Tappecue Pizza? How it's done.

Mr. James Lockman has been using the Tappecue for a while and has been kind enough to share how it has helped him with some more non-traditional applications -- for this one, Pizza! And who doesn't love a good pizza! Here is how he did it so, maybe y'all can try it to and let us know how yours turned out!

Enter James

From time to time, we make pizza on our gas grill. We’ve been making pizza on the grill for years, way before the recent craze of grill-top pizza ovens. Without one of those grill-top pizza ovens, however, it’s easy to get a pizza with a burned bottom and raw top. Until I break down and build or buy a better solution, I use two stones like a sandwich, and I drape aluminum foil to trap heat and improve both the quality of the pizza and the predictability of the cook. The aluminum foil extends out beyond the bottom stone and through the grill grate so that it doesn’t move due to rising hot air. This arrangement allows hot air to flow up into the oven and around the top of the top stone, maintaining even heat throughout the cook.

One of the biggest challenges with this approach is that the grill’s embedded thermometer doesn’t provide accurate readings for the makeshift oven. Tappecue to the rescue! I use a chamber probe, positioned in the front of the oven, to tell when the oven is ready to cook. An improvement will be a second chamber probe, that will hang under the top stone. It can take 45 minutes for the stones to get hot enough for cooking, so start the grill and head inside to make the pizza. I keep track of the temperature with my mobile phone app and my Apple Watch. I love that Tappecue has a watch complication! I try to keep the temperature between 400 and 450. Last night was down in the single digits, so it was challenging to keep things above 400, even with all of the burners in the “POW-R-ZONE."

Folks often ask me about the dough, and I’ve been happy with our local supermarket pizza dough balls. However, Santa is awesome and he brought a Cuisinart 14 cup food processor, which we’ve been using for making bread dough. http://a.co/eWd2WUk Santa brought the red one, but any color works. Bread dough in a food processor is also awesome, but please use steel blades and have a heavy duty motor. For this recipe, I used Bobby Flay’s pizza dough recipe, which makes two pizza crusts. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/pizza-dough-recipe-1921714 You need to adjust for a food processor, however.

First, I turned on the oven (not the grill!) to 200°F. I use Christopher Kimball’s proofing box method from his Cook’s Bible, which works great and ensures a good rise for the dough. I added all of the dry ingredients (including yeast!) to the food processor, pulsed it a couple of times to mix, and then slowly poured the water and oil into the funnel while mixing. Once the dough ball formed, I continued to process the dough for a couple of minutes, then let it rest for 5 min. After 5 min, I pulsed it to break it from the walls and blades, and dropped it into a bowl to rise. I turned off the oven, covered the dough with Stretch Tite, and let it rise in the warm oven. If you haven’t found Stretch Tite yet, do yourself a favor and go get a roll. https://www.stretchtite.com This cling wrap is a BBQ marination dream.

I use peels for making pizza. I have an aluminum one and a wooden one. The wooden one is less sticky, but the aluminum one is bigger. For both, I use a generous amount of corn meal to ensure a non-stick surface. I also throw the dough to make the round pie. It’s OK to roll it out, too, but be sure that the middle is thinner than the edge so that you have a recognizable crust. I use Newman’s Own pasta sauce, preferably Fire Roasted Tomato and Garlic http://www.newmansown.com/foods/fire-roasted-tomato-garlic-pasta-sauce/. On top of the sauce, I put some garlic powder and ensure to cover the exposed crust edge, too. Next, I added shredded Parmesan, 4-cheese Pizza Blend, and mozzarella. Why three cheeses? I find that the pizza blend doesn’t have enough of the robust Parmesan flavor, and the shredded mozzarella gives it a little more stretchy goodness. Don’t go overboard with the sauce or the cheese, either. Finally, I added the salami to one and the onions, mushrooms and veggie sausage to the other.

Here’s the veggie pie on the peel, waiting to go in the grill.

Even with the corn meal, I do jiggle the pie before sliding it onto the hot stone. Is it a jiggle or is it a shake? Maybe a fast twist is more accurate. I’m trying to break the bond between the dough and the peel without dislodging any of the toppings. A shaking rotation does a great job of loosening the dough with little or no loss of toppings. Once the pie is loose, it’s onto the grill. Keep the lid up for as little as possible, but you know that already. We cook one at a time, but they don’t take too long to cook. I let each pie cook for about 10 minutes, and then gave it a quick peek. Two more minutes or so, and out they come.

The key to success is knowing the temperature of the grill. Before Tappecue, I burned or under-cooked my pizzas most of the time because I checked on it too often or too late. Having Tappecue alert me to changes in temperature allowed me to ensure a consistent cook and delicious result. If you use a grill, be sure to add a chamber probe to your Tappecue toolkit. I won’t use the grill without it.

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