I am often asked if you only need the Pizza-Porta™ for cooking multiple pizzas. The improvements we made to the cooking chamber affect the first pizza, the third pizza, and the 20th pizza. Not only will the Pizza-Porta make one pizza like a wood-fired pizza restaurant, it will deliver 15 or 20 pizzas just like it for your backyard pizza parties.
This wonderful, simple, food we call pizza started out as flatbread cooked in a wood-fired oven. These enclosed ovens had a stone floor with a wood fire on the side. The smoke, trapped under the dome shaped ceiling, heated the brick or stone before escaping out the door or offset chimney. The evolution of the pizza is due to the characteristics of this style oven. Below are the critical parts of pizza making that evolved from this style oven and an explanation of how the Pizza-Porta helps your Kamado (BGE) grill perform like a traditional wood-fired oven:
The crust of a pizza is like bread. The yeast expands to make bubbles that are captured in the dough. The critical part of this process is to apply high heat in a consistent manner so the bubbles are captured at their peak level. As heat is applied, the gluten of the dough stretches with this expansion like bubble gum. The heat must then harden the dough at the exact right time. If the dough hardens too early the yeast isn’t strong enough to push out the bubbles, and if hardens too late the bubbles collapse. Any fluctuation in temperature can interrupt this critical process. With a Pizza-Porta the lid stays down so the temperature remains constant from when the pizza is placed until it is removed. Any fluctuation in temperature can keep your dough from forming properly because the yeast is active and expanding for a very limited time.
Cooking pizza is baking. Baking is not like cooking meat. Baking is very sensitive to ingredients as well as technique. The key to baking is to reduce the number of variables. Each step of adding ingredients, and folding and handling must be done exactly the same to ensure consistent results. The same is true for the oven. If you have wonderful results cooking at 600F, you should dial that temperature to cook every pizza. With a Pizza-Porta you adjust the vents to dial in your desired temperature. You can adjust airflow as the fire matures to keep that temperature. This capability ensures consistent pizza cooking temperature time after time.
Consistent dough ingredients and a specific temperature will ensure the dough performs the same. The pizza toppings can change your cooking time significantly. If one pizza is just cheese, it may cook for 4 minutes. The same size dough with pepperoni and some onions and a few mushrooms may have twice the weight of ingredients and require 6 minutes. This is why the guys at your local pizza place seem to fuss with pizza. Pizza is cooked mostly by eye. You have to look at the top and the bottom to see if it is done. With Pizza-Porta you open the door and look at your pizza. Checking has little impact on the temperature so you can check a pizza, turn a pizza, lift the edge, without losing heat. This is how you are able to do consistent pizza all night long without the dreaded “black-bottom pie”.
In a Kamado grill the heat source is below the pizza stone. Unless you are using the full radiant energy capability of the dome, the top of the pizza will not cook at the same rate as the bottom. The dome has to be hot to radiate heat down onto the pizza. When you lift the lid, hot air escapes and the dome cools, losing energy. Even when the lid is down and the top vent is open (it has to be pretty wide open for 600F+ temperatures) precious heat that could raise the dome temperature escapes. With a Pizza-Porta, the top cap is completely closed, trapping all of the heat, heating the dome and also creating convection cooking as it forced over the top of your pizza. Holding a pizza up in the dome (doming) will actually provide top broiling of the pizza.
One final point about proper equipment for the job:
We are proud to make the Pizza-Porta in the USA out of high quality, thick gauge, 302 stainless steel and 100% stainless hardware so that it will hold up to high thermal stress and can even be stored outside. An accessory for such a great grill has to be built right and built to last.