Author Topic: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?  (Read 31495 times)

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Offline bbqchuck

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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #25 on: June 25, 2011, 01:07:33 PM »
Hi folks,
I'm new to the forum, but I'm a bbq forum regular on a couple of them.  I own what's called a Bubba Keg Convection Grill. It's basically an insulated, double walled, steel, version of a komado (Big Green Egg, etc). The guys on our forum have been doing tons of pizzas in them using real wood (lump, not brickettes) charcoal which are able to run at temps up to 800F safely.  I'm about to try a few pizza's today using recipes from members on this site using my keg.  My understanding is that the real wood charcoal imparts a slightly smoky taste even without adding smoking wood.

Here's a pic of my Keg (on the right).  They have changed owners and are now available at Orchard Supply Hardware (CA) and Ace Hardware (nationally) for about $400 for the basic model and about $650 for the deluxe version.  Apparently, they are a great pizza kiln.

(http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c125/roaniecowpony/DSC_1435.jpg)

« Last Edit: June 25, 2011, 01:48:23 PM by bbqchuck »


Offline norma427

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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2011, 04:00:08 PM »
Hi folks,
I'm new to the forum, but I'm a bbq forum regular on a couple of them.  I own what's called a Bubba Keg Convection Grill. It's basically an insulated, double walled, steel, version of a komado (Big Green Egg, etc). The guys on our forum have been doing tons of pizzas in them using real wood (lump, not brickettes) charcoal which are able to run at temps up to 800F safely.  I'm about to try a few pizza's today using recipes from members on this site using my keg.  My understanding is that the real wood charcoal imparts a slightly smoky taste even without adding smoking wood.

Here's a pic of my Keg (on the right).  They have changed owners and are now available at Orchard Supply Hardware (CA) and Ace Hardware (nationally) for about $400 for the basic model and about $650 for the deluxe version.  Apparently, they are a great pizza kiln.

(http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c125/roaniecowpony/DSC_1435.jpg)



Hi bbqchuck,

Welcome to the forum!  :) I have seen the Bubba Keg Convection Grill in pictures, but havenít seen any pizzas there were made in the Bubba Keg.  I guess the picture you had a link to is this picture.  http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c125/roaniecowpony/DSC_1435.jpg

I would like to see pictures when you make your pizzas in your Bubba Keg.  It is always interesting to see different kinds of grills in action.

Thanks for posting about the Bubba Keg.

Steve and I were talking over how to convert my Weber Grill into a pizza oven and I told him if it is possible I would like something like Pizza Hackerís modification.  Steve has some good ideas, but we arenít really sure what we will try. Steve is also busy doing things to his own WFO, so probably in the next few weeks we might be able to get started on modifying my Weber Grill. We did measure my deck oven to see how much space there is in the deck oven to load a pie and it was about 4".  I will post pictures on what we do, so if the ideas work, then maybe other members can try something like we do if they want.

Norma

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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #27 on: June 25, 2011, 05:48:38 PM »
Chuck, no offense, but I just spent half an hour going through about 100 pizza related posts at the Big Steel Keg forum and, out of everything, there's not a properly baked pizza in the bunch. The tops aren't browned, the cheese isn't properly melted. The Bubba Keg does perfectly fine from a hearth heat perspective, but the top heat just isn't there. The only way to get proper top browning/cheese melting in the Keg is to dial down the heat and extend the baking time.  Long bake times (15+ minutes) trash thin crust pizzas.

Perhaps, if one were to mod the Keg and add a lower ceiling and an extra air vent, it could produce a decent pizza, but even then, I think you'd be hard pressed to make more than one pizza at a time.

Properly grilled pizza requires a substantial period of sustained heat to pre-heat the stone and then the ability to turn that heat off so the stone temp doesn't keep on rising. During the bake, the heat needs to be turned back on and cranked to high, so the top browns sufficiently. I'm not saying this can't be done with charcoal, but it's very difficult to do, and, for multiple pizzas, it's pretty much impossible.

I have no doubt that the Bubba Keg produces some mind bendingly wonderful meats, but for pizza, I have my doubts.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2011, 07:17:49 PM by scott123 »

Offline norma427

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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #28 on: June 25, 2011, 08:35:40 PM »
Do you have any ideas on the best way to turn my Weber Grill into a pizza oven?  Steve and I were tossing around ideas about building a form and using Perlite & refractory cement to form a something or he might also have some castable refractory cement/mortar leftover from another project on his WFO.

