Backyard Pizza Oven

With the growing interest in expanding the indoors outside with added living space, it is no wonder why cooking outdoors has become even more popular.  I recently used a wonderful product called the Pizza Que pizza kit for Kettle grills. Most kettle grills can accommodate this expansion which turns the grill into an amazing pizza oven.  The temperature of my oven reached over 700 degrees in less than 30 minutes and kept that temperature for one hour, without any other assistance.  At that point, we wanted the oven to cool down, so it could have stayed hotter even longer!

Since our pizza cooked in less than eight minutes, we could have made at least 7 more pizzas in rapid succession during that time period.  The result was an excellent tasting pizza which was equal to any wood fired pizza I have sampled at any restaurant.  And, all of this in my own backyard for a fraction of the cost.

This was a really fun time as well, and could be turned into a super fun pizza party for friends and other guests.  I used my favorite frozen pizza crust, with my technique of using corn meal on the pizza paddle for ease in transfer into the oven and out. A mix of flour and corn meal could also be used.  Too much corn meal will start to smoke or burn if left in the hot oven for too long.

 

Midway through the cooking time, I rotated the pizza as recommended with the included stainless steel paddle with ease.  The crust was already almost done at that point, so the pizza easily moved on the ceramic pizza stone.

The kit assembled in less than 30 minutes and also comes with a thermometer which determines when the pizza should begin cooking. The oven must be up to temperature to achieve the best and fastest results. I followed the directions that came with the kit and had outstanding success. Thanks to the Charcoal Companion again for another great product.

The kit is sold on amazon.com, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, and online at pizzacraft.com

 

Summer biscuit grilled pizzas

For those last-minute meal ideas, have you ever thought of using biscuit dough for a flatbread pizza crust? Inspired by the Deen Brothers, I put together this recipe for a fun grilled individual-sized pizza.  So tasty, so quick, and everyone seems to love to make their own flatbread.

It is so easy to roll out the biscuits in advance and have them chilled in the refrigerator before the grilling even starts.  Cut up your selection of toppings and have them ready for the guests.  I used one 16.3 ounce can of refrigerated biscuits and rolled them in cornmeal to decrease sticking on the grill.  The cornmeal also gives the dough a bit of crunch.

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Preheat the grill to medium 350-375 degrees and brush lightly with olive or grapeseed oil. Cook the biscuits on one side for 2-3 minutes with the lid closed. Flip them over and add the toppings very quickly, as the biscuits will only need another 3 minutes to be finished.

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Close the lid and allow the cheese to melt.  All toppings will need to be pre-cooked as the cooking time is very short on these flatbreads.

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Topping choices could be:  shredded cheese, sliced black or green olives, green onions, white chopped onion, chopped peppers, chopped mushrooms, small cooked bacon pieces, small pieces of pepperoni, cooked ham, chopped hot peppers, pizza seasoning, and many more.

This is a super easy recipe and one that really works. Everyone seems to love these little pizzas.  Also, mini pizzas could be cut into 4 pieces and served as appetizers for a summer party.  Make them in advance and keep them warm on low heat in the oven until ready to serve, or make them as needed for your guests.

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heart pizza

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are you still feeling a bit romantic even after Valentine’s Day?  why not surprise the one you love with a heart pizza?  now, this pizza is not shaped into a heart, which i have seen done in the past.  but, simply the pepperoni are cut with a small heart cookie cutter.

i found out that they are easier to cut in a stack, rather than one by one.  the cutter seems to work more effectively when they are stacked, and of course, this is more time efficient as well.

i have posted a couple of recipes in the past for pizza dough — so, try one of those, or use your own recipe and just make the pizza a bit more loving for dinner. brian loved it.

grilling out

sunday was a beautiful day in midland, and we spent the day in the yard. brian was cleaning and mulching the flower beds, while i planted my wicker deck boxes. though it was a bit chilly by dinner time, it was perfect for a grilled meal. i had planned to make grilled pizzas with grilled vegetables.

earlier in the morning, i used ina garten’s california pizza dough recipe and substituted one-half of the white flour with whole wheat flower. this dough is a sturdy dough that holds up well on the grill. the ingredients are simple: flour, salt, olive oil, and water. i use my kitchen aid mixer and the dough hook to knead the dough for 10 minutes until it is pliable. i use my oven light to help the dough rise for several hours. after the dough has risen, the dough is divided into several smaller size pizzas, rolled onto a sheet pan covered with corn meal. this also helps the dough from adhering to the grill.

i prepped the ingredients for the pizza toppings: mozzarella cheese, red pepper, red onions, pepperoni slices, tomato slices and tomato pieces, along with pizza herbs.

after the pizza dough grills on each side for one minute, we add the toppings and grill with the cover closed for about six to seven minutes. i usually finish up the pizzas in the oven indoors to make certain the chesse is melted and the toppings are crispy.

along with the pizzas, i served grilled vegetables: zucchini, red and green bell peppers, and large onion slices. i usually season these vegetables with garlic and herb seasoning, along with cracked black pepper.

this menu can be adapted from the pantry. pizzas or the grilled vegetables can be made with mushrooms, black and green olives, or a variety of cheeses. i have made this meal for years and each time is a new experience.