Author Topic: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg  (Read 89097 times)

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Offline Parttimepizzaiolo

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Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« on: September 08, 2009, 12:37:31 AM »
I've had my Egg for over a year now and can honestly say that I can cook a MEAN steak or tenderloin.  I've been trying to use the Egg for pizza and have had nothing but frustration.  Today, my Mom came by to visit the grandkids and to have pizza for dinner (my modified JerryMac NY pizza dough was already in the fridge).  Every pie I've cooked on the Egg includes a FULL firebox of lump (about 4 pounds), the platesetter set feet up, the grid on top of the platesetter, and the BGE stone on top of the grid.  After an hour the stone was up to 500F.  But, the dome temp was around 350F.  WTF?

What methods have you fellow BGE'ers used to get your stone to 500F+ with a respectable dome temp?  The pizzas made were very good, but had little to no topside char.

I've had my Egg over 800F dome temp many times for meat searing.  How can I get those dome temps without heating the stone too much?  Check out my blog below to see what happened when I had my stone heated to 800F.  Not good.

Do we eliminate the platesetter and raise the grid with fire bricks?  Please help.  I want at least a 600F dome temp and a 500F to 550F stone temp.  Any ideas?

Grazie.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2009, 09:47:40 AM by Parttimepizzaiolo »


Offline UnConundrum

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2009, 08:30:22 AM »
You need the plate setter, or the stone will get too hot.  I've had similar problems in the past and only solution I can think of is letting it heat longer.  My theory is that the plate setter interferes with the internal airflow.  You can also try to raise the stone higher into the dome with something like the spider.

Offline Parttimepizzaiolo

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2009, 02:22:23 PM »
I think I solved the problem myself and cooked a really tasty pie last night.  The configuration I'm going to use from now on is cooking grid, platesetter - feet down, then pizza stone.  I could easily get the dome up to 600F+ and the center of the stone heated to 500F in about 40-45 minutes (the outer edges were hovering around 530F).  I believe having the feet down config allows for greater airflow up to the dome.

I live in central Florida and the humidity is almost always 90%+ during the summer/fall months.  That in itself really impedes air flow.  It's almost like trying to light a fire in a fine rain mist.  Doable, but tricky.

Here's some pics.  The pie cooked in about 8 minutes.  Very tasty...

parallei

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2009, 02:30:42 PM »
I wasn't going to make pizza this weekend. But after seeing you pie, I'm off to make some dough.

Nice...

Offline Parttimepizzaiolo

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2009, 02:40:35 PM »
Incidentally, I tried using isopropyl alcohol to light the lump for the first time after seeing some guy's video on You Tube.  It's an awesome method if you want a quick start.  The heat that comes from the alcohol burning is insane.  Never use more than 3 ounces though.  You really want to get the liquid down into the center of the lump rather than all over the top of the pile.

After lighting the alcohol (that was injected into the lump pile) and then closing the dome lid, the dome temp went from its lowest setting to about 700F in about 8 seconds.  After the alcohol burns off the temp will quickly return to about 175F and will constantly climb up from there.  I was up to a 600F+ dome temp in about 35 minutes.

It works really good, but keep it away from children!

Here's a link to the guy's video...


Offline SmokinGuitarPlayer

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2009, 03:48:40 PM »
I've been using the BGE for pizza for years ... I've tried a bunch of different ways to set up the BGE for pizza ... my latest setup is platesetter- legs down, then an inverted 2" deep aluminum pizza pan ..then the stone on top of that. This raises the stone a little higher in the dome for better char on the top of the pie.
Guitar player, dealer and collector. Owner and operator of www.fredsmusicandbbq.com. Seller of barbecue grills and smokers, specializing on the Big Green Egg ceramic grill and all related barbecue cooking supplies...and Wood Fired Ovens and pizza making supplies.

Offline Parttimepizzaiolo

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2009, 04:11:24 PM »
I've been using the BGE for pizza for years ... I've tried a bunch of different ways to set up the BGE for pizza ... my latest setup is platesetter- legs down, then an inverted 2" deep aluminum pizza pan ..then the stone on top of that. This raises the stone a little higher in the dome for better char on the top of the pie.