Norma

Offline Saturday Coffee

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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #29 on: June 25, 2011, 11:40:13 PM »
Do you have any ideas on the best way to turn my Weber Grill into a pizza oven?  Steve and I were tossing around ideas about building a form and using Perlite & refractory cement to form a something or he might also have some castable refractory cement/mortar leftover from another project on his WFO.

Norma

That sure sounds like a whole lot of work.  Wouldn't something like this work for you? 

http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/08/slicer-mmmph-tests-the-pizza-kettle-weber-grill-insert.html




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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #30 on: June 25, 2011, 11:52:11 PM »
Norma,

I have no idea what to tell ya,but Im excited to follow your project and I know you're going to do just fine.
Im sure I will learn alot here as I have the other threads.

I do not believe there is anything to stop you from making pizza out of anything.You truly have the knack for it.Cant wait for the pies posted from your new oven!
 :chef:
-Bill

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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #31 on: June 26, 2011, 03:43:56 AM »
Norma, I've read just about everything there is to read on LBE's and grill inserts.  I'm on the lookout for a 22" Weber. When I get one, I'm going with a setup that goes something like this:

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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #32 on: June 26, 2011, 04:34:25 AM »
It's very similar to LBEs that have been done before, with a few minor improvements.

Basically, I removed the Weber lid from the picture.  It's too tall to effectively radiate much heat down onto the top of the pie and hanging false ceilings is a hassle. It's easier just to make a ceiling out of a large round cordierite stone.  This stone ceiling sits on a curled strip of galvanized steel flashing (not pictured) that goes around 3/4 of the outer circumference of the grill.

My flashing is basically a DIY version of the Kettle Pizza insert mentioned above, except my flashing only mimics the bottom half the insert where the hole is.  It also has no handles. The pizza kettle insert, besides being costly, is way too high and only compounds the ceiling to pizza distance issue.

The height of the flashing might take some trial and error.  The way I'm picturing it, one will launch the pizza with the flashing in place, so you want it tall enough so that the pizza doesn't touch the ceiling, but not so tall that it gets in the way during the launch. Right now I'm leaning towards 2.5" above the hearth. From what I can tell, they sell galvanized steel flashing from Home Depot and it should be lightweight enough to be cut with tinsnips, but, on it's edge, it should be sturdy enough to support the ceiling.

A round 19 x 1/2" cordierite stone shouldn't be too difficult to track down, but a 23" cordierite stone could get tricky. A 23" x 1/4" round steel plate would probably do the trick as well, although that too could be difficult to find.  If all else fails, get a 23" square 1/4" thick plate.

The sizing on the thin steel deflector boils down to where it ends up in the grill.  Ideally, you'll want it pretty close to the hearth so it can be close in size to the hearth. If the deflector doesn't shield most of the hearth, you'll see very hot edges on the hearth. 2.5" to 4" from the hearth should do the trick.  I'm not in love with the price, but something like this should be perfect:

http://www.wasserstrom.com/restaurant-supplies-equipment/Product_421222

The nice thing about this tray is that the edges curl up, so, if you wanted, to you could fill it with some sand like some LBE folks do. It will most likely warp, but it shouldn't warp so much that it can't be used.  Although I'm not in love with Pizzahacker style perlcrete ceilings (you really need some thermal mass in the ceiling), you might be able to get away with a perlcrete deflector.  Maybe.  The most important thing is to avoid aluminum, both in the deflector and anywhere else, because there's always the possibility that you'll reach aluminum melting temps.

One other aspect regarding the deflector is that it might work a bit better tilted towards the side the gap.

You might be able to salvage the handle from the original weber (or another grill) or you might be able fashion something out of steel bolts and wood. The other thing I was picturing with the lid is, when you remove it to launch the pizza, you can rest it on whatever steel flashing is leftover.

Lastly, the lazy susan that I'd go with would be this one:

http://www.lazy-susan.com/catalog-product.php?p_ref=258591

as it, from the photo, appears the be the model Mike (Essen1) has used in the past.

I tend to be a very thrifty modder, and, although this is a bit more than I normally like to spend on these sort of things (in the $150 realm), the mods involved should all be very simple and the end result should pump out some great pizzas with fast bake times, possibly even Neapolitan times.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2011, 04:53:31 AM by scott123 »

Offline norma427

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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #33 on: June 26, 2011, 07:41:55 AM »
That sure sounds like a whole lot of work.  Wouldn't something like this work for you? 

http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/08/slicer-mmmph-tests-the-pizza-kettle-weber-grill-insert.html


Saturday Coffee,


You can see at this thread,  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,14284.0.html
and at Slice http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/09/slice-tests-the-kettle-pizza-grill-insert.html 
http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/08/slicer-mmmph-tests-the-pizza-kettle-weber-grill-insert.html
http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/08/aftermarket-insert-turns-your-weber-kettle-grill-into-coal-fired-pizza-oven.html
that the Pizza Inserts can make pizzas, but there are problems with using the Weber Pizza Inserts, as Scott also notes.  You also provided the one link on Slice. 

