Pizza success ... and failure!
As I was busy hosting the party, I was unable to take photos, although I will include this one of the pizzas after being parbaked the morning of the party.
No one that Kevin invited showed up, which is one of the reasons we do not give more parties, but I had 16 guess show up, not inlcuding my sister and BIL, and so there were 20 or us altogether. My real estate agent (who sold us the house) came and left early, staying only about five minutes, and so she did not have any pizza - or anything else, for that matter.
At one point in the party, someone (Suzanne) asked me when we were going to have the pizza, and so at that point I had her help me top one of the pizzas. I spread the tomato sauce that I had made and then had her add the topping she wanted, which was a little bit of everything! When the fire was ready, I decided to cook the first pizza just on the grill, but I left it on the screen - big mistake! The BGE got up to 800 degrees and melted the aluminum screen. The pizza was not burned (after only 5 minutes), but Kevin promptly threw it into the trash, and we put the pizza stone on to cook the next one. Then Jimmy decided that he was going to be in charge of cooking the pizzas on the BGE and wouldn't let me touch anything after that. The other three pizzas came out fantastic, and so it is a shame that we had to throw one away, but I told people that pizzas were like crepes and that you can throw the first one out. Anyway, it was a learning experience, and I will not make that mistake again. The rest of the pizzas I took off of the screens and put onto the peel, one by one, and they cooked directly on the stone. I was impressed with how much smoky flavor they got being on the stone. Jimmy would only cook them at 450 degrees, which I thought was not hot enough, but that's the temperature he said he used when he worked at a pizza restaurant.
Although I ended up putting all the toppings on the other pizzas, people enjoyed the whole experience anyway. I made my whole wheat dough recipe, which is 50% whole wheat, and people liked it. For toppings I had sliced tomatoes, green olives, spicy Italian turkey sausage, canned artichoke hearts, marinated and grilled white mushrooms, Portobello mushroom, and red bell pepper. We grilled the bell pepper and mushrooms the day before along with some salmon for Friday's dinner, but the mushrooms and bell pepper were only for the pizza. For the toppings listed above I had Mozzarella, Provolone, and Fontina cheese, and for the third pizza, I used Feta cheese, as it only had artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and olives on it. I think that was my favorite. When I parbaked the pizzas, I topped them with a mixture of Mozzarella and Fontina from TJ's, and even though the Mozzarella was full moisture, it still turned a bit brown, but was tasty in the end anyway.
I did learn quite a bit from this party and will want to repeat the experience in the future. The BGE made the best pizzas I've every cooked. The one problem, especially with the first pizza, was getting Kevin or someone to watch the BGE closely. He just closed the lid, set a timer for 5 minutes, and walked away, not knowing that it was going to get up to 800 degrees! Some people thought it was entertaining to see melted aluminum on the grill (which was fairly easy to remove), but I was not amused.
Thanks for your suggestions and encouragement for this party!