Author Topic: Little Black Egg  (Read 349166 times)

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ronbro

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Little Black Egg
« on: February 22, 2007, 01:20:16 AM »
I wanted an inexpensive outdoor pizza oven that's portable. I couldn't find anything so I decided to make one. Actually I just adapted some existing technology and I call it the Little Black Egg. The small one is an 18" Weber kettle grill with a hole cut in the bottom. It sits on top of a gas fired Cajun cooker that cranks out 170,000 BTUs. I put a 16" pizza stone in it with some tiles underneath the stone to buffer the heat. The larger cooker was my prototype and it is a 22" grill with a 16" stone in it. If you want to cook large pizzas this kettle can take a 20" stone with no problem. Both grills have a temp gauge installed. The lid is lined with foil to help reflect the heat but I may try mounting a smaller stone instead.


ronbro

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2007, 01:21:58 AM »
Woops! Here's the other picture.

Offline D.B.Cooper

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2007, 01:42:53 PM »
Looks great! Add some Lava rocks on the bottom grate and you have a gas Weber Kettle. I might have to build me one. What are your temp ranges and how is the temp control?

ronbro

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2007, 02:18:47 PM »
Looks great! Add some Lava rocks on the bottom grate and you have a gas Weber Kettle. I might have to build me one. What are your temp ranges and how is the temp control?

I've been cooking my pizzas at just under 500 degrees. It reaches that temp without any problem. I've never really tried pushing it to it's limit as my style of pizza will burn at high temps. I have to try a test run up to maximum smoke this weekend. I control the temp by adjusting the regulator, not exact science but it works, you just have to keep an eye on it. I'd like to try making a NY style dough and see how it turns out. The grill is also really good on gas. It typically only uses about one pound of fuel to preheat and cook five pizzas. Takes about 6 minutes each.

Update: I made pizza this weekend and after I turned up the gas to maximum. The temp got up to 650 degrees. The burner sounded like a jet engine at full afterburner. Here's one of the pizzas.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2007, 10:42:19 AM by ronbro »

Offline canadianbacon

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2007, 11:54:40 AM »
that is really amazing ronbros, I'm really impressed with what you came up with.

great piece of equipment !
Pizzamaker, Rib Smoker, HomeBrewer, there's not enough time for a real job.

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2007, 12:56:38 AM »
Quote from: canadianbacon link=topic= ::)4753.msg44602#msg44602 date=1182182080
that is really amazing ronbros, I'm really impressed with what you came up with.

great piece of equipment !


Thanks CB.....I've posted more pics and info on the FB site at: (http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f24/anyone-ever-made-weber-grill-pizza-1511.html) Even though they're more focused on brick ovens they have an area for grilled pizza.

You can still burn charcoal or wood and use it to cook regular cookout type food or go with the gas for pizza. The 18" model is very portable. Maybe I should have called it the chameleon!

PS....I changed my name from RonBro to Villa Roma awhile back since VR has a more Italian ring to it! I like to think of myself as the pizza artist formally known as RonBro ::).

Villa Roma
« Last Edit: June 19, 2007, 03:11:13 AM by Villa Roma »

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2007, 09:10:05 AM »
I posted 2 videos on YouTube to demonstrate the Little Black Egg. The first video is a tour of the LBE and the second video is a demo of a pizza making session. The pizza dough is 50% stone ground whole grain.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYRnKe6gJxs" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYRnKe6gJxs</a>


<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phcTzLKhACY" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phcTzLKhACY</a>

   
       Villa Roma
« Last Edit: August 05, 2007, 02:01:47 PM by Villa Roma »

Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2007, 11:28:28 AM »
Villa,

That is fantastic.  I will be making one.  Could you tell me how you installed that 8 inch stone to the bottom of the lid?  Also, does the bottom 16" stone just sitting on the original grate supports or did you modify that as well?  Did you use a torch to cut the bottom hole of the kettle?  Much appreciate any inputs.