Thanks for trying to save Steve and me work.   :)

Norma


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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #34 on: June 26, 2011, 07:51:23 AM »
Norma,

I have no idea what to tell ya,but Im excited to follow your project and I know you're going to do just fine.
Im sure I will learn alot here as I have the other threads.

I do not believe there is anything to stop you from making pizza out of anything.You truly have the knack for it.Cant wait for the pies posted from your new oven!
 :chef:


Bill,

I am not sure how Steve and I will fair out making a pizza oven out of the 22" Weber grill, but it will be a learning project anyway.  I donít have the knack for creating a pizza oven, I more or less mostly experiment with doughs, but will see what we can come up with.  Steve is more of the designer and knows more about creating pizza ovens from his two oven builds at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,14444.0.html and http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11155.0.html   Steve is also a much better handyman than I am a handywoman.   :)

Thanks for your kind words!  :)

Norma


Offline norma427

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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #35 on: June 26, 2011, 08:20:46 AM »
It's very similar to LBEs that have been done before, with a few minor improvements.

Basically, I removed the Weber lid from the picture.  It's too tall to effectively radiate much heat down onto the top of the pie and hanging false ceilings is a hassle. It's easier just to make a ceiling out of a large round cordierite stone.  This stone ceiling sits on a curled strip of galvanized steel flashing (not pictured) that goes around 3/4 of the outer circumference of the grill.

My flashing is basically a DIY version of the Kettle Pizza insert mentioned above, except my flashing only mimics the bottom half the insert where the hole is.  It also has no handles. The pizza kettle insert, besides being costly, is way too high and only compounds the ceiling to pizza distance issue.

The height of the flashing might take some trial and error.  The way I'm picturing it, one will launch the pizza with the flashing in place, so you want it tall enough so that the pizza doesn't touch the ceiling, but not so tall that it gets in the way during the launch. Right now I'm leaning towards 2.5" above the hearth. From what I can tell, they sell galvanized steel flashing from Home Depot and it should be lightweight enough to be cut with tinsnips, but, on it's edge, it should be sturdy enough to support the ceiling.

A round 19 x 1/2" cordierite stone shouldn't be too difficult to track down, but a 23" cordierite stone could get tricky. A 23" x 1/4" round steel plate would probably do the trick as well, although that too could be difficult to find.  If all else fails, get a 23" square 1/4" thick plate.

The sizing on the thin steel deflector boils down to where it ends up in the grill.  Ideally, you'll want it pretty close to the hearth so it can be close in size to the hearth. If the deflector doesn't shield most of the hearth, you'll see very hot edges on the hearth. 2.5" to 4" from the hearth should do the trick.  I'm not in love with the price, but something like this should be perfect:

http://www.wasserstrom.com/restaurant-supplies-equipment/Product_421222

The nice thing about this tray is that the edges curl up, so, if you wanted, to you could fill it with some sand like some LBE folks do. It will most likely warp, but it shouldn't warp so much that it can't be used.  Although I'm not in love with Pizzahacker style perlcrete ceilings (you really need some thermal mass in the ceiling), you might be able to get away with a perlcrete deflector.  Maybe.  The most important thing is to avoid aluminum, both in the deflector and anywhere else, because there's always the possibility that you'll reach aluminum melting temps.

One other aspect regarding the deflector is that it might work a bit better tilted towards the side the gap.

You might be able to salvage the handle from the original weber (or another grill) or you might be able fashion something out of steel bolts and wood. The other thing I was picturing with the lid is, when you remove it to launch the pizza, you can rest it on whatever steel flashing is leftover.

Lastly, the lazy susan that I'd go with would be this one:

http://www.lazy-susan.com/catalog-product.php?p_ref=258591

as it, from the photo, appears the be the model Mike (Essen1) has used in the past.

I tend to be a very thrifty modder, and, although this is a bit more than I normally like to spend on these sort of things (in the $150 realm), the mods involved should all be very simple and the end result should pump out some great pizzas with fast bake times, possibly even Neapolitan times.

