I am Cortlandt Minnich, the instigator of this idea.
I am a huge fan of Kamado style cooking. I grew up with an early version of the Big Green Egg® back in the 1960's. In my own back yard, I was happily experimenting and perfecting Butts, Turkeys, Steaks and other standard fare. And then it happened. A friend bought a full blown wood-fired brick pizza oven for his back yard.
I noticed two things. 1) It makes wonderful pizzas in the backyard! 2) A pizza party is a fantastic thing. It isn't like typical Big Green Egg® cooking where all is done and the fire is out before the party starts. The oven is burning, friends are gathered around the hearth talking, drinking wine, and as you create and cook pizzas, each one initiates a new wave of excitement. You pull one out with the pizza peel and place it on a cutting board in front of a group and you are a hero.
So, given that my Big Green Egg will cook at high temperatures, and it is a radiant dome design just like a brick oven, I began trying to make great pizza. I found that the Egg does a great job of cooking evenly, reaching the necessary high temperatures (650F), and delivering that crispy crust. The challenges for me were around the handling and consistency. I found cooking a pizza on the Egg was like driving a submarine - cooking by stopwatch and thermometer - no visual. This is a real challenge for a pizza that cooks for about 4 minutes. Also, when I got going making a couple of pizzas I found I couldn't control the temperature because opening the lid changed everything. Cooking one pizza is not that much of a challenge. But who wants one pizza, when you can do three or four different combinations?
So, thanks to multiple metal handmade prototypes, a few cut fingers, my neighbor who is a star pizzaiolo (italian for "Pizza chef"), and a patient wife - I bring you Pizza-Porta ™.
- The Pizza-Porta allows you to fuss with your pizza - just like your favorite pizza chef. Turn it, pull it out to check it, put it back in for a second, lift it up into the dome for that final sear. With limited impact on the fire.
- Unlike a Boston butt or a turkey, pizza only cooks for a few precious minutes. If part of that time is spent at lower temperatures while the heat builds back up in the dome, the pizza will be inconsistent and cook at different speeds.
- The Pizza-Porta allows you to choose your cooking temperature - Bread cooks at 350-400 degrees, thick crusts pizzas may cook better at 500 degrees, thin Neapolitan are better at 700 degrees - control the air and you control the temperature.
- Using the Pizza-Porta also delivers a benefit I didn't anticipate. Controlling the temperature controls the fuel consumption. You can cook pizza for hours while you entertain friends - just like that big wood-fired brick pizza oven.
- Finally, this is how you cook pizza. Pizza goes on a wooden peel and gets shoveled into a hot oven. I see videos of people standing over a pizza stone in an open Kamado that is 600 degrees, that just isn't right - and its tough on your arm hair!
I hope you enjoy. Cortlandt
Oh, by the way, I do not use clip art on this page. Photographers vary, but all pizzas were made in a Pizza-Porta.