Author Topic: Cracker Style on WFO/Charcoal Weber?  (Read 3015 times)

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Offline Tatoosh

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Cracker Style on WFO/Charcoal Weber?
« on: May 06, 2012, 03:17:48 AM »
I am working on adapting a design I ran across on eBay for a fruit squasher to use as a sheeter.  A small hydraulic jack for a car and some sort of self-centering design for a pair of heavy steel plates to apply the pressure to the dough, and I should be in business, at least in terms of sheeting dough at home. 

But my question is can cracker style pizza be done on a hot pizza stone that is in the 650F to 750F temperature range?  I'll be using, providing the stones arrive in large enough pieces to reassemble, a 20 inch stone on a 22.5 inch Weber with a Pizza Kettle (PK) insert, and probably hanging either the 15 inch stone or possibly a 20 inch piece of 1/4 inch steel plate as a ceiling for the PK insert.  Most of the cracker style pizzas talk about using a cutting pan and cooking in an oven at traditional home oven temperatures.  Since the PI insert setup should be significantly higher temps, will it likely burn the thinner crust of the cracker style before the toppings ever have a chance to cook? 

I do expect to run my thin crust pizza with a lighter topping of sauce, cheese, and sausage than I would put on a Neapolitan or New York style pizza.  But should I figure on investing in a cutter pan and cooking in the oven rather than the Weber?  Since I have to import the cutter pan and ship across the Pacific Ocean, I thought asking ahead of time a good idea. 

Banana Ketchup Is Not Pizza Sauce - Weber 22.5 OTG, Smokenator 1000, Kettle Pizza Insert, White Mountain 6qt Elec, Cuisinart ICE-20 1.5qt, FMS 1500D sous vide - Mabuhay Pizza!


Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: Cracker Style on WFO/Charcoal Weber?
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2012, 05:13:13 PM »
Tatoosh:

The only way it will work on a Weber is if you have something like the insert you've described, or something like the 2stone grill device:

http://www.2stonepg.com/2stone-pizza-gril.html

Otherwise, the bottom will burn and the top will be underdone.  Having said that, I have not tried cooking on a Weber with either device.  I use my gas grill with my 2stone to cook my pizzas outside of the house.  Judging by my infra-red heat gun, I am getting about 625-650 degrees F. directly on the fibrament stone that is the bottom stone in the 2stone device.  A charcoal grill can generate more heat than a gas grill, and therefore might allow you to get your stone up to >700 degrees F.   I have not used an insert like you mentioned.  However, before doing that, you might want to read this article from the Slice website:

http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2012/03/yes-weve-se

Good luck, and let us know how things turn out.

-ME
Let them eat pizza.

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Cracker Style on WFO/Charcoal Weber?
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2012, 08:09:16 PM »
Tatoosh,

Just curious...why do you want to cook a cracker at 700 degrees?

Bob
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline Tatoosh

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Re: Cracker Style on WFO/Charcoal Weber?
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2012, 11:13:15 PM »
There is no pressing reason to make the cracker style on a 700F stone, except that I'd be cooking Neapolitan or New York style on the stone and would like to be able to produce a cracker at the same time.  Cooking two pizzas with one stone, so to speak (with apology to the old adage of "two birds").  Since the third style I want to become conversant with is deep dish, which requires an oven and not a hot stone Weber set up, I probably should produce my cracker style in it. 

But curiosity led me to ask if I could the two different pizzas were feasible from the Weber setup while I had a Chicago style bubbling away in my kitchen oven.  I grew up eating the thin cracker style and want to be able to recreate that for myself and friends.  My Weber/Kettle Pizza is for the slightly thicker New York style, or at least something along those lines.  And my wife loves thin crust but lots o' toppings, so the Windy City style get a nod for her.  An inch or more of toppings should be enough to make her smile!   

I will never be a pizza master, but I do want to approach the journeyman level (in terms of home production) in a few styles given the limits of ingredients and equipment available to me in the Philippines.  I very much appreciate the insight and replies.  I will be spending months reading up the various threads here to gain insight.
Banana Ketchup Is Not Pizza Sauce - Weber 22.5 OTG, Smokenator 1000, Kettle Pizza Insert, White Mountain 6qt Elec, Cuisinart ICE-20 1.5qt, FMS 1500D sous vide - Mabuhay Pizza!