Thanks,

Mike

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2007, 01:19:29 PM »
Mike....I posted some pics and info that might be helpful at the Forno Bravo site here (page 2): (http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f24/anyone-ever-made-weber-grill-pizza-1511.html)

The 8" stone hangs from the lid by copper house wire that I shaped to the proper form and attached to the lid with screws. This stone is discolored because it fell off onto one of my pizzas awhile back :'( so I have since then connected the copper supports with the stainless steel wire, problem solved. If you have access to a decent hardware store you should be able to find some sort of brackets that would be better.

Yes, the 2 lower stones simply sit on the cooking grid.

I cut the hole in the bottom of the kettle with just a hacksaw blade wrapped in duct tape, see the above link for more on that. You can use power tools or a torch if you have access to such tools.

Copied from my post at Forno Bravo:
I like to keep things simple so I took a 18" Weber kettle grill and cut an 11 1/2inch hole in the bottom. Mount the grill on a gas fired cajun cooker and put a 16 inch pizza stone on the top grate. I lined the inside of the grill with heavy duty aluminum foil, both top and bottom. This made a big difference with the heat retension and cooking quality. The gas burner will kick out 180,000 BTUs but I only run it at about 25%.

I use two stones on the top grate. I had one crack after 10 years so I use it on the bottom to buffer the flames from the burner, the other stone sits directly on top of the cracked stone. You can use tiles for the lower layer also.

I use an 8 inch stone mounted to the lid suspended with electrical wire. This helps cook the top of the pizza. Again you can use a tile.

You can use a 22" grill with a 19" stone also. I've used a 22" grill with a 16" stone and it worked nicely but it did use more fuel. The 18" grill is very portable and doesn't take up much space. The 22" grill will do bigger pizzas and also had the extra lid height for roasting chickens etc.

Cutting the hole in the bottom of the grill is pretty straight forward but there are a few tricks that might make it easier. I attached some pics to illustrate the process. I used a bare hacksaw blade wrapped in duct tape to prevent blisters. I cut the hole 11 1/2" but you can cut it anywhere from 10"-12" depending on the burner you use. I marked the circle using a plastic storage bowl centered on the grill. It took about an hour to complete. If you have power tools you could do it in a few minutes. The cutting blade will try to run in a straight line which is why you have to push down and shim the metal. This allows you to tilt the blade and follow the circle as you cut. Finish the proceedure by dressing the cut line with a file.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Villa Roma
« Last Edit: August 06, 2007, 03:28:03 AM by Villa Roma »

Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2007, 02:12:14 PM »
Thanks Villa.  I think I got it now.  I couldn't see those pics from your link because you have to register to see attachments.  But thanks for the info, I hope to make this soon.

Mike

Edit:  Do you remember where you got that 8" stone?  All the sites I've found sell them in pairs.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2007, 02:20:51 PM by Boy Hits Car »


Offline canadianbacon

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2007, 02:24:17 PM »
Really really great video ! , I really enjoyed it.

That's just amazing that the pizza was totally cooked in just 3 minutes - that's really wonderful.

Quick question - how come you turned the pizza a few times during the baking ? is this to give it more of a uniform
bake ? , I'm wondering because with doubled up pizza stones on the bottom like you have should make for an amazingly
uniform bake as it is.... or is this perhaps to make sure it doesn't stick to the stone ?

Anyway, I really enjoyed the videos, it was like I was there with you making it.  Pressing down on the crust area of the
pizza really did it for me, I could really hear that "crunch " - very nice !

Thanks for taking the time to do those videos !

I posted 2 videos on YouTube to demonstrate the Little Black Egg. The first video is a tour of the LBE and the second video is a demo of a pizza making session. The pizza dough is 50% stone ground whole grain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYRnKe6gJxs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phcTzLKhACY
   
       Villa Roma
Pizzamaker, Rib Smoker, HomeBrewer, there's not enough time for a real job.

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2007, 02:55:42 PM »
Canadianbacon.....I can usually let the pizza go without having to turn it but I put a piece of sweet cherry wood on the stone so that created a hot spot, thus  the need to turn it a few times. The wood adds a nice wood-fired smoky flavor to the pizza and is worth the extra effort.

