
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