Offline Tatoosh

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Re: Cracker Style on WFO/Charcoal Weber?
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2012, 09:52:07 PM »
I was looking at the 2stone system on the web; I've never heard of them before.  It looks like a good approach for a gas grill.  I've a friend that did a somewhat similar setup using firebricks on his gas grill.  But the 2stone is a nice clean approach that lets you easily move between grilling and pizza.  My friend's fire brick setup is much less convenient to setup and take down.   

The Pizza Kettle approach on the Weber uses charcoal supplemented with wood to get the kick to higher temperatures at or above 700F.  Charcoal by itself won't quite get there.  The 2stone commercial setup supposedly gets to 800F to 1000F according to the manufacturer but at a much higher price tag, while mudcat reports 600F to 650F on his gas BBQ grill add-on.  That is a pretty sweet setup and not too expensive. The Pizza Kettle runs about 100 bucks less for a comparable setup, but no stone for the ceiling though, since that is a user mod, not part of the original Pizza Kettle design.   

Banana Ketchup Is Not Pizza Sauce - Weber 22.5 OTG, Smokenator 1000, Kettle Pizza Insert, White Mountain 6qt Elec, Cuisinart ICE-20 1.5qt, FMS 1500D sous vide - Mabuhay Pizza!

Offline toddster63

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Re: Cracker Style on WFO/Charcoal Weber?
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2012, 08:08:41 PM »
I plan on trying the Pizza Inn cracker crust in my LBE this week. I'll report the results. I can make the best Pizza Inn cracker crust in the oven (I laminate the dough with my KA pasta roller attachment), so I hope it will cook nicely on the stone in my LBE at around 500F-550F. Maybe this dough will do 600F, but I'm not holding my breath...

I considered the Pizza Kettle, but I anticipated it would be hard to get temps high and consistent with this Weber attachment. I just think the Pizza Kettle makes it hard to regulate temps period, even with wood (and even then it takes a lot of wood). The Pizza Kettle gives the illusion of a dirt cheap WFO, but the design is seriously flawed, IMHO (dome too high, SS loses too much heat). That's why I choose, and why I like my LBE. I can literally dial in the temp—all the way from 900F down to 400F. Once the stone is at temp, the burner goes way, way down, unless I'm doing Neapolitan pies and then the burner goes up all the way to max. You do lose the romance and a bit of flavor from the wood (though even some great WFO guys will tell you at 90 seconds the smoke flavor is minimal).

Tatoosh, I agree the 2Stone looks like a really great high temp pizza oven—if you can afford them...! And your fruit squasher-home sheeter sounds ideal! Have fun with it! I like what my KA roller attachment does, but the strips are only 5" wide, so the seaming of multiple strips is a bit of a PITA....
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 08:15:06 PM by toddster63 »

Offline Tatoosh

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Re: Cracker Style on WFO/Charcoal Weber?
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2012, 09:51:20 PM »
toddster63,  I will let you know how the Pizza Kettle add-on works.  I've seen modifications that add a "ceiling" to the unit to handle the problem with the dome and I plan to do that provided all my pizza stones show up in one piece.  If not, I will use one (if it is repairable) for the floor and a piece of sheet steel for the ceiling.  I also have an IR thermometer "gun" coming so I can see what temps the stone gets too.  I already have a high temperature thermometer with probe that can handle over 1000C so I will use that to check air temps in the dome or ceiling.

