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Author Topic: Steel vs stone for weber charcoal grill  (Read 1730 times)

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Offline beko99

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Steel vs stone for weber charcoal grill
« on: May 26, 2020, 02:04:47 PM »
Hi,

I am buying a 22" weber charcoal grill and am trying to determine the best setup for a neopolitan style pizza (pretty much exactly this but with a bit more blistering on top: https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,26311.0.html).

I will be using a DIY kettlepizza type setup and want to know whether to use steel or stone. My current plan is to stack two 1/8"x 15" steel plates directly on the grill, with two more of the plates stacked on a rack above and covered in foil (similar to the seriouseats article: https://slice.seriouseats.com/2012/06/pizza-lab-in-which-we-get-the-kettlepizza-insert-working-and-meet-its-maker.html). I then plan on arranging the charcoal in a C-shape around the back to get the heat to go above as opposed to directly heating the lower steel.

  • Is this feasible or will I end up burning the bottom before the top cooks?
  • If so, am I better off using one or two steel plates on the bottom with a stone on top of them?
  • Should I avoid the steel on the bottom altogether and just put a stone directly on the grill?
  • Is 1/4" steel on the bottom and/or top good enough or should I go for thicker?
  • Is this setup possible/better with propane instead of charcoal/wood?
  • Any suggestions for dough recipes?

I apologize for the essay but I just want to get everything in order before I start buying everything. Let me know if I should elaborate on any of this to make my questions more clear.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2020, 02:56:11 PM by beko99 »

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Steel vs stone for weber charcoal grill
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2020, 02:45:35 PM »
Getting enough top heat in any kind of grill set-up in challenging. I'm not sure you can even get there with charcoal in a Weber. You lose too much heat though the tall metal dome. In any case, to get enough top heat, you'll need a lot of heat at or below the deck which means you'll probably want a deck that is less conductive such as Fibrament - not more such as steel - particularly if the heat is below the deck. I think steel will guarantee burned bottoms before the tops get any color.

This might give you some ideas.
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=4753.0
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline beko99

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Re: Steel vs stone for weber charcoal grill
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2020, 02:57:49 PM »
Awesome, I'll take a look! That said, the seriouseats article seems to get plenty of heat up top using just a stone above with some foil: "The floor rose up to around 650F by the time I was on my third pie, and nearly 800F on the top stone, with air temps somewhere in the 800 to 900F range."

Edit: In another article where they use a steel up top (https://slice.seriouseats.com/2013/09/the-pizza-lab-we-test-kettle-pizza-and-baking-steels-new-joint-pizza-oven.html), they estimated "floor temps of around 750F, air temps of close to 1000F, and a ceiling temp of 800 to 900F."
« Last Edit: May 26, 2020, 03:01:24 PM by beko99 »

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Steel vs stone for weber charcoal grill
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2020, 03:24:25 PM »
What you see in those SE articles isn't even close to the heat you need to get the kind of leoparding it sounds like you're looking for. A lot of the color you see on their rims is burned tomato/sauce - not leoparding.

I spent several years working to get enough top heat from a grill to get leoparding and never was able to get there. You can see what I did here: https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=9614.0

Pies like this were about the best I could get (about 2.5 minute pies):
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline beko99

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Re: Steel vs stone for weber charcoal grill
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2020, 04:26:24 PM »
That looks incredible, pretty much exactly what i'd like to achieve. Do you think something like that would be feasible with my setup?

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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Steel vs stone for weber charcoal grill
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2020, 05:15:24 PM »
I don't know. I've never tried to bake in a kettle. They are in the Little Black Egg (LBE). The challenge in any grill is getting enough top heat. Try it, see what happens, and we can try to tweak from there.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline icemanxp300

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Re: Steel vs stone for weber charcoal grill
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2020, 08:47:42 AM »
I can tell you for a fact, using a round Weber grill with wood burning and a pizza kettle on top with steel will result in burned bottom and uncooked top.

I actually gave up trying to do the grill thing. I just decided my home oven works well enough and I'll just keep the a/c running in warmer weather.

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