pizza

Tailgate and Homegate This Fall with KettlePizza!

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KP Tailgate Packing KPBlog

By Mindy Merrell and R.B. Quinn of Cheater Chef

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)

KettlePizza kit components (metal ring, grate, pizza stone)

Charcoal

Charcoal chimney starter

Newspaper or fire starter cubes and lighter/matches

Bag of dried hardwood chunks

Long metal tongs for handling wood and charcoal

Heavy duty work or welder’s gloves

Long handled metal spatula for scraping pizza stone

Pizza peels

Big cutting board and pizza slicer

Plastic jug of tap water (to extinguish coals if needed)

KettlePizza Pizza Elements:

Pizza dough options:

— tubs of your own homemade dough (see Mindy’s easy make-ahead pizza dough recipe. If you’re going roll out dough, be sure to bring a small container of flour for dusting the board and your hands.

— bagged dough from store or pizzeria (see our post on tips for using dough from the store

— refrigerated canned dough (see our post on tips for using canned refrigerated dough

— ready-made pizza crust from the store (plenty to choose from).

KP Tailgate Table

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.

Your own sauce ( scroll down this post for a good simple one) or your favorite bottled sauce

Shredded cheese

Ready-sliced pepperoni

Crushed red pepper

Any anything else you like. Simple is best.

For “Tips and Tools from the United States Tailgating Association” go to:

Tailgate Tips and Tools

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.

KettlePizza Featured in ‘Made in America’ Gift Guide

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We’re proud of a lot of things around here.Featured American Made Holiday Gift Guide (1)

We’re proud of our efforts to create jobs in the USA, which we recently wrote about, and to support other companies who do the same.

We’re proud that we’re a “Made in the USA” company.

We’re proud that KettlePizza components — the wooden handles, pizza stones, steel, pizza peels and other key parts — are sourced here.

And we’re sure proud when others recognize us and support these efforts of ours.

That’s why we’re excited to see that the 2014 ‘Made in America’ Holiday Gift Guide has been published and that KettlePizza is featured in it as a recommended gift. You can view the guide right here.

Made-in-America-Holiday-Challenge-2014Did you know the average American spends over $700 annually on holiday shopping? If just 10% ($70) of this was spent on gifts made in the USA, the economic impact would equate to the creation of over 200,000 American jobs.

The mission of the American Made Holiday Gift Guide from MadeInUSAChallenge.com is to provide the conscientious consumer with a place to find items that support our economy, protect the environment and give back to our communities.

We’re proud that KettlePizza is featured among these items!

Take the Made in the USA’ Challenge!

KettlePizza and Halloween Go Together like Dr. and Mrs. Frankenstein

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Tweet your Halloween pizza creations to us @Kettlepizza
Tweet your Halloween pizza creations to us @Kettlepizza

If you’re reading this, you probably agree that every day is a great day for pizza.  But did you know that Halloween is the busiest day of the year for the pizza industry? And this year, this ghoulish of holidays falls on a Friday, likely the busiest day of the week for the pizza world throughout the year.

With this said, we have two pieces of advice for you:

  • If you’re having a Halloween party and ordering out for pizza, place your order earlier in the day – or even today. And be kind to your delivery driver: make sure your house number isn’t hidden by Halloween decorations and don’t forget the gratuity for a job well done.
  • Instead of ordering out for pizza and risking a late delivery of luke-warm pizza, and instead of making your meal of pizza a side note to your Halloween fun, make it the center of attention by cooking on your KettlePizza.

What better way to spend a crisp autumn evening than in your backyard, catching up on the week’s events with Dr. Frankenstein, Spiderman, Mary Poppins and Tinkerbell, and standing around the mellow glow and warmth of your KettlePizza while eating a delicious pizza?

While delivery pizza is obviously convenient, the fun factor is close to zero.  Now imagine your kids and their friends dressing up spooky pizzas with nutritious toppings like mozzarella strung out like a spider web, black olives in the center of pineapple slices like the eyes of a ghoul, or a Bell pepper cut in strips to form the legs of an imaginary creature.

If you still want to celebrate Halloween with your KettlePizza but want to get right down to the cooking to avoid dealing with “hangry” house guests, a few great brands make it easy to do so.  Papa-Murphy’s, for example, is making its Jack-O-Lantern pizza available through Halloween.  Papa Murphy uses pepperoni and olives for the smiling jack-o-lantern along with red sauce and mozzarella cheese.

So pick up a Jack-O-Lantern pizza from Papa Murphy, fire up the KettlePizza, and you’re in business…or do it yourself.   If you’re a DIYer, here are a couple of great Halloween pizza recipes to help get you started:   Spiderweb pizza, or scare away vampires with roasted garlic pizza.

Celebrating Halloween with grilled pizza adds exponentially to the fun factor. And just because Halloween marks the official end to National Pizza Month, remember that at KettlePizza — and we think the same goes for you — every month is national pizza month.

Tweet your spooky pizza creations to us @Kettlepizza and we’ll share them on Twitter and Facebook for the whole global KettlePizza community to see.

More importantly, have a safe Halloween!