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Tailgate Time with KettlePizza!

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By Mindy Merrell and R.B. Quinn of CheaterChef.Com.

KettlePizza Tailgate

It’s fall football season again and that means it’s KettlePizza tailgate time. So, let’s cut to the heart of the matter. Like many of you we love playing around with all kinds of homemade pizza dough. But, do we really want to be stretching dough at the stadium before the game? Sometimes maybe, most of the time, NO.

The goal is to maximize KettlePizza fun, feed everyone great pizza, and show off a little cooking finesse while surrounded by friends and family and plenty of busy parking lot activities.

Happily for tailgating KettlePizza fans we’ve got lots of delicious alternative pizza “carriers” ready to go at the store. Today let’s look at reliable canned biscuit dough and see how easily it transforms into stylish mini pizzas. You still get to cook pizza, but crust from canned dough is a great game day step-saver.

KettlePizza Canned Dough

Ironically, one of Mindy’s mystery basket ingredients on her episode of Chopped was canned biscuit dough, so we already have a soft spot for it. If you haven’t explored the supermarket refrigerated dough section recently you’ll be amazed by the varieties now available. It’s clear to us that we’ll be continuing our test kitchen research on this subject.

KP Canned Biscuit Dough

For this round of alternative dough tests we experimented with two types — the big size of flaky buttermilk biscuits and a canned mini pizza dough. Both were super easy to handle and quick to roll out. but the mini pizza dough was “stretchier” and puffier. Both tasted great.

KP New Carriers 2

Even though you are not working with regular dough be sure to bring a little container of all-purpose flour for dusting the peel and a medium-size board to use as your work surface. A full, dry can or bottle from the cooler works great as a parking lot rolling pin. All you have to do is pop open the dough, separate the biscuits, and roll out the discs with your beer can rolling pin, add toppings, and slide them into the hot KettlePizza.

KP New Carriers Roll Dough

The most important packing and easy-prep tailgating tip we can offer is to get all your toppings cooked and ready-to-go in plastic containers of one consistent size that stack neatly and are easy to access on the pizza prep table.

KP Biscuit Prep Table

Canned biscuit dough is forgiving on the temperature. It doesn’t require quite as hot a fire (or pizza stone) as classic yeast pizza dough. If your stone is super hot and the bottom sides brown before the top is cooked, cook the plain biscuit discs quickly on one side until browned as you would a flour tortilla. After a minute or so, remove the discs from the KettlePizza and top the browned side with pizza toppings. Return to the oven and cook until the underside is browned and the toppings are bubbly.

KP New Carriers Flatbread

Doming (sliding the pizza on the metal peel and lifting it toward the top of the inside of the kettle) is always encouraged, as needed. We cooked a couple of pies at a time and had no trouble managing them. Long tongs sure helped moving them around. As always, they’re done in just a few minutes.

The sky is the limit on toppings, but somehow a classic Margherita made with petigreed San Marzano tomatoes and fresh mozzarella doesn’t seem the right match for canned biscuits. Instead, we offer a few All-American tailgate classic toppings that are perfect for beer drinking and tailgate fun.

KP New Carriers 5 pizzas

Nacho Biscuit Pizza—This simple pie starts with a smear of refried beans and shredded cheese. Keep it pure or add cooked chicken or chorizo sausage. Once out of the KettlePizza, your friends can personalize their pizzas with a spoonful of salsa, sour cream, sliced black olives, jalapeno slices, chopped cilantro, or green onion slices.

Cheeseburger Biscuit Pizza—Our inner food scientist is in love with Velveeta. The umami flavor and creaminess just can’t be beat. All you have to do is cook up some ground meat (beef or turkey) and drain. Add a spoonful of yellow mustard and some Velveeta. Cook and stir on low to melt. Or, pile it all in the microwave oven, cover and zap until creamy.

We used a ratio of one pound of meat to ¾ pound of Velveeta plus 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard. Yes, when you tote this topping to the big game and open up the container, you will be greeted by a rubbery mass. Don’t fret! It’s just that characteristic congealing of processed cheese food. Simply do your best to spoon it on the biscuit disc. The KettlePizza will do its magic and turn it back to creamy goodness. Top the hot pizzas with dill pickle chips, sliced onion and ketchup as you like. This is R.B.’s favorite pie of this test batch. He almost sliced and ate the pizza without snapping a photo for this post.

