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.
I think it might be almost hot enough, and farewell brave gasket. We barely knew ye.
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.
The first two pizzas were both "Hawaiian". Here's pizza number 3. The top is starting to look much better.
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.
Same pizza cooked
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.
This is the only one where I thought to take a photo of the underside before I cut it. Almost perfect.
And I just thought this photo of the egg cooking full speed in the dark was pretty cool
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.