Scott,

Your diagram and ideas are interesting.  I know you read everything about LBEís and grill inserts.  If you are planning on using flashing out of galvanized steel to put around 3/4 of the outer circumference, wonít that also lose some heat or do you think it will help contain the heat?  Your idea for a stainless steel deflector is also interesting.  I donít think Steve and I are planning on using any aluminum in the build.  I really like you lazy susan idea, but do you think that would hold up?  Your estimate of 150.00 for a mod is good.

Thanks for all your ideas!  :) Are you going to start to mod a 22" Weber as soon as you find one?  It would be interesting to read about your mod.  I found plenty of 22" Weber's on craigslist, but each time, they went really fast.

Norma

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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #36 on: June 26, 2011, 11:24:44 AM »

..... sits on a curled strip of galvanized steel flashing (not pictured) that goes around 3/4 of the outer circumference of the grill...


Respectfully, galvanised steel at these temps pose a health risk.  Those nasty compounds can offgas at these temperatures.  Also, galvanisation can flake off and wind up on the pizza/stone.  I would suggest picking another material for this application.

Otherwise, it looks like a killer LBE design.

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Offline Mick.Chicago

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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #37 on: June 27, 2011, 01:31:08 PM »
Norma, I have two 18.5 inch weber grills I want to turn one into an oven also! I was thinking of investing in the pizza kettle mod kit but haven't seen very many results, I  don't want to use propane though so I know I have an uphill slog ahead of me!

There is a picture of a pie on the website, and it doesn't look very appealing to me.

http://kettlepizza.com/testimonials/


Offline norma427

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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #38 on: June 27, 2011, 05:50:44 PM »
Norma, I have two 18.5 inch weber grills I want to turn one into an oven also! I was thinking of investing in the pizza kettle mod kit but haven't seen very many results, I  don't want to use propane though so I know I have an uphill slog ahead of me!

There is a picture of a pie on the website, and it doesn't look very appealing to me.

http://kettlepizza.com/testimonials/



Mick,

I havenít seen the pizza kettle mod kit for the 18.5" weber grills before, but I have looked at pizzas baked with mod kits made for the Weber, and although they look like decent pizzas, I donít think that is the way I want to go.  I donít want to have to mess around with  starter briquettes or charcoal in combination with wood. I have no idea if Steve and I can get my Weber grill to work okay. I would think propane would be easier, maybe with some wood,  but am not sure at this time.  I also havenít seen enough positive comments on the pizza kettle mod kit to buy it.  What route do you think you want to try for your mod? 

Norma

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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #39 on: June 28, 2011, 08:54:26 AM »
I would like to do a wood charcoal combo but that's very fuel consuming, I think I may have to go the propane route in order for a quick result but it would be nice to eventually have a working Weber sized oven that burned wood/charcoal.

I recently acquired an 18.5 inch lid from a Weber Smokey Mountain that sits on top of my Weber nicely, it makes my Weber look like a big black egg, I have some ideas that involve cutting a few holes in the new lid and making a raised shelf to go in it.  My wife would like to get me the Kettle Grill attachment for my birthday but I don't think it's good enough!   

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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #40 on: June 28, 2011, 09:27:34 AM »
Here is the grill with its big lid and regular lid.  I do like the low profile of the other lid, I think with good air flow it would make a better pizza oven but I don't want to hacksaw it!



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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #41 on: June 28, 2011, 05:08:38 PM »
Scotts's design is pretty similar to a small portable wood fired oven I've been working on for a while that keeps getting put on the back burner.  One difference that I think you could use is that in my design the "thin steel plate" is on a slide so it can be moved forward or back changing the path of the fire.  With it forward the heat is diverted up over the stone to maximize top heat.  With it back the fired travels under the entire stone before going over to,  essentially focusing the heat on the oven deck.  I think this method would give you a fast way to recharge the deck for lots of pizzas.
-Jeff


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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #42 on: June 28, 2011, 10:11:23 PM »
I would like to do a wood charcoal combo but that's very fuel consuming, I think I may have to go the propane route in order for a quick result but it would be nice to eventually have a working Weber sized oven that burned wood/charcoal.

I recently acquired an 18.5 inch lid from a Weber Smokey Mountain that sits on top of my Weber nicely, it makes my Weber look like a big black egg, I have some ideas that involve cutting a few holes in the new lid and making a raised shelf to go in it.  My wife would like to get me the Kettle Grill attachment for my birthday but I don't think it's good enough!   

Mick,

Looking forward to seeing what kind of mod you decide to do.  :) I really don't think the Kettle Grill attachment is good enough either, but I never really tired it.

