made in usa

Why Make Products In The USA? Why Not!

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I was interviewed recently by a home furnishing publication recently and one of the questions asked was, “Why do you manufacture your products in the United States?”  After thinking for a moment as to the best way to answer I decided to give both an answer and a question. “We manufacture our products in the USA because we think it is the right thing to do.  It creates jobs for our economy.  It helps us to innovate other new products since we are fully integrated with the manufacturing process.  It is not just about how to maximize our bottom line – that is not all that business is about.”

Then I went on to ask my question. “Why NOT manufacture products here in the USA?”  “There are benefits!  We can utilize a Just In Time warehouse and production area allowing us to turn over our inventory many times per year.  We can build closer relationships with our suppliers who for the most part are within a 100 mile radius.  We can innovate and make running changes very very quickly.  It is easy for our customers to get all the answers  they need because it is our tight group of employees that designs, manufactures, processes, ships and answers the phone – yes we answer the phone!”

After the interview was over I went to check on my son who was playing with his legos putting the blocks together in different fun configurations.  Thinking about the interview I smiled and realized that I forgot a very key answer!  Manufacturing products in the USA is fun!

Al Contarino
President & Co-Founder
KettlePizza

PS If you didn’t get a chance to watch the ABC News Channel 5 visit to KettlePizza headquarters you can check it out here!

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New Product Coming From KettlePizza June 5, 2016

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We are pretty excited to release a brand new product to our offering on June 5, 2016.  We can’t tell you what it is, but we can share a picture and some hints.  Hint #1: it is used for cooking pizza!  Big surprise right.  Hint #2: it is made of the best American Made stainless steel.  Any guesses what it is?

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Sneak Peek at KettlePizza’s Latest Product.  Any Idea What It Is?

Tailgate Time with KettlePizza!

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By Mindy Merrell and R.B. Quinn of CheaterChef.Com.

KettlePizza Tailgate

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.

KettlePizza Canned Dough

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.

KP Canned Biscuit Dough

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.

KP New Carriers 2

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.

KP New Carriers Roll Dough

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.

KP Biscuit 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.

KP New Carriers Flatbread

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.

KP New Carriers 5 pizzas

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.

KP New Carriers 4

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.

KP Sausage Gravy

And now, for some KettlePizza dessert….

KP Fried Apple Pie

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.

KettlePizza and Walmart’s US Manufacturing Summit

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Walmart
Walmart US CEO and President Greg Foran showcased KettlePizza at the retailer’s recent US Manufacturing Summit

You don’t need to dig very deep into the history of KettlePizza to learn that from day one our goal wasn’t just to build a product and company, but to create US jobs.  You’ll see this stated on our website in the “About Us” section and on our home page where we proudly fly the American flag along with the words “KettlePizza and the Made in USA Difference.”

When we pledged early on to source as many KettlePizza components as possible from US suppliers, we knew that we might take a competitive hit. After all, components manufactured outside the US would likely increase our profit margins even if we decided to price our kits for less than we currently do. But we could never manage the quality of these components like we do thanks to the relationship we’ve built with our closely aligned US partners.

Today, KettlePizza components are sourced from companies located US coast-to-US coast: Hudson, NH; Fall River, MA; Crooksville, OH; Hanover, MA; City of Industry, CA; Groveland, MA; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Tarrytown, NY; Haverhill, MA; Huntington, IN; North Andover, MA; Keene, NH; North Weymouth, MA; and, Beverly, MA. All of these companies have contributed to the success of KettlePizza but we’re always thinking about ways to do more for the US economy while growing our own company and our supplier companies too.

That’s where Walmart comes in.

Walmart recently held its second annual US Manufacturing Summit and Open Call. The event had the KettlePizza name and value-set written all over it. As part of this initiative, by 2023 Walmart has committed to buy $250 billion in products that support the creation of American jobs and to re-shore the manufacturing of goods it currently buys by facilitating and accelerating efforts of its suppliers, a positive trend that is gaining momentum across industries.

The Open Call portion of the two-day event held at Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, AR, was an opportunity for KettlePizza and hundreds of other Made in USA companies to make their case to Walmart buyers.

KettlePizza was a big hit and before too long, Walmart stores will be carrying a Made in USA KettlePizza kit.

What does a deal between Walmart and KettlePizza mean for KettlePizza and its suppliers?

Well, some of the smaller suppliers might need to double their current capacity (employees, machinery, etc.).  Some of the larger suppliers will, at the very least, need to add hours or an extra shift.  Increases in manufacturing/warehouse space would also most likely be needed. Depending on the time frame, KettlePizza would need to at least double our staff and lease additional warehouse space.

These are the good problems to have!

We believe offering our products through Walmart is a win-win-win.  Consumers win because KettlePizza products will be more broadly accessible. The US economy wins because increased sales means the expansion of American companies and subsequently, more US jobs. The reputation of “American Made” wins as more companies step up their efforts to source US manufactured goods.

We’ll keep you posted with any new developments.  As they are today, our products will continue to be available through Amazon.com, at Crate & Barrel stores and via crateandarrel.com, among other online retailers including — of course — KettlePizza.com.  In addition, KettlePizza kits are available at dealers around the US and in nine other countries. Please use our KettlePizza Worldwide Dealer Locater to find a dealer closest to you.

From all of us at KettlePizza, a big THANK YOU to all of our customers and business partners for getting us to here!

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.