Home alone tonight, so time for an experiment (which turned into an adventure).
A while back, I asked if people thought this setup would work in a Weber grill (3 burners running lengthwise):
12”x20”x5/8” cordierite shelf placed in the back 2/3’s of the grill on top of 4 posts made of a firebrick cut into 4 pieces (around 2”x2” x 4-1/2” high). The shelf ends up around 5” below the top of the grill (with the sloped shape of the cover, there is a gap of around 2” on either side, and 1” front and back.
The answer was "probably not", but what the heck… there's nobody around, so let’s give it a try.
Lehmann dough at 62% hydration; 1% oil, 1% sugar; 2% salt, and a 4 day cold ferment. 50/50 organic KABF and Central Milling Type 85 flour (I like to fool myself into thinking that makes it healthier). The dough looked good and opened well. The pie was oblong to fit the shelf. Course pesto base, with Dragone part-skim mozz liberally sprayed with EVOO, and Matt's Wild Cherry tomatoes (halved) from the garden.
Fired up the grill and checked in 30 minutes, and the shelf was at 697 degrees - oops. I backed off the heat and waited for it to drop, aiming for 600 degrees. 10 minutes later, it was at 586 degrees, so I cranked it a little, and it went up to 623, so I lowered it, and 5 minutes later it was 592, so I turned the heat up, and when it finally hit 600, I launched (who knew you could play yo-yo with a grill). I left the back and middle burner on medium low, and cranked the front burner all the way, hoping that it would channel some additional top heat (due to the slanted front of the grill top).
Checked after 2 minutes and no top browning. Checked after 3 minutes and had great oven spring, with lots of bottom char, but no top color to speak of. Hmmm… took it inside (at this point the skies opened up, and I got soaked in 2 seconds flat) and finished it under the broiler for 2 minutes, initially holding it on a peel, and then, when I had singed all the hair on my knuckles off, I used an upside down cookie sheet (note to self... get a peel with a longer handle).
Photos: 1. Grill setup; 2. After 3 minutes on the grill (ignore the thing that looks like cauliflower - thin spot in the dough caused it to bloom); 3. After 2 minutes under the broiler; plus the usual crumb and bottom shots.
Don’t know if I’ll try this again, but if I do, maybe I’ll either put a stone on the grilling surface and stack the a second stone or a pan on top of the 4 firebrick posts, or take a page out of TXCraig’s book and get some insulating blankets and lay them over the top of the grill cover to retain more top heat.
The result… OK, but nothing spectacular. Very soft crust, with good crumb structure, but very little outer crunch.
Best part of the night? A night by myself, and the Phin and Matt’s Ale from Southern Tier Brewing (who knew Lakeport, NY is southern?), a lovely American style pale ale.