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KettlePizza Leftovers — The Beauty of Making Extra

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KettlePizza

One of the joys of firing up your KettlePizza oven is knowing you’ve got leftover pizza ready for lunch or dinner over the next few days. And if you plan a little, you can create even more last minute pizza options. That’s the beauty of making extra. Even better, delicious leftover homemade KettlePizza beats any brand of frozen pizza any day.

You know the KettlePizza drill—you’ve got your dough relaxed and ready to stretch out on the peel, your sauce, cheese, and other toppings all lined up, and the KettlePizza temperature gauges are in the “Pizza Zone.” Now is the time to strike while it’s hot.

Mindy’s go-to dough recipe  makes 6 medium pies, so that’s what we typically make for a KettlePizza session. That leaves us with the better part of 4 pies for later, unless the kids are home from school in which case that number plummets to zero pies for later.

As food writers we do quite a bit of cooking at our house, usually more than we can eat ourselves. So, we’ve had to develop some reliable freezer management practices to get the most out of our efforts and avoid wasting good food.

First, we always keep a supply of quart and gallon size sealable plastic freezer grade bags, freezer masking tape, and Sharpie pens in the top kitchen drawer. How many times have you popped something into a bag or plastic container and into the freezer only to discover months later that you have no idea what’s inside and how long it’s been there? A quick note with a marker to name and date your leftovers on the bag or on freezer tape stuck onto the container can mean the difference between enjoying something you made later, or tossing out the icy frozen mystery food. Keep in mind that you can keep frozen cooked pizza at least a good couple of months without worry of freezer burn.

We always cut the pies into slices so we can heat up just what we need. Slices are easier to store and easier for snacking and fitting into the toaster oven, too. The good news also is that you can spot the frozen triangle slices pretty easily in the freezer.

The key is proper thawing and reheating to get the best result possible. As with all foods, the best practice is to thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator, not on the counter, to prevent encouraging bacteria from developing in foods above 34 (refrigerator temp) degrees. So, as you head out the door to work in the morning, put your frozen pizza bag in the fridge and they’ll be ready for dinnertime.

Another great thing about a slice of pizza is that it really doesn’t need to be thawed to reheat well. So, you can go right from the freezer to the heat at the last minute for maximum last-minute flexibility.

KettlePizza

KettlePizza Reheating Tips:

–No matter how you reheat pizza the key is to not leave your post while the pizza heats up. Even when frozen, a slice of pizza only takes a couple minutes to get good and hot and the cheese and toppings safely heated. Too much heat and the crust will become hard and cracker-like, and the cheese and sauce will burn. Don’t leave your post!

–For a few pieces we just use the toaster oven. It heats up faster and creates less kitchen heat than the conventional oven. They usually hold 2 to 4 slices depending on your oven and slice sizes. Set it at about 400 degrees and set the slices right on the rack. Check your progress after a couple minutes and when the slices are hot and bubbly, slide them onto a plate with your cooking tongs.

–For lots of pizza, preheat your regular oven to about 375 degrees and set the pizza/pizza slices either right on the racks, a baking sheet, or a perforated, nonstick pizza pan. If you have a heavy load of toppings and cheese that might drip onto the oven bottom, use a pan and save making a mess.

–Use your backyard grill. Medium heat is plenty hot enough to reheat pizza. Set slices on the grates, close the lid and check them after a couple minutes. Using tongs move the slices around as necessary to deal with grill hot and cold spots to ensure even heating.

–Use you KettlePizza oven. If you’re making new pizza but have some frozen and want to enjoy that, too, slide your leftover slices right onto the KettlePizza stone and watch them bubble back to life.

KettlePizza: Increasing Facebook friend counts since 2010

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PicMonkey Collage2.

Guest post by Gav Martell of www.grillinterrupted.com, author of the cook book, “Grill Interrupted,” a MasterChef Canada Season 2 finalist, and winner of Toronto’s Inaugural Winterlicious Tin Chef Competition (exclusively for home chefs). Gav bought his first KettlePizza last February. Once the snows of Ontario gave way to Spring, he was finally able to fire up his Made in the USA KettlePizza.

