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A Backyard Pizza Oven Adds Excitement to any Outdoor Kitchen

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Crate & Barrel
A wood-fired pizza oven makes for an exciting addition to any outdoor kitchen.

When it comes to entertaining family and friends, little beats getting together outdoors when the food becomes the center of attention.  Who doesn’t love hanging out by the grill to see what’s being prepared?  Socializing around the grill has become a national pastime.  And with the first official day of Spring only a month or so away, homeowners coast-to-coast are champing at the bit to make outdoor lifestyle improvements.

Depending on what part of the country you live in, an outdoor kitchen may or may not make sense.  It may not seem like it during Snowmaggedon 2015, but even in New England (the home base for KettlePizza), we enjoy many months of temperate weather where spending time socializing outside is preferred over jamming guests in a hot and crowded kitchen.

In fact, a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) shows that homeowners who have an outdoor kitchen consistently rate it as their favorite room. And the number one outdoor kitchen item the homeowners regretted not having was a backyard pizza oven. As our KettlePizza customers already know, an outdoor wood-fired pizza oven quickly becomes the central gathering spot for family and friends who not only want to see what’s cooking, but relish the opportunity to participate in a fun and entertaining cooking process.

“The number one item that current owners of outdoor kitchens regretted leaving out was a pizza oven. Backyard pizza ovens serve as a gathering place for guests to participate in the food prep process. It’s what I call ‘kitchen karaoke.'” … June Savage, Realtor associate, Coral Gables, Florida,  ONE Sotheby’s International Realty 

So if you’re flipping through outdoor kitchen furniture web pages and brochures these days, looking forward to a time in the not-too-distant future when snow drifts and ice will be replaced by green grass and flowers, don’t forget to budget for a wood-fired, backyard pizza oven.  If you decide on a KettlePizza — which converts a kettle style charcoal grill, like a Weber, into a pizza oven — you’ll spend as a little as $150 for everything you need to take your entertaining capabilities to an all new level.

Beyond the entertainment benefits, an outdoor wood-fired pizza oven, such as a KettlePizza, has many other benefits, including:

  • You and your guests will eat sooner.  How long does it take for your indoor oven to reach its highest temperature (at least 20 minutes)? And at its highest temp of around 500 degrees F, it will take up to another 15 minutes to bake a pizza.  A KettlePizza oven quickly hits temps of 700 – 800 degrees F, and beyond, so you can expect your pizza to be ready in two or three minutes.
  • Your pizza will taste better.  That’s because a KettlePizza distributes the heat evenly across the pizza and the wood-fired heat delivers a unique and delicious flavor.
  • A wood-fired pizza is healthier for you.  Since toppings like vegetables and some fruit will cook more quickly in a KettlePizza than in an indoor oven, these toppings retain more of their nutrients and antioxidants.
  • A wood-fired oven is versatile.  Baking bread, roasting meats, burgers and dogs and vegetables — all fun and easy to do in your KettlePizza.
  • Wood-fired ovens are inexpensive to operate.  No electricity. No propane.  Just heat from fire.

Are you thinking about adding an outdoor kitchen to your home this year?  Or adding items, like a wood-fired oven, to an existing one?  If so, we’d love to hear what you have in mind.

 

 

 

KettlePizza vs. a Traditional Backyard Pizza Oven – the Choice is Yours

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By Al Contarino, KettlePizza president and co-founder

What better time to highlight some of the benefits of a KettlePizza vs. a traditional brick or stone pizza oven than on DSC_0161National Pizza Day.

If you’re reading this post, you’ve likely thought about having a brick or stone pizza oven in your back yard.  Who wouldn’t want one of these beauties gracing their lawn? And what better way to make new friends or rekindle relationships with long lost relatives:).

Many of you already know that George Peters and I had a similar dream, a dream that ultimately led to the establishment of KettlePizza.  Since KettlePizza was founded, we’ve heard from many adventurous pizza lovers who thought it would be fun to build a backyard pizza oven, in part, due to the high cost of purchasing one.  While I admire their passion and ambition, many have called me back to express their frustration about the inability to find the time to finish what they started.

For these folks, who may be price-sensitive and pressed for time but still insist on outstanding craftsmanship (USA craftsmanship, I should add) and excellent pizza, a KettlePizza is the perfect fit.

If you have looked at the alternatives, from a home-made brick or stone pizza oven for your yard to one you could buy assembled and installed, this post is specifically for you.  You’ll see that KettlePizza is a great way to get started with an inexpensive pizza oven that doesn’t compromise quality and will deliver heavenly creations.

