I’ve cooked many a pizza on the grill. My kids love it. My vegetarian wife loves it (it is rare that I’m cooking something other than meat). I love it (not as much as I love bacon, but then, who says you can’t add bacon to your pizza?). We’ve tried various gadgets to create the perfect grilled pizza, but none comes close to KettlePizza. In fact, I will go so far as to say this gets my vote for 2012 Grilling Product of the Year. And that is a lot, since I’m quite picky.
What makes it so great? Well, the pizza obviously. The difference in texture and flavor is amazing and to date, nothing comes close. But also the design. It is so simple, and yet so well thought out and executed.
What is KettlePizza?
I got the deluxe package. It comes with everything you need to convert your 22.5 inch Weber Kettle grill into a pizza oven. Included are: the pizza oven with handles and thermometer; a pizza stone; a pizza pan; a large, heavy gauge aluminum pizza peel with a wooden handle. The materials are top notch. 304 stainless steel for the oven, stainless steel bolts, high temp thermometer, porcelain coated pizza pan and a thick, heavyduty pizza stone.
Assembly was a cinch. 6 bolts and a thermometer screw and we’re ready to cook pizza.
Prepping for Pizza
I followed their instructions for using the pizza stone. They said it is more challenging then using the pizza pan, but I’m always up for a challenge. Started with a chimney of Kingsford charcoal. While the coals were heating up in the chimney, I assembled the first pizza. I again followed their recommendation and started with a small one to get the hang of the peel and let the oven and stone come up to ideal temp.
Once the coals were ready, I spread them out in a ‘C’ shape in the back of the grill. Put the pizza oven back on top with the stone in place. I let that heat up for about 10 minutes as I finished making my first pizza. Then, removing the lid and oven again, I added two pieces of oak that my kind neighborhood BBQ joint let me have for free (THANKS BJ’s Alabama BBQ!!!!). This spikes the temps in the oven to 700+ degrees F (370 C) and adds the good smokey flavor to the pizza. Slide the pizza in and watch it cook. I turned it a few times using my tongs. I see the need for the KettlePizza spinners accessory. The tongs got the job done, but were less than ideal.
The crust came out perfectly. A beautiful brown with crunchy edges and a “leopard” brown bottom (their term, not mine, but you’ll know what they mean when you see it), cooked all the way through with no doughy parts. The top of the pizza with browned bubbling cheese and crispy pepperoni. And the taste was fantastic. (Pizza hint, use good cheese. We used mozzarella with fresh grated Pecorino Romano on top which adds a salty goodness)
Another bonus? They also made sure the majority of the parts are made in America. I know that won’t matter to everyone, but it does make a difference for some of you.
Down sides? Well, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t point out the issues. First, it isn’t cheap. In fact, it cost more than what I paid for the grill. Is it worth it? Depends how much you like pizza. Or how much you like gadgets. I love it for both reasons. Second, and now we’re getting nit picky, the process of adding the wood is cumbersome. You have to take off the lid, and then lift the whole oven with the grate that is holding the pizza stone. Make sure you have someplace to set it down (and the lid). Also make sure you have some good gloves.
If you want to make pizza on a wood fired oven, I don’t know of a cheaper route to get the oven. You could buy a nice rig for a few grand. But this setup makes a great pizza at a MUCH lower price point.