Posted by johngl
It’s actually been a while since I fulfilled my “innovative use of construction materials” calling, but this past week, between much-needed rains, I’ve made up for some of that.
This is the same unit as in my previous post only now it is sporting two coats of black heat-resistant paint:
It’s still not done yet as I still need to mount doors and more pins for racks so I can use it as a large capacity smoker, but it is certainly done enough to make a pizza!
And it did it beautifully even though I wound up adding a layer of pizza stones to mellow the excessive heat.
I thought I’d just see what this baby could do, so I added some wood to the standard load of charcoal. This woody addition shot the temps up an additional 200°F from the original test at 600°F. Yep, when I hit the tiles with my laser thermometer, it read a whopping 836°F. I thought the thermo unit was giving a false reading due to the acute angle at which I was measuring the temp, so I pulled the lid and shot directly at the tile. No substantial change.
Holy Crap! This would burn a pizza on contact (I have experience with this). I quickly scrambled to my stash of quarry tile and put on another layer and closed down all the vents. After a few minutes, the internal temps in the Weber dropped down to 500°F and the “fresh” tiles were absorbing heat nicely. Surface temp on those were 500°F when I popped in the pizza.
Let’s talk pizza for a few moments.
Firstly, my tried, true, and thoroughly tested thin-crust pizza dough recipe can be found in my post: Secrets Revealed. The only thing I’ve changed is that I divided the dough into three sections rather than the usual four. My “new” backyard oven can handle a larger pizza, hence the modification. Also, in recent experiments, I’ve found it’s beneficial to add an additional tablespoon or two of water to that 3/4 cup the recipe specifies, leaving the dough a bit sticky. It picks up the bench flour better and is much easier to work. Feel free to modify the recipe if you’d like; it won’t hurt my feelings one little bit.
This baby barely fits on my larger-sized peel. I’ve already brushed it down with olive oil.
I’ve brushed on the sauce (less is better) added seasonings (a proprietary blend) and two flavoring cheeses: Parmesan (the real stuff) and a lightly-smoked Spanish sheep’s milk cheese called Idiazabal. The latter added just a touch of smoky-tangy goodness.
Pedestrian as it may be, I like pepperoni on my pizza. I use Boar’s Head pepperoni exclusively. I hand cut it in super thin slices, otherwise it leaches too much fat. We get enough of that from the sausage, which I’ll get to in a minute.
I added some Canadian Bacon. Some might call it ham. Canadians call it bacon. I put it on the pizza cuz I was out of prosciutto. Oh, you may have noticed those shards of mozzarella under the pepperoni…a really thin layer there helps hold everything together.
That’s two links of hot Italian sausage. Italian sausage is supposed to be spicy, at least to me, so I always go for the hot rather than the sweet. Choose your own poison.
And finally, the last coat of mozzarella cheese!
A mere five or six minutes later…
The crust came out just slightly burnt on the very outside edges, but the bottom was nicely browned.
It also passed the stiffness test.
And my, was it tasty! It’s something any non-Vegan would appreciate.
I now declare my culvert connector based backyard pizza oven a smashing success! I still need to get a better handle on controlling the temps, but hey, nothings perfect.
UPDATE: See the final product!