Weber-JohnGL Backyard Pizza Oven Prototype Test Drive

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:

Modified Weber Backyard Pizza Oven

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!

It's a Pizza! Modified Weber Backyard Pizza Oven Prototype

And it did it beautifully even though I wound up adding a layer of pizza stones to mellow the excessive heat.

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Weber-JohnGL “Dragon” Pizza Oven Prototype

Posted by johngl

It was just over a year ago that I picked up and assembled my extra large Big Green Egg. One of the primary considerations in my decision was my plan to use it as a pizza oven. I’ve made a bunch of pizzas on the Egg, but it really isn’t a natural thing. There is just too much faith involved. I have to trust that the pizza isn’t burning because I can’t see inside. In addition, the very high heat involved in making pizza positively roasted the Egg’s felt seal and I wound up replacing it (no small feat) in less than two months.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Egg…though not necessarily for pizza.

Strangely enough, just over two years ago, I picked up a 26.75″ Weber Kettle in a step to avoid spending the massive quantities of money on the Big Green Egg.

Fail.

I now introduce to you, the Weber-JohnGL 26.75″ “Dragon” Pizza Oven Prototype: DPO1.

Enter the "Dragon"

I “manufactured” that center insert in about two hours. And no, it’s not done yet. It’s a prototype.

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Secrets Revealed: Prosciutto, Pepperoni, Sausage, Bacon, Three-Cheese, Thin-Crust Pizza

Posted by johngl

Now that it has finally gotten cooler and the heat from the oven is a welcome addition to household temperature, I’ve been refining my pizza recipes. I’ve hit upon some interesting techniques including what I call: BaaS (Bacon as a Seasoning). And, while I hate using the word foolproof, the new, improved — and highly refined — dough recipe is as close as I’ve gotten to thin-crust pizza perfection.

Densely packed air pockets

I’ll start with the dough ingredients:

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It’s Pizza Time!

Posted by johngl

As many of you know, we’re in the middle of a very long drought here in Central Texas. What that translates to is no open burning outdoors (you can open burn indoors if you want I guess) and no charcoal grilling. I DO NOT want to be the guy that set South Austin on fire because I created a fireball in my pizza oven. But I really wanted some homemade pizza…what’s a guy to do?

Sliced FRESH Pizza

Well, the other day it actually cooled off enough (night time low in the high 40’s!) to fire up the that storage unit in my kitchen wall that also functions as an oven when it ain’t 100°F+ outside. I suppose I’m lucky that it only goes up to 500°F — hmmm, maybe I can hotwire the cleaning cycle: that gets it to 750°F at least (most glorious spousal unit says: NO WAY!) — but with the pizza stones (actually unglazed ceramic quarry tile) placed about 2″ above the heating elements, it works pretty well.  Pretty well is defined as a cooking time of five and a half minutes.

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Big Green Egg: Ready, Set, …Burnt!

Posted by johngl

Lately, when Friday night rolls around, it is generally time to fire up the Big Green Egg (BGE) and have a pizza. Since I’m also on a quest to amortize the cost of my BGE in pizza, the more the merrier. Thus far, each pizza has cost me $250.  I have 94 pizzas to go before the Egg is fully depreciated. I know, I know, amortization and depreciation aren’t the same thing; just roll with it, okay?

The Egg in it natural habitat

In my last pizza post, I showed how I thinned down the crust to make for a crispier crust.  My next goal was to find the perfect temperature to achieve those results.

In my infinite wisdom, I determined that hotter had to be better.  It worked for steaks, so why wouldn’t it work for pizza?  Thus far, I’d been heating the egg to around 500°F.  Thinking that the Price is Right game, Higher or Lower, would be a good model to follow, I shot for 700°F. You know, why dink around with it?  Just do it.

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Big Green Egg: Thin Crust Homemade Pizza

Posted by johngl

A week or so ago, I produced my first homemade pizza on the Big Green Egg. The pizza was good, but the crust was a little thick. I made some revisions.  See for yourself: new, improved version (top) and first attempt (bottom)

New, improved thin crust pizzaHomemade Pizza

How’d I do it?  Pretty simple really: I literally used half as much dough!

It’s the same recipe and the same batch of dough.  It keeps really well in the fridge!

The pizza itself is completely different however.

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Big Green Egg: Homemade Pizza

Posted by johngl

Regular readers will know that a few short weeks ago I christened my Big Green Egg by using it to cook a frozen pizza. It was time to see what it did with a homemade one.

Pizza Crust!

While the crust wasn’t quite as thin as I normally would like, that isn’t the fault of the Big Green Egg.  This peperoni and Italian Sausage pizza was really quite good and the crust had a nice crunch to it.

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Big Green Egg: Pizza Oven!

Posted by johngl

It was destiny: this morning’s newspaper (yes, the paper kind) had one of those annoying little sticky ads pasted over the headline. It was offering a $200 gift card with a purchase of $1000 or more at Barbeques Galore.

Uh oh.

As coincidence would have it, most glorious spousal unit and I were just in the Brodie Lane store less than a week ago eyeballing the extra large Big Green Egg. The Egg alone was priced at $999.99.  Accessories — stand, wing tables, ash scraper, something called a “plate setter”, charcoal — and tax brought the total to nearly $1500.  Eeee-gads. And a gulp.

Big Green Egg

Yet, there it is, in its big green ceramic glory, sunning itself on my patio kitchen.  How did that get there?

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