KettlePizza vs. a Traditional Backyard Pizza Oven 

  • Cost – KettlePizza kits with a Weber Kettle Grill costs between $200.00-$500.00, depending on the selected setup.  The entry cost for a traditional pizza oven is no less than $1000.00, and that’s if you do the install yourself.  Expect to pay $2500.00-$5000.00 and up if you have an oven professionally installed.
  • Mobility — Because it’s light weight and on wheels, a KettlePizza and Weber Kettle Grill combo can be easily moved around a yard. If you’re taking the family on a summer vacation and renting a cottage for a week or two, don’t leave home without your outdoor wood-fired KettlePizza oven.
  •  Startup Time/Use — The KettlePizza takes about 20-25 minutes to get the charcoal/hardwood and the stone ready to start cooking pizza. Most traditional pizza ovens take an hour-and-a-half to get to temperature, so plan accordingly.
  • Versatility – Since a KettlePizza is an oven, you can cook in it just about anything that you would cook in a standard oven. Traditional pizza ovens are great for cooking other foods as well, once you get past the learning curve.

If you can afford the cost, space requirements and the time to use it, a traditional pizza oven is a fantastic backyard addition for any pizza aficionado. But for those who may want to budget their money and time, but who value convenience and high quality, then the KettlePizza is an outstanding solution.  And don’t forget — the KettlePizza is Made in the USA.  If you’re interested in more information, please visit us at www.kettlepizza.com.

KettlePizza Announces Support for Greater Boston Food Bank and Warrior Thunder Foundation  

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All along, KettlePizza has incorporated support for the community throughout our business model.e5b82391cdd550b9844a463d70cfd54a_400x400

We support the community by creating more local jobs through our logo_gbfbcommitment to making our products in the USA. We support the community by paying our employees to spend a day volunteering.

And now we’re proud to announce that we’ll be supporting the community by giving a portion of product proceeds to two extraordinary charities: the Greater Boston Food Bank and Warrior Thunder Foundation.

For each KettlePizza Serious Eats special edition kit sold in 2015, ten percent of the proceeds will be donated to these two non-profit organizations. Inspired by the team at Slice Serious Eats, the Serious Eats Special Edition kit includes the KettlePizza unit, the popular ProGrate/Tombstone Combo and the newly designed KettlePizza Baking Steel lid. This combination yields the highest dome temperatures and fastest cooking times, enabling users to cook a Neapolitan style pizza in less than four minutes.

“It is important for companies to give back to their communities in any way that they can, whether it’s through financial support or volunteering programs,” said Al Contarino, co-founder of KettlePizza. “Running a good business is not just about making great products or profits – it is about supporting our communities and organizations that help those in need.”

The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) is the largest hunger-relief organization in New England and among the largest food banks in the country. Last year, GBFB distributed 48 million pounds of food, enough to provide healthy meals to as many as 545,000 people.

The Warrior Thunder Foundation, Inc., (WTFI), is a Massachusetts, volunteer-run organization that aims to raise public awareness and charitable donations for the needs of veterans, particularly injured service men and women and their families.

Pizza, pizza, pizza…

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Today’s guest post comes to us courtesy of Kim and Mic Stanfield, a New England-based BBQ competition team exploring the aspects of smoking and grilling!  The post was originally published here

Know those foods that you don’t think  you could give up for good? Yup, one of mine would be Pizza — thick crust, thin crust, stuffed, sourdough, flat bread.  Any of them.

When I was on the last-minute shopping trip before the storm, I thought “PIZZA! We need to have some in the snow storm.”

The grocery store was out of their bakery dough. I’m honestly too lazy to make dough most days, so Target had these Fire Roasted Thin Pizza Crusts; figured we’d give them a try.

Tuesday night of the storm was the pizza night. First we had to clear the snow away from the Weber Kettle Grill and get it cleaned out, and put the KettlePizza kit in.  We have the round stone as well as the tombstone kit (they have a Baking Steel too; that’s my next purchase! : … Baking on the Kettle – WOW!!).

As we set up the kettle and got the charcoal burning in the Weber Charcoal Chimney, I set up the tombstone.  It makes sliding that pizza into the grill even snow kettleeasier than with a round stone.  I like both – it depends on the pizza.  If it’s for competition, then I really like the round stone – but that’s a story for another day.

Not being a good “plan ahead shopper,” we decided to make a pulled pork pizza – dough, BBQ sauce, pulled pork and cheese. Once cooked, we serve with cole slaw – my Mom’s recipe to be exact.

So the KettlePizza, out on the deck and toward the end of a blizzard, was up over 600 degrees in no time.2015-01-28 21.25.36 It’s the same temperature that your favorite pizza joint cooks their pizzas at – a hot, hot oven! The kettle grill can get pretty hot on it’s own, but with the KettlePizza on the grill, the air flow changes and turns your kettle style grill into a pizza oven.