KP New Carriers 4

Chili Dog Biscuit Pizza—You cannot go wrong with this tailgate pizza. Use your own chili or your favorite canned brand. Thinly slice up the hot dogs (a la pepperoni) and lay them in the plastic container. Just spoon on the chili “gravy” and arrange a few hot dog bites on top. Sprinkle with a little cheese and feed the KettlePizza. We like this one with a squirt of yellow mustard and chopped raw onions.

Sausage Gravy Biscuit Pizza—This may seem weird if you don’t live in the sausage gravy zone like we do, but why not? Sausage gravy is the classic Southern biscuit topper, so here it is in a new fun format. If you’ve got the KettlePizza fired up early for a noon game, this is the one to pair with those morning Bloody Marys.

You can find prepared sausage gravy in most supermarkets; however, it’s super-easy to make at home and yours will have a more generous ratio of sausage to gravy. It’s just basic white sauce made with sausage grease. Fry up and crumble ½ pound of bulk pork sausage in a skillet. When fully cooked, remove all but about two tablespoons of the drippings. Sprinkle two tablespoons of all-purpose flour over the mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat about one minute. Stir in one cup of milk. Cook and stir until bubbly and thickened. Add plenty of black pepper and taste for salt.

KP Sausage Gravy

And now, for some KettlePizza dessert….

KP Fried Apple Pie

Apple Biscuit Pizza Pie—Here’s your All-American dessert (or another great KettlePizza for morning tailgating with Bloodies). Have the sweetened cooked apples ready to go in a container like your other toppings.

Cook a couple of peeled, cored and diced green apples (use Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, or your favorite cooking apple) in ¼ cup of butter in a skillet over medium heat until slightly softened. Add a ¼ cup of sugar and a squirt of fresh lemon juice and cook a few minutes longer until soft and syrupy. Add a dusting of cinnamon to taste. Spread the apple mixture on the biscuit disc and slide into the KettlePizza.

You can also make cute little apple turnovers by filling and folding the dough in half and pressing the edges together with a fork. Flip the turnovers in the KettlePizza so both sides brown evenly. This pizza would take nicely to a sprinkling of cheddar cheese, too.

A stroll through the prepared foods at the supermarket with biscuit pizza in mind will give you a power surge of recipe creativity. Pretty much anything that tastes good, tastes good on a biscuit, a pizza. and a biscuit pizza—prepared pimiento cheese, barbecue, hummus and olives, macaroni and cheese, precooked sausage gravy, apples, pie filling. No need cook any toppings if you don’t want to.

Wood to Know — Hardwood Basics for the KettlePizza

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By Mindy Merrell and R.B. Quinn of CheaterChef.Com


Ask any seasoned barbecue guy for his thoughts on smoking woods and more than likely you’ll be treated to tales of “epic” moments in barbecue history. Behind all great barbecue is, among other things, great hardwood which was no doubt specially selected for the job at hand. Heat and smoke management are critical to good barbecue, and the same can be said for good KettlePizza except in the opposite direction.

Barbecue requires a steady, low heat and a delicate flow of fragrant smoke from clean, dry wood. KettlePizza requires a steady, high heat and the clean, unsmoky flames from clean, dry wood. Different approaches with different results.

Cooking with charcoal and wood is one of the many reasons why barbecue fanatics are perfectly suited to be KettlePizza fanatics. Not only are they already equipped and experienced for KettlePizza, they always need something fantastic (and not smoked) to munch on during the long barbecue process.

What makes a great blistered and charred pizza in the KettlePizza is the fiery combination of quality charcoal and dry, seasoned hardwood chunks that together create the high wood oven pizza temperatures that the dough needs to cook fast and properly.

And once the charcoal and hardwood are burning in unison and the KettlePizza oven is running at high pizza temperatures, it’s just a simple matter of maintaining that heat by managing the flow of hardwood chunks onto the coals.

What Woods Work Best in Kettle Pizza?

