As I write this post, I'm sitting in the study at my friend's home in Belfast, looking out the French windows to his back yard. His dad is busy stoking the flames of a wood-fired stone pizza oven that he built with his own hands. This is probably the best possible way to enjoy pizza: real fire, close friends and family, everything hand-made. But I'm usually not this lucky. My own best pizzas are made on my little 80 square-foot deck on the 17th floor of a Manhattan apartment. If you're like me and your access to stone ovens is limited, the grill is your best bet for making crisp-on-the-outside, soft-and-airy-on-the-inside pizza. It's the only heat source that approaches the insanely high temperatures that are so essential to great pizza.
'Grilled Pizza' on Serious Eats
Good news: we finally got some good results out of the KettlePizza after-market insert that supposedly turns your kettle grill into a wood-burning pizza oven. Strike that, we actually got great results. In fact, I'd even say the pies I've been pulling off my grill for the past few weeks have been some of the best I've ever made at home. This time, we've tried out a few different inexpensive hacks to modify the existing insert into something that really produces a great pie. By the time we were through, we were pulling out neapolitan-style pies that cooked through in a mere two to three minutes, producing excellent charring, a moist, cloud-like interior, and a crackly, blistered crusts.
We tested the KettlePizza insert back in 2010 when it first came out and were not extremely impressed with the results. Since that early look, the inventor, Al Contarino has jumped into the conversation to let us know that he's come up with a new and improved model that should address many of the problems we had with the old one. We were all too happy to give the new model another shot. Here's how it went down.
The KettlePizza insert does indeed add some juice to Weber-grill pizza-cooking—once you get the coal temperature and stone temperature up to snuff. And doing that takes a boatload of fuel and a lot of attention.
"Sort of an open-faced, fancy-pants quesadilla," is the note I typed into my phone after eating one of Universal Cafe's grilled flatbreads, and it might as well serve as my whole review. It's pretty hard to think of their toppings as resting on anything other than a tortilla. Though, please understand, I do like quesadillas.
I've long said that grilling pizza is by far the easiest way for a regular home cook to get pizzeria-quality, soft and airy, crisp, well-charred, smoky pies at home (that is, without resorting to hacking your kitchen equipment), and with grilled pizza season well into full swing, I figured it was time we updated last year's Grilled Pizza Guide, which gives a pretty good overview of the process, but ignores one thing: Toppings.
Al Forno is the place where grilled pizza was born. Judging by the pizzas I tried there last week, it's still on its game. Pizza is served as an appetizer there. Our tip? Forgo a table and just sit at the bar, drinking beer or wine and eating the pizza.
Academia di Vino is a very respectable two-location wine bar (Upper West and Upper East) with that offers grilled pizza. The Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella ($12) features a few splotches of a cooked, olive-oil heavy tomato sauce (a departure from the uncooked canned San Marzanos that top Al Forno pies), and a good amount of fresh and dried mozz. But the Robiola, Black Truffle Pâté, and Pecorino ($15) is the one to get here.
Cambridge, 1 is located in the heart of Harvard Square, in what used to be the the city's original firehouse, with a recently-opened second location in Boston's Fenway neighborhood. Appropriately enough for a former fire station, this hip, minimalist bar, as popular with the locals as it is with Harvard glitterati, serves pizzas grilled over a charcoal fire.
The Kettle Pizza grill insert promises to help you turn your 22-inch Weber kettle grill into a fire-breathing pizza-cooking machine. But does it work as billed? That's the question we sought to answer last night when we tested it out.
Dagnabbit! While we were waiting for Kenji Lopez-Alt to get back to town and help test the Kettle Pizza grill insert we bought last week, SE'r Mmmph received his and beat us to the punch. No biggie—we'll still be grilling with ours. In the meantime, here's Mmmph's report on the device that aims to turn your grill into a coal-fired pizza oven.
A Massachusetts inventor makes an $80 insert that goes between the kettle bottom and lid that supposedly retains the high heat needed for making perfect pizza.
If you've got a backyard or deck and a grill, grilling pizzas is a natural in the summer. After lighting up the grill, hot, crisp-chewy, perfectly blistered crust is just a few minutes away. But what if you, like me, recently moved from a decked-out Brooklyn apartment to a Manhattan high rise with no outdoor space? The answer seems obvious: Grill the pizza indoors on a grill pan.
Or, 'Supreme Grilled Pizza Failure' I want to cry. This is about as far as I got with my supposed-to-be-epic grilled-pizza session on Saturday. [Photograph: Adam Kuban] I was so jazzed on Friday night. My friend Justin, who lives a mere three blocks away from Girl Slice and me, was having a Saturday afternoon cookout. He has two grills, and his place is actually the site Kenji and I borrowed to shoot the Slice Grilled Pizza How-To. I was going to prep at home and then carry everything over shortly before grill time. What could go wrong? [If that's not...
You probably saw this poll topic coming from a mile away, didn't you? With this weekend marking the official unofficial beginning of the summer grilling season in the U.S., we here at Slice are wondering: Have you ever done the whole grilled pizza thing? »
For my money, grilling pizza is by far the best way to cook pizza at home. The basic theory is easy. Take a round of pizza dough, expose it to the intense heat of a grill, flip it, top it, char the bottom, and serve. Because grills can reach upwards of 600°F and emit radiant energy like a motherfu**er, the pizzas bubble, crisp, and char in about 45 seconds flat per side. That's timing that rivals the hottest wood-burning oven, and just like those pizzas, the result is a crust that is soft and chewy in the center, with a crisp, crackly shell that's deeply charred in spots.
[Photographs: dhorst] Official Pizza Obsessive® dhorst says: I made this Margherita pie using my stone on the grill. I was going to go all MacGyver and try to rig the second stone on the shelf above to generate more heat from above, but common sense prevailed and I just stuck to one stone. (I included a photo of what I was trying to do with the second stone.) I used Foolish Poolish's "lazy formula" for the dough. I got the temperature up to 720°F on the grill. It stayed on for 4 minutes. I also used globe basil after...
"Maybe the 500th best pizza in America, but even that's doubtful." Bob & Timmy's 32 Spruce Street, Providence RI 02903; map); 401-453-2221; bobandtimmys.com Pizza Style: Grilled Oven Type: Grill The Skinny: Ranked as America's fifth best pizza by Alan Richman in GQ, but don't you believe it. This was the first MYOM (Melt Your Own Mozzarella) pizza I've encountered Price: Margherita, $14; Spinach and Mushroom; $13; Everything Pie, $14 When GQ published Alan Richman's Top 25 Pizzas list, we, like serious pizza lovers everywhere, devoured every last word of it and posted about it. Like everyone else, I had my...
A man in York, Pennsylvania, made a six-foot-long pizza in his barbecue smoker. (He's got a Gator smoker—so called, I assume because of its length): I purchased the dough from a local pizza shop.... I heavily oiled the grate and we had three guys pulling the dough. We assembled it in two 3' sections that we worked together into one large pie.... we sauced and topped the pie with just about everything you could imagine, including peppers, onions, mushrooms, black olives, sausage, and bacon.... I used garlic powder and oregano and a blend of cheeses including mozzarella, romano, provolone,...