Put the stone you choose on the grill to heat up.  Never put a cold stone on a hot grill.  We brought the pizza out on the peel, slid it in and it was cooked in just a few minutes. The thin pizza crust browned nicely and the cheese melted and got a nice brown color – such a pretty pizza.

I have cooked plenty of pizzas on grills and yeah, you can do it… they taste great – all pizza does to me. But the KettlePizza just makes it better.  It cooks more evenly, you don’t have to lift the lid and both the crust and the top are cooked. Not like the grill where the crust is often too done by the time the top cheese has that golden melted brown.  It’s all in the airflow.

So, yeah, you can do a pizza on a grill – but once you cook a pizza on the KettlePizza with your kettle grill, you’ll never want to cook it another way. I’m not the only one who thinks this is a great product. Check out their other reviews.fire roasted thin pizza

Australia Day is Coming Up (January 26)

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G’Day, mates!

It’s almost Australia Day! That day in the height of their summer when Australians celebrate the anniversary of the First Fleet’s arrival at Port Jackson.

Australia Day (January 26) is a time for Aussies to take a relaxing day at the end of a long weekend — spending time with family and friends, going to the beach, playing footy, cricket, and of course cooking on the barbie!

Well, we love a good party too. Why let our friends down have all the fun? If the thought of firing up the kettle grill inspires you – despite the non-summer like weather here in our hemisphere – we say, ‘go fer it, mate!’

Let’s all celebrate Australia Day and honor our Aussie brothers and sisters with some ‘fair dinkum’ delicious pizza cooked on the barbie!

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Image courtesy of digitalart

KettlePizza 101: Getting Started with your New KettlePizza

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Did you get a new KettlePizza this holiday? If you’re excited to enjoy wood oven-flavored pizza and wondering how to get started, we have some tips for you.

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You may want to watch this video from White Thunder BBQ on Unboxing, Setup and Installation – How to install a KettlePizza Deluxe.

Now, start by using a chimney starter to bring your charcoal to a light grey color. Place the lit charcoals in a “C” shape in the back of your kettle grill. When the charcoal is ready, add about six fist-sized chunks of hardwood on top of the charcoal to the back of the kettle in a “C” shape. Put your kettle grill lid on and close the top and bottom vents to allow just enough of an opening for air flow.

Once the fire is going, place the KettlePizza insert, the grate that came with your grill, and the pizza stone on the grill. Now place the grill lid on top of the KettlePizza insert and wait for it to really heat up.

How do you know when it’s hot and ready? The temperature should be about 700 degrees F. Look for the temperature to reach “PIZZA” level on the thermometer. If/when you need to add more fuel, use the handles to lift the KettlePizza ring off the grill and slide more charcoal and/or hardwood into the rear of the kettle.

Once the oven is ready, it’s time for pie. Before spreading your dough onto a peel, we recommend sprinkling some corn meal, then add your sauce, toppings and cheese. Use the peel to transfer the pizza onto the hot pizza stone. KettlePizza cooks in minutes, so keep an eye on your pie! You may want to use spinners to ensure an even baking experience. If you’re cooking multiple pizzas, have them ready to go so you don’t lose valuable cooking time and heat.

Now you’re cookin’!

Keep in mind that these are our basic instructions for getting started. We highly recommend experimenting with your KettlePizza to see what works best for you.

And once the fun is over, here are some tips for caring for your new KettlePizza:

Clean the stone by scraping off excess food with a spatula. When the stone has cooled, run it under hot water while scrubbing with a brush. Do not use soap on the stone as it may leave a soapy aftertaste. Let the stone air-dry. The natural properties of the stone will cause it to darken and spot with age; do not attempt to remove this discoloration.

To clean your Baking Steel, use a stiff nylon brush, but don’t use any soap or detergents. Avoid putting a hot baking steel in cold water as it could warp due to thermal shock. If the Baking Steel is wet, towel dry it immediately.

If food sticks to the surface of the Baking Steel or if you notice a dull grey color, it’s time to re-season the baking steel (it comes pre-seasoned with flax seed oil). Re-season it by washing it in hot, soapy water and a stiff brush. Rinse and dry completely. Apply a dab of organic flax seed oil (we recommend Barleans) or cooking oil in center of baking steel. Use a paper towel to wipe oil around baking steel evenly. Use another towel to wipe excess oil. Do this procedure to both sides. Prepare your KettlePizza oven with charcoal and hardwood. Once your KettlePizza thermometer reaches 375-400 degrees place baking steel on grate and bake for one hour. After one hour let grill cool and remove baking steel.

Any other questions? Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/kettlepizza, or call us toll free at 888-205-1931 or send email to Al (al@afclancer1.com) or George (George@afclancer1.com).