KettlePizza works best with hardwoods. Oak is hands down the best because it burns the hottest and cleanest. Other choices that will work include hickory, pecan, maple, and mesquite. We’ve also had fine success with fruitwoods like apple and cherry popular in low and slow barbecue-style cooking as long as you can get nice size chunks.

You do not want to use softwoods in your KettlePizza or any fire unless it’s just a backyard bonfire. These include evergreen conifers like cedar, fir, pine, or spruce (trees with needles and cones). Evergreen woods contain a resinous sap that can be highly flammable and gives off an unpleasant odor and not good for cooking.


What Size of Wood to Use?

Size does matter. For steady, longer burning times, you must use wood chunks, not wood chips, in your KettlePizza. Fist-sized chunks burn long and steady and create the hot oven you are looking for. Chips are just for quick smoky flavor that you might use to flavor a steak or chicken.

These days most supermarkets, big box stores, and camping/sporting stores carry various brands of hardwood chunks. Be sure to look for brands of wood chunks packaged in clear plastic bags that allow you to see what you are buying. Some brands feature a fancy photo on the non-transparent bag showcasing nice big chunks, but inside among the few big chunks you’ll find a pile of small chips and slices that are not useful in KettlePizza because they burn up too quickly.

Supermarkets tend to limit the bagged hardwood selection when the weather turns cold, so a late-summer stock-up is a good idea.

One more thing, remember you are cooking with wood so whatever is in that wood will be in the smoke and on your food. If it smells bad when it starts to burn, it will taste bad. And lastly, never use pressure treated wood scraps or anything that’s been treated with a preservative, paint or stain. That old ax handle or chair leg won’t do. Nor will rotting yard twigs. P.S.: any wood cooking guy or gal will throw a fit if you toss a cigarette but into their cooking fire! Don’t do it!

Mmmmm, a hint of mushroom and notes of dark red fruit.

Mini-Bruschetta Pizzas on a KettlePizza? You Got It!

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This guest post is courtesy of Kim Stanfield of the Boo Boo Qued BBC Competition Team.  You can read more about Kim and Mic Stanfield at

Let’s face it – sometimes you just don’t have the energy, or the time, for making pizza dough from scratch. You know there’s nothing like it, but some days a substitute is just what the doctor ordered.   I felt exactly that way recently and instead of rolling out my traditional pizza dough, I decided on mini bruschetta pizzas and my first bruschetta KettlerPizza party.

And I know one thing for sure: there are many more KettlePizza bruschetta pizza parties in my future!

Bruschetta is nothing more than grilled bread with toppings (delicious grilled bread with delicious toppings, I might add). pic 4

How’d we make bruschetta pizzas on our Made in USA KettlePizza?  It’s easy and I encourage you to try it.

Here’s how…

  • First we cut our favorite artisan bread – ciabatta, French, crusty loaf, brioche – your choice. Slice into about 3/8″slices.
  • Place the bread on your KettlePizza metal pizza peel, leaving a bit of space in between each piece of bread.
  • Lightly coat your bread with melted butter, or olive oil, and lightly toast in your KettlePizza by placing the peel right on the stone for a couple of minutes – no need to take the bread off the peel. We usually have the temperature in the “pizza” range.  This should only take a minute or twoBe sure to wear a heat-resistant glove as the metal of the peel will get very hot!
  • Have a place to land your peel that won’t burn or melt.
  • Now, coat your lightly toasted bread with your favorite sauce flavor – pesto, garlic butter, tomato, etc.
  • Add a bit of cheese – your choice: mozzarella, brie, cheddar, American, fontina, Muenster.
  • For toppings, add your favorite pre-cooked meats (this is a great way to serve the leftover meats from this week’s dinners).  Be creative.  And let your family and friends add their favorites – pepperoni, buffalo chicken, lobster, shrimp, meatballs, whatever they like!  Yum.
  • Now put the peel back in the KettlePizza, toast and warm up the meats (you can even add more cheese).  Just a few more minutes….
  • Pull out the peel and with a spatula, remove the bruschetta pizzas and serve them up.

Now celebrate and enjoy! Pic 1

White Clam Pizza Just Like Frank Pepe’s (plus 2 more)

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By R.B. Quinn and Mindy Merrell of CheaterChef.Com.

