A Wood-Fired Gas Grill

This is Part II of my recipe pictorial of Jay Buonchristiani's Lamb with Fennel Sausage and Mushroom Pizza recipe. 

You saw the making of the the first pizza in the original pictorial.  I continued on, making 2 more pizzas since you can never just make one pizza anyway, right?!  But, the reason I split this pictorial up was because I sort of stumbled on something interesting.  I have had great results with the Forno Bravo pizza stone in my convection oven (which I posted about previously).  I also use a second stone on the top shelf, which helps retain the heat from above and can even be used to cook a second pizza as you alternate between stones, because the pizzas actually suck the heat out of them as you place a cold one in.  I usually tend to cook my pizzas between 8-10 minutes in the oven.  I'm very happy with this set up and have gotten great results that continue to get better.  Even still, it is nothing like the pizzas coming out of a super hot wood fired oven, as we all know. 

I was thinking about the earthiness of this pizza recipe - covered in lamb sausage with added garlic and fresh fennel and sauteed mushrooms, or Mushies, as Jay calls them.  I also thought I would try this on Peter's Country Dough, which I thought would really go well with the cheesey/earthiness of this recipe. And then, I finally decided I would make one or two of the pies on my grill - which seemed at least a little more rustic.

While I was pre-heating the inside oven, I turned on my grill.  I placed a pizza stone on an inverted baking pan covered in foil to protect the pan.  I have read on the FB Forum that a pizza stone placed straight on a grill would likely crack.  So this was just a precaution.  As I was turning on the grill I noticed my iron wood-smoker box sitting on the side of the grill.  A light bulb went off (I have to confess, it wasn't a green one, I'm still thinking in incandescent brainstorms): "Why not use the box and see if I can bring some smoke into the picture here". I'll do this when cooking up certain things like a Santa Maria Tri-Tip and it works beautifully.

I let the grill heat up for a long time to get the stone up to temperature while I was making the indoors pizza and taking photos along the way.  When I came outside, the grill was raging.  I had put some wood in the box, but not turned on the burner that it sat on, yet the wood had been consumed.  So, I put in some fresh chunks of apple wood, which is what I had around for use in my smoker.  They soon took to smoking and then flaming.

I cooked this next pizza.

It seemed to go pretty quickly and you can see it got some serious char on it compared with the oven.  Check out the steam coming off the pie in the picture above on the right.

I cooked the 3rd pie with the leftover ingredients.  I timed this pizza and it was just under 6 minutes.  The grill was hot!  The temperature gauge was off the chart.  I don't know how hot it got, but the white ceramic coals built into the grill turned green by the end of all this.  Does Green Heat come after Red Hea?  Can I take credit for this new discovery?

This was a really fun addition to my pizza making process.  It is definitely something I will be playing with in the near future.  I was able to put the pizza together with more elements that I think enhanced the flavor and certainly the fun and experience.  I can't wait to get a real wood fired oven, but this definitely brought some of the benefits of those ovens within my grasp.

Wood

Fire

High Heat

Baking Stone Surface

 

Again, I want to thank Jay Buonchristiani for the delicious Lamb with Fennel Sausage and Mushroom Pizza recipe.  This one moved right up to the top of my list.  My wife and daughter, who don't even like lamb, loved it!  I do have to admit though, when my daughter asked what was on the pizza and the words, "lamb sausage and mushrooms" entered the room, I ended up having another half of a slice to eat instantly!  But, she did love it first, before she knew what was in it!  Here's PROOF!

Let us know in the Forums, Comments, or email if any of you have any more ideas on using the equipment you have to enhance your cooking experience.

 

 

Comments 

 
#1 Kenneth Kingswell 2011-04-21 02:52
I have been using my gas grill to make pizzas as well. I suggest that people invest in an infrared thermometer in orde to accurately guage the grill temp. My grill can reach between 625F - 650F on the pizza stone with a pizza taking 5-6mins. The only issue (which I might try soon) is that it needs some top heat which a broiler might provide.
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#2 Brad English 2011-04-21 08:26
Kenneth,

Send us some pictures next time you bake/grill your pizzas. I must have gotten into that temperature range, because that was my cooking time as well. I think the fire did add a lot of top heat because I got a lot of char. I am definitely going to play with this set up for a while. I already cooked a salmon and tri-tip the same way, which came out nice.
Brad
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#3 Tyler 2011-05-31 20:43
Looks like you're getting pretty-darn-close to a WFO!

My grill setup is slightly different. I use two natural stone (slate) tiles - a 12" one on the grill surface, and a 16" tile about 4" above the grill. I had a sheetmetal shop bend a piece of stainless to make a "hood" which holds the upper stone and traps hot gases to increase temperatures.

I have measured similar temperatures as Kenneth with my IR thermometer. The edges can get up over 700 degrees F. I haven't timed a pizza since I'm keeping a watchful eye on the crust, but it's done in under 5 minutes.
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#4 Mark Colgan 2011-06-28 18:43
Brad,
Thank you for the great tips and insight you provide.
I am cooking on a nice ¾” stone in my new 60,000 BTU (6 burner) weber grill that has an optional infrared burner. It can achieve a temperature of nearly 700 degrees if desired.
That being said, what do you feel is a desirable temperature for such a set up? Recently I have been going for 650-700 degrees (because I thought the higher temps were better) but I am finding that the bottom burns really bad. I’m not sure if this is because the temp is too high or if it is because I use semolina flour as a buffer. In fact, the semolina flour (or cornmeal) actually burns immediately when sprinkled on stone.
Your insight and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Mark
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#5 Martin 2011-07-06 16:57
Hey guys, interesting discussion. I 'll be trying my new broiler king bbq this weekend with a Pizza. Have been achieving consistantly good results with a pizza stone in a regular oven and on a weber kettle bbq, however overall temp pretty low.

The gas grill claims to work at 750 if heated up long.
Now this is what i will try:
- Remove outer grids from the bbq (3 dual tube burners)
- The stone should be not on the grid in order to prevent burning
- Instead i wanna place it close to the lid in the hot circulating air.
- I just got myself a 30 cm diameter steel salad sieve and i will place the stone on top of it.
- I hope the result will be that the air from the burners will be guided AROUND the sieve on the mittle grid and reflecting on the pizza sitting quite high creating a permanent airflow.

So much for theory, lets see if it works.
Maybe anyone has tried getting the stone higher before ?

Cheers, Martin
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#6 Mark Colgan 2011-07-07 07:07
The other day I put a 3/4" stone on the grate of my 6 burner 60,000 BTU "Summitt" Weber grill. To best emulate an oven I heated the stone up to 600 and when I placed the pie on it I turned down the 2 burners beneath to 50% and kept the other 4 burners at 100% - oh, and I left the infared burner above on hi. This kept the stone close to 550 and the air above it hot enough to make it cook properly. I would guess it took about 6 minutes to cook. I used 50% KA bread flour and 50% Caputo 00. It came out awesome. I would like to try it hotter but Im not sure I can keep the air above the pie high enough without insulation.
Caio
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