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Pizza Help


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Tried my first pizza cook this evening - started simple, with a store bought fresh pizza (not frozen). 

 

Was gifted a pizza stone for Christmas and my first time using it. It is a nice pizza stone from Sur La Table. The instructions on the stone said to pre-heat the stone to 500*. I got up to about 540 and threw the pizza on (was talking to my fiance). 

 

7 minutes later, bottom was burnt toast. My Mom mentioned I should use corn meal on the stone - looking for some feedback on how to cook pizza on the KJ. 2 years ago I did quite a few successful cooks on my BGE but I don't recall if I used parchment paper or corn meal, but I didn't have any issues. I know their's some "rust" from my lack of experience, but I figured I could figure it out. 

 

Any tips - help for cooking pizzas? Tips for not toasting the crust? 

 

Do ya'll cook at different temps depending on the dough? Hand tossed crust - does it cook at slightly lower temps then a thinner crust? I remember a few years ago, doing pizzas in the 500-600* range without many issues. This cook, not so much. :(

 

Looking to master cooking pizzas on the KJ - any and all recommendations, help, tips, etc welcome!! Eventually I'd like to get into making my own crusts - but I suppose I should get a few pizza cooks under my belt before I move to home made crusts. 

 

 

 

Thanks,

 

 

-Nick

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44 minutes ago, BURGER MEISTER said:

Did you have the deflector plate with spacers under the pizza stone?  

Yes I did. 
 

charcoal basket

accessory ring

heat deflectors 

grill grate

pizza stone 

 

Did I start off wrong?

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Different dough composition will lead to different results.  So, for example...if Pizza dough is made with 00 flour, it can handle higher temps than all purpose flour.  If a dough has a higher water composition, you can cook it longer.  There are a lot of different variables and some of our resident experts (much better than me) will give you some better tips.

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1 hour ago, iBarbEQue said:

Yes I did. 
 

charcoal basket

accessory ring

heat deflectors 

grill grate

pizza stone 

 

Did I start off wrong?

 

Not sure, I cook pizza on the big Joe at 450-500 on an extender rack with 2" spacers as high in the dome as I can get it and it cooks approx.12-15 mins and I watch the cheese through the top vent until the cheese starts browning and the crust always turns out great.  Is your pizza too low in the cooker?

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A store bought Pizza is made to be cooked in a conventional oven. You need to make your own dough with about 60 - 65% hydration. The stone temperature needs to be about 750F  and your pizza will cook in 4 - 7 minutes depending on toppings. You can use the PizzApp+ app to do the ingredient calculations for you based on the size of the dough ball you want. My last pizza's:

 

370816160_20181106_195557(1).thumb.jpg.146ef2ecad030d26e82d2472e1dfcc10.jpg

20181019_200634.thumb.jpg.2ae9f35bd013305b366b7c9815b09e88.jpg

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Sounds like your store-bought dough was meant to be cooked at a much lower temperature than the 500*F+ that you ran your cooker. Next time, you should check the packaging to see if they have a recommended cooking temp. Your set-up sounds right for a good pizza cook, if using a proper dough. A dough recipe of just flour, water, salt, and yeast can easily handle 500*F+. There may have been sugar in the dough you bought. Keep at it!!

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Place your store bought pizza on parchment paper and cut the paper a little larger than the pie.  Put the pizza on the parchment paper into your grill on the pizza stone close the lid.  After 3 minutes use a pizza peel or large spatula to lift the pizza and remove the parchment paper.  Pizza back on the stone..  Now keep and eye on your crust checking every couple of minutes.  Depending on the crust you should be done in 5-8 minutes.  I just recently did this while cooking a thawed frozen pizza with just some added toppings and it came out fine, even though the box said cook at 400.  As others have said, homemade dough for high-heat cooks is far superior,  but store bought pizzas/dough work just fine.

 

Also don't overload with toppings.  If you overload your toppings will not be done when your crust is ready to pull.

 

Also I would change your setup and put the heat deflectors up on the cooking rack and set your pizza stone on it or ideally separate them by  an inch or two with some spacers.  You can use a brick, some lava stones or cheap copper fittings (this seems to be the most common).

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Sounds like the stone was too hot for the dough. Search around this site for John Seltzer's posts on pizza, he explains the types of dough and temp settings.You have to balance the dome temp to cook the toppings with the stone temp to cook the dough. Depending on the sugar content will determine how hot the stone.What temp did the pizza say to cook it at? I use Johns recipe and it comes out fantastic 2 minutes rotate 180 degrees 2 minutes then eat. I have to rotate 180 degrees do to the back of the grill getting hotter than the front, probably due to air rushing in the bottom vent and flowing to the back. AND DON"T FORGET TO BURP THE GRILL. Don't give up 

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I agree with the comments above regarding hydration level, no sugar, (store bought dough often contains sugar or other additives that tend to burn) , and the need for a deflector beneath your pizza stone.  Once you get your dough recipe worked out, a set up like this will help give you some time to allow you toppings to be fully cooked and melted prior to your bottom crust burning.

 

This is bascily John Setzler's set up. I copied it  it from him. Use two stones with a 1 5/8"  to 2" air gap in between

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The stones are supported with a Ceramic Grill Store (CGS) spider

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What the set up looks like in my kamado

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I cook pizza anywhere between 550 and 650. This set up will give you the ability to fully cook pies  at those temps without  burning your bottom crust. I use fancy ceramic kiln blocks to form the air space (Amazon) but you can use anything from copper elbows to steel fittings. Just don't use anything galvanized due to the health risk from the vapors that come from galvanized steel when it is  heated. 

IMG_0715.thumb.jpeg.787086cbf53c458ce1be0b1d20a320b4.jpeg

I used to use parchment paper but when I went to higher stone temps like between 550 to 650 it stuck and was difficult to remove from the pie. I now use corn meal on my wooden peal. The trick is not to let your dough sit on the peal too long, shake the pie on the peal every couple minutes to keep it loose and prevent it from sticking.

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