Bob, I vaguely remember that you were a "northside" pizza guy. If so, please let us know about some of the great pizzas there that you remember. I've been to many great ones there, too.
Garvey, if you checked the upskirt color and it was browned enough, then I'm uncertain if my thoughts would apply. Back to trial and error.
I've never tried to clone an Aurelio's pizza since I've got into pizzamaking several years ago. It's funny while I've always loved their pizzas, I've never thought that their crust was particularly spectacular. Good, but not great. It was the other aspects of their pizzas that I always thought were great. But they have vastly changed their crust formulation for purposes of the newer conveyor ovens, and even tho the flavor/taste of their "new and improved" crust remains the same, the newer crust formulation is really good, too. It's "lighter and fluffier" as well as a little crisp . . . if that makes any sense. I would be hard pressed to figure out a clone.
I checked out that Aurelio's video that you mentioned at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4084.msg172559.html#msg172559
. I never met Joe Jr. but used to see and talk with Joe Sr. on a large number of occasions. I remember especially when Joe Sr. first invented or used that sausage dropping piece of equipment. It worked really well. The part of the video showing the deck ovens with the conveyor ovens sticking out down the line is what I remember when they first moved to that location and got the "new" conveyor ovens. I'm going to have to get back to their Homewood restaurant this summer to relive some of those great pizza eating times. When one is there, always ask for the pizza to be cooked "in the old oven!" The wait person will then know that you belong to a special class of old, loyal customers.
(Oh, do I remember the times when my young kids' birthdays had pizza parties at Aurelio's with the screeching, yelling kids saying "give me my pizza . . . and I got to go to the washroom . . " But it is all a part of the cycle of life, right? Crazy times but . . . now we wish we could go back to them . . .)
Regarding your previously mentioning the airing out the underside of a baked pizza, I remember going to the Naple's, FL Aurelio's about 5 years ago or so (owned by a Flossmoor, IL family) and when we received our pizza at the table it came in these new black "bubble" pans. We scratched our heads at first and wondered what happened to the silver flat serving pans. But we quickly figured out it was to keep the crust dry and crisp. And about 3 years ago my wife and I went to our old stomping grounds at Home Run Inn on 31st St in Chicago and had one of their pizzas that I had previous been eating at for 30 or more years at that location. And at that time, our pizza came in a black "bubble" pan to similarly let the crust remain dry and crisp. Below is a picture of the pie we had at HRI on that day. (I doubt anyone will remember, but HRI for 500 years or so -- ok maybe just 20 or 30 years -- always served their pizzas in a flat silver pan with a large paper doily to absorb the liquid drippings. I remember that like it was yesterday.)
I mentioned this bubble pan concept to many of those who gulp down a lot of my pizzas and the surprising response I got was that . . . the pizzas don't last long enough to get affected by the moisture and are great just cutting them on my old wooden board.