How much wood for my use is yet to be seen.  Videos by other users, not the maker, show two or three medium sized chunks of wood per session plus charcoal, which turns into 2 or 3 pizzas produced in 4 to 7 minutes each.  Then it has to be reloaded or that is my impression.  Unless we are having a larger party, 3 pizzas is the norm for my family or a couple over for dinner with a bit leftover for the morning.  Folks in a BBQ forum I talked to reported 650F temperatures without too much trouble and higher when they added a ceiling and wood.  One guy had an interesting propane conversion, with ceiling that was turning out 600F to 650F regularly, no charcoal or wood involved. He was still working with it, but turning our pretty good looking pizzas.  (I think it was in the BBQ forum I hang out in, it might have been here ... I get confused pretty easily.)  I do realize the Weber/Pizza Kettle is NOT a WFO or Kamado Ceramic cooker.  But a whole lot easier and less expensive to ship across the Pacific Ocean.   :P

Two more weeks and it should be arriving, I hope.  It takes 5 to 6 weeks for the ocean transport I use to arrive, get through Manila customs, and find its way up the mountain to my doorstep.  The Pizza Kettle, a second stone, a peel, and the IR gun are all on their way.  Oh, Peter Reinhart's book American Pie too!
Banana Ketchup Is Not Pizza Sauce - Weber 22.5 OTG, Smokenator 1000, Kettle Pizza Insert, White Mountain 6qt Elec, Cuisinart ICE-20 1.5qt, FMS 1500D sous vide - Mabuhay Pizza!

Offline toddster63

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Re: Cracker Style on WFO/Charcoal Weber?
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2012, 02:06:23 AM »
Sounds great, thats you are well researched, Tatoosh. That's important for any form of pizza making! I think you will do just fine with that Pizza Kettle, keep us informed, I really do think the idea of a real wood fire is by the most romantic of cooking methods....

Offline Tatoosh

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Re: Cracker Style on WFO/Charcoal Weber?
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2012, 04:13:33 AM »
Oh, I will, the good, the bad, & the ugly.  However, if too ugly ... no photos.   ;D

Banana Ketchup Is Not Pizza Sauce - Weber 22.5 OTG, Smokenator 1000, Kettle Pizza Insert, White Mountain 6qt Elec, Cuisinart ICE-20 1.5qt, FMS 1500D sous vide - Mabuhay Pizza!

Offline ThatsAmore

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Re: Cracker Style on WFO/Charcoal Weber?
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2012, 03:59:32 PM »
I am working on adapting a design I ran across on eBay for a fruit squasher to use as a sheeter.  A small hydraulic jack for a car and some sort of self-centering design for a pair of heavy steel plates to apply the pressure to the dough, and I should be in business, at least in terms of sheeting dough at home. 

But my question is can cracker style pizza be done on a hot pizza stone that is in the 650F to 750F temperature range?  I'll be using, providing the stones arrive in large enough pieces to reassemble, a 20 inch stone on a 22.5 inch Weber with a Pizza Kettle (PK) insert, and probably hanging either the 15 inch stone or possibly a 20 inch piece of 1/4 inch steel plate as a ceiling for the PK insert.  Most of the cracker style pizzas talk about using a cutting pan and cooking in an oven at traditional home oven temperatures.  Since the PI insert setup should be significantly higher temps, will it likely burn the thinner crust of the cracker style before the toppings ever have a chance to cook? 

I do expect to run my thin crust pizza with a lighter topping of sauce, cheese, and sausage than I would put on a Neapolitan or New York style pizza.  But should I figure on investing in a cutter pan and cooking in the oven rather than the Weber?  Since I have to import the cutter pan and ship across the Pacific Ocean, I thought asking ahead of time a good idea. 


I recently purchased a PizzaQue by Charcoal Companion (see below)

The dimensions are 15"W x 16"D x 2.75"H

I cooked on it the other evening using hardwood lump charcoal.  The thermometer on the cooker hood read approx 425°F and the thermometer on the PizzaQue read approx 650°F

My results were fantastic.  I used Steve's Shakey's recipe.  Results can be seen here http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1311.msg192024.html#msg192024

The flavor from the charcoal imparted a flavor to make me say, "this is the best pizza I have ever had" as well as say, "this is the best pizza I have ever made"

Who put that pie in my eye ?


Offline Tatoosh

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Re: Cracker Style on WFO/Charcoal Weber?
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2012, 02:03:57 AM »
I've never seen the PizzaQue before, but that is a great recommendation for it. 
Banana Ketchup Is Not Pizza Sauce - Weber 22.5 OTG, Smokenator 1000, Kettle Pizza Insert, White Mountain 6qt Elec, Cuisinart ICE-20 1.5qt, FMS 1500D sous vide - Mabuhay Pizza!


 

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