Every winter I wait patiently for summer to arrive. Not because I won’t grill through the winter – I’m happy to light up the barbie as much in the cold as I am during the summer months. Sure, it takes a little more bundling up and my wife is forever yelling at me for leaving my snowy boots on a small towel in the corner of our kitchen by the back door… but all-the-same I’m out there rain or shine, sleet or snow. Happily, stubbornly grilling my way through whatever mother nature can throw my way. However, there is no substitution for the glorious days of summer when the sun is high in the sky, the kids are playing in the backyard, the bbq is fired up, and we get to hang out with friends enjoying some good food.

This year in particular summer could not come quick enough. Back in December I bought myself a KettlePizza kit – an adapter to a standard Weber kettle grill that turns it into a backyard pizza oven. I’ve done pizza on the grill many, many times but am often faced with the challenge of keeping the heat in. A challenge as I constantly need to lift the lid to check on the pizzas and move them in and out of the bbq. Inevitably I end up with pizzas that are cooked on the bottom, but not quite done on top. The KettlePizza kit resolves this problem by adding a middle band to the kettle grill that acts as a pizza oven door and enables the heat to stay where you want it. There is no longer a need to lift the lid off the top. Brilliant. Beautiful wood-fire charred pizza beckoned… I just needed the snow to thaw.

This past Sunday I finally put the call out on Facebook. What better way to inaugurate my new pizza oven then an open invite to all of my friends to come by and sample my wares! I spent the better part of the day fine-tuning my pizza-making techniques. The KettlePizza was sublime in its simplicity and success was not difficult to achieve as soon as the grill was fired up. The steps were as easy as:

1) assemble the KettlePizza kit

2) light the charcoal and hard wood

3) wait for grill to reach “pizza” cooking temperature (approx 700 degrees)

4) Get grilling!

PicMonkey Collage

The KettlePizza paddle and pizza stone made feeding the pizzas in and out a breeze, and otherwise it was really just a matter of occasionally feeding the flames with some additional hardwood to keep the temperature at a high enough level. Charcoal alone can get the grill hot, but it’s the hardwood that pushes it up into the “pizza hot” stratosphere.

Over the course of the day I had a lot of people stop by and help, and even more people stop by and eat! We cranked out about 20 pizzas over the course of 3 hours and made some solid Grade-A wood-fired pizzas. Brushing garlic-butter and sprinkling Parmesan on the crust really helped propel my backyard pizzas to ridiculous levels. There’s nothing better than spending the afternoon hanging out with friends and sharing some good food. The KettlePizza removed all of the obstacles to making great pizza on a traditional grill and had very little fuss or muss to worry about so I could focus less on minding the grill and more on hanging out and enjoying some great food! I’ll definitely be putting out the “pizza signal” on Facebook again the next sunny Sunday I get.

pizza-man

image from SeriousEats.com

Brewmaster’s Pizza Dough via @Chefmathu

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Matthew Dean
Chef Matthew Dean

When we spotted Chef Matthew Dean’s gorgeous picture of a pizza fresh off of his Made in the USA KettlePizza, we just had to ask for the recipe so that we could share it with all of you. Chef Dean, who earned a degree from Le Cordon Bleu in baking and pastry, is a Food Fanatics Chef — one of more than a dozen culinary experts throughout the US who partner with chefs and restaurateurs to help their business thrive and succeed.

Matthew, named one of the 40 under 40 in the North Central Illinois region for his work with local restaurants and community organizations, said he received a KettlePizza as a present last Christmas and told us that “cooking with your product is a blast so thank you.” Well, right back at you, Matthew, and before we share your recipe for Brewmaster’s Pizza Dough, we want to share with the KettlePizza community the quote you live by:

The moment a chef stops asking for help and refuses to share his own personal knowledge, is the moment he will meet failure in his career.”

