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Pizzas are done! Warning - Pic heavy

chuffchuff Posts: 255
edited July 2012 in EggHead Forum
The first pizzas are done, most of the family is in a food coma, and my gasket is beyond toast. The first pizzas on the egg were a huge learning experience, but overall I was pretty damn surprised just how well it performed. It's not a true wood oven, but it was closer than I'd imagined it would be. Average cook time was right around 4 minutes. It isn't the 90 seconds of a true wood oven, but that's pretty damned impressive for a grill. I'll make with the goods, then put my conclusions at the end of the post.

Here's the setup. PS feet down, two bricks on their sides, pizza stones on top of the bricks.
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I think it might be almost hot enough, and farewell brave gasket. We barely knew ye.
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The very first pizza fresh off the stone. That's right. Your eyes do not deceive you. It's "Hawaiian pizza" which is neither Hawaiian, nor in my opinion pizza. It is what my kids want, though and despite their horrific taste in pizza I still love them. There's a tiny bit of char starting on the cheese, but it took way too long and I couldn't let the crust go any longer. More on this later.
image

The first two pizzas were both "Hawaiian". Here's pizza number 3. The top is starting to look much better.
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A nod to the classics, here's a margherita before it went onto the egg. It's the only one I thought to take a shot of before I cooked it.
image

Same pizza cooked
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And last but not least, your basic pepperoni. No surprise that the last one came out the best. I learned a few things along the way.
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This is the only one where I thought to take a photo of the underside before I cut it. Almost perfect.
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And I just thought this photo of the egg cooking full speed in the dark was pretty cool
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The aftermath
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Okay, so here's what I learned. I decided to treat the egg exactly like I would treat a brick oven and see what happened. I used a very simple "sauce" of crushed raw San Marzano tomatoes and I used fresh Mozzarella. It was close to working, but in the end even at the borderline scary wide open speed that I was running the thing there just isn't enough heat in there to deal with that much moisture in that short a time frame. Next time I'll have to sacrifice the texture of fresh cheese for less moisture content. That's a bummer, but not the end of the world. Next time I'll also have to cook some of the liquid out of the tomatoes before hand. That is an even bigger bummer than the cheese because it will totally alter the taste. Since that is the case I probably won't bother with the expense of the certified San Marzanos next time. 

Next, those first pizzas just didn't get the char I wanted on the cheese and toppings before the crust was done. Starting with the third pizza I put the pizza on and watched it through the chimney hole. When the crust was just starting to darken at the edges I put the daisy wheel on the top closed but the with the vent slots all the way open. My thinking was that this would have an effect of trapping more heat in the dome temporarily to radiate back down onto the top of the pizza, and it seemed to work really well. When the pizza was done I pulled the daisy wheel back off until midway through the next pizza. I did all of my checking and pizza watching through the chimney hole. I raised the lid only to put a pizza on or take it off. 

Before I made my first pizza I wiped the stone down with a damp towel to cool it some since it had been sitting there through the entire warmup and it was SCORCHING. I also wiped it down a couple of times during the cook between pizzas. I cooked each pizza fully, then made the next one after I took it off. This was just to give the dome, stone, and various parts time to get good and ridiculously hot again before the next pizza went on. Doing it this way I saw virtually no variation in cook time between pizza number 1 and pizza number 5.

I guess that pretty much wraps it up. It's a lot and it's in a disjointed and haphazard order, but hopefully it's helpful or at least interesting to someone. I really enjoyed it and the family really enjoyed eating it. I'll be looking forward to the next pizza night with a new nomex gasket.
XL BGE
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Comments

  • TjcoleyTjcoley Posts: 3,489
    Looks like a great pizza experience. Good job and lots of good tips.
    __________________________________________
    It's not a science, it's an art. And it's flawed.
    - Camp Hill, PA
  • cazzycazzy Posts: 8,806
    Wow...what a night!!! Great job!!

    I'm not a fan of Hawaiian either
    Just a hack that makes some $hitty BBQ....
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 19,592
    Awesome!  I had just posted on the pre-cooking thread you had.  What temp were you cooking at?  I find if you try to duplicate the margherita pizza conditions, you need more dome temp relative to the stone.  So I think you might be better off lowering the temp, or keeping the stone a little cooler by turning over the pizzas faster (keep one on deck).  Yeah, keep the moisture down.  You can also do that by putting less tomatoes on it.  I drain the san marzanos, then reduce the sauce for a different twist.  Actually I find fresh roma to be as good or better tasting than the san marzanos - they have relatively low moisture content - cut them in half and squeeze them before cutting up.  You can only get the stone so high up in the done.   I've been making pizza for years, but only about 5 times since we bought the egg in May. 
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • chuffchuff Posts: 255
    edited July 2012
    No idea on the temp. &*%*ing hot as I could get it. The dome thermo went all the way around and back to 200° and I didn't have anywhere in there to attach the thermocouple. I got much better radiant heat out of the dome when I started dropping the daisy wheel on mid cook, but there was just never going to be enough to deal with the moisture the way a true wood oven will - especially without the option to dome it for a few seconds.

