Brick Oven Pizza at Home (For Cheap!)

TheFoodAss | General, Grill | Friday, July 28th, 2006

tasty pizza
Everyone loves the smoky flavor, the crispy/chewy flat crust and authentic aroma of a traditional brick oven fired pizza. Fired pizza’s have that old world natural flavor that a really good pizza should always possess. A world apart from your traditional factory pizzeria style conveyor-cooked pizza.

Although most cities now have traditional old-school pizzeria’s and hipster Italian joints that cook pizzas the hot hot way, it is something that can also easily be done at home. You probably already have all the stuff you need, and this cooking method handily transforms homeade pizza.. and even crappy frozen pizza’s!

The key to a tasty crust, darkened just the right amount on the bottom, with a tender inside, is heat. Lots and lots of heat. Good pizza’s cook fast. If you’ve ever watched the pizza-man at a good italian joint, the pizza goes in, gets turned twice, and comes out. 6-8 minuntes. Home ovens dont offer up the kind of heat needed for proper pizza, with most struggling for 500 degrees, we need 800 (fahrenheit of course).

(Long article and photo’s)

First step, is to round up our materials. I am not going to talk about the pizza itself today, that’s another article. So, we need the following:

  • Solid Charcoal Grill
  • A big hunk of stone
  • GOOD charcoal (Not briquettes… barf)
  • A pizza

Optionally, we could use corn meal to prevent from sticking and add texture/flavor, and some olive oil and parmesan to brush the crust with in the last 30 seconds or so, but that’s up to you.

The most important piece of equipment above is the big piece of stone. We are cooking our Italian masterpiece on a grill (a tiny one at that) and we need the stone to provide lots of even heat. In my example I am using a Terra Cotta Planter base. It was $3, and I’m poor, a solid choice. You could easily use a pizza stone (who would have thought?) a large unglazed tile of some sort, or even thinner bricks arranged in a squareish or circle on your grill top. If you have ever looked in one of those fancy restaurant ovens, they are lined with bricks… Mmmmm bricks.

You could also do this on a gas grill, but you would lose the awesome smoky flavor, and gassers usually dont get as hot. So for me Steel is Real! Or Charcoal.. or something.

Ok, first off. Get your good charcoal on hand:Charcoal

Good deal, now, lets kick the tires and light the fires! arr. I am using alot of charcoal for my tiny little grill. Remember, heat is key! crappy heat makes crappy pizzas. If your not using a chimney starter for your charcoal, your PROBABLY retarded.

CharcoalFire

Fire

Also above is my clay planter. See, it says “Made in Italy”, and we ALL know where good pizza comes from. Coincidence… you decide.

Once your charcoal is ready, and glowing red-crazy-hot. Dump your coals in the grill. Try to arrange them so they are not all DIRECTLY below your stone. My grill is miniature (has to fit in the trunk of my 1991 Honda Civic, as I have no home). So optimum charcoal placement really isnt an option for me. This would be PERFECT for a cooker like the Big Green Egg.. My dream.

Place your stone on the grill (I put mine on upside down, it is flat on the bottom). Plop your lid on, and make sure all your vents are open. Now go make your pizza.

StoneOnGrill

(Like I said, my grill is tiny, and not ideal for this. Real sized grills work much better)

By the time you return from getting your pie prepared, your grill should be rocket hot. Your giant stone should be radiating tons of heat, and ready for fun. If you didnt open your vents, your coals are probably out, and you need to start over. Weak.

If your stone IS rocket hot, then simply drop your pizza on the stone (this is where the optional cornmeal comes in, place a little under your pizza crust, if you want too)

PizzaCooking

Lid back on (vents open!), and let your pizza relax… until it’s done. It should take 8-10 minutes if you’ve got the right heat. If you can, peak in the vents to check. Opening the lid loses so much heat it isnt funny. You know what it will look like when it’s time!

So there you have it. Brick oven natural pizza at home. For pretty much no cost at all. You certainly dont need any of those $20 grill pizza kits at the store, and you MOST DEF do not need to settle for pizza in your cold old oven.

(Oh, and sorry about no final product shot. I ate the crap out of it before I realized what I was doing… my bad)



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