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It’s Spring: get your charcoal grill KettlePizza-ready

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With the good weather upon us, times like these can't be far behind.
With the good weather upon us, times like these can’t be far behind. Time to get ready!

Don’t look now, but tomorrow — Friday (March 20) — the sun will appear to cross the celestial equator, pointing northward.  That means that if you’re living in the Northern Hemisphere, come Friday you’ll be celebrating the vernal equinox — aka, the first day of spring.  If you reside in the Southern Hemisphere,  you’ll be welcoming in the autumn equinox.

Both are truly glorious seasons with weather that’s ideal for taking your cooking to the great outdoors, aka your backyard.  If the weather where you live isn’t quite grill-ready (and we can tell you that here in New England the weather remains downright wintry), we’re confident it will be turning the corner soon.  And when it does, we want you and your kettle-style charcoal grill to be KettlePizza-ready.

So we have scoured the web (not really, we just know about this stuff because we’re grill guys too:) for the best kettle-style charcoal grill cleaning tips we could find. And we encourage you to add your secrete recipes for cleaning a charcoal grill in the comments section of this post.

Ready? Set? Here goes…

Wait a moment.  First and foremost, make sure you have the right grill cleaning tools at the ready. Chances are you already have these household items at your disposal: sponges, rags, soap (dish washing soap is fine), glass cleaner (great for eliminating nasty stains from grease and smoke), a stainless-steel brush (we bet there’s one in your garage), a paint scraper you don’t care too much about…and that should do it.

Oh, and we also recommend a pair of rubber kitchen gloves too. Now you’re really ready!

1. Assume an athletic position, and address the exterior of your grill.  Makes sense, right? Fill a small tub with warm water and a mild detergent, and with a sponge, wipe down the lid and bowl. Grab the glass cleaner and spray wherever you see unsightly stains. Then start wiping those stains away.

2.  Now look for what the pros call carbonized grease. Look under the lid for what may appear to be peeling paint. In reality, it’s carbonized grease that builds up over time, and then begins to peel.  Now take the stainless-steel brush — the non-scratch variety — and brush away the peels. Squeeze that sponge over the bucket of warm soapy water, wipe, rinse and dry. Voilà

3. Move on to the cooking grate.  With the same brush and soapy water, brush the grate. And don’t be shy about using a little elbow grease. As you may know, cleaning a cooking grate isn’t a job for the meek!

4. Almost there.  This isn’t actually a step, but we wanted there to be 6 steps, and we could only come up with 5 on our own.

5. Now you’re in the red zone. Take out your now sparkling cooking grate and the charcoal grate to make it easy to clean out the inside of your kettle-style grill.  You will likely need the paint scraper again to remove the debris we are sure has settled on the bottom of your grill. If water found its way into your grill, chances are it blended with whatever ash and charcoal, and who knows what else, made a home of your grill during the off-season. Again, paint scraper to the rescue; then the warm soapy sponge, rinse clean and wipe dry.

6. Put everything back together, pop in your KettlePizza, fire it up, roll out the dough and invite your neighbors for a little chill time.

You’ve earned it!

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).