The videos are great for demonstrations and are really easy to make. I'm glad you liked them. I'll be making more in the future.

       Villa Roma


Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2007, 03:00:22 PM »
Mike....I had to buy 2 stones but 1/2" tiles would work just as well and cost a lot less! You may have to nip the corners but most tiles places will do that for a small fee. The only reason why I used the 8" stone was because I had them from a previous purchase. You may be able to find a flat stone or rock in your back yard that would work also.

Another source would be a countertop fab shop. They may have a scrap piece of marble or granite that you could use. They have to do something with the sink cutouts. This would also work for the bottom stone(s).

    Villa Roma
« Last Edit: August 05, 2007, 03:19:28 PM by Villa Roma »

Offline Boy Hits Car

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2007, 10:10:13 PM »
Mike....I had to buy 2 stones but 1/2" tiles would work just as well and cost a lot less! You may have to nip the corners but most tiles places will do that for a small fee. The only reason why I used the 8" stone was because I had them from a previous purchase. You may be able to find a flat stone or rock in your back yard that would work also.

Another source would be a countertop fab shop. They may have a scrap piece of marble or granite that you could use. They have to do something with the sink cutouts. This would also work for the bottom stone(s).

    Villa Roma

Thanks again Villa!

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2007, 09:17:37 AM »
VillaRoma, wow amazing videos...thanks a lot for sharing your journey and the results are just fantastic. I noticed that you also have mounted a temp gauge in the lid.. I know you stated your stone temp was around 660 degrees..and what does the lid gauge show? or the air temp under the lid.. thanks for all your great explanations you have really solved the portable home pizza oven mystery for all of us. A 3 minute pie is pizza heaven!!!

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2007, 01:18:45 AM »
MTPIZZA....Thanks....I installed the temp gauge in the lid when I first modified the grill and it worked fine until I put the 8" stone in the lid. I made a test run and was able to peg the temp gauge at 700 degrees but that was before I installed the 8" lid stone. The stone blocks the temp gauge somewhat and there isn't much space between the stone and the foil so it now reads about 150 degrees lower than the actual cooking stone temp. I don't pay much attention to it since I started using the IR thermometer. It's a "must have" if you're going to cook at high temps.

I'm going to take a stab at Neapolitan pizza next time, just flour, water, salt and starter. High hydration and a high temp of around 750 degrees. I'll have to review the Jeff Varasano web site before I take the plunge. You can bet I'll be rolling film so stay tuned!

       Villa Roma
« Last Edit: August 07, 2007, 01:50:24 AM by Villa Roma »

Offline canadianbacon

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2007, 09:38:11 AM »
Talking about Varasano, he hasn't posted since April, I hope he's still busy making lots of pies when he's
not busy. He is an inspiration to the group, I used to look forward to reading his posts


I'll have to review the Jeff Varasano web site before I take the plunge. You can bet I'll be rolling film so stay tuned!

       Villa Roma
Pizzamaker, Rib Smoker, HomeBrewer, there's not enough time for a real job.

Offline Y-TOWN

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2007, 09:44:19 AM »
Villa Roma,

Watching your "GREAT" video it looks like your running the "egg" with the 4 hole top vent open - If that is correct what happens when you close the vent?

I'll be duplicating your design soon - thanks so much !!!

Offline Randy

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2007, 05:30:24 PM »
Very innovative!

Randy

Offline toddster63

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2007, 07:32:53 PM »
I'm going to take a stab at Neapolitan pizza next time, just flour, water, salt and starter. High hydration and a high temp of around 750 degrees. I'll have to review the Jeff Varasano web site before I take the plunge. You can bet I'll be rolling film so stay tuned!

       Villa Roma

Please do let us know how this works out, Villa Roma. I really want to see the results on your Little Black Egg with a Neo/NY type dough. When you pushed on the cornicione on your finished 3 minute pie in your video, and produced that wonderful be-it-all CRACK, well I about burst into tears of joy...

That was a beautiful thing indeed... :chef:

Thanks for sharing and for giving so many of us hope, ideas and a game plan if wrangling with our pissy home ovens comes to no avail...!


 

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