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New_England_Akorn

New_England_Akorn's pizza thread

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I LOVE to make home made pizza, well as home made as I'm willing to go. I have long used my oven inside so I look forward to chronicling my use of the Akorn for this task.

 

Today was Pizza cook #1. A learning experience with some mistakes made.

 

1)I buy store bought dough from a place near me that sells a good "NY Crust". I always use fine ground cornmeal to roll it out, as I like it far better than flour once it cooks into the bottom of the pizza.

 

2)For cheese I use a mix of shredded "4 or 6 cheese italian" with the usuals: mozzarella, asiago, parmesan, romano. Lately I've leaned heavier toward Mozzarella in the mix for the chewiness, I'd say 75% of the mix lately is Mozzarella. Sometimes, including today I sprinkle a little yellow cheddar or mexican cheese mix on at the end for the color and a little zing to the flavor. Sometimes I buy a ball of mozzarella and cut into slivers that I plop down (kind of like margarita stlye) but totday was all shredded.

 

3)Sauce is a can of whole peeled tomatoes, drain and discard the juice. Add several shakes of oregano, pinch of basil, pinch of parsley, pinch of salt, pinch of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil. Grind in blender for ~10 seconds, just enough to break up the whole peeled tomatoes. 

 

4)Here is where my mistakes begin. I don't have a diffuser (I'm ordering the CG smokin stone) so I went without one, just using a pizza pan. I knew this carried risks, so I elected to try and keep the temp down. I got it fired up with a lot of coals, but kept it around 400 at the built in dome thermo. I usually put the dough in the pan into the oven for 3-5 min to give it a bit of a crisp before doing the rest of the toppings, so I did that again. No issues observed so far. edit: Also of note I threw 3 hickory wood chunks on, again just to experiment, I guess trying for a fusion of coal and wood fired. Too much wood, too much smoke, didn't need it and won't do that again. Also not sure Hickory is the right wood for pizza, unless its BBQ chicken or pork maybe. Anyone use wood chunks?

 

5)I put the sauce and toppings on, just what I had in the house, so half cheese, and half sliced pepperoni from the bag. Nothing special. I always sprinkle some basil on top of the cheese on the whole pie. 

 

6)I put it back onto the grill on pan and it cooked for about 10 minutes or so. I couldn't help but peak at it repeatedly since I've not used it yet so wasn't sure what to expect. I didn't do well enough checking the bottom or turning it, so one side (pepperoni) got charred black on the bottom. Like gross charred. The other side was very good. 

 

Here are some pics. More to follow in this thread. I will do many types and topping, and next time diffuser and closer eye on the crust is a must.

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So my Smokin' Stone arrived and thus it was time for Kamado pizza 2.0:

 

 

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This cook was half hamburg and half cheese. you'll notice the half and half is a common theme of mine. I just love cheese so much I often do this.

 

For the hamburg I simply browned them up in a skillet with a touch of olive oil and pinch of salt and pepper. I have to say I was thrilled, much less bland than usual.

 

The rest of the pizza is similar to last time: my hole peeled tomato based sauce, a mix of 6 cheese italian, sprinkle of cheddar and 2/3 parts mozzarella. I made some minor adjustments this time to the actual cooking methods....The stone went in, and I baked the dough on my pan for about 3-5 minutes. Then I put the toppings on and back directly onto the grate it went for about 5 min. I checked it and noticed the bottom was already getting grill marks and charred so I put the pan back under it, then ended up moving it to the raised rack so I didn't spoil the crust while the cheese finished. Was cool to look at the cheese bubbling through the top damper at the end. 

 

This was a much better effort but not perfect just yet .More types of pizza to come.

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Made a nice dry rub pulled BBQ chicken and red onion tonight. Due to the rub seasoning I skipped my usual drizzle of BBQ sauce on top of the pizza in the last third of the cook. My wife wasn't interested so her half was roasted red peppers, feta and black olives. 

 

Brought the cooker up to about 500 on the dome then dialed her back a bit. 

 

I no longer pre cook the dough because it tends to cook quicker than the cheese on the Akorn....so I roll it out, transfer to well greased pan, spread the sauce, sprinkle a very light amount of finely grated Parmesan and Romano then lay down my toppings, lastly I cover with shredded cheese and a sprinkle of basil seasoning. Tonight was mozzarella and a little Parmesan and a final sprinkle of cheddar. I found this protects the toppings from over cooking and helps the cheese finish properly rather than being buried below the toppings. 

 

Finally, a shoutout to some lady on Diners Drive Ins and Dives who was adamant about bringing the sauce all the way to the very edge of the dough to prevent burning, this has been a nice trick I picked up. 

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This time I started with the pizza up on the raised rack, giving the cheese a head start and ultimately resulting in a more floppy fluffy crust when it was all done. I moved the pan to the main grilling surface for a few min and then put the dough directly on it, although next time I'll do that for the final 30 seconds as it browns up fast. Got a little sloppy sprinkling the basil before she went on, but otherwise a great half bacon bit half cheese pie. 

 

 

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Pizza looks good but something is not exactly right with your technique. 

 

Moving pans around among different grates. If you have everything right it just doesn't require all that. Launch it on a stone and a few minutes later the top and bottom are done at the same time. Sounds easy but in practice not so easy. Anyway not trying to bust your chops just think you need to work on your setup compared to temp compared to the dough recipe. 

 

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My regular pizza stone cracked when I tried to use it as a diffuser early on and then moved it while hot. So right now all I've got is the pan. I might get a stone soon but I like the way the dough cooks better on the pan, always have....

 

Moving it doesn't bother me at all. I am trying to balance the crispyness of the dough vs the cheese cooking all the way. Leaving it up top to start made it very fluffy inside and with major flop, but putting it directly on rack at end gave it the marks and charcoal flavor. I just need to do that for like 30 seconds rather than 2 minutes because grill was so hot. Putting down there on pan reduces the flop. Also I rotated it halfway thru due to heat variances. 

 

temp wise I went a little hotter tonight, closer to 600. What temp do u all use? 

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I use varied temps, depending on the dough hydration. The wetter the dough, the lower your temperature needs to be, because the outside will burn before the inside is done at too high a temp. For a NY style crust, I would go 550. What may also help you is to place your smoking stone on the grate, and then elevate your pan above that to give you and air gap between the pan and stone. This will allow the top to cook thoroughly without burning the bottom. I believe @John Setzler has an excellent video on kamado pizza baking.

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The last several cooks I've don't it exclusively with the pizza in the pan on that riser grate , as the dough is cooking faster than the cheese. Keeping temps between 400 and 500 on the dome although I suspect it's higher than that inside 

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