Why, Why, Why...
I am Cortlandt Minnich, the inventor of the Pizza-Porta.
I am a huge fan of Kamado style cooking. I grew up with Dad's 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 three things: 1) A wood-fired pizza oven makes wonderful pizzas in the backyard! 2) A pizza party is a fantastic thing. It is not like typical Big Green Egg® cooking where all cooking 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. 3) A real wood-fired pizza oven is really expensive.
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 wood-fired pizza. I found that sometimes the Egg does a great job of cooking pizza. The challenges for me were around the handling and consistency at high temperatures. I found cooking a pizza on the Egg was like driving a submarine - cooking with a stopwatch and thermometer - no visual. This is a real challenge for a pizza that cooks for only a few 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. The worst part was that I was completely stressed out worrying about what I would find when I lifted the lid. A party was exhausting.
So, thanks to multiple cardboard and metal handmade prototypes, a lot of geometry review, a friend who is a great pizza maker, and a patient wife -
I bring you Pizza-Porta™
- Unlike a Boston butt or a turkey, pizza only cooks for a few precious minutes. Dough likes to heat up at a consistent rate without interruption. Pizza-Porta keeps the heat in.
- 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. You have the ability to control exactly how you want it.
- 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. Dough is so much better when cooked at temperatures beyond a home wall-oven.
- 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, another unanticipated dynamic is authenticity. Pizza has traditionally been placed on a wooden peel and shoveled into a hot oven. I visited a number of wood-fired pizzerias and that is how they cook hundreds of pizzas in a night. I realized that If you are going to learn from someone, learn from someone who can make fantastic pizza all night long.
I hope you enjoy. Cortlandt
Oh, by the way, I do not use clip art on this site. Photographers vary, but all pizzas were made in a Pizza-Porta.
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