We just spent a couple of weeks in balmy southern Rhode Island where the weather is a bit more conducive to firing up the KettlePizza than super-hot Nashville (which hasn’t stopped us, actually). South County, RI, is the buckle of the clam belt extending along the coast west into Connecticut and east into Massachusetts. When landlocked folks like us get near the sea, we go seafood crazy. We did our level best to take full advantage of ocean fresh steamer clams, littleneck and cherrystone clams, clam cakes, clam stuffies, clam chowder and, of course, clam pizza from the KettlePizza oven. Okay, we’re verging on a Forrest Gump moment here.

Clam Pizza

What’s this clam pizza, you say?

Pepe's Pizza

If you’re not from New England you might not know about the legendary Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana established in 1925 in New Haven, CT. Pepe’s is famous for it’s thin crust pizza baked in coal-fired ovens. The tomato pies are excellent, but Frank’s White Clam Pizza topped simply with fresh clams, grated cheese, olive oil, fresh garlic and oregano, invented sometime in the mid 1960s, really put him in the pizza hall of fame. His restaurant was already serving Rhode Island littlenecks on the half shell, so he went the next step and put some fresh clams on a pie.

Pepe's White Clam Pizza
Check out the leopard crust from Pepe’s coal fired oven. Remind you of anything, fans of KP?

You really need to make a clam pizza in your KettlePizza at home. It’s a great addition to your KettlePizza line-up. You’ll find chopped fresh clams or pints of fresh frozen clams at your fishmonger or supermarket seafood counter. Even in Nashville we can buy pints of our Galilee, RI, frozen chopped clams and they are quite delicious. Shucking your own clams is always an option when available.

Clam Pizza
Many a Providence TSA agent has rummaged through our frozen clam containers packed in the luggage to Nashville.

In our fresh Rhode Island seafood frenzy this month we went further than Frank Pepe and made a couple of other fun clam pizza variations: the Clam Chowder Pizza and the Rhode Island Red Chowder Pizza. The cool thing about chowder pizza is that it includes thinly sliced potatoes. This may sound odd at first, but the creamy sliced potatoes act almost like soft cheese in the mix. Clam chowder is often flavored with salt pork or bacon, so we added crisp bacon and bits of spicy Rhode Island soppressata (aka “soupy”) to our pies.

Clam Chowder Pizza: the before and after shots:

White Clam Pizza

Clam Chowder Pizza

Rhode Island Red Chowder Pizza is a take-off on the fabulous Portuguese influenced chowder variation that isn’t too red like Manhattan, but does benefit from a hint of tomato, plus spicy garlicy Portuguese chourico (shoor-reese) or milder linguica (lin-gwee-sah) sausage. It’s wicked good. Luckily we can find Gaspar’s Portuguese sausages in Nashville, too.

Cheese is optional on all the clam pies. A little grated Parmesan is very nice, but not essential to the sweet briny goodness. What you really don’t want is heavy rubbery mozzarella covering up all those delicate clams.

The important thing to remember when making a clam pizza, or any KettlePizza, is not to overload it with too much of a good thing. Be sure to drain the clams well (freeze that briny clam juice for making chowder later) because you really don’t want a watery mess on your pie. Your beautiful masterpiece must slide easily from the floured peel into the mouth of your KettlePizza. This gentle slide can become a challenge with an overload of heavy wet ingredients. At 650 to 700 degrees, the quick cooking keeps the clams tender, not rubber band chewy.

Sweet corn is in peak season in New England right now, so if you have a couple of leftover cooked ears in the refrigerator put them to good use on your clam pizzas. Cut off the kernels with a sharp knife and sprinkle them over the pie before baking. But not too much!

Remember, there are lots of dough options. Make our dough or buy some from your favorite pizzeria or supermarket and make sure you’ve given it a good rest. Click HERE for an easy dough recipe, and HERE for tips on using store bought dough. No matter what dough you use, gently stretch the dough out and place in on a well-floured peel, then add toppings.