That’s just one of the attributes that makes the KettlePizza community so unique: the constant asking of questions among KettlePizza customers and the subsequent sharing of tips and successes.

Here’s Chef Dean’s recipe. We’ll be anxious to hear how you make out!

Brewmaster’s Pizza Dough (recipe for two small pizzas)

  • 1 cup Lager or IPA beer @ 115 degrees
  • 1.5 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Mix in your mixing bowl and let this sit in a warm place for 15 minutes or until the yeast begins to react.

2 cups flour (Caputo or a high quality unbleached AP flour will do)

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or sunflower oil

Mix this all together on low-speed until combined.

Add an additional cup of flour

Mix dough then add several tablespoons at a time until the dough no longer sticks to the mixing bowl.  Continue to mix on Chef Matthew Deanmedium speed for 5 minutes adding additional flour if it begins to stick again.  Lightly oil the dough and place in a container and cover with plastic wrap then let rise until doubled in a warm place.

Punch dough down and remove from bowl to a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth and split in two separate pieces.  Coat dough lightly with oil and place in a container covered with plastic wrap and allow to rise one more time.

To make the pizza, gently press dough out into a circle, carefully hand stretching till approximately 1.4″ to 1/8″ thick.  Do not use a rolling pin and it is ok for the edges to be slightly thicker.  Place onto a pizza peel dusted with corn meal so the pizza will slide off with ease.  Build your pizza and slide onto your prepared pizza stone in your KettlePizza.  **The dough should be tacky. If too dense, it will take too long to cook.

Follow Chef Dean on Twitter @Chefmathu

Don’t Disappoint Yourself, Your Guests or Your KettlePizza — Choose Kingsford!

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We use an expression in the grilling industry. It goes something like this:  you get what you pay for.  KingsfordBagLogo_1_1

It’s prime time when it comes to the grilling season.  As a result, we’re all inundated with “deals” on everything from grills to grates to flavor bars to lighter fluid and charcoal, and just about anything else you can put in or near a grill. And while saving a buck or two on certain grill accessories may make sense, saving a few dollars on a key grilling ingredient only to wind up with an inferior product that won’t perform and is likely to lead to disappointment…well, let’s not!

There’s another expression we’re fond of in the grilling business: If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Among other main grilling ingredients, it’s particularly important that you don’t skimp on the brand of charcoal you’re putting in your kettle-style grill — whether you’re cooking with a Made in the USA KettlePizza insert or the grill straight up.  If the flyer or newspaper ad you’re looking at is encouraging you to purchase a no-name brand of charcoal, or if you’re local hardware or big box store has pallets of a no-name charcoal piled high near the point of sale, walk away.

Don’t be lulled into the appearance of a good deal by a wannabe charcoal brand. Instead, walk right over to where the Kingsford Original Charcoal is stored, and drop a bag or two into your carriage knowing that you’ll be pouring into your grill some of the finest charcoal available.

We will not use any other brand! Kingsford Original Charcoal is the choice of KettlePizza founders!

Here’s why we think Kingsford — which is the leading manufacturer of charcoal in the U.S. with 80 percent market share — is the best.

  • Kingsford creates that real smoky flavor we all love. How? By making each each briquet with natural ingredients and real wood.
  • Kingsford has improved an already great product by adding what the company calls Sure Fire Grooves®.  Kingsford coals now light faster than ever.
  • Veteran barbecue experts, including cooks at barbecue contests and grilling book authors, use Kingsford and only Kingsford.
  • A great product deserves a great website. If you love to grill and haven’t visited the Kingsford website, make your way over there.  The site has outstanding info on how to select the perfect grill for your needs, the best ways to light charcoal and manage grill temperature.
  • The people at Kingsford appreciate great food.  They have a killer recipe page organized by main ingredient with easy-to-follow instructions.

KP KettlePizza Interior 3So next chance you get, pick up a bag of Kingsford, turn on the music and fire up the KettlePizza.

A Backyard, Wood-Fired Pizza Oven or another Tie for Dad on Father’s Day?

