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Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
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Last weekend, I decided to use the extra time at home from sheltering-in-place to make pizza in the slow Napoletana style.  I followed Tony G's method for his world championship pizza to make the dough.  The dough was made from zero zero flour, yeast, sea salt, and water only.  It took 3 days of total prep to make the starter and let the dough rise.  

It was the first time I've made a dough like that.  After it was done, it was visible what Tony G is striving for.  Long gluten strands and complex channels of air in the dough. I tossed the dough carefully, trying stretch the dough but not to compress it.   

My KK is a 19" Li'l Isla, and here is where I ran into some problems.  I wanted to put my new pizza steel on the main grate and then put the pizza stone on the upper rack.  Tony G recommends that setup to cook the pizza on steel and then toast the bottom of the dough on the upper stone  for a moment - just enough to crisp the bottom enough for the dough to hold its own weight.  

As it winds up, the handle of the swinging charcoal opening on the main grate would have prevented me from being able to pick the pizza off of the steel on the main grate using my peel.  To improvise, I stacked the heat deflector on the main grate withe the pizza stone on top.  This lifted the surface high enough so that the pizza peel wouldn't be impeded.  Then I used the steel on the upper rack.  I baked the dough on the upper rack and then slipped it into the stone below to finish it.  There was barely enough room to slide the pizza in.  For KK buyers who are interested in making pizza, I recommend getting the 23" KK or larger - it would just give a bit more comfortable room to work with the pizza.  

I did also have problem still in getting the temperatures hot enough.  I had initially warmed the KK to 550 degrees, but when I put the stone and steel in the KK, I couldn't raise the temperature above 450 - despite trying to give it ample time to heat soak the stones.  

I topped one pizza as a Margherita, and the other as a white pizza with mushrooms, Red Onions, salad greens, and a touch of olive oil.  Despite some struggles, it all tasted great!  :)

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Edited by LK BBQ
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33 minutes ago, LK BBQ said:

My KK is a 19" Li'l Isla, and here is where I ran into some problems.  I wanted to put my new pizza steel on the main grate and then put the pizza stone on the upper rack.  Tony G recommends that setup to cook the pizza on steel and then toast the bottom of the dough on the upper stone  for a moment - just enough to crisp the bottom enough for the dough to hold its own weight.  

 

I am glad your pizzas were tasty.  It is always good to get a result when it has taken a few days to get to the point of actually cooking your food!

Full disclosure: I am not a good or regular pizza maker but the method that you describe sounds a little complicated.  Others recommend using the steel on the upper rack and cooking your pizza on that for the whole time.  When I have made pizza in the past that has worked and it was stressful enough getting the dough on and off once without trying to swap between a stone and a steel during the cook :-)

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You are absolutely right - but Tony G's pizza is perfection.  Try his restaurant Tony's Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco.  Either sit in the restaurant, or else order from the restaurant menu from the takeout side (not the takeout menu).  I don't have the skills, but  I can't help but try to fly as close to the sun as I can.  

I still think that the airflow with the pizza stone is part of the problem, but of course I don't know for sure.  

Will try a few more ways to handle this, and I may also jury rig a fan to stoke the fire.  

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On 4/25/2020 at 6:18 AM, LK BBQ said:

You are absolutely right - but Tony G's pizza is perfection.  Try his restaurant Tony's Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco.  Either sit in the restaurant, or else order from the restaurant menu from the takeout side (not the takeout menu).

I would love to and will put that on the post-lockdown list.  Ironically, I am closer to Napoli than San Francisco.  Will see which I make it to first.  

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I had similar results to yours at first, but fine tuned things a bit. Here’s my trick 

1. Using a blend of AP and 00 flour helps brown crust at lower temps. 

2 Load hopper with a lot of fuel to get heat up. I can only get about 600 in the dome. 

3 once base is cooked, crack the lid a few inches and hit the sides of the pizza with a plumbers propane torch. It doesn’t take much and flame doesn’t really need to touch - it just rises the ambient temp in that spot enough to create the 900 degree crust effect. Rotate pizza as needed to hit all the edges. 

still a work in progress - but they are getting amazingly close. here’s a pesto pizza just came of the KK a few hours ago. 

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You always want to remember that temperature is airflow.

If you want high temps you need high airflow. To get this it's best to use only medium to large or all large pieces of charcoal.
We're talking large tangerine or more.  This with your lower draft door open and the draft door open will get you hotter than you need to go.

For Napoleon cracker crust  pies, I wholeheartedly suggest using carbon steel / Baking Steels.

Click here to better understand how it works

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@DennisLinkletter - interesting about using larger chunks, thanks for the tip. I'm just dumping the bag in (lump) with mixed stuff... charcoal dust and all... I'll try chunks next cook. I am using my BBQ guru as a full-time fan during my cook - with the probes out of the KK so it thinks it's in ramp-up mode all the time. I assume the fan-speed injection is better than just opening the door? 

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1 hour ago, brett said:

@DennisLinkletter - interesting about using larger chunks, thanks for the tip. I'm just dumping the bag in (lump) with mixed stuff... charcoal dust and all... I'll try chunks next cook. I am using my BBQ guru as a full-time fan during my cook - with the probes out of the KK so it thinks it's in ramp-up mode all the time. I assume the fan-speed injection is better than just opening the door? 

The smalls definitely fill in the space between the pieces and kill airflow.  Every time someone says their grill is stuck at 300º I know they poured the crap from the bottom of the bag in the grill..  The hot air escaping with the the lid latched and the top damper open  creates vacuum and forces air thru the charcoal. It's actually forced airflow also. You really do not need to use the Guru fan at all. 

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What would be the setup for a good pie? I have the 32. I have read where people use the deflector and then the pizza stone right on that. To me it seems like the pizza stone needs to have airflow around it


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12 hours ago, Scott.W said:

What would be the setup for a good pie? I have the 32. I have read where people use the deflector and then the pizza stone right on that. To me it seems like the pizza stone needs to have airflow around it


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Yes to good airflow. When I use a heat deflector there is an air gap between it and the cooking surface. Here are two different configurations I use and why I use them.

Here I’m using repurposed GrillGratesTM as a heat deflector below a baking steel at around 550. Baking steels have about 15 times the heat transfer rate of stone, so are great at leopard spotting a thin NY style pizza. BUT, they will get too hot without a heat deflector. 
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In this version I’m going with the KK baking stone and no deflector at around 475. The KK baking stone is perfect for this style of pizza - a thin crust varietal unique to the south side of Chicago and proven superior to all others. At these temps and that thick stone, no heat deflector needed, but it wouldn’t hurt if I’d used one.

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@Scott.W - to be clear here, when we say "deflector" we're NOT talking about the big ceramic one that came with your KK. It would take bloody forever to heat up both that deflector and the pizza stone. Waste a lot of charcoal in the process, too! Some folks (Syz & MacKenzie) with the double bottom drip pan have used that on the main grate to success with the pizza stone on the upper grate. I have yet to try it myself, but I'm inspired to it - maybe tonight?? 

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