White Clam Pizza

Olive oil

Fresh garlic smashed and minced with a good pinch of coarse salt (about 1 clove per pie)

Chopped fresh clams, well-drained (about ½ cup per 8-inch pie)

A big pinch of dried oregano

Freshly ground coarse black pepper

Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Chopped fresh flat leaf Italian parsley

Place your stretched dough on a well-floured peel. Spread a thin layer of olive oil over the dough. Dot with the minced garlic and spread it around with your fingertips. Sprinkle the clams evenly over the crust. Sprinkle lightly with oregano. Dust with cheese, if you like. Slide the pizza into the KettlePizza, turning as needed, and cook until the crust is nicely charred. Sprinkle with black pepper and parsley and serve immediately.

Clam Chowder Pizza

Small red or white waxy potatoes (about 3 potatoes or 10 slices per 8-inch pie)

Olive oil

Chopped fresh clams, well drained (about ½ cup per 8-inch pie)

Fresh garlic smashed and minced with a good pinch of coarse salt (about 1 medium clove per 8-inch pie)

Crumbled crisply cooked chopped bacon (about 2 tablespoons per 8-inch pie)

Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Freshly ground coarse black pepper

Chopped fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, to taste

Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Add a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are tender, but not mushy. They are ready when a sharp knife tip slides in smoothly, but the potatoes don’t break apart. Drain and cool in a colander. When cool, cut the potatoes into about ¼-inch slices.

Place your stretched dough on a well-floured peel. Spread a thin layer of olive oil over the dough. Dot with the minced garlic and spread around with your fingertips. Arrange the sliced potatoes over the top. Sprinkle the clams over the potatoes. Sprinkle on the bacon. Dust with cheese, if you like. Slide the pizza into the KettlePizza, turning as needed, and cook until the crust is nicely charred. Sprinkle with black pepper and parsley and serve immediately.

Rhode Island Red Chowder Pizza

Small red or white waxy potatoes (about 3 potatoes or 10 slices per 8-inch pie)

Olive Oil

Fresh garlic smashed and minced with a good pinch of coarse salt

Chopped fresh clams, well drained (about ½ cup per 8-inch pie)

Diced canned tomatoes, well-drained (about 3 tablespoons per 8-inch pie)

Diced cooked Portuguese chourico (or linguica for a milder pie) sausage (about 2 tablespoons per 8-inch pie)

Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Chopped fresh flat leaf Italian parsley or cilantro

Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Add a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are tender, but not mushy. They are ready when a sharp knife tip slides in smoothly, but the potatoes don’t break apart. Drain and cool in a colander. When cool, cut the potatoes into about ¼-inch slices.

Place your stretched dough on a well-floured peel. Spread a thin layer of olive oil over the dough. Dot with the minced garlic and spread around with your fingertips. Arrange the sliced potatoes over the top. Sprinkle the clams over the potatoes. Add the diced tomato. Sprinkle on the chourico. Dust with cheese, if you like. Slide the pizza into the KettlePizza, turning as needed, and cook until the crust is nicely charred. Sprinkle with black pepper and parsley or cilantro and serve immediately.

KettlePizza and Walmart’s US Manufacturing Summit

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Walmart US CEO and President Greg Foran showcased KettlePizza at the retailer’s recent US Manufacturing Summit

You don’t need to dig very deep into the history of KettlePizza to learn that from day one our goal wasn’t just to build a product and company, but to create US jobs.  You’ll see this stated on our website in the “About Us” section and on our home page where we proudly fly the American flag along with the words “KettlePizza and the Made in USA Difference.”

When we pledged early on to source as many KettlePizza components as possible from US suppliers, we knew that we might take a competitive hit. After all, components manufactured outside the US would likely increase our profit margins even if we decided to price our kits for less than we currently do. But we could never manage the quality of these components like we do thanks to the relationship we’ve built with our closely aligned US partners.

Today, KettlePizza components are sourced from companies located US coast-to-US coast: Hudson, NH; Fall River, MA; Crooksville, OH; Hanover, MA; City of Industry, CA; Groveland, MA; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Tarrytown, NY; Haverhill, MA; Huntington, IN; North Andover, MA; Keene, NH; North Weymouth, MA; and, Beverly, MA. All of these companies have contributed to the success of KettlePizza but we’re always thinking about ways to do more for the US economy while growing our own company and our supplier companies too.