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Instead of another last-minute tie for Father’s Day, why not buy something dad will really appreciate — like a wood-fired pizza oven from KettlePizza.

Selecting a thoughtful Father’s Day gift is an annual challenge. Studies show that over-analyzing the Father’s Day gift-buying process leads to gift buying paralysis,often resulting in a last-minute purchase like the dreaded Father’s Day tie. Don’t be that person!

KettlePizza is eradicating Father’s Day gift-buying paralysis forever and promoting a more deliberate approach by making No ties for father's dayavailable for sale its entire family of Made in the USA pizza oven kits that turn a kettle-style grill, like a Weber, into an affordable backyard, wood-fired pizza oven. KettlePizza is a great gift idea for dads who enjoy grilling — as well as for foodies, sports fans who enjoy ‘home gating’ for the big game, shoppers who enjoy giving American-made products as gifts, and anyone who likes to entertain with friends and family.

“Men’s closets throughout the USA are jammed with ties. Wide ties, thin ties, silk ties, linen ties and cotton ties. And most just hang there, unworn year-after-year,” said Al Contarino, KettlePizza president/co-founder. “We’re saying ‘enough with the ties already.’ Dads are too nice say to their kids or significant other, ‘I have enough ties for two life times.’ We’re nice too, but we’re not afraid to say it, so let’s cool it with the ties.”

Father’s Day coincides with the height of the summer grilling season for many Americans, and what better way to celebrate both occasions than with an at-home grilling experience that will create wonderful memories year-after-year,” said Contarino. “Dads who enjoy charcoal grilling can add new recipes to their cooking repertoire with our kits. KettlePizza kits turn a regular kettle-style grill into a wood-fired oven for authentic flavor at a fraction of the cost of a custom brick or stone oven.”

KettlePizza’s product line includes the original pizza oven kits, as well as aluminum pro-grade pizza peels, hand-crafted Cordierite baking stones, and other accessories, all of which are available directly at http://www.kettlepizza.com.

KettlePizza is a major sponsor of the Rotary Nashua West Rockn’ Ribfest, New Hampshire’s premier family event, which will be held over Father’s Day weekend, June 19 – 21, in Merrimack, NH.

About KettlePizza™
Founded in 2010 by inventors and entrepreneurs Al Contarino and George Peters, KettlePizza™ is an all-American small business success story. From humble beginnings in Al’s barn to distribution partners across the country and around the world, KettlePizza offers grill aficionados and families that enjoy home cooked meals or entertaining friends an authentic wood-burning pizza oven experience. KettlePizza has multiple patents pending and was named 2013 Retailers Choice Award at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas and 2012 Vesta Award Finalist at the Hearth, Patio Expo Atlanta. For more information visit http://www.kettlepizza.com.

New Video: Let’s Make Some KettlePizza 101 with Mindy Merrell and R.B. Quinn

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Hey KettlePizza Peeps!

Mindy Merrell and R.B. Quinn again, loving our journey to the best pizza of our lives. Our short video will run you through the five steps of making spectacular pizza with your own pizza dough and easy tomato sauce on a KettlePizza and Weber kettle charcoal grill.

Backyard summertime shenanigans with family and friends are here again and they will not be complete without your trusty KettlePizza knocking out your own wood burning oven pies.

The KettlePizza journey has only just begun….

Chopped Champ Loves KettlePizza!

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Chopped Champion Mindy Merrell

Hey KettlePeeps!

We are Chopped champion Mindy Merrell and the balding Eagle Scout, R.B. Quinn. We’re Nashville, TN, food writers and we are the food website www.CheaterChef.com.

We’re also pizza fanatics. When Mindy auditioned for a spot on the Food Network’s Chopped in early 2013, many months before she competed and won, Chopped producers asked her how she would spend the $10,000 prize if she became the Chopped champion. Mindy told them that it would be a dream come true to build a wood burning pizza oven in the backyard. “I’ve spent many frustrating years on pizza for the home cook and I’ve made some progress, but I think we still need to build the oven,” she said.

