The Pensacola Eggfest marks the 1 year anniversary of the Pizza-Porta product. I had been tinkering with a way to improve the results of my pizza-making in the egg for some time. Last year I decided to "go-for-it". We loaded up three
After long deliberations we attended our first food festival. We were afraid to show the Pizza-Porta to anyone who might knock it off an go into production. Our patent is pending, so we hope that does not happen. We set up a couple objectives for the show: 1) Can we make authentic pizza from scratch on-site? Oh, and there will be 1200 people! 2) Does this crazy design work with off the shelf eggs? 3) Does anyone else think this is a good idea? 4) How do we get a "buy" signal?
The Pensacola Eggfest turned out to be a fantastic event. Everyone we met was helpful and supported everything we needed to do our cooking. We realize that pizza at a BBQ festival might seem a little weird, but the crowds were fantastic. We are proud to be part of this event and also to support Chain Reaction.
How did it turn out for us? 1) affirmative - We made dough for 50 pizzas - we put a stacked pizza stone in one BGE and a single in another. We cooked every single pizza! One egg was still on the first load of BGE charcoal at the end! Steady 600F degrees from 10:30 till 2:00 cooking the majority of the pizzas. We heard that our pizza was delicious, with just the right crunch. 2) affirmative - We placed the two Pizza-Porta's in their eggs, slid them around a little to ensure the fit, and then started cooking. 3) affirmative - We had a great number of folks tell us that this was a good idea. Thank you Big Moe Cason, Chris Grove, and Big Green Craig for the shout-outs. 4) affirmative - We hope to be shipping in a few months.
Backyard Gourmet Pizza Peelers was our team name for the event. Special thanks to our wives for the hall pass, and for jumping in to help!
Here are some other photos:
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.