Neopolitan Pizza Lovers, Behold the KettlePizza!

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A guest post by Ann Peavey, aka @SeattleMaven.  The post originally appeared here.

Quietly it lay buried in the advertising pages in the way-back of the October Sunset magazine comfortably-snuggled somewhere between the Incinolet and redwood hot tubs. The simple advertisement for the KettlePizza converter drew me in like moth to flame: The idea of turning my Weber kettle-grill into a Neapolitan pizza oven. Two weeks later came the familiar baying of the hounds as UPS’s man-in-brown dropped an enormous box off on my doorstep – holding within it the key to my satisfying, homemade pizza future.
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An abundance of options are available through the fab folks at KettlePizza: The BASIC CONVERSION KIT simply uses charcoal briquettes and their sturdy 14″ pizza pan along with a unique converter – (this appears ideal for tailgating); the DELUXE KIT which includes a round 15″, 1/2″ thick cordierite pizza stone and wooden peel with the conversion kit; the PROGRATE TOMBSTONE COMBO KIT which is a step-up with a durable stainless-steel grate, extra-thick tombstone-shaped cordierite pizza stone (which heats up to 1000 degrees), and an aluminum peel (with built-in bottle opener); or the Taj Majal of options – the SERIOUS EATS SPECIAL EDITION – with an an add-on Baking Steel insert that heats the heck out of the upper ceiling of the kettle dome and allows for hotter temps and uber-quick blistering of pizza toppings (and I just noticed they’re on sale, too!). I opted for the Prograte Tombstone Combo kit – affordably priced, and able to quickly produce a pizza that’ll stand up to some of the best I’ve had!

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Sure you’ve heard me rave about how Baking Steel changed my life (and it did!) – literally bringing my oven to the Nirvana-level of pizza baking. But this crazy KettlePizza add-on for my Weber grill? It’s literally the next best thing to having your own wood-fired pizza oven (but without the thousand-dollar pricetag). Instead of the 550-degree temperature cap on my Wolf oven, the KettlePizza peaks at temperatures exceeding 700-degrees. I was initially a little apprehensive as I began the assembly process – fully expecting a morning of fist-shaking and cursing missing parts and assuming Twister-like positions. Unexpectedly, within the first 10 minutes the wood handles had been attached, the grate installed, and my Weber was magically transformed. Now it was time to get down to business!

You’ve undoubtedly seen my blog post on the perfect pizza dough. With the beautiful blistering and bubbling this dough-making process achieves, you can imagine my anticipation in seeing how it’d react in the confines of an ultra-hot KettlePizza oven. I began the process by piling a hefty supply of hardwood-chunk coals in the far back reaches of my barbecue (most easily done before the grate is placed on the barbecue). Once ignited, I added two 2″-3″ diameter split hardwood pieces atop the coals to push the temperature up a notch. I was not disappointed: The temperatures quickly rose from 550 to 675 and was ready for pie! The key is keeping a steady, but low flame towards the rear of the kettle.
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Then began the actual cooking process – deftly flinging my first pie off  it’s wooden peel and onto the heated tombstone-shaped stone and watching as it quickly puffed, crisped and bubbled atop its blistering-hot bed. After about two minutes had passed, I carefully slipped the long-handled aluminum peel between pizza and stone to check the crispness of the crust’s bottom. Every 30-45 seconds, I turned the pizza a full 90 degrees to allow for consistent cooking. After approximately five minutes, I could see it was time to give the top a last bit of crisping to create the telltale charring that’s traditional on Neapolitan-style pizzas. Moving the pizza off the stone and gently guiding it up towards the super-heated top of the Weber’s dome did just the trick and in less than a minute it was time to enjoy the fruit of my labor.

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Of course the key to fabulous pizza is the ultra-thin crust that’s best achieved with delicious dough and slow knuckle-work. A quick dusting of your peel with a fine grained semolina will help it gracefully  transition from peel to stone. Fig and garlic, andouille and jalapeno, traditional pepperoni and cheese, margherita with fresh mozzarella and basil all came out with equal success over a course of an hour. Halfway through the process I stoked the fire with 3″-4″ hardwood chunks to keep a steady flame in the back and was pleased to see within just a matter of minutes temperatures quickly raised 100-125 degrees into the 700-degree range.

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My take on this conversion kit? Definitely go with something in the mid-range. Although I didn’t try the basic kit, I suspect it’s likely the perfect selection for the novice pizza maker or die-hard tailgater. Because of the small size and portability factor, you’d likely be the most popular person at a tailgate! For me? The Tombstone kit offered everything I need – the longer handle on the aluminum peel made it quick and easy to manipulate the pie into the hottest parts of the kettle to achieve a spectacular end result. The icing on the cake? It’s built in the USA!