We’ve lived in Nashville for more than 20 years and have had plenty of southern biscuits, cornbread, and hot chicken, but with just about zero Italian heritage there’s no real pizza culture in this town. Until the recent influx of new restaurants with young chefs and now more than a few wood burning ovens, our city has been a virtual pizza desert. So, if you wanted good pizza you had to make it yourself.

“As soon as this is over I’m hopping the Amtrak for Rhode Island and some actual pizza!”

We’ve fiddled with cooking techniques and dough recipes, all in hopes of turning out charred, puffy, chewy crusts. We’ve used the regular indoor oven and nearly every style of charcoal and gas grill. We even jerry-rigged a wood fired pizza “oven” with a campground fire ring and the steel cover from a metal fire pit to create some crucial “top-down” heat.

Kettle Pizza
The things people will do for a good pizza.

It’s easy to see why Mindy is such a pizza fanatic. As a kid she lived for a time in Naples, Italy, where she and her family took regular advantage of the absolute real-deal “Olde World” pizza made by sweaty Neapolitan guys in floury white tee shirts who maneuvered beautiful pies into tiled wood burning ovens with long-handled peels. Carmella, the family’s Neapolitan maid, picked up newspaper-wrapped dough from her local pizzeria to make her pies for family dinner.

KP Min in Naples 2
Everything you see I owe to pizza!

Then, out of the blue KettlePizza came into our lives. Wandering the massive Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Expo at Nashville’s Music City Center in March we turned a corner and walked smack into Al Contarino and George Peters and their KettlePizza booth. An hour later and we we’re all still talking pizza, dough, mozzarella, and generally swapping assorted epic moments in pizza-making. They are great guys and it was clear right away how much they love great pizza and believe in KettlePizza.

Turns out we didn’t need to construct that wood oven after all. We just needed KettlePizza and that beautiful Baking Steel high performance lid that comes with the KettlePizza Serious Eats Special Edition kit. What a lucky day that was.

We’re making the best pies of our lives, no kidding.

KP Interior 2

Al and George invited us to contribute to The KettlePizza Blog so….let’s make some KettlePizza pies in 5 easy steps.

Step 1: Arrange the Charcoal.

Fill a charcoal chimney starter with briquettes and arrange them in a “C” shape around the backside of the grill, banking them between the charcoal grate and the curved wall of the grill. Then, half-fill the chimney with additional briquettes and spread them out over the “C.”

Step 2: Light the Charcoal.

KP Fresh Charcoal

Place 3 or 4 Weber FireStarter Lighter Cubes on top of the briquettes and light them all. We love these charcoal starter cubes. They are so easy to use, especially when lighting a pile of briquettes. The briquettes should be white and ashed-over in 35 to 40 minutes.

Step 3: Set in Some Wood Chunks.

KP Lit Charcoal Wood

Add a few hardwood chunks on top of the charcoal on both sides before placing the Baking Steel on top of KettlePizza. Use dry seasoned hardwood chunks (not chips) of oak, hickory, pecan, or fruitwood. In a few minutes the wood will catch and begin generating the flames needed to get that top steel hot.

KP Wood Fire Box 1

Once the coals are white and burning and your wood set where you want it place the KettlePizza insert (the ProGrate, the tombstone-shaped pizza stone, and the firebox) on top of the Weber. Add 3 or 4 hardwood chunks to the firebox, set the Baking Steel in the ring, and place the lid on. Now, let the stone and steel heat up.

KP Set Steel

Step 4: The Dough.

This is Mindy’s reliable “go-to” pizza dough recipe that consistently gives great results. It’s a solid basic dough for your recipe files.

