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Photograph: Andris Lagsdin

I'm very proud to announce today the release of the new Serious Eats Edition Baking Steel and KettlePizza combo set; what I believe to be the best out-of-the-box system for making true wood-burning Neapolitan-style oven pizza in your backyard.

Short story:

You will make pizza that looks like this:

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Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt

You have found your holiday gift for the pizza lover in your life. Place your order here, and feel good knowing that 10% of all sales will be donated to Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger relief charity.

Long story:

When we first tested the KettlePizza, an after-market insert designed to convert your Weber kettle grill into a pizza oven, we were not especially impressed, and we said so.

Luckily, its creator, Al Contarino, is a man who doesn't take criticism lying down, and rather than blow it off or get defensive, he did what all good inventors should do: He took the criticism to heart and worked tirelessly on improving the product. I met him at his production facility just outside Boston to talk to him about what Slice'rs and pizza fanatics like myself were really looking for in pizza oven.

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Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt

Several iterations later, we finally discovered the secret to getting the KettlePizza to work: adding a top stone so that pies cook from both directions at the same time.

Enter The Baking Steel, a slab of steel designed to replace your pizza stone in a regular oven. It's a fantastic product that produces pizzas that cook faster and come out better charred and crispier than anything you can get with a stone.

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Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt

I thought to myself: What if we went all Captain Planet and figured out what could be done with their powers combined?

I suggested it to the two inventors, and the joint KettlePizza/Baking Steel oven was born, featuring a new and improved KettlePizza insert and a round steel, custom-designed to fit into its top, reducing the volume of air inside the oven and vastly increasing its thermal mass.

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Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt

I put it through its paces this summer and found that with a couple of minor tweaks, I finally had exactly what I was looking for. Those tweaks have now been incorporated into a new model that I can confidently say is the ultimate, ready-to-use outdoor home pizza oven. It requires no hacking, no fudging, and no special tools to put together and use.

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Photograph: Andris Lagsdin

It's available for order now, sells for $399.95, and comes with absolutely everything you need to get cooking. And you can feel good knowing that 10% of all sales will be donated to Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger relief charity. Included in the kit are:

  • One 304 stainless steel pizza oven sleeve for 22.5 inch kettles
  • Two wood handles with stainless steel standoffs
  • One hi-temp thermometer
  • One 14" pizza pan
  • Stainless steel hardware
  • One 22.5" stainless steel ProGrate that allows refueling without removal of KettlePizza insert
  • One 5/8" Tombstone shaped pizza stone. Larger and thicker for better heat retention and easier pizza placement
  • One firebox which allows higher temperatures within cooking chamber
  • One wood pizza peel (for pizza forming and placement)
  • One aluminum pro pizza peel with hanging S clip and bottle opener (for pizza removal)
  • One Serious Eats-inspired Baking Steel (high performance lid)

Imagine pulling this out of your backyard! (Or better yet, imagine sitting inside in the warm living room while the person you thoughtfully bought this for as a holiday gift feeds you fresh wood-fired pizza!)

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Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt

I couldn't be prouder of the product, however small my role in its development, and I'm sure that both Al, of KettlePizza, and Andris, of Baking Steel, feel the same. We hope that you enjoy it for many years of pizza-making to come.

You can order them here!

Note: In the interest of editorial integrity, neither Serious Eats nor myself have or will receive any share of the profits from sales of this product. In lieu of that, we requested—and Al and Andris of KettlePizza and Baking Steel readily agreed—to donate 10% of sales to Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger relief charity. All opinions are my own.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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