I have spent a lot of time fussing with kamado style grills. From the Akorn to the Kamado Joe, Big Green Egg, to the Grill Dome, I worry about the details of how each performs. When making a product that many of you will use in a variety of cooking conditions it is important that everything has been tested and works. I have also spent time with wood-fired pizza ovens. Some are giant restaurant models, others are individual pizza ovens. Each of these ovens has its own characteristics. The best advice is: Know Your Oven.
Original Pizza Cooking Challenge
In a wood-fired pizza oven, the fire is built on one side. The heat travels to the top of the oven, heating the roof. Therefore, the primary heat source is above the pizza. That means a Kamado oven is built completely upside down for traditional pizza. The heat source is below the pizza, making even cooking challenging. The trick is to limit how much heat comes up through the stone, and maximize how much heat gets focused on the top of the pizza. Below is an illustration of the challenge in cooking a pizza in a Kamado grill.
The heat is focused on the bottom of the stone, overheating it, and then a great deal of the heat is lost thought the chimney before it can cook the top of the pizza.
Using the Pizza-Porta allows you to cap off the top and heat up the inside of the dome to cook your pizza evenly on the top and bottom. This diagram shows one more trick you can do to balance the heat in your oven. By placing additional deflectors under the pizza stone, you can get even more heat to go around the stone and heat the sides of the dome. This balances the heat from the top and bottom.
Setup is very important to cooking in your Pizza-Porta. The personality of your particular grill combined with how you are cooking will affect how you set up your grill for a pizza cook. Just like cooking pancakes on a griddle, each raw pizza will reduce the temperature of the stone.
If you are going to cook a bunch of pizzas in rapid succession, you want a quick recovery time for your pizza stone, so you should reduce the deflection of your setup. If you are going to cook pizza with 15-20 minute breaks between them you should definitely add additional temperature deflection. The Pizza-Porta was built to allow you to vary the internal setup of your grill to meet your needs. Racks, deflectors, double racks. lifters, and other items can be used to customize what you want to do. We are launching our deflector accessory as a way to give you more options for your internal setup.
So what if your stone gets too hot? In a pizza restaurant they will put a "blank dough" into the oven to cool off the floor. This dough is often burned on the bottom so it is discarded. This is a great way to get the heat down. Another option is to put a little water in a cast iron pan and place it on the stone for a few minutes. This will cool off the stone in the same way.
Check out our our new deflector here
Thank you for reading!