KP Dough Ball 1

These things matter when making great pizza dough:

  1. It sure is easy to mix up the dough if you have a stand mixer. If you really get into this KettlePizza thing, you’ll want to have one.
  2. Our recipe uses an equal blend of all-purpose and bread flours. Using both produces a dough that’s easy to handle AND has good structure. A little olive oil helps make it easy to handle, too.
  3. We use instant yeast simply because it’s easy and allows you to mix up all the dry ingredients together.
  4. Pizza dough should be quite soft with a high hydration rate (a higher ratio of water to flour than regular bread). This helps give the pie a nice puffy crust in the KettlePizza’s high heat. By weight, our recipe is 1.5 pounds of flour to 1 pound of water. That’s a nice 66% hydration rate.
  5. Don’t add the entire amount of flour called for in a recipe until you see after kneading that you need to add more. You don’t want a dough that’s too stiff. The amount of flour needed to make consistent dough depends on the humidity. Drier flour needs more liquid. You’ll get used to how an easy to handle dough feels after a few tries. If it just seems too sticky to handle with floured hands, add a little more flour.
  6. Dough portions that are about 6 to 7 ounces each will make a nice 8 to 9-inch pie that works great in the KettlePizza. A kitchen scale is handy for weighing the dough.
  7. This versatile dough allows you to use it the same day you make it and up to four days later. A slow rise in the refrigerator in individual pizza portions is both convenient and allows time for the flavor and gluten to develop. A two-day rise is ideal.
  8. Small rectangular four-cup containers usually labeled for soup and salad are super convenient for storing the dough in the refrigerator. Stick to one brand so you won’t be searching through a pile of lids that don’t fit. (We know this from experience.)
  9. We use the same dough for a regular crust and a thin crust pizza. For a pie with a nice puffed-edged crust, shape the discs by picking up the dough ball and gently pulling the edge with floured hands moving around the circle, allowing the weight of the dough to pull it down. You can also drape the dough over your fist periodically to allow the weight of the dough to hang and help form the circular shape. The goal is to have a nice disc of an even thickness. Be gentle, no need to toss it around. Properly risen dough will not fight you. For a thin crust pie, roll out the dough with a rolling pin on a floured board into a thin round. Prick the dough with a fork to keep it from bubbling up during baking.
  10. Make sure you have plenty of flour on the peel when you transfer the dough so it doesn’t stick. You can also use cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting.
  11. If your dough is very stiff and resists being stretched, sorry, you can’t have pizza right now. There’s no forcing it. You’ll have to let it rest in a warm place, covered with a wet towel or plastic wrap, to relax and soften up. You shouldn’t have this problem if you follow our recipe.

The Pizza Dough

2 ½ cups bread flour

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons instant yeast (or one packet that contains about 2 ¼ teaspoons)

2 ½ teaspoons fine-grained salt or 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt

2 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups warm water

Making the dough in a stand mixer: Combine 4½ cups of the flours (leave out ½ cup bread or all-purpose flour), yeast, and salt in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Add the water and olive oil and blend with a spoon just to moisten all the ingredients. With a dough hook attachment, blend and knead the dough until all the flour is incorporated and a soft, smooth dough forms, about 5 minutes. It should be quite sticky. If it seems stiff enough and like you can handle the dough, stop here. If the dough seems very sticky, add the remaining ½ cup of flour (we usually add the full 5 cups) and blend well until smooth. It should be soft, but manageable with floured hands.

Making the dough in a food processor: Make the dough as with a stand mixer, using the plastic blade with your food processor to knead the dough.

Making the dough by hand: After combining the ingredients as above, gather the dough with floured hands into a ball and transfer it to a lightly floured board. Knead the dough, dusting with flour as needed, until it is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. It should be soft and pliable.

Using the dough in 24 hours or up to 4 days later: With floured hands, gather the dough into a ball and shape it into log about 12 inches long. Cut the dough into 6 even pieces. If you are using a scale, each piece of dough should weigh between 6 and 7 ounces. Shape them into balls dusting with flour as necessary. Place each ball into a plastic container with a tightfitting lid. Refrigerate the containers of dough for 18 to 24 hours and up to 4 days. Remove from the refrigerator when you start the KettlePizza fire.