What kind of temps are you getting?  I've been looking for ways to get the pie higher into the dome.  It always seems like there is a 200F difference between the stone temp and the dome temp.  It's kind of frustrating.  I've been cooking in my indoor oven (with stone at 550F) lately just because it's easier to "set it and forget it."

Got any tricks?

Offline SmokinGuitarPlayer

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2009, 05:36:46 PM »
I have a video I posted to youtube ...I can't put a link here because I'm new to this forum but you can go to youtube and search for "PIZZA ON EGG" and it will come up.

Temps were 750 plus dome for around 45 minutes ..stone maybe 600 . I have been measuring everything using a infrared thermometer.

You can see the setup I used here also.

at our store, we have been baking pizza every wednesday for months testing various BGE setups for making pizza ... we've also burned through a lot of gaskets ! 

I'll try to post a picture but I just had a very long detailed explanation on here and because my pics were too large filesize, this forum field "ate" my detailed reply and I'm tired of typing ...checkout that video and ask any questions!  Happy Eggin.

the video is also posted on our store's website
Guitar player, dealer and collector. Owner and operator of www.fredsmusicandbbq.com. Seller of barbecue grills and smokers, specializing on the Big Green Egg ceramic grill and all related barbecue cooking supplies...and Wood Fired Ovens and pizza making supplies.

Offline UnConundrum

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2009, 06:24:21 PM »
Fred, one of the questions that comes up here every now and then is how to get the temperature of the stone and dome in equilibrium.   You mention a 750 plus dome and a 600 degree stone.  The best control of a pizza is when the dome and stone are near equal in temperature, allowing the top of the pie to finish as the bottom browns.  Do you have any tricks or suggestions for bringing the temperatures together?


BTW, great to see you here! 
« Last Edit: November 04, 2009, 06:29:29 PM by UnConundrum »


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2009, 06:27:48 PM »
Fred,

I believe this is the link to the YouTube video you mentioned: .

Peter

Offline SmokinGuitarPlayer

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2009, 09:04:40 PM »
Thanks Peter. Hope you enjoyed the video.
Guitar player, dealer and collector. Owner and operator of www.fredsmusicandbbq.com. Seller of barbecue grills and smokers, specializing on the Big Green Egg ceramic grill and all related barbecue cooking supplies...and Wood Fired Ovens and pizza making supplies.

Offline UnConundrum

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2009, 09:59:41 PM »
Hey guys, Fred's too good a guy to say anything, but he's having a BGE event at his store on Saturday.  Several of the names from the BGE forum will be there to play and eat, Mad Max, bill, ZippyLip, AKAMrEarl, and many more.  Unfortunately, I can't make it, but I know they'll be making pizzas and it's a great event to learn some tips and see how it's done.  If you live anywhere near Reading, PA, it's well worth the visit.  His web site for the event is:  Fred's Music and BBQ

Oh yeah, it's free too :)

Offline SmokinGuitarPlayer

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2009, 11:03:59 PM »
Thanks Warren and yes, any and all are invited but one thing ...it's a TURKEY grillin and eatin event ... .but that being said ...I am contemplating whipping out a couple of Napoletano-turkey pizzas if I get time ..the doughballs are already in the frig ... but hey, if you want to sample some good turkey and see how it's done, mostly on the BGE but also we'll have some pellet cookers going..... Make sure you say hello if you come so I can start putting faces to names and "handles".
Guitar player, dealer and collector. Owner and operator of www.fredsmusicandbbq.com. Seller of barbecue grills and smokers, specializing on the Big Green Egg ceramic grill and all related barbecue cooking supplies...and Wood Fired Ovens and pizza making supplies.

Offline UnConundrum

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2009, 08:29:28 AM »
Hate to break it to you Fred, but there's no way you'll keep Zippy away from making pizza, and I believe Bill and Brian are thinking of some pheasant focaccia in my absence ;)  They are conspiring behind your back  :-D

Offline SmokinGuitarPlayer

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2009, 08:48:34 AM »
VERY COOL. If you speak to them let them know there will be a BGE "open" for them ....I guess I better get it setup for indirect for sure .. ok... there you go bring 'em on!
FB
Guitar player, dealer and collector. Owner and operator of www.fredsmusicandbbq.com. Seller of barbecue grills and smokers, specializing on the Big Green Egg ceramic grill and all related barbecue cooking supplies...and Wood Fired Ovens and pizza making supplies.

