Pizza success ... and failure!

publickmanJune 30, 2014

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!


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Wow! Lars, I'm so glad you had such a nice party!! It's too bad that Kevin's friends won't show up. :( I feel for him. At the party I went to, everybody came, except those who were sick or working, so it was a bit cramped and sweaty. :) You did a good job estimating the number of people! That's the part that always makes me nuts.

If you get a chance, I'd love to hear more about the BGE. I was thinking of getting a komodo, either BGE or Kamado, but can't seem to commit... And, of course, "best pizza" is very enticing. :)

Reading between the lines, I'm guessing you did have fun, regardless of the melted screen. That would be a good thing!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 1:08PM
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Here's some info on BGE from the Pizza forum, with links to a BGE forum.

People raved about the pizza I made, and I was surprised at how flavorful it was, since it was parbaked. I think the marinated and grilled vegetables helped the flavor. What I especially liked was the texture of the crust - the bottom came out crispy and it was not soggy in the least! My guests were very impressed, but then a lot of them do not cook that much, and so they are fairly easy to impress. It was not my goal to impress people - I just wanted to make really good pizza. The ice cream was a big hit also, and no one requested salad.

One good thing about the BGE is that it has a lifetime warranty, and by lifetime, they mean the lifetime of the company. Kevin loves it, and I'm thinking of getting a small one as well. We had to trash our small Weber grill because it was falling apart with finish peeling off the inside of the lid. We got the largest BGE available, and it is a bit of overkill for some things.

I did have a good time, in spite of everything, and I was happy because my guests were happy. My dentist came somewhat late to the party (I had thought that she would come early), and she stayed for quite a while. I think she was destressing/chilling out in the pergola after a day in the office. She really liked my back yard, as did just about everyone who came. The children loved the fountain and the hummingbirds.


This post was edited by publickman on Tue, Jul 1, 14 at 12:26

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 2:09PM
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Sounds fun and the pizza was a success.

I'm interested in the BGE too. My gas grill is convenient but never gets all that hot. The saucer-type Webers are a bit unsightly after they've lived in the Portland rain awhile. Do you think a BGE will hold up to a wet climate? How much rustable iron or ferrous steel is on it? Also, how much charcoal is needed to use it? It always bugs me to use a whole bunch of charcoal just to cook a dinner.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 3:10PM
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The guy who started the link in the pizza forum that I linked to is in Seattle, and so he might be able to answer questions about the BGE in your area. From what I can tell, they hold up very well and have a lifetime guarantee. They certainly hold up much better than Webers. There is some steel on the exterior, but it is finished so that it will not corrode, and of course most of the exterior is green ceramic. You can also get a cover for the BGE to protect it from rain. The Kamado Joe is a comparable product but does not have the same warranty. I think that over time you may have to replace the gasket in either one, but I have not had to do that yet.

I might get a smaller Kamado, just for comparison. There is a store in Culver City that sells them and is very close to where I live - maybe 15 minutes away. We go to a lot of restaurants in downtown Culver City on week-ends, and so we could drop by for a look.

My BGE is VERY big, which is why I would want to get a smaller one as well, but the one I have is the perfect size for pizza.

I have not found that they use more charcoal or wood than the large Weber, and they retain the heat better because of the ceramic insulation. Supposedly they do very well when cooking in cold weather, but the coldest day we have used it was 65 degrees. We use Mesquite wood mixed with Mesquite charcoal because we are from Texas, and that is the flavor we are used to. Our father considered Mesquite to be trash wood and tried (in vain) to get rid of his Mesquite trees. Mesquite is a bit expensive in California, however.


    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 6:23PM
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One of the gals in Kitchens awhile back talked about using a BGE in the Winter in Alaska. They'd stay inside and just pop out to tend it.

Thanks for the info, Lars. How great that your yard can provide that kind of oasis for your guests. Lovely!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 7:29PM
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Lars, it sounds like a nice party and I think something like grilled pizza naturally has a learning curve.

You tell Kevin that if I lived there and he invited me, I'd come!


    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 10:10PM
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Sounds like paradise - humming birds!!! And good pizza. What more does a girl want,

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 2:13AM
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They look great and learning stuff was a bonus. Poor Kevin; we are always there for him virtually.

I keep getting on the BGE thought process so this will move me in that direction again.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 2:47AM
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I'm ready to make more pizza dough tonight so that we can have pizza for 4th of July! Since I am still learning about this, I think I need to get some more practice. It seemed perfect for the party, as it appeared to entertain the guests (even though they showed no interest in putting toppings on the pizzas), and the pizzas were devoured as soon as they came off the grill.

I will definitely do this again for another party, and perhaps invite different guests. Maybe next time Kevin's guests will show up. I think he's not good at talking up a party. He was not terribly upset (as far as I can tell) that they did not show up, but I do know that some had told him that they would. It would have been really bad if no one at all had showed up.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 9:36PM
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