That’s where Walmart comes in.

Walmart recently held its second annual US Manufacturing Summit and Open Call. The event had the KettlePizza name and value-set written all over it. As part of this initiative, by 2023 Walmart has committed to buy $250 billion in products that support the creation of American jobs and to re-shore the manufacturing of goods it currently buys by facilitating and accelerating efforts of its suppliers, a positive trend that is gaining momentum across industries.

The Open Call portion of the two-day event held at Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, AR, was an opportunity for KettlePizza and hundreds of other Made in USA companies to make their case to Walmart buyers.

KettlePizza was a big hit and before too long, Walmart stores will be carrying a Made in USA KettlePizza kit.

What does a deal between Walmart and KettlePizza mean for KettlePizza and its suppliers?

Well, some of the smaller suppliers might need to double their current capacity (employees, machinery, etc.).  Some of the larger suppliers will, at the very least, need to add hours or an extra shift.  Increases in manufacturing/warehouse space would also most likely be needed. Depending on the time frame, KettlePizza would need to at least double our staff and lease additional warehouse space.

These are the good problems to have!

We believe offering our products through Walmart is a win-win-win.  Consumers win because KettlePizza products will be more broadly accessible. The US economy wins because increased sales means the expansion of American companies and subsequently, more US jobs. The reputation of “American Made” wins as more companies step up their efforts to source US manufactured goods.

We’ll keep you posted with any new developments.  As they are today, our products will continue to be available through, at Crate & Barrel stores and via, among other online retailers including — of course —  In addition, KettlePizza kits are available at dealers around the US and in nine other countries. Please use our KettlePizza Worldwide Dealer Locater to find a dealer closest to you.

From all of us at KettlePizza, a big THANK YOU to all of our customers and business partners for getting us to here!

Relax About the Dough – Tips for Using Dough from the Store

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A nice pie with a great crust made with store bought pizza dough and some fresh mootz.
A nice pie with a great crust made with store bought pizza dough and some fresh mootz.

By R.B. Quinn and Mindy Merrell of CheaterChef.Com.

Some folks prefer to do things the hard way, others just have better things to do. We do some of both depending on the circumstances. When it comes to making your own pizza dough, it may not be for you (or, just isn’t for you today). If that’s the case, the easiest alternate route to great KettlePizza pizza is to pick up some already made dough in the supermarket bakery department (or at your local pizzeria), and make pies on your KettlePizza with that. Store bought dough makes a great crust, but a little advanced planning (and a few other tips) can ensure a successful result. Here’s what we learned from the pizza dough we bought from our Publix supermarket in Nashville.

Publix Pizza Dough
Four one-pound bags of Publix dough. The two puffy bags on the left have been resting in the fridge for two days. The bottom right for one day; the top right was bought this morning.

A very important point to keep in mind whether your make your own dough or buy it: yeast doughs must have rest and relaxation before you can make a pizza. This is good advice for the pizza cook as well!

Some store-bought dough tips for you:

A cold hard ball of dough is impossible to stretch into a pie and, even if it stretches a little and acts like it’s going to cooperate, the dough is likely to stretch unevenly and eventually tear. This frustrating situation we call the dreaded stretch-back leads to wads of dough flying about the patio or kitchen and a sad KettlePizza all fired up with no pies to bake. Cold dough = no pizza for you (not right now anyway).

Publix Pizza Dough
The frustration jumps right out at you, doesn’t it? The dreaded stretch-back and fatal tear with the cold ball of dough bought this morning. No time to rest and relax in the fridge. Avoid the situation at all costs.

The easy solution? Plan ahead and bring home the dough a day, preferably two days, before KettlePizza night. The best way to develop gluten and flavor is a slow rise right in the refrigerator. You don’t have to do anything but put the bags of dough in the refrigerator right in their plastic bags and forget about them for 48 hours (even up to 72 hours). You’ll notice two days later that the plastic bags have significantly puffed up and the dough feels light to the touch and airy. This is a very good development.

Publix pizza dough
One-pound bags of dough separated into two or three pieces depending on the size pie you like or how many topping combos you need blank canvases for.

