How does Pizza-Porta Work? And does it matter?
How does Pizza-Porta work?
You are already an expert in applying the correct temperature to foods for the appropriate time. For a Boston Butt, that cook can be 10 hours at a steady 225ºF. For a chicken it may be 3 hours at 325ºF. The temperature and time must be dialed in for the specific food you are cooking. Pizza is no different. It takes a certain temperature for a certain time. The challenge is that pizza cooks at a high temperature for a short period of time. Pizza also has a high variability in its cooking time, due to its construction (more on that later).
This is a running graph of a large Big Green Egg® cook. The left shows the temperature over time with the Pizza-Porta installed. The right side is the same cooking session after the Pizza-Porta was removed. In each case, the pizza was checked at the times indicated by the red arrows. Controlling the temperature by controlling the airflow and using a side access rather than opening the lid delivers a consistent temperature profile over a cooking session.
Does it matter?
It is widely known that when you lift the lid, heat escapes from the oven. So, in a 10 hour cook, opening the lid to check the temperature or the drip pan for a total of 2 minutes, results in a cook with the desired temperature 99.6% of the time. A pizza cooking at 600° or 700° will only cook for 3 or 4 minutes. One quick check could mean the cooking temperature is below the desired level for 25%-30% of the cook time! Obviously you could try to cook a Pizza without checking and keep the lid closed the entire time. The challenge is the variability of cooking time due to pizza construction. A dough weighs around 9-10oz. Add cheese and a basic pizza is about 15oz. The next pizza, however, may have 4 oz of meat (bacon) and vegetables. That is a 20% difference in weight and a completely different moisture profile. The only way to ensure that your pizza is perfect each time is to check its progress visually from time to time. The graph above shows that the patented design of the Pizza-Porta will keep a consistent temperature to cook your wood-fired Pizza no matter how many times you peek. Thirty seconds can make or break a pizza!
What does a Pizza-Porta really solve?
Black-bottom pizza - by cooking the top of the pizza with the heat of the dome, the top cooks at the same speed as the bottom.
Uncooked toppings - Preserving the radiant energy of the dome allows it to melt the cheese and brown the crust edges.
Flat edge pizzas - Pizza dough rises and then hardens. If the temperature fluctuates, the bubbles deflate and then harden. Pizza-Porta keeps the oven temperature steady.
Goldilocks pizza - (When the first pizza is ok, the second one is fantastic, and the third is burned.) Pizza-Porta keeps oven temperature consistent so every cook is the same.
Submarine driving - (The stress of cooking blind with a stopwatch and a thermometer) With Pizza-Porta you open the door and look without affecting the temperature.
Red, hairless wrist syndrome - The Pizza-Porta door is small so flashbacks are minimized
Do I really need a Pizza-Porta to make authentic pizza?
That is obviously a loaded question. Sliding raw pizzas into a domed, ceramic, wood-fired oven is how it has been done for centuries. When you pull pizzas out of your ceramic grill with perfect char on top and a consistent browning on the bottom time after time, you will see that this accessory delivers that robust tradition to your back yard.