Offline MilitantSquatter

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2009, 08:13:01 PM »
I have an XL and two mediums..

Most often, I use the platesetter legs down, and then use the ceramic feet to slightly lift the pizza stone off the plate setter to create a slight gap for airflow.  I think this way allows the stone to get up to temp quicker without it getting too hot.

Here's a pic - not a great one...my five year old daughter formed the crust and added the toppings.

I have also begun to use the Woo Ring on my mediums from ceramicgrillstore.com that uses to pizza stones (one for the pizza and the bottom one to divert the direct heat.  I don't have the Flip Ring yet for the XL..
« Last Edit: November 06, 2009, 08:17:47 PM by MilitantSquatter »

Offline SmokinGuitarPlayer

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2009, 07:29:51 AM »
Hi ...yes, that's the setup we've been using for years. It works real good... actually , as it turns out that little air gap is an insulator and is helping the stone to not get too hot ..which is exacatly what is needed. I'm trying to take that idea and move the pizza stone higher into the dome. without letting hot air get beneath it.  and it really seems to be working pretty good so far . When I have more data (more pizza!) I'll report as I am on a "mission" !
Guitar player, dealer and collector. Owner and operator of www.fredsmusicandbbq.com. Seller of barbecue grills and smokers, specializing on the Big Green Egg ceramic grill and all related barbecue cooking supplies...and Wood Fired Ovens and pizza making supplies.


Offline essef16

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2009, 06:20:19 PM »
Fred,

I watched a couple of your videos on your store website and had a few questions about your pizza baking techniques.

Do you preheat your stone/platesetter setup at all outside of the egg, or do you just let it warm up on the egg?
How much lump are you putting in your egg?
If you already have your platesetter and stone in there, how long are you waiting until you start sliding pies onto it?
How long can you sustain your high temps?
Do you leave both the bottom and the top of the egg full open when the dome is closed?
How long is it taking you to cook a VPN pizza?

I have a setup similar to yours where I have a gap between my stone and platesetter, though I use pipe elbows instead of a pan.
My issue is that I can get my temps up very high (like you), but have trouble sustaining it for more than 30-40 minutes.

I've been making pizzas on the egg ever since February, just about every Sunday using Caputa flour with a recipe I got off of Fornobravo.com.

Thanks!
Nate

Offline SmokinGuitarPlayer

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2009, 01:05:58 PM »
Nate ...you asked a lot of questions. Don't know if I can remember all of them but her is my "general" answer that should explain things.

My "current thinking" is that
1. biggest problem is bottom of pizza burning/scortching etc. before top gets cooked.
Solution
a) "preheat" or "charge" dome as much as possible BEFORE putting the stone / platesetter etc. in there.
b) insulate between the platesetter and the stone. I have spoken to an engineer and he tells me that air is the solution so I use either the 3 little feet as risers or sometimes an inverted aluminum pan.
c) use IR thermo to monitor stone temp.

So, that being said, I load the egg with lump as much almost as I can get in there...this is to try to get longer burn times BUT it also brings the fire closer to the platesetter/baking stone which is a negative ... gets them too hot / etc.

I light the egg and allow it to go nuts for a while in an effort to "charge" the dome ceramics with heat ... of course, this is burning precious fuel.

I thin insert the platesetter (the pizza is already made) and the risers / stone etc. and start monitoring the temp of the stone using the IR thermometer.

When it gets to 500 or so, I pop in the first pizza , flatbread, or whatever  ...

Then the trick is to
1. keep the pies coming so the stone does not have a chance to go nuclear ..we've seen 1100 degrees on the stone and dude that burns the pie as soon as it touches it ...just ask people that came to our "turkeyfest" and saw me and my BGE rep dumping wet tee shirts on the stone to try to get it down from 1000 degrees and ask them how the blackened crust was ...

Anyway ..so it's a "balance" ..try to get dome temp up , keep dome temp up, keep stone temp down .. and keep things hot while you still have fuel.

in closing I can tell you that ..
a) it's an imperfect system for sure.
b) I have not come up with a reliable, duplicatable, "standardized" system
c) we are working on this on both an XL and a Large
d) I have a few more tricks (ideas?) to try
e) when you "hit" the "sweet spot" in temps and the pies are coming out perfect ...the next trick is to keep the fire up until you are done because it seems that we start losing temp as soon as we seem to get things "right" .