When it’s time to make pizza, open the puffed bags carefully and handle the dough gently so as not to force all the air out of the dough. Pizza dough is often sold in one-pound bags, so cut the ball of dough either in half for two larger (about 9 to 10-inch) pies or into thirds for smaller (about 5 to 6-inch) pies. We use a stainless dough scraper/cutter for a quick, clean cut. Place the balls on a floured surface and cover with plastic wrap or a warm damp towel. Let them rest protected from the air while you’re getting the KettlePizza up to pizza temperature.

Here’s the beauty part—with a nice, soft, relaxed ball of dough with well-developed gluten the ball stretches easily and brings our your inner pizza chef. Hold the dough with your fingers from the edges and allow gravity to gently stretch the dough downward.

Publix Pizza Dough

You can also use your knuckles to expand the dough; just push it out in a circular motion.

Publix Pizza Dough

Now your pie is ready for your favorite toppings and will puff up nicely in the hot KettlePizza.

Publix Pizza Dough
Handle the dough gently as you stretch and allow gravity to help you. A light touch helps keep those nice air pockets intact for a knockout puffy crust.
Publix Pizza Dough
Good air pockets keep the crust light, not dense, heavy, and too chewy.

A little forward thinking and planning ahead so you can let the dough develop on its own in the refrigerator will make for a relaxed dough, a relaxing KettlePizza night, and a relaxed you.

KettlePizza Kits — Baking Steel vs. The Dome

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KettlePizza Domed Pies

By R.B. Quinn and Mindy Merrell of CheaterChef.Com.

KettlePizza offers a nice array of kits with several different options, but today we’re going to take a quick look at the difference between using the Baking Steel top vs. just the Weber dome (KettlePizza without the Baking Steel).

We’ve been making plenty of pizza with the Serious Eats KettlePizza Special Edition Kit that includes the Baking Steel. The benefit of the steel is essentially a hotter oven and a faster cooking pie that results from the extremely hot steel radiating heat down over the pizza while it cooks. The Baking Steel also creates more leopard spotting on the top and edges of the crust.

When the Baking Steel is in place under the Weber kettle lid it is super heated by the flames coming off the burning wood chunks in the firebox at the rear of the kettle. The more the wood burns, the more the flames roll across the bottom of the Baking Steel. The pies cook very quickly in under five minutes.

Without the Baking Steel top in place, the KettlePizza works more like a domed wood burning oven and runs at a slightly lower temperature. As a result, the pies take a little longer to cook, 3 or 4 minutes more depending on your oven temperature.

A couple of tips for making pizza without the Baking Steel:

— After the pie has been in the oven about a minute it should be set and moveable. Gently lift it off the stone and rotate the pie with the peel, long metal tongs, or a metal spatula to expose all the edges to the burning wood in the rear firebox. Continue rotating all during the cooking for a beautiful brown and spotted edge.

— Remember, you are creating a pizza oven so don’t remove the Weber Kettle Lid to refuel with wood and let all the heat escape. Keep the precious heat in the oven. You won’t be adding anymore charcoal as the wood becomes the new coals as it burns.

–Keep the wood coming. One of the beauties of KettlePizza is that it truly creates a wood-burning oven which is how it can reach temperatures much higher than straight charcoal can provide. Adding dry, seasoned wood chunks at a steady pace keeps the oven temperatures high for consistent baking. We put chunks in all three sides creating what we call in Nashville the “half ring of fire.” When you notice the flames beginning to subside (and see the temperature gauge falling toward 600 degrees or lower), add a couple more chunks by sliding them across the stone and into the back (or firebox). Use long tongs or a small fireplace shovel, or with a little practice, you can toss them in with a flick of the wrist.

–Find a good source of fist-size wood chunks like mild-scented oak or pecan that easily slide onto the burning coals. This isn’t about smoking, it’s about cooking with fire. Smoky woods like hickory or mesquite are a little heavy for pizza.


–Finish off the pizza with the heat of the dome. When your pizza is about done, slide it onto the metal peel and lift the peel inside the oven as high as the opening allows. This hovering method lets the intense heat radiating off the kettle’s dome finish melting the cheese, cook the toppings, and brown the crust as needed. It’s a nice finishing touch that makes for a spectacular pie.