Just completed my first cook with the gas insert in my Vision S Professional. I decided to do something simple for my first cook since I am new to this and wanted to see how the gas insert performed. My choice was one of my favorites, PIZZA! I won't go into too many details, just the basics since most of you probably have more experience with the Kamado than I have.
Preparation: I have made pizza before so this is a good test for the Kamado. I haven't mastered making the crust yet so I used a favorite of mine that I use when I want to make it quickly. This is a prepared pizza crust from Trader Joe's which is pre-made, already risen, and ready to build the pizza. And they sell it for $ 1.29.
Sauce: Home made using San Marzano tomatoes, a little salt, garlic, and maybe a little onion powder. I always drain off all juice in the tomatoes before blending this together using a hand blender. It needs to be the consistency of a sauce, thick and not juicy.
Prep: I laid the dough out and stretched it into the normal pizza size, pushed out the edges a bit to make that outside crust that is so good.
I then spoon enough sauce onto the crust to give it a good coating but not too much. I then sprinkle a little oregano and crushed red pepper flakes onto the sauce to give it a little more flavor, but not too much.
After that I add the remaining ingredients which are fresh Mozzarella, Onions, and my favorite, Pepperoni. When available, I will also add a handful of fresh basil leaves. I use all of this sparingly so as not to overload the Pizza with ingredients that might add moisture to the crust during cooking. To me, a good pizza consists of not only the ingredients but the crust as well.
When all this is done, I place the pizza onto parchment paper and trim the edges to about 1/4 inch larger than the pizza. This will keep the pizza from sticking to the cooking surface and also prevent certain flavors from transferring from the stone onto the pizza.
Kamado: I prepped the grill by placing the Lava stone that came with it into the bracket provided and removed all other cooking grills which were not needed for this cook. Then, according to instructions, I closed the lid and opened the top vent all the way. I then fired up the gas using the built in igniter and cranked it up to full blast. It took about 10 minutes to heat up to 500 degrees on the temp. gauge. I gave it another 5 minutes to get the stone heated up and it held steady at around 500-520 degrees.
Cooking: I then opened the grill and gently placed the pizza and parchment onto the lava stone, closed the grill and set a timer to elapsed time. Since I had never cooked pizza like this before I wanted to time it to see exactly how long grill would take to cook it properly. I had seen a post earlier that said not to open the grill during cooking but to look down into the top vent with a flashlight so that you could see the pizza during the cooking process. Directions say that you always keep the top vent open while cooking with gas.
I watched the pizza from above until I could see browning all around the outer edges of the crust and cheese well melted all over. When I considered the browned edges to be done, I opened the grill and took a quick look underneath the pizza to see that it was well browned as well and it was. This took a total of 5 1//2 minutes of cooking time and the pizza came out perfectly cooked with all the ingredients well done and the crust nice and crunchy, the way I like it. My wife likes it a little more crunchy so maybe next time I will cook it for 6 minutes.
One important note if you are cooking with gas. Turn the gas off before removing your pizza to avoid possibly burning your hands while removing the pizza. The lava stone is recessed a few inches below the lip of the grill so you have to reach down into the grill to remove the pizza.
Overall I was very pleased with my first cook with gas. Everything worked as advertised and the pizza was delicious, actually better than most pizza's I have purchased for $16 to $20.
Changing the grill from charcoal to gas takes about 2 minutes because you have to remove all the grills and anything related to charcoal before inserting the gas insert. This is not a problem. I anticipate that I will probably use the gas insert more than charcoal because I do a lot of quick cooking everyday with my current weber such as hamburgers, grilled vegetables, fish, etc. and will retire the weber and keep the Vision set up for gas and everyday cooking. Of course, when I want to smoke a turkey or some pulled pork and have plenty of time, I will just fire up the Vision with charcoal. One of the major selling points and the reason I bought the Vision was this flexibility that enabled me to replace two grills with this one unit. I am very pleased with my Vision so far.
My next cook will be some pulled pork and I will try and post that as well.
Here is a photo of what was left of a 13 inch pizza. By the way, the lava stone is 14 inches in diameter.