By the way , we are selling the Caputo flour and other things should anybody out there need an online source .. we also have some of the others though they might not be on the website yet. (KA Sir Lancelot, All Trumps, etc. )

PS ..I just scrolled down and reread some of your questions.
We have been leaving the top and bottom wide open. I did experiment with closing down the top to keep the heat in and also with using an Eggcellerator (fan blower) in the bottom with various top settings but didn't seem to help.

When the thing is hot and "balanced" ..we cook them in a minute or 2.

Guitar player, dealer and collector. Owner and operator of www.fredsmusicandbbq.com. Seller of barbecue grills and smokers, specializing on the Big Green Egg ceramic grill and all related barbecue cooking supplies...and Wood Fired Ovens and pizza making supplies.

Offline UnConundrum

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2009, 02:30:50 PM »
Fred, I think it's also important to "tune" the flour to the temp you want to cook at.  High gluten at the 500 range.  If you're going "nuclear,"  you should probably be using a pure Caputo dough;  it will do much better and less chance of burning the bottom at 800+ temps.

Offline SmokinGuitarPlayer

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2009, 03:50:04 PM »
Warren ....yes ..I have yet to have figured all that part out ...duh ..
OK..so
nuclear 750 plus etc. Pure Caputo 00
500 range - hi gluten

any suggestions for "in between .. like 600 650 .   ( a mix?)

also ... best temps / uses for KABF dough or KASL ??

Thanks for helping me along the learning curve. I have been focused on the Egg setup / temps and never realized or considered the dough comp.
FB/SGP


Guitar player, dealer and collector. Owner and operator of www.fredsmusicandbbq.com. Seller of barbecue grills and smokers, specializing on the Big Green Egg ceramic grill and all related barbecue cooking supplies...and Wood Fired Ovens and pizza making supplies.

Offline UnConundrum

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2009, 04:01:08 PM »
Well, I'd say the Caputo is 800 and above.  Between I'd go for either a mix or maybe the bread flour which I think has a lower protein content (I never used the bread flour so I'm unfamiliar with it).  You'll have to test a bit. 

Offline widespreadpizza

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2009, 05:31:29 PM »
hey there,  just wanted to chime in here.  I think something that is often overlooked in the flour/heat debate is whether the flour is malted or not.  From my experience over the last few years is you can use any protein content at ultra high heat as long as it is not a malted flour.  Flour millers have done everything possible to ensure that professional and home bakers alike achieve desired results when they use their products at "standard" temps.  This is why everything changes when you go to ultra high heat where pizzamaking began.  I remember reading some of the stuff vasarano wrote and he believed that he thought any Italian pizzaolio could make a similar product with American or Italian flour.  I wonder if he would change that statement now?  I wonder if he wouldn't clarify between malted and unmalted flours.  Unmalted flours all have a hard time browing well at conventional oven temps,  while performing great at very high temps,  and vice versa.  I know many others have studied this more than I care to,  but I just want to make sure that when we talk about why Caputo, bread, high gluten, organic bread,  all purpose  or a certain blend works well at a certain temp the other factors are taken into consideration,  like what is added to the flour.  Does this make sense to anybody or am I in left field? -Marc

Offline SmokinGuitarPlayer

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2009, 06:38:08 PM »
Oh no... not another variable !!  :o
Guitar player, dealer and collector. Owner and operator of www.fredsmusicandbbq.com. Seller of barbecue grills and smokers, specializing on the Big Green Egg ceramic grill and all related barbecue cooking supplies...and Wood Fired Ovens and pizza making supplies.

Offline BobS

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Re: Pizza cooking on the Big Green Egg
« Reply #24 on: December 07, 2009, 01:59:22 PM »
I am a noobie to the forum, but have been making pizza on my BGE for a couple of years and I know, Fred (he told me about the forum), so I figured this was as good a place as any to get started.

My set-up is as follows.  

Lg BGE
Plate Setter with feet down.
I put 1 1/4" copper pipe couplings on top of the plate setter to push the pizza stone higher in the dome.

Last night I fixed my first pie using Caputo flour, that I picked up at Fred's.  I cooked it at 650 and it turned out great. 

I am looking forward to getting to know my way around the forum and learning from the experts.

Bob



 

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