By Mindy Merrell and R.B. Quinn of CheaterChef.Com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And now, for some KettlePizza dessert….
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.
Like the KettlePizza itself, Baking Steel is a versatile product with many uses beyond its primary function of providing higher dome temperatures for pizza ovens — like our KettlePizza. Baking Steel is a 3/16-inch thick pre-seasoned round steel that that fits 22.5-inch kettle grills, like the Weber. Because it radiates heat so quickly, Baking Steel provides a really hot ceiling for quick crisping on the top of the pizza.
Baking Steel is included with the Made in the USA KettlePizza Serious Eats Special Edition — a deluxe kit we developed in partnership with Baking Steel and Slice Serious Eats and wrote about last week (it’s still on sale!).
You can, however, also purchase Baking Steel from us separately as an enhancement to your existing Kettle Pizza. Baking Steel is on sale from KettlePizza right now for $79.75!
Did you know that in addition to using Baking Steel to make crisper pizzas, you can use it to cook just about anything you’d use a griddle for. If it’s breakfast you’re hungry for, wait until the coals get good and hot then lay out strips of bacon, crack open a couple of fresh eggs and pour the pancake batter directly on to Baking Steel. In a flash you’ll be feasting on a grand slam-style breakfast just like a couple of us did a few days ago. (If you want the full treatment, you can check out our video here).
In addition to breakfast, veggies, steaks and fish that love searing, burgers and hot dogs all taste great off of a Baking Steel. It’s a very versatile product that just keeps on giving.
Of course, we think Baking Steel has it’s finest moments when it’s joined together with a KettlePizza, churning out great pizzas every four-five minutes for your guests. But when pizza isn’t on the menu, fire up the grill anyway and put the Baking Steel through it paces with your own creative recipes.
Please let us know what you come up with. We’d love to see your pictures and videos of your Baking Steel at work and we’ll share them with the KettlePizza community.
If you haven’t already noticed, the holiday season is upon us.
As you’re shopping for that perfect gift this year, we suggest you consider Made in the USA KettlePizza.
Perfect for grill aficionados and foodies looking for new recipes, or for families that enjoy home cooked meals and entertaining friends, the innovative KettlePizza kit is a wonderful way to bring wood-fired oven flavor to your cooking and entertaining repertoire without the expense of buying or building a brick or stone oven in your backyard!
For the person who already has a KettlePizza and loves using it, consider one of these great gifts:
Kit includes the KettlePizza 22 inch wooden pizza peel and the 15″ cordierite pizza stone. Great for use with the KettlePizza or in your home oven.
Kit includes the KettlePizza pro grade pizza peel and the 15″ cordierite pizza stone. Great for use with the KettlePizza or in your home oven.
Made specifically for the hardcore KettlePizza user or professional who wants faster cooking cycles and higher dome temperatures for near-Neopolitan pizza results.
Don’t just take our word for it, take a look at these gift-giving experts who have recommended KettlePizza in their holiday gift guide lists:
And don’t forget to check us out on on page 67 of the annual Tailgater Magazine Holiday Gift Guide too!
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.
I wanted to pass along an email I recently received by one of my customers:
“Dear Al, I just wanted to tell you how happy we are with the KettlePizza product that we recently purchased. This thing is great! We used it on 4th of July weekend at a family reunion on Cape Cod, MA. It took us a couple times to get the heat just right – it would helped if we read the instructions first 🙂 . After that we had a steady stream of great tasting pizzas. The family loved them and we all had lots of fun. They were also happily suprised to hear that the product is Made in USA – great suprise for Independence Day! Thanks again and we wish you luck with the business!” Marissa T. Boston, MA