I think Steve and I are going to try and cast two parts for my Weber grill mod and see how that works, in combination with a propane burner.  Steve picked up the refractory cement/mortar this morning in Baltimore.  We have no idea if it will work, but it will be interesting to try.

Norma

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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #43 on: June 28, 2011, 10:12:56 PM »
Scotts's design is pretty similar to a small portable wood fired oven I've been working on for a while that keeps getting put on the back burner.  One difference that I think you could use is that in my design the "thin steel plate" is on a slide so it can be moved forward or back changing the path of the fire.  With it forward the heat is diverted up over the stone to maximize top heat.  With it back the fired travels under the entire stone before going over to,  essentially focusing the heat on the oven deck.  I think this method would give you a fast way to recharge the deck for lots of pizzas.

shuboyje,

Do you think casting two parts out of refractory cement/mortar might work?

Norma

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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #44 on: June 29, 2011, 10:44:15 PM »
The few downsides to casting these pieces are that the castable has a conductivity more like fire brick so you will need higher temperatures and I wouldn't go under an inch thick which will make for a pretty serious amount of mass to heat and keep hot in an uninsulated situation.  It think it's workable so long as you have a good heat source fueling it all.
-Jeff

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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #45 on: June 29, 2011, 11:12:20 PM »
The few downsides to casting these pieces are that the castable has a conductivity more like fire brick so you will need higher temperatures and I wouldn't go under an inch thick which will make for a pretty serious amount of mass to heat and keep hot in an uninsulated situation.  It think it's workable so long as you have a good heat source fueling it all.


shuboyje,

Thanks for your ideas about refractory cement/mortar.  I think, but am not sure Steve is going to mix some perlite in with the refractory cement.  I am going to run to my local cheaper place later this week to pick up some stuff for the molding.

Norma

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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #46 on: June 29, 2011, 11:40:47 PM »
Norma, regardless of the material, the dome needs to be pretty close to the top of the pizza. In my opinion, six inches max.  It will be a pain to load it with the peel, but any more distance will have you in the same situation that we hear of all the time with other new setups.  Scott123's picture is the perfect setup.  Just my .o2 :D
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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #47 on: June 30, 2011, 08:03:03 AM »
Norma, regardless of the material, the dome needs to be pretty close to the top of the pizza. In my opinion, six inches max.  It will be a pain to load it with the peel, but any more distance will have you in the same situation that we hear of all the time with other new setups.  Scott123's picture is the perfect setup.  Just my .o2 :D

Gene,

Thanks for your thoughts on the dome shouldnít be any higher than 6" max.  :) I can see Scott123's ideas are very interesting.  I never tried any kind of mod before and donít really understand everything about doing a mod, or how they will work in the end. The only thing I ever tried doing a mod on was my regular BBQ grill. That was in my other thread and although it made okay pizzas, it wasnít the best.  Do you think the dome has to be flat or could it be curved with 6" at the highest point?  Steve and I are trying to go over what would be the best way to start a mod.  If it doesnít work, then we will try something else.  Do you also think I need two stones for the deck floor, or will spit firebricks be okay?  I have two soapstones.  Do you think either of them could work somehow as a floor or would firebricks or some other material be better? 

I appreciate your help, because I donít really understand how mods can work well.

Norma

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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #48 on: June 30, 2011, 02:06:54 PM »
Gene,

 Do you think the dome has to be flat or could it be curved with 6" at the highest point?  
Norma

TXCraig, Tampa, Don, and my 10 stone all have flat roofs, if Im not mistaken.  A flat dome is fine.  I defer expert answer to the stone question to someone else, but the splits for the floor and the soapstone for the roof should put your pizza cooker ahead of 98% of somethink like the frankenweber.

If I ever did it, I would build it exactly like scott123's picture, exactly.
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Offline norma427

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Re: Any Ideas to Help me turn my Weber Grill into a Pizza Oven?
« Reply #49 on: June 30, 2011, 02:33:14 PM »
TXCraig, Tampa, Don, and my 10 stone all have flat roofs, if Im not mistaken.  A flat dome is fine.  I defer expert answer to the stone question to someone else, but the splits for the floor and the soapstone for the roof should put your pizza cooker ahead of 98% of somethink like the frankenweber.

If I ever did it, I would build it exactly like scott123's picture, exactly.

Gene,

Thanks for your help again!  :) I appreciate anything I can learn, before Steve and I get started on my Weber grill.  I would be interested in watching when Scott123 finds a Weber grill and starts his mod.  :)

Norma