KP Dough Boxes-2

Using the dough the same day: After kneading the dough, place it in a large mixing bowl sprayed with cooking spray. Lightly oil the top of the dough. Cover with a warm damp towel and allow to double in bulk. Timing will depend on the temperature of your room. In a warm room, it will take an hour or two, in a cool room you can leave the dough all day. After it has doubled in bulk, punch down the dough and divide it into 6 even balls. Place the balls on a floured rimmed baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap and a damp towel. When the dough balls have doubled in size, in about an hour or two, it’s time to make pizza.

Step 5: Assemble and Bake the Pie

Less is more when it comes to toppings. Go light on the tomato sauce, cheese, and toppings or the pie will be too heavy to handle on the peel and won’t cook properly. Yes, topping combinations are endless, we’re sticking to just the basics here.

The Tomato Sauce

KP Tomato Sauce 2

You’ll get better, fresher flavor, with a simple combination of ingredients. Believe it or not, it’s enough for the 6-pie dough recipe.

2 cups canned crushed, diced or whole peeled tomatoes crushed with your hands

2 tablespoons olive oil (just eyeball a good dollop)

2 to 3 medium cloves garlic, finely minced or crushed in a garlic press

Pinch of salt

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Have a small ladle or big spoon ready to coat the pies.

The Cheese

KP Ingredient Prep

Packages of whole milk or fresh mozzarella that you cut yourself are the way to go. Just chunk the cheese up roughly into slices with a knife. Pre-shredded mozzarella just doesn’t pack the same “mootz” flavor.

Making the Pie

When KettlePizza is good and hot, spread the dough on the well-floured peel and spoon on the tomato sauce.

KP Dough 1

KP Tomato Sauce Spread

Again, less is more when it comes to sauce, cheese, and toppings. Err on the light side. Too much stuff on the pie will make it hard to handle and difficult to bake. Dot with pieces of cheese and other toppings, but not too much.

KP Add Mootz

Jiggle the peel to make sure the pizza will slide into the oven easily. If it seems stuck, pick up an edge and sprinkle some four under there. Keep doing this until it glides easily.

If you have an inexpensive Infrared thermometer, check your stone and steel heat now. The KettlePizza Zone is 600F or more.

KP Infrared Temp Check 1

Now you’re ready to make KettlePizza pies.

KP Pie on Peel

Look at your watch and slide the pie from the floured peel onto the middle of the stone. Leave it alone for about a minute to let the dough begin to set. Using the metal peel lift and spin the pie around on the stone about 180°. The side of the pie closest to the firebox will cook faster so once the dough has firmed up enough to be movable without tearing, keep your pie rotating for even cooking and crust browning.

KP KettlePizza Interior 3
This pie is ready to turn 180 degrees. Notice how the back side is cooking faster than the front.

At about 3½ to 4 minutes (depending entirely on your oven temperature) your pizza should be done. The dough should be fully cooked and the top and bottom should be developing scattered charred leopard spots. The toppings will be sizzling. Scoot your peel under the pie and with confidence slide it from the oven and onto a cutting board. Slice away once you can safely see through your tears of absolute joy.

KP Pepperoni Pizza 1

KP Pies on Cutting Board 1Refueling your KP:

Our tests with Kingsford brand briquettes have shown that KettlePizza will maintain pizza range temperature for about 50 minutes. Maintain a consistent wood fire burn to keep that steel hot. When the flames die back and no longer roll across the underside of the steel, add a couple more chunks.

Or, remove the kettle lid, and with heavy duty gloves spin the steel so one of the openings lines up with the firebox. Using long metal tongs give the burned wood a stir and add fresh chunks to the box. Spin the steel back in place and replace the kettle lid.

When the side thermometer starts to head south of 600°F, it’s time to think about adding charcoal. Add some lump hardwood charcoal (not unburned briquettes). Use the handle holes in the Baking Steel as access points to your charcoal bed.

To learn more about Chopped Champion Mindy Merrell, R.B. Quinn and CheaterChef.com, visit them HERE.