Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Weber BBQ Brick Oven Pizza Night (Take 1)

So I was thinking, "What next with my BBQ?" I'd recently stepped up to a Weber Performer Grill. My upstairs neighbor was afraid I was going to "burn the place down," with my charcoal grill. I suppose anything is possible, but seeing as the tree and deck get watered daily, it'd be a tough thing to start it on fire. But I guess flames shooting out of the chimney starter can scare people who can be scared.

Anyway, I'd had this great pizza when I was out in New Haven, CT at a place called Pepe's and then again at a place here in town called Basic Pizza downtown. It has super thin crust, "brick oven style," so I started looking into it. I knew it took lots of heat. And lately I've been using this hardwood charcoal that is just packed with so much heat I can barely cook on it!

So I came across this guy who is just amazing. He's trying his hardest to duplicate this Brick Oven style pizza, and has done just insane tests. Basically, your home oven only goes to 450, but in the self cleaning mode, it gets higher, so he messed with his oven so he can run it at the self-cleaning mode! "Its not dangerous," he says....

So with all that in mind, I caught the bug, and sure enough, the next night on the way home begins my Brick Oven Pizza Grill Night.


I stopped at Home Depot to buy a pizza stone. Actually it started at lunch when I saw a Tile Store next to my favorite Pho-reia.

The tile on show is pretty nice, and the place looks like a showroom for people remodeling their upscale kitchens. I ask the lady for some unglazed quarry tiles (ie, cheap pizza stone) and she kinda laughs, and says, "Why don't you just get yourself one from Pampered Chef?" Well, who-hooo! I ain't buying nothing from someplace using the word Pampered. Why isn't that a diaper?

So that night I'm at the Depot. Funny all the nicknames people have, like the Home Despot.

Anyway, they didn't have quite what I was looking for but I got two unglazed quarry tiles...reading that these things sometimes break, and that they were like $1 each. Lots cheaper than the $30 pampered chef variety (which break too!)

A not so quick trip to Albertsons (fast becoming my least favorite grocery store). Somehow they hit me with a .75 CRV and nothing I bought had CRV w/it. I suspect the cashier rung something up, then gets to keep the change. Got my money back, but will never figure out what happened.

Got home, fired up the grill, and started rockin' and rollin! Lets get Cooking!

Yup, there is the dough. Bread Dough. I used this Garlic Marinara pizza sauce I had and it was a bit too garlicy. Fix that next time, altho now i have a lot of this stuff open so I best make something with it.

More Garlic! The recipe called for some Garlic Oil on the crust and that sounded good, so I mashed up 2 garlics in my pestle and added some olive oil. It was a bit strong....the pizza isn't in the oven long enuf to finish the garlic I think...

Ah there it is, the first pizza off the grill. I didn't really think to picture document this till I was half-way thru so you're getting it a bit out of order....

First crust, overdone. Sadly. Didn't realize how hot it was!

Ok, so here's the setup @ the grill. I have tile #2, nicely coated in flour. This mondo spatula, which I never used before but came with the Performer Grill, I was using as my pizza ladle. I forget the real name for it. Anyway, pizza making involves heaps of technique with dough and flour and rolling and kneading and lubricating that I guess I don't quite get yet, but as I'm looking for a new culinary challenge, this one is it!

Ah here you can see my little pizza on the stone! I couldn't get the pre-made bread dough to stay flat, so I kinda made these little oblong small round pizzas. Like I said, dough-skills are important.

Ah there it is, finished, on the other stone. Its a good thing I bought two stones (or tiles, or whatever) because it was nice to make the pizzas and put them on there afterwards....they get hot and ya need to cool them.

Ah look at the bottom of the perfect!

the tile broke! Yup, I pulled off the pizza and then started scraping the tile, and is cracked. This happens I guess. No big deal, cuz I bought two tiles. I did kinda wash the tile with water before I put it on....wonder if thats why it cracked...but it was on there for at least an hour before it cracked. Go figure.

then it cracked again! Wow! I barely touched it, and c-r-a-c-k! No worries tho, since I'm terrible at making pizza dough....and only made these little tiny things, it was perfect!

Ok, so back to pizza. Ok, you can see here the ingredients:

Bread dough, thawed in the microwave, not allowed to rise b/c I didn't have time.
Kraft shredded mozarella. It was too stringy...terrible...don't use the Kraft!
The Organics Roasted Garlic pasta sauce. Spread thin.
Fresh basil (which I had to buy cuz my basil plant is getting munched by some insect, help!)
Organic Roma Tomatoes, seeds removed.

Ah the temperature is hot! 500F. Actually the temp isn't too hot. The crust cooks way faster than the rest of the pizza. Apparently I need to put some tiles or some insulation in the roof of the grill, or put another stone above the bottom stone. Opening the grill releases too much heat and the body doesn't store it. So thats why I burned the first ones so on the bottom, not so on the top.

And there ya go, the last two pizzas, cookin' on the stones. They turned out pretty tasty. Need to figure out how to make the dough thinner.

Hungry yet? Funny how my poor little things still look almost artistic and cute :)

One more....i think this guy was seriously undercooked.

The bottom....mmmm....!

And the happy chef! Lots of work to still be done here, but they were still really good, which means they'll get really even better!