    I don't want to overstate the moisture. They were by no means soggy. They didn't require a fork and knife to eat or anything. They were just a tiny bit wet. The crusts were absolutely perfect, though. As good as any brick oven crusts I've ever had.

    Also, I cooled the stone with a wet rag at the very beginning and again every couple of pizzas after that.
    XL BGE
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 19,592
    Good idea on cooling the stone. I'm going to guess you had that puppy at 900 or so.  I'm too lazy to uncover my egg and look at the thermo, but I think you could extrapolate the temp.

    Sounds like you did a good job on your first egg/pizza cook.  Mine have just been getting better and better - you learn what to do and make adjustments. 
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 19,592
    Oh, and another forum user posted a link to these, which I plan on making two of so I can make one while another is cooking.  http://www.superpeel.com/index.html
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • R2Egg2QR2Egg2Q Posts: 1,652
    Looks great! Nice job.
    XL, Large, Small, Mini Eggs
    Bay Area, CA
  • chuffchuff Posts: 255
    I'm thinking that it was every bit of 900. You didn't even want to think of opening or closing the dome without a welding glove on. The only problem is that you lose all that heat out of the dome when you open the lid, not to mention what's pouring out of the chimney and it's too deep into the cook before it truly recovers. 
    XL BGE
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 19,592
    I used to aim for the 906 F D.O.P margharita temp, but I find, just like with meats, a lower/slower cook reduces moisture, which in meat is usually bad, but with pizza can be good.  Try throttling it back to 700 at the start of your next cook and cook a little longer.  Don't worry about opening it up and loosing heat, just cook til it looks good.  You can adjust up if you get a dry top (it happens, believe it or not).  Also moving the stone up or down makes a difference with the relative temp between the stone and the dome.  Takes a while for everything to equalize, so plan on burning through some lump with pizza experimentation.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • chuffchuff Posts: 255
    What kind of cook times do you see at 700°?
    XL BGE
  • chuffchuff Posts: 255
    HAWAIIAN IS THE BEST MWHAHA. AND YES IM YELLING THIS AT YOU. Mwhaga :-)
    HAWAIIAN IS GROSS. PINEAPPLE HAS NO BUSINESS WHATSOEVER BEING ON A PIZZA.
    XL BGE
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 19,592
    What kind of cook times do you see at 700°?
    About 9 minutes
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • KristinnnKristinnn Posts: 133
    HAWAIIAN IS THE BEST MWHAHA. AND YES IM YELLING THIS AT YOU. Mwhaga :-)
    HAWAIIAN IS GROSS. PINEAPPLE HAS NO BUSINESS WHATSOEVER BEING ON A PIZZA.
    Pineapple is ALL i eat on my pizzas!
  • Hi54puttyHi54putty Posts: 1,835
    Good idea using the bricks for added elevation. I am going to give that a try.
    XL,L,S 
    Winston-Salem, NC 
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 19,279
    4 minutes you were probably 850 to 900 dome, under a minute is 1200 dome, i dont think you can reach 1200 with a plate setter but im not sure as i dont own one. when they use wood fired pizza ovens they cheat with temps, while the initial cook is in back near the fire and temps are around 1000 plus they usually bring the pie towards the front to finish it up and its a lower temp up front in a wood fired oven.  i usually get a block of deli mozzerella for the cheese and grate it, seems to work better in the egg than the fresh mozz on the high temp cooks for me. i like that charred crust on those pies
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    you should post your pizza cook setup, fish. it's pretty interesting
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • cep55cep55 Posts: 20
    Those are amazing, Chuff! I love to make Napolitana-style pizza, and have been hoping the egg would be good for that. Frankly, yours are the first pics I've seen anywhere that look like what I'm hoping to accomplish, they give me hope! Thank you for the tips, I will definitely be using all of your info as reference when I attempt my first pizzas on the egg!

    I couldn't agree move about "Hawaiian" pizza. Gack!

    Thanks again for a very helpful post!
  • chuffchuff Posts: 255
    Wow, thanks. To be honest I'm not 100% sure that I'd follow what I did exactly, but if you do I'd seriously recommend just going ahead and scraping the original gasket off before you even start. That thing melting was nasty.The lid was trying to stick closed, it was smoking like crazy, and I had to pull the stone out and scrape as much of it as I could off of the hot egg before I started cooking. 

