Even if you’re a complete sports nut, fully devoted to your teams and focused on all their stats, you’ve got to admit that a big part of the fun of competitive sports is the food, the drink, and the party that goes with them. There is no better excuse to call friends, fire up the grill, fill the crock pot, and ice the cooler. Game days are party days.
And party days are “made in the USA” KettlePizza days.
With a little planning and organizing you can have it all – hot from the KettlePizza, sides and snacks, friends and family, and cold beverages. And you can do it whether you’re in the crazy three-ring circus stadium parking lot or in a neighborhood backyard (yours or anyone else’s). Let’s face it, everything tastes better in a parking lot.
Successful tailgating and homegating are all about smart organizing and packing, efficient setting up, showing off a few parking lot cooking skills, laughing and talking, sharing food with others, cleaning up, and repacking. More or less in that order.
Accomplished ‘gaters are the ones checking the forecast on Tuesday or Wednesday, shopping on Thursday, and whenever there’s free time washing coolers and folding tables, and staging the necessary gear in the garage so everything is ready to go in the morning.
To get the most out of your KettlePizza tailgate time, here are a few tips:
— Pack the Weber kettle, charcoal, and charcoal chimney last so that they are the first items out of the car.
— Light the charcoal in the chimney as soon as you arrive and before you do anything else – no EZ-Up, no quick round of cornhole or ball-tossing, no beers and joke-telling. Get the fire going first and then get busy setting up tables and chairs, breaking out the coolers, and opening up snacks and pizza fixings.
— Parking lots and backyards can be busy places so set up your KettlePizza cooking zone on level ground and not too close to chairs, tables, and people or car traffic. Give yourself a room to maneuver safely around the kettle.
— Locate your stadium’s charcoal and ash dispensers. Most stadiums provide them.
–If you’re using a foldable plastic table with four separate table legs, bring four sections of plastic PVC pipe about 10-12-inches long and slide them onto the bottoms of each of the table legs. A higher table makes pizza prep and serving a whole lot easier on the back.
— Enlist a couple enthusiastic (i.e. responsible) friends to be your KettlePizza crew. Once the oven is hot, keep the pies rolling so you can enjoy the pizza, clean up, and get to your seats. One of you preps the pies, one works the oven, and one slices and serves.
–This is not the best time for lots of different individual pies. When tailgating, fewer choices are better. Decide your toppings ahead and keep it simple. Everyone can try them all.
–Consider creating a signature pie for your home team and go with that. Here in Nashville we’re taking a liking to pineapple in honor of our new QB, Marcus Mariota.
–As soon as the last pie is out of the oven, remove the KettlePizza kit from the Weber grill and set it in a safe place to cool down. Place the metal lid on the Weber and close all air vents to extinguish the charcoal.
–Use gallon size plastic bags to store leftover pizza slices (in the cooler) while you watch the game. You’ll need a post-game snack in the parking lot while you wait for the traffic to let up.
To make your KettlePizza tailgate time as easy and fun as possible, here’s our prep and packing KettlePizza checklist:
KettlePizza Cooking Equipment:
Weber grill and metal lid (emptied of leftover coal and ash)
— ready-made pizza crust from the store (plenty to choose from).
Sauce, cheese, and other toppings:
You know what you like and what works for you, but whatever you bring, rely on plenty of small plastic storage containers with tight-fitting lids that are easy to pack in a cooler and set out on a party table. Otherwise, just keep the ingredients simple and make it easy for you and your friends to mix and match the ingredients.
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!
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.
We were thrilled to be a part of two-time Emmy award winner Steve Harvey’s show yesterday.
Steve Harvey featured the latest and greatest accessories for backyard BBQs, including KettlePizza.
Steve, a lover of wood-fired pizza ovens himself, asked the studio audience if they would “use it” or “lose it” and (no surprise to our loyal fans!), KettlePizza earned a definite “USE IT” stamp of approval.
To celebrate, we’re offering a special online discount available through April 20 only. Just use HARVEY25 for a $25 discount on our kits at www.kettlepizza.com!
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 easier 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. 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.
Many people have dreams of having a real brick or stone pizza oven in their back yard. I can’t blame them! Some people even want to build their own, thinking it would be a fun project. I get calls from these people often who start these projects and then can’t find the time to finish. They find the KettlePizza is a way to get started with an inexpensive pizza oven. This post is to give people a comparison of the KettlePizza and a traditional pizza oven.
A 22.5″ KettlePizza with a Weber Kettle Grill will cost you between $180.00 and $500 depending on the setup that you choose. A traditional pizza oven will most likely costs at least $1000 and that is if you do the work yourself. If you have it installed expect $2500-5000.
Mobility: You can move a KettlePizza & Weber combo wherever you want as it is on wheels. With a weight between 50 and 100 pounds you can transport it easily as well. A traditional pizza oven will be set in place and is not movable.
Startup Time: The KettlePizza takes about 20 minutes to get the charcoal/hardwood to temperature. Add another 20 minutes if you are using a stone. Most traditional pizza ovens take at least 1 1/2 hours to get to temperature.
Flexibility: Removing the KettlePizza insert takes about 30 seconds and you are left with a kettle grill. Better yet, keep it on and cook other food types using the double stack method (see video below). Traditional pizza ovens are great for cooking other foods as well once you get used to them.
In summary, a traditional pizza oven is awesome as long as you have the money, space, and time to use it. For those who don’t, the KettlePizza may be a nice alternative for you. And don’t forget, we make the KettlePizza entirely in the USA. People interested in purchasing can go to Amazon.com to see our offering.
Note: For more information on traditional pizza ovens we recommend FornoBravo.com as a very informative website.
This weekend I got the chance to do some cooking with the KettlePizza and the Weber Performer. I used the special two grate direct grilling technique that you can only do with a KettlePizza insert. Using this technique I was able to cook the meats on the lower level while cooking the corn and potatoes on the upper level inside the dome. Basically you double the cooking area from 363 sq inches to 726 square inches. Keeping the dome on throughout the cooking process gives you super moist food. The food came out great and the family was happy! Here are some pictures: