This is an account (from memory) about the first prototype.
As I mentioned elsewhere, Ben (my now Pizza adviser extraordinaire) purchased a dedicated pizza oven for his backyard. I was intrigued to say the least. It burned really hot (your home oven is really only good to about 450° F). and it kept a very consistent hot temperature. I had recently made huge skewers to put into the top of my Char-Griller® Akorn grill for Tandoori, so I knew that a kamado style grill was versatile. I tried making some pizza's in the Akorn at a high temperature, and they turned out pretty well, but the process just wasn't right. I was leaning over a 700° fire trying to slip a pizza peel out from under the pizza. It is like tailgating with a disposable aluminum grill. You can do it, the food is hot, but it does not respect the authentic ritual.
So, I set our to bring the right ritual into pizza making on a kamado style grill. At the time I did not know why the rituals existed, but more on that in a future blog.
I began by propping open the lid of the Akorn with some success. I could slip a pizza onto the oven and it protected me from that blast of heat, but I lost any way to control the temperature. I added some side baffles to keep the heat in, but with an open window I had difficulty getting the temperature that I wanted consistently. I started tinkering in the shop with some sheet metal to create a device that would insert but also control the airflow. After 47 cut fingers and a few nights of work, I came up with the design below. It is made of galvanized metal, but we focused on temperature testing, not cooking. I understand that cooking and galvanized metal do not mix.