    On the upside I called BGE this morning and the guy was very nice. He's sending me one of the new high temp gaskets as a replacement, and apparently the new ones they have now come with an adhesive backing. He seems to think that with the new one on there I can get it rocking the same way and not have an issue, but he did recommend PS feet down so I'm not shooting all the heat straight out at the gasket. I'll probably try that next time and put the bricks and the stone on the grate rather than the top of the PS. Honestly keeping the stone a little bit cooler could only help anyway. 
    XL BGE
  • krobertsmsnkrobertsmsn Posts: 583
    Nolaegghead...I have the superpeel. I used it once with the cloth. Afterwashing it gets all wrinkled. Still usable...but I didn't care to iron it before next pizza cook....so I used parchment on the wood. I found that to be quicker load/offload of the pies. I will prob stick with that method.
    LBGE 4/2012, MBGE 6/2012 & Mini 11/2013
    Rome, GA
  • krobertsmsnkrobertsmsn Posts: 583
    What dough recipe did u use? The pies look great!
    LBGE 4/2012, MBGE 6/2012 & Mini 11/2013
    Rome, GA
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 19,592
    maybe I could use parchment paper with the superpeel...tape it together and throw it away when I'm done..?
    Nolaegghead...I have the superpeel. I used it once with the cloth. Afterwashing it gets all wrinkled. Still usable...but I didn't care to iron it before next pizza cook....so I used parchment on the wood. I found that to be quicker load/offload of the pies. I will prob stick with that method.

    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • krobertsmsnkrobertsmsn Posts: 583
    Nah...really not necessary. Just slide off of peel onto stone unless you just do not wanna cook on the p. paper for some reason. I prepared dough on the paper, trimmed so it wouldn't burn too much, then slid off/on the sone. Now I'm by no means an expert on anything on the egg yet, esp pizza. I got the peel thinking it would be a safer bet for me, but soon found out the paper was fastest. I don't have to wash the cloth etc... I've only done a couple of pizzas...
    LBGE 4/2012, MBGE 6/2012 & Mini 11/2013
    Rome, GA
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 19,592
    Nah...really not necessary. Just slide off of peel onto stone unless you just do not wanna cook on the p. paper for some reason. I prepared dough on the paper, trimmed so it wouldn't burn too much, then slid off/on the sone. Now I'm by no means an expert on anything on the egg yet, esp pizza. I got the peel thinking it would be a safer bet for me, but soon found out the paper was fastest. I don't have to wash the cloth etc... I've only done a couple of pizzas...
    That's what I'm doing now.  Trim the paper, pull it out after a couple of minutes.  Pretty shaped pizzas.  I used to use flour or corn meal, but I get complaints about the dry flour on the bottom.  I'm going to have to practice technique.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • 4 minutes you were probably 850 to 900 dome, under a minute is 1200 dome, i dont think you can reach 1200 with a plate setter but im not sure as i dont own one. when they use wood fired pizza ovens they cheat with temps, while the initial cook is in back near the fire and temps are around 1000 plus they usually bring the pie towards the front to finish it up and its a lower temp up front in a wood fired oven.  i usually get a block of deli mozzerella for the cheese and grate it, seems to work better in the egg than the fresh mozz on the high temp cooks for me. i like that charred crust on those pies
    I do naan at 1200 with two platesetters
    ;)
  • chuffchuff Posts: 255
    Do you have problems getting the pizza off of a naked wooden peel? I've always just used naked wood with no extra flour or cornmeal and never had any trouble. The two keys are to build the pizza quickly before the dough has a chance to start to seal to the wood and to master the stuttering shake load. As soon as the pizza is built I pick the peel up and give it a couple of quick jerks to get the pizza sliding around then you just have to use sort of a careful stuttering motion to load it, but I've never had trouble with sticking. The dough that I use is fairly wet.

    @krobertsmsn - I used Peter Reinhart's Neo-Neapolitan style dough from his outstanding Pizza Quest blog. 

    Flour - 100% (24 oz or 680 grams for yield of five 8 oz dough balls)
    Salt   -    2%
    Yeast -   .6%
    Water -  75%

    It's a stretch and fold dough with no traditional kneading. 
    XL BGE
  • PlcharfoonPlcharfoon Posts: 32
    Great discussion and good looking pizzas! Just to share an idea on sauce..I use cherry tomatoes that have been roasted and slightly charred under the oven broiler as my "sauce". Very sweet and concentrated without a lot of juice.
  • chuffchuff Posts: 255
    you should post your pizza cook setup, fish. it's pretty interesting
    Please. I'd love to see it.
    XL BGE
  • billybonbillybon Posts: 209
    4 minutes you were probably 850 to 900 dome, under a minute is 1200 dome, i dont think you can reach 1200 with a plate setter but im not sure as i dont own one. when they use wood fired pizza ovens they cheat with temps, while the initial cook is in back near the fire and temps are around 1000 plus they usually bring the pie towards the front to finish it up and its a lower temp up front in a wood fired oven.  i usually get a block of deli mozzerella for the cheese and grate it, seems to work better in the egg than the fresh mozz on the high temp cooks for me. i like that charred crust on those pies
    I do naan at 1200 with two platesetters
    ;)
    Little Steven, can you better describe your two platesetter configuration for doing naan?
  • SmoothSmokeSmoothSmoke Posts: 141
    Looks great!!!
  • We've been using the Caputo 00 flour and it makes amazing dough! Crispy yet chewy. These pizzas you made look fantastic!! We use a great recipe from A16 in San Fran. Here's the recipe: http://www.beecavekitchen.blogspot.com/2012/05/a16-pizza-on-big-green-egg.html
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