Author Topic: Gas From Below, Charcoal From Above  (Read 1030 times)

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Offline beak90

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Gas From Below, Charcoal From Above
« on: July 21, 2013, 05:01:48 PM »
I normally bake my pizzas on a smallish Weber gas grill and a glazed pizza stone, but the big problem that I always have is the bottom of the crust burns before the top cooks.
I've noticed that Modernist Cuisine (I don't have the book) recommends preheating a baking steel with a broiler then cooking the pizza with the broiler. That way it gets intense heat from the top and bottom.
I was thinking I could achieve the same thing by heating the bottom of the pizza with the gas and heating the top by putting some hot coals on a metal sheet a few inches above the stone. Maybe this would help the pizza cook in just a few minutes while having the top and bottom of the pizza cook at the same speed.

Usually when I cook with the gas grill, the temperature at the top of the grill (the built in thermometer) reads ~600F and the temperature at the pizza stone level is well over 700F (maxed out my over thermometer). When I cook the pizzas in my regular oven at 550F, the crust doesn't cook enough and the cheese gets over melted and burns. In the oven, the pizzas also take forever to cook; probably over 10 minutes. I would like to cook them in <5min.

I'm wondering if anyone has heard of using coals above the pizza in a gas grill to heat more evenly. I did some searches and couldn't find anyone doing this specifically. I think the idea should be essentially the same as putting a baking steel above the pizza, which many people do, but without dishing out $100.


Offline txtanner

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Re: Gas From Below, Charcoal From Above
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2013, 10:22:43 AM »
Certainly worth a try.That's pretty much the way it works with a dutch oven and you just adjust the number of coals on top until you get the results your looking for.Go for it.... the worst that could happen is burnt pizza.Thats why there are a million hobby pizza makers :chef: and not so many doing  DIY hobby brain surgery. :drool:

Bill

Offline beak90

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Re: Gas From Below, Charcoal From Above
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2013, 11:12:36 AM »
I ended up not trying this because I found a large thick cast iron grill pan that I could put above the pizza. I bought a few red clay bricks to raise the grill pan above the pizza stone. I also put some aluminum foil around the back and on the bricks. This ended up working a lot better than nothing, but it still wasn't as good as I wanted. The pizzas were cooking in ~3.5 minutes which is excellent by my standards. I was able to get the bottom perfectly charred but the top was barely starting to brown, and depending on the pizza, the top was quite wet.
I would recommend making sure the pizza stone isn't too hot. Make a pizza and if it burns a lot then put a cold sheet pan on it to absorb some heat (read this on Varasanos, haven't tried it though). I had the same effect happen since I was baking 6 pizzas in a row. The last few turned out really well since they stayed in the grill oven for longer, but the pizza stone didn't have enough heat to burn them.
I was following the Varasanos recipe with a Camaldoli starter and it was extremely tasty, except the starter didn't give enough rise so next time I will add extra yeast.

Offline bradtri

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Re: Gas From Below, Charcoal From Above
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2013, 05:07:54 PM »
One thing that works really good for the uneven heating from the bottom is to get a pizza screen and slide it underneath the pizza after the bottom is cooked enough.  This then allows the top to keep cooking while the bottom doesn't char any more.  I do this today and put the screen under the pizza after 1.5 minutes of my typical 4 minute bake on my grill.


 

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